The Fertility Show takes place in London next weekend. DC Network has had a stand there since it started five years ago. In the early days all the leading UK clinics exhibited with just a few foreign ones creeping in. This year there are 78 exhibitors overall with just 13 UK clinics and 21 foreign ones. The other 44 stands are taken up with complementary medicine practitioners, lawyers, societies for particular conditions that cause or impede fertility, sperm banks and one egg donation agency, plus the HFEA, Progress Educational Trust, INUK and last but not least DC Network, attempting, along with the last organisations mentioned to bring some common sense and integrity into this world of high emotion and high pressure sales.
Only two of the UK clinics exhibiting do a significant amount of egg donation and only one has both a short waiting list and does not appear to have a tie-up with a clinic abroad. If the last two years are anything to go by the vast majority of people coming to the show and needing donation to help with conception, will be those who need an egg donor. It is distressing that they are likely to get the hard sell from foreign clinics and may be induced/seduced into going abroad for treatment when the truth is that there are many UK clinics where the egg donation waiting list is short or non-existent. The problem is that these clinics have decided not to take a stand at the show this year. Now I know that this is likely to have to do with the fact that they have no need whatsoever to advertise their services because there are plenty of people using them already, but for those people who come to the show assuming that the best the UK has to offer will be there, only disappointment awaits. Enquiries at the stands of most of the UK clinics exhibiting will bring information about waiting lists of up to two years or offers to ship them off to Spain where donors are inevitably anonymous and very little information is possible. Or alternatively to the US where anonymity is likely, masses of information is available but prices are equal to that of a family car. No-one at either the UK or foreign clinic stands will tell them about the other clinics, all around the UK, where there are no waiting lists at all and where they can have a donor who will be identifiable to offspring from age 18, thereby making sure that parental ‘choice’ does not shut the door to offspring choice in the future.
Those of us working on the DC Network stand at the weekend WILL tell them about the other UK clinics and we will name them too. We will also send people to see Alison on the Altrui stand so that they can consider her very personal egg donor recruitment service. In addition we will be selling all our children’s story books and Telling and Talking series for adults, including the two new booklets to help explain about donor conception to family and friends. We are very friendly…do come and see us there.