Donor Eggs: How Much Is Too Much?

It may be true that the term donation is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to egg donation, but it is also not accurate to say that young women are ‘selling’ their eggs. Egg donation is a complicated process, and very few women would offer up their precious eggs for free. It has been my experience that women choose to be egg donors with dualistic motivation. Handsome fees being offered entice many young women to consider egg donation. But most that follow through and actually become an egg donor also do so because they do want to help someone to become a parent. Often they are not ready to have children themselves.

It is true that donor compensation can make the cost of IVF with an egg donor prohibitive for the average individual. For a young woman to undergo this process for someone else, she deserves to be compensated.

Becoming an egg donor is no walk in the park. Ask any woman who has undergone IVF. She is putting herself at risk to help someone else not to build her family. ASRM limits women to only doing six cycles as an egg donor most egg donors will not do this many cycles. It is physically taxing, and there are still lingering questions as to how many cycles are truly safe as well as issues of consanguinity. Additionally, women are only eligible to be egg donors for a relatively short window of time in their lives, between age 21 and 29 (the range is as up to age 34, but most reproductive endocrinologist are not likely to approve a donor over 30 unless it was the intended mother's sister.)

When the egg donor is providing the most important part of the equation why is she limited as to how much their compensation can be? What she is offering is priceless.

We live in a free market society. Many intended parents are eager to pay an appealing young woman a high compensation for the chance that their future child might have some of her traits and characteristics when her genetics seems so much like their own. There are no easy answers in this world of assisted reproductive technology; maybe that's why we call it ART, things are very rarely black or white but a multitude of greys.

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