Because of the shortage of women willing to donate their eggs for in vitro fertilization, those who do donate eggs will now get twice as much money for them, the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee decided on Monday.
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The panel doubled the sum from NIS 10,000 to NIS 20,000 in response to a Health Ministry request to increase the fee for donated eggs.
The Knesset committee's decision comes in response to the extremely limited incidence of egg donations to local hospitals. Only two hospitals, Hillel Yaffe in Hadera and Assaf Harofeh at Tzrifin, have been been extracting eggs from women donors, partly because many senior gynecologists have been busy privately implanting eggs in Israeli women at medical facilities abroad.
Health Ministry director general Ronni Gamzu directed hospitals over a year ago to gear up for increased egg implantation procedures, yet there has been no rise in local activity, which the hospitals say owes partly to Israeli women's unwillingness to become egg donors.
"Perhaps more money will convince more women to donate," said Ofra Balaban of the Chen Patient Fertility Association, "but most of the donations are not affected primarily by the fee amount, and many hospitals claim that undue Health Ministry bureaucracy makes it more difficult for hospitals to begin dealing with egg donations, and that it's not profitable and hospitals lose money in the process. Currently anyone who can't wait due to their age quickly goes abroad."
However, Balaban expressed the hope that increasing the fee from NIS 10,000 to NIS 20,000 would increase the number of donor eggs available here. For comparison, in the United States, egg donors receive on average $17,000, or about NIS 61,000, and in Ukraine, the prevailing rate is about 5,000 euros, or about NIS 23,500.
Recently the Israeli Fertility Association recommended that the number of fertility treatments provided to older women be limited, which would make more donor available and lower their price.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid said yesterday that the additional NIS 10,000 for an egg donation will be covered by the Health Ministry, with the women receiving the eggs continuing to pay only the first NIS 10,000. The Knesset committee also decided that women undergoing fertility treatments who have eggs extracted for implantation in other women will receive NIS 10,000 instead of the previous NIS 5,000.