Healthcare: On the Agenda - Lump sums for fertility donors

In a nutshell

Women who donate eggs to help infertile couples conceive a child are to receive a lump sum of £750 under new rules backed by the fertility watchdog. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) made a number of changes to measures on sperm and egg donation in the UK, including a fixed sum of £35 per visit for sperm donors. The decision came following a public consultation, 'Donating sperm and eggs: have your say', which ran from January to April 2011.

- Why?

The reasoning behind the HFEA decision was to improve the care of donors and ensure that donation continues within a safe and ethical environment. The move is a step away from the current system of reimbursing out-of-pocket expenses and a loss of earnings payment capped at £250.

- PR strategy

The HFEA handled the PR in-house. Journalists were invited to attend the authority meeting and a press briefing once the decision had been finalised. Papers including the recommendations were put up on the website earlier than normal. Teaser articles ran to raise awareness and the meeting was held in public to demonstrate openness and transparency. On the day, HFEA conducted television and radio interviews.

- Coverage highlights

The story was covered widely in the UK media in print, broadcast and online. Print highlights included The Guardian, the Daily Mail and The Sun, while the story also featured extensively on BBC Breakfast News and the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

£35 - Fixed sum for sperm donations

£750 - Per cycle of donation for egg donors

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