‘Mums’ fly for baby help

Sunday Star Times 10 June 2012
More and more women desperate to have babies are heading overseas to find egg donors as frustration grows at restrictive medical laws and practices in New Zealand.

In the past year about 30 couples have travelled to the San Diego Fertility Centre in the United States for egg donation, and more than 70 per cent of the women are now pregnant – almost double the success rate at home. Others have travelled to countries such as Spain and Argentina.

The women and their doctors say “fertility tourism” is the only choice for some couples, because potential New Zealand donors are not encouraged to offer their eggs.

One sticking point is a ban on payments to donors but reports, by advisory committees on egg donors, to Health Minister Tony Ryall are yet to consider payment.

Donors are advised by fertility clinics to wait until they have had their own families before they donate, even though using eggs from older women dramatically lowers the chances of the recipient falling pregnant. The law states donors have to be at least 20.