I’m not sure how many more times and in how many different ways I can say this but the waiting time for egg donation in the UK is NOT, I repeat NOT two years and more. As I walked into the DCN office this morning one of the members of staff was talking with a woman who, only very recently having learned that egg donation was her only chance of having a child, was being hustled into going to Spain for treatment. Why? Apparently because the waiting list in the UK is two to four years. THIS IS NOT TRUE. But doctors, not counsellors or nurses, but doctors, continue to peddle this myth. Do they know the truth, that increasingly clinics are being successful in recruiting altruistic donors and others have very successful egg sharing schemes. In my darker moments I believe they do but continue to push women overseas because of financial links to clinics there. At lighter times I think they are simply blinkered…not seeing beyond their own clinic and what concerns them everyday…and in the competitive market that is the assisted conception world, possibly not wanting their UK colleagues to get the business.
The truth is that there are many clinics now where waiting lists are well under six months, but nevertheless the doctors continue to spout this rubbish.
The ‘phone call I overheard this morning is far from an isolated incident. Staff at DC Network have conversations like this almost every day of the week. The woman on the ‘phone today felt that she was being pushed down a particular path, with an appointment being made for her in Spain, without being able to stop, draw breath and think about whether this was something she really wanted to do. I know the counsellors at her particular clinic and I am clear that they would be drawing her attention to all the long term implications of going abroad, but she had not yet had an opportunity to see them, so keen were the medics to get her to sign up for the Spanish clinic. This is completely inappropriate and irresponsible behaviour, very far from the slow and considered family building approach that DC Network and many others would like to see adopted by clinics.
Some very good people are working on a plan to change things. I can’t say any more at the moment but let’s hope they are successful sooner rather than later.
Update at April 2014: As this post remains popular, I thought I would add a note to say that it is even easier to find an egg donor in the UK now than when I wrote the post above. However, some clinics persist in sending people abroad, not telling them that there are many clinics where egg donation – without a wait at all – is possible in the UK, with all the benefits for the child that this brings. National Gamete Donation Trust ngdt.co.uk and DC Network dcnetwork.org can give information on clinics where egg donors are plentiful.