Increased payment to boost egg donors


Egg donors in New Zealand will soon be paid $2000 to help boost numbers.

It's worked to address shortages overseas and now one fertility provider says it's time New Zealand did the same.

Auckland woman Kathryn is one of 100 Kiwi women waiting for an egg donor.

She dreams of becoming a mum, but it's just not happened yet.

"I've always thought I would have children, I've always adored children," she says.

"I guess that time has flown by and now I'm 43."

She and her partner have had three IVF attempts and they're now looking for an egg donor.

Their chances with IVF are 5 percent, but with eggs from a younger donor their chance of becoming pregnant increases to 50 percent.

But there's a serious shortage of egg donors in New Zealand.

Increased payment to boost egg donors


There's been a 50 percent rise in demand for donor eggs in the past two years, and many of them will have to wait for a year.

Donor eggs can help women with early menopause, women who no longer have viable eggs due to their age, and women who have not become pregnant after IVF.

Currently egg donors are paid a small amount in expenses, around $500-600. To encourage more people to donate, from July 4, Fertility Associates plan to pay egg donors $2000.

"That's certainly not an income for them, but it will mean they're not out of pocket as a result of their pretty generous altruism," says Mary Birdsall, Fertility Associates Chair and fertility specialist.

Fertility New Zealand supports increased compensation for egg donors. New Zealand laws say donors can't be paid for their eggs, but Ms Birdsall says it would be financial reimbursement.

"A kidney donor can be paid $4200 through Work and Income so we think, why can't we recompense our egg donors in a better way?"

Paying egg donors has worked to boost numbers in Australia, the UK and Spain, and it's hoped to do the same here.

Egg donors need to be healthy, non-smokers, and aged between 20 and 36.

And it's not an easy process -- they'd need to be prepared for months of blood tests, consultations and counselling even before any medical treatment or procedure can take place. 

They also need to be prepared to be identifiable to the future potential children.

It's not just egg donors -- there's a shortage of sperm donors too. From July, Fertility Associates is offering to pay them $500.

For people like Kathryn and her partner, it means the world.

"It does complete a family doesn't it, and it's an amazing gift to give."

It's hoped to encourage more people to give it some thought.