If you’re looking for advice about options surrounding fertility, pregnancy or counselling, always consult your doctor
Thanks to IVF and donor conception, infertile couples, women and couples now have a better chance of starting families. But while you might know someone who has gone through the process, it’s rarely openly discussed.
Here are your questions answered.
How much are men compensated for donating sperm and women for donating eggs?
A. Deborah Dempsey, sociologist:
In Australia, human eggs and sperm cannot be treated as goods that are bought or sold. It’s permissible to pay egg and sperm donors “reasonable expenses” (such as travel and parking) and medical costs incurred in the process of making their donation. Although the actual sum paid varies, for sperm donors it is generally around A$250 per donation.
For egg donors, it is substantially more as it’s a much more invasive medical procedure. Women are required to self-inject drugs for several days to hyper-stimulate their ovaries and need to be monitored to ensure there are no serious side effects. Eggs must be extracted by a medical practitioner, and this usually requires an anaesthetic and a half-day stay in hospital.
If there is too great a financial gain attached to providing eggs and sperm, one concern is that people will be motivated by money rather than a desire to help infertile men or women, and this could cause harm. Potential donors, for instance, may be more likely to conceal a health condition that could be passed on to intended parents or children because they wanted to receive the fee.
The issue of compensation is currently a hot topic due to a national shortage of both egg and sperm donors in Australia. In April, one group of fertility clinics made headlines for offering A$5,000 payments to cover egg donors’ expenses. Debate centred around whether this flat fee could be considered an “inducement” to participate, just as it did several years ago when a different clinic offered A$7,000 to Canadian students willing to come to Australia for a working holiday and to donate sperm.