Our egg sharing programme was started to overcome the acute shortage of donated eggs. Couples needing eggs were facing long waiting times or the prospect of going overseas for treatment at unregulated clinics. Reduced treatment fees were given as a thank you to women who wanted to share their eggs.
However, over recent years, with the reduction in NHS funding, egg or sperm sharing to reduce the cost of IVF can make treatment more accessible.
In order to share your eggs you must be under 35, healthy and agree to free mandatory counselling. Sperm sharers need to have healthy high quality sperm and be between 18- 40 years old.
At every stage of the process we have egg-share coordinators available for you and your partner to discuss the treatment.
Egg sharing is not a decision to be made lightly. Although you have no moral, financial or legal responsibility to a child that may result from a donated egg, that child will be able to request identifying information about you when they become 18.
This is a possibility that you need to discuss with your partner and is one of the reasons why mandatory counselling is provided. During these sessions you will have the opportunity to talk through the implications, possible outcomes and also the emotional impact of egg sharing.
Egg sharing is a win-win for some couples
Lucinda and her husband Matthew (pictured) decided to egg share when they began treatment for their second IVF baby. Lucinda explains: “After giving birth to Edward I read about egg sharing and how sometimes women have to wait four years to receive a donated egg.
“Having gone through IVF once myself, and thankfully successfully, I knew that the process was hard enough on its own, let alone if you’ve got to first wait some indeterminable time period for someone to donate eggs; it must be truly terrible and I can see why some couples split up during this difficult stage.”
The couple egg shared and it resulted in baby Timothy. The decision was not an easy one and older members of their families were very concerned. You can read their story here, and find out more in the video opposite (or view on YouTube here).
Bourn Hall was one of the first clinics to introduce a sperm sharing programme. It offers help to others whose only hope of a family is through sperm donation, and it also benefits the sharer whose treatment costs are reduced.
Following an initial consultation, you will be offered free counselling before you decide to become a sperm sharer. If all is well and you decide to go ahead, we will ask you to attend the clinic at regular intervals to donate sperm. Usually, this involves 10-15 visits to the clinic. Your samples will be frozen so they can be used in the future.
Your samples are then quarantined for an appropriate period before you come back to the clinic for repeat screening tests. If these tests are also clear, we can use the frozen samples to help patients who need donated sperm for their treatment. At this point, you will be eligible for a discounted cycle of IVF treatment or an equivalent refund on a cycle of treatment you may have had in the meantime.