Egg-sharing is an IVF treatment which brings together women having conventional IVF (the sharer) with those unable to produce their own eggs (the recipients). The treatment enables these two groups of women to help one another - egg-sharers receive free IVF treatment, whilst recipients receive the eggs they need for IVF. So if you decide to share your eggs or become a recipient, you'll be helping both yourself and someone else to become parents.
Egg-sharing was pioneered by consultants at the London Women's Clinic more than 20 years ago - and today, while several thousand women have benefited from this procedure across the world, it is still the LWC that is widely regarded as the home of egg-sharing. Recent results show high rates of success for both sharers and recipients.
Egg-sharing is available to heterosexual and lesbian women, whether in a relationship or single. In all cases, acceptance is dependent on an initial medical consultation and blood tests. Egg-sharing in a lesbian couple enables ‘shared motherhood’, by which one partner provides the eggs and the other the pregnancy. Shared motherhood is said to enhance a sense of family and parenthood.
All egg-sharers must be 35 or under and meet the additional criteria established by the UK's regulatory body, the HFEA. You can click here for the full criteria. Most donor-sharers receive compensation for providing eggs; this us usually their own free IVF treatment. They usually share one half of their collected eggs, which should be at least five.
Recipients nearly always comprise of a small group of women who find it difficult or impossible to produce their own eggs. Sometimes the cause is gynaecological (a premature menopause, perhaps); sometimes it may simply be a matter of age. But by taking part in an egg-sharing programme, recipients may be able to receive the eggs they need to have a baby.
Egg-sharing, like many assisted reproduction treatments, can raise ethical and legal questions, and counselling is always necessary.
To find out more about egg-sharing please complete the enquiry form on this page. Please note that egg-sharing is not available at our clinic in Darlington.
How Egg-sharing works