The altruistic benefits of egg donation are undeniable; there is perhaps no better gift any human can give than the gift of life.
If you are blessed with the ability to have children, it's possible that egg donation may not have crossed your mind prior to reading this article. However, if you are fertile and aged between 18 and 35, you could give an infertile UK couple a real chance to start a family of their own.
Currently, the supply for UK egg donors cannot meet demand which is forcing hopeful mummies and daddies to travel overseas to European countries in their pursuit of children. Due to a drought of South Asian egg donors, some patients have travelled as far as India after sourcing Asian egg donors became 'near impossible'.
Whilst the expensive option of travelling abroad for treatment is viable for some, there are growing concerns about the way some overseas fertility treatments are regulated. Dr Rajkhowa, a gynaecologist at Birmingham Women's Hospital explained that although the internet has increased awareness of overseas egg donors, seeking a fertility clinic in India comes with health risks such as multiple implantation Â– a procedure which is banned in the UK.Dr Rajkhowa said, Â“We have had patients who have had egg donation treatment overseas and come back [to the UK] with triplet pregnancies which puts the patient in a difficult position as these are high risk pregnanciesÂ”.
The reasoning behind the shortage of Asian egg donors in the UK is believed to be tied to religious and cultural issues.
Women who have been lucky enough to achieve pregnancy through UK egg donations tend to be eternally grateful to their donor for their generosity, further strengthening the altruistic benefits and reasons to consider becoming an egg donor. Conversely, women who do not want children for personal reasons are also encouraged to pass on the gift of life to another so that their own fertility is not wasted. In addition, there are now also financial benefits to egg donation. From April 2012 all UK egg donors can expect to be generously compensated for their time and commitment to the programme - donors receive up to Â£750 per cycle.
If you decide you are ready to take that leap of faith and become an egg donor, the first thing to do is to book an appointment with your local egg bank clinic. Once you have made your first appointment you will be able to meet with a recruitment donor co-ordinator who will go through the egg donation process with you and answer any questions you may have.
Following on from your introduction, you will be required to undergo an initial blood test and complete a medical history application form. It can take around a week for the blood test results to come back, this is an important step in the process as doctors need this information to assess your ovarian function.
As soon as the test results are published, you will be invited for a consultation scan of the womb and ovaries before undergoing a number of thorough screening tests such as HIV and Cystic Fibrosis to ensure you are fit and eligible for the egg donation programme. Once you have dotted the I's and crossed the t's, your donation cycle can begin and so can the journey to parenthood for prospective parents.
Would you like to give the gift of life by becoming an egg donor? The London Egg Bank is the UK's first egg donor clinic with an active goal to encourage egg donation across the UK. For more information, fill out the contact form online and someone will be in touch to help.