Last year, we blogged about The National Gamete Donation Trust (NGDT)’s Donor Satisfaction Survey trying to get feedback from prospective egg and sperm donors. They asked for our support to get the issues addressed, and Kriss Fearon from the NGDT wrote following article for our blog. If you are a donor, please do take part in the NGDT survey as they need just a few more to take part and have your voice heard:
What would you think if you approached someone asking if you could donate a large and very personal gift, and your message was ignored, or answered weeks or months later? If, when you went to see them to talk about the gift, they left you waiting and with the distinct impression they didn’t think the gift was important? Would you carry on trying – or assume they weren’t interested, and go somewhere else?
This is the experience some egg and sperm donors have when they approach a clinic.
The NGDT works with donors on a daily basis and hears directly from them about their experience of donation. Too often the feedback is not good, and yet some small changes in the way donors are treated could produce some big improvements.
To carry weight with the people who can make a difference, the Trust needs to prove that changes are necessary. That’s why we are running a survey: to gather evidence of what works and what doesn’t work. This will be the basis for making recommendations on how to treat donors through the whole process of donation, from information-gathering at the beginning to sharing the outcome at the end of the cycle.
The NGDT are targeting donors at two stages: first, as enquirers, and second, after a donor has completed their donation cycle. It’s important that donors are treated with respect; it’s also important that those who enquire but do not donate are treated well. People think really carefully before they make that first enquiry. It’s often prompted by the infertility of a close friend or family member, so there’s a big emotional investment. The minimum they should receive for this unpaid act of generosity is to be treated courteously.
Why does this matter? For the same reason that poor service matters anywhere else: reputation. Donors talk to their friends and family, who in turn share with their friendship groups. They talk to the media. And, most importantly, prospective donors trust current donors to give them an honest picture of what to expect. The longer-term impact of one person’s bad experience can deter others from ever looking into it. Good donor care is good practice, but it is also an essential recruitment tool.
When you’ve known people with fertility problems finally achieve their much loved and hoped-for child, it is hard to understand why the people whose precious gift made such a difference are sometimes treated so disappointingly. That must change.
For more information about the National Gamete Donation Trust, visit their website at http://www.ngdt.co.uk/
There is also more information about the law for egg and sperm donors on our website.