Desperate women with fertility problems have been driven to place personal newspaper adverts appealing for donor eggs due to a national shortage, it emerged today.
Egg donations have declined steadily in recent years partly due to a change in the law in 2005 allowing children to seek their donor parents.
Now with waiting lists stretching to over a year for a donor egg, some women are placing local newspaper adverts highlighting their plight through fertility clinics.
Diana Smith, who has already had two failed pregnancies, put an appeal in her local Northamptonshire paper yesterday telling readers how she is desperate to conceive.
The advert added: ”We have been trying for a family for a long time but now we need to find an egg donor.
”Could you be that special person to help our dreams of a family come true?”
The 44-year-old from London was faced with a year-long wait for eggs before she could begin treatment at the CARE Fertility Clinic in Northampton.
She took the unusual step as she fears that due to her age and having had a fallopian tube removed she needs to start the IVF process as soon as possible.
She said: ”My husband and I have everything we could want apart from a child. I want desperately to be a mum and I want the child to be my husband’s.”
The advert explains that egg donors will be fast tracked to her if they are received by the clinic.
Previously, donors were guaranteed anonymity and their details could not be released to their biological children.
But changes to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act in 2005 lifted the automatic anonymity granted to donors.
Karen Faulkner, donation co-ordinator for CARE Northampton said that the shortage of eggs was increasing as demand rose but supply continuted to fall.
She said: ”The advert is a one-off for this lady but clinics do occasionally use adverts for donors with varying levels of success.
”Any replies to the advert will come straight through to us at the clinic to test for a potential match.
”We are seeing a national shortage of eggs and numbers have been in decline since the changes to the law lifting donor anonimity.
”But demand is rising all the time as people become more aware of egg donation as an option.
”We get more and more patients every month and our waiting list is ten months – but I know of other clinics with a wait of four years.”
Women may need egg donations after going through early menopause, chemotherapy or other fertility problems which cause long-lasting damage to eggs.
Donors need to be the correct blood type and are matched for hair colour, eye colour and height so that the baby will have similar characteristics to the mother or father.
It is illegal to sell eggs in the UK and donors are renumerated up to #250 for their time – up to 50 hours – spent harvesting eggs.
Dr Rahnuma Kazem, medical director at CARE Northampton, said that advertising for donors was rare but could help to speed up the process for some women.
She said: ”This is the first advert we’ve placed in two years and it indicates that waiting lists for eggs are long at the moment.
”If a woman is very keen to have a baby as soon as possible we can place an ad with a code name so we know a response is to that person.
”It allows the eggs to go directly to her and cut out the waiting time.”
Northampton Care clinic completes 80 cycles each year at a cost of #five to six thousand for the patient.
The CARE clinic screen each embryo for defects before it is implanted in the womb to maximise the chance of a pregnancy.
According to the latest nationally recorded figures in 2007, 1,779 women had 3,876 cycles of donor insemination treatment.
These resulted in 442 successful births accounting for 472 babies due to twins and triplets.
Around 1.5% of all births and 1.8% of all babies born in the UK are the result of IVF and donor insemination.