CHILDLESS Tasmanian couples are spending up to two years on the waiting list for donor eggs as clinics struggle to attract anonymous donors.
And a University of Tasmania academic says lifting the ban on payments for egg donation is the best way to fix the problem.
TasIVF has 25 women waiting to receive donor eggs, and another 40 women waiting to receive donor sperm.
Donor co-ordinator Julie Findlay said the wait for eggs that had been anonymously donated was usually between 18 months and two years, unless the prospective parents managed to find their own donor.
That usually means turning to a sister or close friend to help or, in some cases, browsing through unregulated websites to solicit a personal donor.
Sociology lecturer Meredith Nash says the lack of incentives for women to anonymously donate eggs means desperate women and couples are illegally paying cash to source a donor, or are travelling overseas to pay for a donor there.
"I know people locally in Hobart who have gone to the US to either have IVF or pay $10,000 for donor eggs," Dr Nash said.
"Women need to be compensated accordingly for the time and effort that they put into the procedure."
Dr Nash said about $5000 would be fair compensation. She said the risk that vulnerable women would be exploited was higher in an illegal and unregulated market, because a higher price could be demanded for their eggs.
"I don't think it's for us to judge whether women should be able to commodify their own bodies. What we should do is make sure that the regulations are in place," she said.
A woman wishing to anonymously donate eggs in Tasmania requires a referral from her general practitioner to TasIVF, two counselling sessions, a series of blood tests and a three-month cooling-off period before undergoing a two-week course of the contraceptive pill and course of IVF induction drugs.
She is then sedated and about 12 eggs - enough to help two women - are extracted.
The whole process is anonymous and, due to Australian laws and regulations banning the sale of human tissue, altruistic.
Ms Findlay said she had received 40 inquiries from prospective donors this year but only 10 were proceeding to donation.