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EMBRYOLOGY: Dangerous ground

30 June 2017  

In the first of a two-part analysis, Seamus Burns examines the potential for exploitation, together with ethical issues, in relation to egg sharing within IVF treatment

A recent press investigation (Daily Mail, May 2017) alleged that several licensed fertility clinics were exploiting women desperate to have their own children by in vitro fertilisation (IVF) by asking them to donate some of their eggs in exchange for free, or reduced price, treatment, or even for cash, and further that some fertility clinics were allegedly giving women ‘false hope by exaggerating their success rates with frozen eggs’. This flags up the reality that 60% of infertility treatments are privately funded, that clinics that charge patients directly for fertility treatments are businesses, and the necessity of both rigorous control and regulation of the infertility business. This situation should also serve to concentrate the minds of government, the NHS and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to address the controversial and iniquitous shortcomings of the current NHS IVF postcode lottery that effectively drives a lot of patients into the private sector, or to seek IVF in another (less regulated and safe) country, or indeed, for many, to the personally devastating option of remaining childless.

Additional Info

  • Case(s) Referenced:

    In the matter of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Cases A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H) [2015] EWHC 2602 (Fam)

    Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust v A & ors [2003] EWHC 259 (QB)

Last modified on 11 August 2017

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