Health

Sperm donation: Your comments

Egg cell and sperm cell during in vitro fertilization: Science Library

Men who donate sperm for IVF should be paid as much or more than egg donors, a leading fertility campaigner has suggested.

Laura Witjens, who chairs the UK's National Gamete Donation Trust and has donated her own eggs, says that most people are unaware of the serious commitment involved in donating sperm.

BBC News website readers have been reacting.

Your comments:

Although I can only comment as a multiple egg donor with a limited knowledge of the sperm donation process - what rubbish! I believe there should be equality for all donors, but see no reason why sperm donors should be paid more than egg donors. The increased risks associated with egg donation, with the hormone injections and invasive collection cannot be compared with the relative ease with which sperm donation is made. Egg donors are also expected to lead "clean" lives, with abstinence during the donation process (which lasts weeks, not minutes.) Clair, Leeds, UK

It is a matter of equal pay for equal work isn't it? Both sexes usually have the capacity to provide the necessary ingredients with no training, as it were. Allan Parr, Canada

I don't believe that women should be paid any more than men. Sperm donations are just as worthy as egg donations, and to reward one more than the other would, I think, give off the wrong signal to men. Following the recent changes in the law concerning donor anonymity, it already is hard enough to recruit donors. Making men feel that egg donations are superior to their own contributions is not going to help. Joanne, Liverpool, UK

Egg donation requires the use of hormonal stimulants, which have many unpleasant side-effects, and a surgical procedure for extraction. In no way is this comparable to sperm donation. Furthermore, it can be presumed that egg donors are also asked to forego sexual relations to prevent the possibility of becoming pregnant, and thus prevent the possibility of collecting unfertilised eggs. Donors provide a service, and the market will set the price for that service. Put in context, this debate is a bit absurd. Julie, Washington, US

I think this is another show of sexism in many ways. While there are more physical risks for the female donors, time is always a major factor. If you look at the situation from a biological view, the male is endangering his chances of reproduction. No, I disagree that the males should be paid more. But, for the time and the effort, show them some respect! Frank Peterson, Kansas, US

I don't wish to trivialise the contribution that sperm donors make to childless couples but there is no way that having to limit sexual activity before donating sperm is as onerous as what a woman goes through before eggs can be harvested. I speak from experience. The fertilty treatment so casually referred to involves one lot of drugs taken for several weeks, then daily injections for two or three weeks to stimulate the growth of eggs followed by an invasive and painful surgical procedure to harvest the eggs. It is essential that all of the drugs used are taken at very precise times each day which has severe implications for personal freedom in daily life. Finally the potential side-effects from such massive doses of hormones are thyroid trouble in later life. Again I speak from experience having gone through the process on four separate occasions. Clare, Penally, UK

Is the key word in this not "donation"? Blood donors receive no payment or expenses, charity workers donating their time do so on a voluntary basis. Donation means it's better to give than to receive. A sense of helping our fellow man or woman who is less fortunate than us (in whatever capacity) should be the driver behind any donation. Personally I would not become a sperm donor due to the removal of privacy surrounding my donation and possible claims against my estate in later life and that is the major problem in obtaining supplies, not the financial reward. AJ, Perth

Whilst not physically invasive, the requirements set for sperm donors intrude upon family and social life for months on end, and can even present challenges at work if your job requires you to be regularly wining and dining high-value clients. I don't think donors necessarily need the incentive of money, but I do believe that more would step forward if the commitment and sacrifice were better acknowledged and not just dismissed with silly, off-hand remarks or jibes (especially from those at the top of the chain.) Tom, Hong Kong

I was a blood donor for many years. The same principals should apply to all donors, but because of paternity considerations I would be forced to decline fertility donations. John Bennett Kinnerton Wales