The gamete market comes Down Under

Xavier Symons
16 March 2013
Reproduced with Permission

Faced with a shortage of donors, an Australian fertility clinic, Monash IVF, has taken the radical step of importing eggs from the US, at a cost of A$19,000 per package. In January Monash made an agreement with the largest gamete donation service in the US, the World Egg Bank, and has since been using them to source eggs for import.

Far more women in the US than in Australia donate their eggs for IVF. The shortage of eggs in Australia is perhaps due to the lack of remuneration for donors - the buying and selling of human tissue, which includes eggs, is strictly prohibited. In California, however, there is a lively gamete market.

The importation of eggs from the US, costing $19,000 per seven or eight, will allow Monash to mitigate the effects of the strict Australian laws. "This is very exciting … We've been working on this now for more than 18 months," said Adrianne Pope, the Monash doctor who brokered the arrangement.

The World Egg Bank is recruiting American women aged 21 to 29 to donate their eggs to Australians in a fashion that meets local laws.

Dr Pope said that the $19,000 was to cover the costs of the donation and shipping. In addition to this there are the usual costs associated with IVF cycles - around $3,500 after a Medicare rebates.