I will always remember
how far I was prepared
to go to have my
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got…
The UK needs to
be the international
platinum standard for
all donation issues…
a child to love and
eggs is one of
the best things
I have ever done…
Work Involved With Includes:
Chief Executive, National Gamete Donation Service
December 2012 to June 2016
HFEA, Editorial Board Lifecycle
Reproductive Donation International Advisory Group
Reproductive Donation, September 2013 to Present
HFEA, National Donation Strategy Group
November 2012 to September 2014
Nuffield Council on BioEthics: Donor conception: ethical aspects of information disclosure
February 2012 to April 2013
Letters to My Donor
February 2012 to April 2014
Rapporteur The Economic and Social Research Council
Nuffield Council on BioEthics, Working Party on Genes and Parenting
Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, Member of Donation Advisory Group
March 2010 to November 2011
Member of British Fertility Society Working Group on Sperm Donation Services
June 2007 to December 2008
Witness to House of Lords and House of Commons Committee on Human Tissue and Embryos Bill
June 2007 to November 2007
National Gamete Donation Trust
The National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT) is the national body running the National Gamete Donation Services.
It has two different strands within the field of gamete donation.
- It supports and empowers sperm, egg (gamete) and embryo donors. It works with potential recipients, UK licensed fertility clinics, the media and supports organisations to raise awareness of the need for gamete donors.
- It manages the voluntary contact register to enable people conceived through donated sperm or eggs, their donors and half-siblings before August 1991 to exchange information and, where desired, to contact each other.
Donor Conceived Register
This contact register, formerly known as UK DonorLink (UKDL), has been set up to enable people conceived through donated sperm or eggs, their donors and half-siblings to exchange information and, where desired, to contact each other.
The register is available throughout the UK and is intended for anyone who donated in a UK clinic or was conceived following treatment in a UK clinic before August 1991.
Letters To My Donor
Letters to my Donor is a book for anyone looking to celebrate life and all that it means to be human.
On every page parents’ letters paint a stunning picture of the ‘everydayness’ of their unique family lives. This exquisite ‘everydayness’ stands proudly alongside the ‘extra ordinary’ acts of kindness and generosity of the egg, sperm and embryo donors who played a pivotal role in bringing these families into being.
With over 55 pages, the content within encapsulates the very essence of what it is to be a family.
Why Letters to My Donor?
Letters to My Donor came about when we realised that many donors never truly know the impact of their donation. There are also many parents who will never have the opportunity to thank their donors but would love to do so.
We wanted to create a personal keepsake for donors but also a document of how normal donation can be.
Clinics can personalise a copy for a donor by writing their own thank you message and/or use in their counseling of patients demonstrated that life goes on.
National Sperm Bank
The National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT), in partnership with Birmingham Women’s Hospital, has been awarded Department of Health funding to provide a National Sperm Bank set to benefit thousands.
The National Sperm Bank, to be based at Birmingham Women’s Hospital, with spokes across England, will be offering a modern, NHS based, fully-integrated donor recruitment, screening and banking center which could deliver for all donor sperm requirements across the UK.
There is currently a national shortage of sperm donors in the UK, especially in NHS clinics. Patient numbers continue to rise and treating those who need donor sperm is a major problem. At present, some patients needing donor sperm are faced with few options and find themselves on waiting lists, having to use unregulated providers or having to stop treatment altogether.
To meet the ever-increasing demand for donor sperm, it is hoped that the introduction of the National Sperm Bank will provide safe, equitable and increased access for all. It is also anticipated that it will reduce the number of patients putting themselves at risk by using unregulated sperm donation services. Additionally, for the first time, those from ethnic minority backgrounds will be able to choose from a range of culturally matched donors.
Charles Lister, NGDT Chair of Trustees explains:
‘Essentially, the National Sperm Bank will increase the number of donor samples available for UK licensed clinics, both NHS and private, meaning that many more patients can be treated at a clinic of their choice, in a safe and secure manner, at the time when their treatment is needed.’
The British Fertility Society has long recognised that against a backdrop of declining availability of sperm donation services, a nationally coordinated approach is required to ensure equity of access for patients. On NGDT leading the project, Dr Allan Pacey, Chair of the British Fertility Society comments:
‘It is important to capitalise on current national approaches to donor recruitment and the involvement of the National Gamete Donation Trust is essential.’
The National Gamete Donation Trust’s partner Birmingham Women’s Hospital already has a successful sperm donor recruitment programme. Director of the Fertility Centre, Dr Sue Avery commented,
‘We are delighted to be working with the NGDT, our joint knowledge and expertise should enable us to deliver an outstanding service.’
Donor Centres of Excellence
Through NGDT’s experience with good-recruiting clinics and from many clinic visits over the years,we have built up extensive knowledge of what works and what does not. Through the research ‘Egg, Sperm and Potential Donors Satisfaction Survey’– by Dr Laura Machin, Lecturer, Lancaster Medical School- we also know how this is perceived by the donors.
Donor recruitment and treatment is patchy in the UK leading to a surplus of donors in a handful of clinics but the vast majority of clinics suffering a shortage or referring to alternative options.
The NGDT has received funding from the Department of Health to establish and implement a kite-marking system which will identify Donor Centres of Excellence. We support clinics in their best practice in the care of donors by training and making resources and material available. Our extensive research and experience has shown us that sometimes fairly simple tweaks to an existing process can have a substantial impact on donor retention and donor commitment.
The assessment focuses on quality of information and communication during recruitment, the process of donation and post-process.
Manchester Fertility has been awarded the first Donor Centre of Excellence in October 2014.
The Facts About Donation In The UK
A report published by the HFEA in October 2014 confirms that since the removal of anonymity in April 2005 there has been a significance increase in the number of egg and sperm donors coming forward. However, due to growing demand, there is still a shortage. What is shows though is that different methods of recruiting have an impact and we should continue to focus on these.
Increase UK registered sperm donors since removal of anonymity (2005)
- 50% 50%
Increase UK registered egg donors since removal of anonymity (2005)
- 22% 22%
Sperm donors agreeing to the maximum of families used for (10)
- 83% 83%