The waiting time for egg donation in the UK is NOT two years

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 and DC Network can give information on clinics where egg donors are plentiful.

About oliviasview

Co-founder and now Practice Consultant at Donor Conception Network. Mother to two donor conceived adults and a son conceived without help in my first marriage.
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5 Responses to The waiting time for egg donation in the UK is NOT two years

  1. RachelP says:

    Very frightening stuff. One often can’t help but feel as a donor-conceived person that people do not care about us (just to be clear, I’m thinking of the children conceived abroad who will never have any information about their donor or possible half-siblings, nor any means of tracing them).

    I also struggle with the thought that I was created to make somebody else happy. My own happiness does not seem to have been a factor in the equation.

    Have you ever read the book (or seen the film) ‘Never Let Me Go’? I saw a number of parallels between the situation faced by the characters in that book and the situation faced by DC people of my generation when I re-read it recently.

  2. oliviasview says:

    I have not read the book or seen the film Rachel but will make a point of doing so now. Thank you for drawing my attention to it.

  3. Silver says:

    Sadly, as well as the clinics sending people abroad, there are people who go abroad because of the anonymity. As someone who waited a little bit longer to be a donor recipient in this country, I felt very strongly that I owed it to any child that resulted (and happily, one did) to do as much as possible to make sure that they could get information and make contact with their genetic mother if they wanted to. I feel that even more strongly now that my son is here. All children – donor conceived or otherwise – are their own wee people and as their parents we have a duty to do our best by them. This sometimes involves putting aside our own insecurities and thinking of them first – we may feel threatened by the idea of our children having another thread to their heritage but we should not deal with that by shutting them off from it. I think this is a very, very important thing to address as the number of people seeking donor gametes increases.

    Rachel – I’m so sorry you feel that you and other donor conceived children are not cared about. I hope that everyone involved in donor conception – parents, children, outside organisations, clinics etc – can work towards donor conceived children being given the thought, care and respect they deserve.

  4. oliviasview says:

    Thank you Silver for your very thoughtful comments, with which of course I completely agree. People who hope to become parents by donor conception have to do something that people who conceive without donor help do not. They have to try and think about the baby they desperately want as a young person and an adult with feelings and needs of their own. Choosing, because there is a choice in the UK, an anonymous donor, is choosing to close the door to options that may be very important indeed for their child. Many women and men find it very hard to hear this message. They would prefer to forget about the help they needed and believe that their love will be enough. None of us can ever know how our children will feel about being donor conceived. Love and good enough parenting are always plusses that children will benefit from but for some, not being able to have information about or contact with their donor (perhaps particularly when children conceived at the same time in the UK can do this), will be a loss that is hard to adjust to.

  5. RachelP says:

    Unfortunately Olivia too many parents seem only to think about the little cute baby and not at all about the child, the teenager, the adult. And you are an adult for far longer than you are a baby! My own mother still sees nothing wrong with not telling me for so long, just recently she told me ‘What you didn’t know couldn’t hurt you’. It is still hard to believe she had the audacity to play God with my life in that way. I wish more parents thought like you Silver.

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