London IVF Clinic Opens First Egg Bank to Draw Donors

An IVF clinic owner in London is opening an egg bank today to encourage more donations to help treat women who are struggling to conceive.

The company that runs the private London Women’s Clinic is starting the London Egg Bank, the country’s first such facility, to address the shortage of donors, according to an e-mailed statement.

A U.K. law removed anonymity from donation of sperm and eggs in 2005. Egg donors weren’t allowed to be paid more than 250 pounds ($400) until last year. They can now receive as much as 750 pounds for their time and expenses.

“We are hoping to inform women about egg donation and to make it simpler,” Kamal Ahuja, director of the London Women’s Clinic, which is owned by the same company as the egg bank, said in the statement.

Almost 1,400 women in the U.K. donated eggs for use in IVF treatment in 2010, according to the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, the country’s regulator. Others have been driven abroad by the lack of donors, the London Egg Bank said.

A study of more than 1,400 European egg donors, presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting in London in July, found that more than half donated out of altruism, though financial compensation was also a significant incentive for some donors.

The London Egg Bank is part of JD Healthcare Group, which includes the London Women’s Clinic, the London Sperm Bank and the Bridge Centre. The egg bank will also provide egg-freezing and storage services for women not ready to begin a family, the company said in the statement.

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