In the past year about 30 couples from New Zealand have travelled to the San Diego Fertility Centre in the United States to find an egg donor. Most donors in New Zealand are family members or friends, with the wider egg donor pool being very small.
At present the Human Assisted Reproductive Technology Act (2004) states that “No person may give or receive, or agree to give or receive, valuable consideration for the supply of a human embryo or human gamete.”
Kirsty Johnson, writing on Stuff.co.nz says women are going overseas to find an egg donor “as frustration grows at restrictive medical laws and practices in New Zealand.”
“One sticking point is a ban on payments to donors,” she says, “but reports, by advisory committees on egg donors, to Health Minister Tony Ryall are yet to consider payment.”
In the US women in their early 20s can earn up to US$10,000 for their eggs. “Lots of young women are putting themselves through university by donating eggs,” says Mary Birdsall, medical director of Fertility Associates in Auckland. “The donor websites feel a little like a Miss America pageant.”
News category: New Zealand.