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In the United Kingdom, a public debate about egg and sperm donation is ongoing. Britain's fertility watchdog, the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), decided to hold a three-month long public consultation about donor compensation, the number of times a sperm or egg donor is allowed to donate, and to how many families. Unconventional family bonds that could potentially be created through egg donation, and financial gain, seem to be the focal points of the debate. The HFEA called on everyone with an opinion to participate and offer their own opinion and it seems that the public consultation will form a key part of forming new policies.

Infertility is on the rise in the UK, the demand for egg donors is increasing while potential egg donors are not. Policy makers are wondering whether it would be socially acceptable if egg donors were allowed to financially benefit from their decision to donate egg cells, as opposed to merely having their time and expenses covered. They are also hoping for opinions about kinship egg donations. For instance, what do Brits think about a mother donating egg cells to her daughter? Or a woman to her sister? What kind of family bonds would this create? Is it OK for people who would be forbidden from getting married because of family connections to donate egg or sperm to each other?

HFEA chair Professor Lisa Jardine stated: "We know that many people are facing long waiting lists at clinics because of a shortage of donors. We want to ensure that we have the best policies in place so that there are no unnecessary barriers in the way of those wishing to donate whilst protecting those who are born as a result of donation." One thing is for sure. This is a public debate that will be absolutely fascinating, and not only to those of us who are in the United Kingdom. Watch this space, and we will keep you up to date on the developments of the debate!

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