Egg donation can bring joy to other people, but it is not a process to enter into lightly. There are children being created that one day may want to know you. Your perspective may change over time. And it is a medical procedure that includes putting large dosages of hormones into your body that may affect your health or future fertility.
This article by Dr. Diane Tober is a must-read, especially for people contemplating becoming egg providers. It describes the nuts and bolts of the process and all the risks along the way. It offers suggestions to improve outcomes, featuring data gathered from egg providers that have participated in Tober’s ongoing research on their decisions and experiences.
A transaction once shrouded in secrecy, the Internet now hosts a thriving and competitive marketplace for donors, largely supplanting leaflets on college bulletin boards and ads in campus newspapers, the traditional methods of recruiting fertile young women. Payment varies, currently starting at about $3,500 per cycle and sometimes exceeding $50,000, depending on the location of the clinic or egg brokerage and the donor’s characteristics. An Ivy League education, Asian descent (there is a paucity of donors), exceptional looks and a previous donation that led to a birth command higher reimbursement.
This article provides a comparison between the experience of an egg provider who did not suffer any complications as a result of the process with another woman who was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer after 10 rounds of egg retrieval.
It includes interviews with noted experts, including Timothy R. B. Johnson, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and Judy Stern, professor of pathology and obstetrics and gynecology at Dartmouth, who oversees a voluntary database called the Infertility Family Research Registry.
A curious battle is being waged over women’s bodies in the state of California. It’s not, as one might expect, the ongoing fight over women’s rights to abortion, which I fully support. Rather, the dispute involves a woman’s right to donate her eggs for use in scientific research — and to be compensated for it.
In this essay, Diane Tober, a medical anthropologist, documentary filmmaker, and assistant professor at the University of California’s Institute for Health and Aging, discusses the implications of egg retrieval (for infertility treatment and research) on the health of egg providers, and plots a timeline for pending legislation in California.
She concludes with recommendations to reduce health risks and track long-term safety data. Read the full essay >
Plus: Learn more about Tober’s documentary “The Perfect Donor.” This film is the culmination of Tober’s conversations with women on, among other things, their health after egg retrieval and their experiences with medical providers during the process. From the film’s website:
The Perfect Donor intends to provide information to all the players in the world of egg donation–the donors, physicians, agents, intended parents, and others–so that those women who do decide to provide eggs to help another person create a family receive the best of care and have their voices heard. By hearing other women’s stories, both good and bad, this film will provide more information to women considering egg donation before deciding to proceed. It will also help fertility practitioners take steps to increase safety and informed consent for egg providers, and educate intended parents on what to look out for when pursuing egg donation to complete their families.