Numbers travelling for donor egg fertility treatment up by 50%

Fertility specialists here have seen a 50% increase over the past five years in the number of couples travelling abroad for donor egg treatment.

Every year more than 1,000 Irish couples undergo donor egg treatment, mainly due to the increase in the number of women waiting longer to have treatment.

In 2006 the Irish-owned Waterstone Clinic, previously known as the Cork Fertility Clinic, was the first clinic in Ireland to commence an in-house egg donation programme.

The in-house egg donation programme is for patients who have a known egg donor, such as a sister or a friend, and for generous donations from women to help couples.

Between eight and 12 couples take part in the in-house programme every year. The clinic also facilitates around 200 couples who travel abroad every year for donor egg treatment.

Waterstone Clinic’s dedicated egg donation co-ordinator, Eilís McCarthy, manages support services for couples going abroad for treatment and the in-house egg donation programme.

Ms McCarthy said egg donation was permitted in Ireland, but medical guidelines prohibited the payment of donors.

Asked about the success rate of egg donation, Ms McCarthy said they would expect about 50% of couples to become pregnant on their first attempt.

Waterstone Clinic hosts a free patient information seminar on egg donation with American Clinic, Shady Grove Fertility, on Saturday, April 29 at Cork Fertility in Lotamore House, one of Waterstone’s four centres throughout the country.

Shady Grove Fertility’s Dr Gilbert Mottla will attend the seminar and will speak about the collaborative international programme that enables Waterstone Clinic’s patients to avail of Shady Grove Fertility’s extensive donor egg database — the largest in the US. The groundwork for all treatments is carried out in Ireland before the couple travels to Shady Grove Fertility in Washington.

By Evelyn Ring
Irish Examiner Reporter