Representing 'altruistic donation' in Europe: an analysis of fertility clinic websites in the UK, Belgium and Spain




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Peer reviewed


European regulation on advertising for egg providers makes clear the need to ensure that principles of voluntary and unpaid donation (VUD) are upheld at the country level (ref). Across Europe this requirement is differently interpreted, with some countries permitting a range of advertising methods and others limiting or completely prohibiting any form of advertising relating to human bodily material - in some contexts this is punishable with imprisonment. Whilst there is growing scholarship which explores the recruitment of gamete providers much of this work still comes from the US where market forces shape practice. To date there has been no systematic or detailed study on the position of egg providers within the Europe context. This paper is part of a larger, multi-phased comparative study, which explores egg donation in the UK, Belgium and Spain - three countries that hold a stake in the growing global reproductive bio-economy and share features of technological innovation and expertise, but have each adopted differing regulatory positions in relation to the governance of egg donation. In this presentation, we draw specifically on analysis of fertility clinic websites and marketing materials across these three countries. First, we present a brief overview of the specific context in each country with regards to key regulatory questions such as compensation levels, identifiability, and rules around advertising for egg providers, in order to illustrate the policy variation which exists at the national level. Second, we present analysis of data from fertility clinic websites across the three countries to. We consider how the social, ethical and commercial specificity of each context shapes how egg providers are represented as 'donors' and reflect on the potential implications this has for the meanings, experiences and understandings of women who provide their eggs to clinics.




Hudson, N. Coveney, C. Herbrand, C. Culley, L. Pavone, V. Pennings, P. Provoost, V. Lafuente, S. (2017) Representing 'altruistic donation' in Europe: an analysis of fertility clinic websites in the UK, Belgium and Spain. British Sociological Association Deconstructing Donation Study Group Annual Conference, 7th December 2017, Bristol


Research Institute

Centre for Reproduction Research (CRR)