November 13, 2004

Greek genes into Australia

From Greece with love, the gift of life

Classified ads in the newspaper Sydney's Child are saturated with couples appealing for an "angel" to help them have a family. Couples can go to the US, where it is legal to pay donors, but the cost can be up to $US25,000. But pro-family cultural attitudes in Greece mean a higher proportion of women there are happy to give eggs at the same time as their own treatment, said Denyse Asher, an IVF scientist from the Sydney fertility service that put the McAdams in touch with their Greek doctors.

Ms Asher said it was rare for older women to find a donor from their immediate circle. "If they're younger, their sisters and cousins are all in the same reproductive age group. But if they find themselves sitting here at 44, most of their friends and sisters are too."

Besides, taking an egg from a known person can raise complex issues. "You've got to work out what role they will have. Are they going to want to be at birthday parties and how do you feel about that?" said Ms Asher, who runs a Bondi Junction fertility service with her husband, Joel Bernstein.

She said they had referred more than 50 couples to the Greek clinic, of whom 76 per cent had become pregnant.


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