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Egg donors do your homework!

Search any news media website. Type “egg donor” in the search box and check out the results. “Eggs forSale”. “Is Egg Donation Worth the Risk?” “Dangers in Donating Eggs”. Those are just some of the results you will see. The lay media is often uneducated on this topic and is using scare tactics to influence and intimidate potential donors. How does the person with interest in donating eggs weed through all the articles and form her own opinion?

Misinformation in the media is not a new concept. Often time’s stories get blown up to make the headlines and the research isn’t done to completion. There aren’t a lot of articles written from the perspective of the egg donor clinic or by a physician in the field of human reproduction. These articles are written by someone whose interest is not in informing the public; rather their interest is in getting the big story and making the headlines. A lot of assumptions are made in regards to egg donors and the process of egg donation.

“Women are selling their eggs”

This is not true! Women who elect to donate their eggs are being compensated for the time, effort, and work they have to put into being an egg donor. It’s not as easy as completing an application and becoming an egg donor. They are often screened by a psychologist and a geneticist. They need to inject themselves with stimulation medications. They need to come in for monitoring appointments. They need to have a procedure done under sedation to have their eggs retrieved. All of that needs to be done on their own time by their own means of transportation. Also, donor compensation is not influenced by the number or quality of the eggs or the cycle outcome.

“Donors are Harming Themselves with Dangerous Medications”

Once again, this is not true! Donors are taking the same medications as couples going through in-vitro fertilization. All medications they take have been approved by the FDA and are distributed through common well-known pharmacies. There is a small risk of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS), which is part of the reason donors are monitored so closely by the physician, and donors are warned of the symptoms of OHSS and told to call the office immediately if any symptoms occur. In the past 10 years, we have had only one donor hospitalized as she was treated for severe nausea with IV fluids.

“Donors are Giving Away Their Good Eggs, Ruining Their Own Chances of Achieving Pregnancy”

Not true! When a woman starts getting her periods, there are approximately 300,000 eggs in her ovaries. In her reproductive lifespan, a woman will ovulate around 400 times. So there are plenty of “spare eggs”. Even if you donate several times, and we retrieve > 100 eggs, there are no long term side effects. In fact egg donation will NOT have any effect on future menses, future fertility or when the donor will go through menopause.

“Donors are Being Pushed to Donate More Times than Recommended by the ASRM so Clinics can Make More Money”

Not true! Clinics do not make money off of egg donors. Recipient couples choose their donor and pay the donor reimbursement amount into an escrow account where it sits until the donor has completed her cycle. Recipient couples (and/or their insurance companies) pay for the labs, ultrasounds, medications, insurance, and appointments but they do not pay the clinic an additional charge for use of the donor. Clinics follow the strict guidelines set forth by the ASRM and are aware of the possibility of an audit at any time.

“Donors are Uninformed and Manipulated”

Not true! Donors have full disclosure of what is going to happen during their cycle. They are warned of the side effects, regardless of how rare they are. They sign an informed consent when agreeing to go through with an egg donor cycle. Donors are allowed to have legal representation when signing the informed consent and are able to ask questions and receive answers at any point in the donor process.

So what can you do?

It is easy to find negative opinions about egg donor programs when you do research online. There are a couple things you can do to help you make your own informed decisions.

First of all consider the source. Is it a news media outlet you normally agree with? Or does it seem to be more conservative than your liking? Some media news outlets are very conservative and make their feelings on the topic well known. They want to use bold headlines and scare young women into thinking being an egg donor will destroy their bodies and their own fertility.

Secondly, look at when the article was written. Much advancement has been made in the field of donating eggs since the process first started. Try to find the most current articles available, not ones written more than five years ago. This is a fairly new concept in the field of medicine, as the first successful egg donor cycle was recorded in 1984.

And finally, read the comments (if available) posted by other readers at the bottom of the article. More often than not, I have found positive arguments disputing what the writer has stated about egg donor programs. Read the post by the woman who paid for her college education with the compensation she received doing an egg donation. Read the post by the couple who now has a baby thanks to an egg donor. There is more than one opinion on this topic and you have the tools to make your own informed decision.

Egg donation Infertility Risks

Vicki Meagher

Vicki Meagher

Vicki Meagher has worked with InVia Fertility Specialists since 2006. She is our Third Party Coordinator, so she works with our patients that need an egg donor, sperm donor, gestational surrogate, or any combination of the above. She recruits and screens the egg donors for our in-house donor program as well. She loves working with intended parents and is passionate about third party reproduction and the important role it plays in helping patients achieve their dream of starting or extending their family. She is a member of SEEDS - the Society for Ethics for Egg Donation and Surrogacy.

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