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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 May, 2003, 19:49 GMT 20:49 UK
Fertility clinic in egg-sharing row
Cromwell clinic in Washington, Tyne and Wear
The Cromwell has clinics in Darlington, Cardiff and Newcastle.

The manager of a London fertility clinic at the centre of a row over egg donations has denied exploiting poorer couples.

The Cromwell IVF and Fertility Centre has been offering couples in the North East free treatment if they agree to donate their eggs for London clients.

The scheme has led to accusations that less well-off couples are being exploited by the fertility industry.

Although men can sell sperm donations, in England it is illegal for women to sell their eggs.

There is a severe shortage of egg donations and demand in the South East is particularly high.

Dr Kamal Ahuja, the Cromwell's scientific director, has denied taking advantage of couples and said the scheme was successful.

Scheme 'wrong in principle'

He said: "Five years ago, the waiting list in any part of the country was between five and seven years for donor eggs.

"Ask anyone now and you would find the answer would be something like one to two years, surely that is a way forward."

Among critics of the scheme is the man who originally set up the Cromwell in Earl's Court, Professor Ian Craft.

He told BBC London: "I think we need to have a complete re-evaluation of what we are doing with egg-sharing schemes.

"Egg sharing schemes are wrong in principle, we want more fertile couples coming forward if we can get it. It is an unfortunate thing that has developed."

BBC London's Sarah Harris
"The row over eggs for treatment was a main talking point at a conference of IVF leaders today"

Women asked to donate eggs
21 Apr 03  |  Nottinghamshire

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