The media recently shared a story about an Afro-Caribbean woman in the UK, Natasha, who cannot find a British-based Caribbean egg donor in order to fulfil her dreams of having a family. When she approached another UK egg bank, they told her that they unfortunately didn’t have any suitable egg donors who shared her genetic background or even her skin colour.
Understandably, Natasha was crushed. She had hoped for a child who would share her cultural heritage and felt this would help them bond.
London Egg Bank receives calls every week from women who have been searching for a donor egg which matches their own genetic background. Many have been turned down by clinics across the UK which cannot fulfil this need, so it can be somewhat of an epiphany when they realise that we have the largest egg bank in the country with close to 5,000 donor eggs from a variety of nationalities.
Building the Biggest Egg Bank in the UK
London Egg Bank has spent the last seven years working to create the largest group of egg donors at any egg bank across the country. Through our donor search, recipients can look for donors who match their height, hair colour, ethnic origin or even their personality. We have donors listed who love dogs or who are keen musicians, giving a glimpse into the future for egg recipients. With an average age of 24, all donors have UK residency and the majority are university educated. Many go on to complete a second round of egg donation as they feel so strongly about the fact that they are helping others to start a family.
We have a variety of egg donors from across the globe, ranging from Jamaican, Colombian and Ghanaian to Polish, Portuguese and English amongst others. We could easily have helped Natasha, and other women in her situation, to find an Afro-Caribbean donor that would hopefully start her on her journey to motherhood.
Choosing a donor is a hugely personal decision – some women do not mind about their future baby’s genetic background, but instead focus on the donor’s personality traits or qualifications. For others, the strongest connection is through their appearance, hoping for a baby that might look like them just as much as the child may look like the biological father. We aim to be able to help in every case, whatever the criteria needed to make egg recipients find the perfect fit for their egg donor.
Having such a varied network of egg donors has not always been the case in the UK. Until recent years, most egg recipients had to travel abroad to European or American clinics in order to access donor eggs – a process which was often laborious, costly and did not offer the same assurances as eggs donated under UK law.
UK Laws on Donor Traceability
There are strict laws about egg donation in the UK. Egg donors can only be compensated up to £750 for medical expenses, meaning that donors act out of generosity rather than for financial gain, which happens in countries such as the United States. In addition, UK law states that all children born by egg donation have a legal right to access identifying information on the donor once they reach the age of 18. In countries such as Spain or Cyprus, it is actually illegal to share any identifying information on donors at any point, even when the child becomes an adult. Repeated studies show how beneficial it can be for children’s wellbeing to have access to this information, hence the decision upheld by UK law, and the reason we have worked so hard to increase a wide ranging supply within the UK.
Whatever your own search criteria might be when it comes to an egg donor, the London Egg Bank will always strive to find a solution with a UK-based egg donor who matches your needs.