Within hours of the House of Lords passing new legislation that allows the donation of mitochondria cells during IVF treatment, critics of the process started to emerge and raise questions about the ethics of the new procedure.
Even though many leading fertility experts, including Lord Winston and our own Michael Ah-Moye, are wholeheartedly in support of the new procedure, Christian organisation Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) has joined a small number of MEPs in questioning the ethics of the new legislation.
CARE has also raised concerns about Newcastle University’s offer to pay women £500 (per cycle) for donated eggs. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) currently allow compensation of up to £750 (per cycle) for donated eggs, so the payment of £500 offered by Newcastle University complies with these guidelines. The fact that the eggs are donated for use in mitochondrial procedures instead of standard IVF procedures makes little difference, and the reaction of CARE would suggest that the current popularity of the mitochondrial debate has provided a good platform for the organisation to share its wider opposition to egg donation in general.
Egg donation is strictly monitored and regulated by HFEA, and all potential donors are thoroughly assessed and made aware of their commitment to the process before moving beyond the initial assessment stage. Donors can also withdraw their consent to use the eggs (up until the point at which they are used for treatment) should they change their mind.
After funding research into the mitochondrial procedure, the Wellcome Trust has also come out in support of the new legislation, stating that it does not in any way breach EU law, a claim made by certain MEPs who opposed the changes.
If you have any questions about the new mitochondrial procedure, or any questions about IVF in general, please speak to one of our team on 01992 78 50 60 or get in touch using our contact form.