The HFEA (who regulate human fertilisation treatment and embryo research in the UK) have agreed that a clinic in north east England can offer the incentive of reduced fees for IVF in return for the donation of spare eggs, for the purposes of research.
In the past, women have been allowed to donate eggs for 'altruistic' reasons, and more recently, women have been offered a reduced fee if they donated eggs for another woman's treatment. However, these eggs will be used for stem-cell research.
Although the clinic and HFEA claim this will prove beneficial to many couples who find the cost of IVF prohibitive (usually around £2,500 per course of treatment, sometimes with 'hidden extras' on top), there is concern that women will feel obliged to donate eggs. The HFEA is carrying out a three-month consultation on the move, during the autumn.
For more about various forms of assisted conception, and donation of eggs and sperm, visit the HFEA website.