Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Egg Donation

I was surprised to read this today. I have never really thought about whether I would donate eggs. There would be little Jen's walking around that I would never know, but if I were infertile I would be so grateful to anyone willing to help. I will have to think about this some more.

From ABC: In this troubled economy, more and more women are discovering another solution to make ends meet. They're donating their eggs, for cash and one donation can result in $5,000 to as much as $20,000!

Bethany Grinstead is a very fertile stay at home mother of five young kids. The twenty six year old says her good fortune with fertility is helping her make a small fortune as an egg donor.

Bethany said, "I'm very passionate when it comes to kids and being able to help my family financially as well was another motivating factor."

Good genes and good looks have Bethany a valued donor. She's already donated twice, made five thousand dollars with each round. The first time she produced 18 eggs, the second time 22. And the shaky economy is definitely on her mind as she's preparing for round three.

Bethany said, "My boyfriend is in real estate and with the housing market the way it has been, we do struggle, but I want to stay at home with my kids"The kids are growing up and we'll need it for college and stuff."

The egg donation takes a month or two of hormones to sync up with a prospective mother, then a round of fertility drugs followed by minor surgery to harvest the eggs. Bethany says it's a tedious process. Bethany said, "I don't think I would do it that much without the money. It's not
worth all the energy and time that's put into it."

The ads in college newspapers across the country often entice women to be compensated for doing good but in these tough economic times, it's the compensation part that seems to count.

Cathy Ruberto said, "I have no other explanation to say why all of a sudden we would double the number of applicants in a matter of a month."

From Wall Street to Main Street, as Americans are struggling to make ends meet, bad news in the stock market may spell good news for those in the market for a baby.

Cathy Ruberto said, "I have been involved in reproduction industry since 1990, and I have never seen this kind of an increase in the number of applications with eggs, sperm donors or surrogates."

It's a surge that's being seen across the country. 30-40% increase in applicants according to professionals in the field of fertility.But there's also a concern that the spike may inspire a decline in standards for donors.

Nancy Block said, "There are very few standards. It's important that there's some standards
set for egg donor recruiters. Anyone can get a business license to do egg donor recruiting."

Nancy Block says standards are just the beginning, her organization is calling for a national registry, to protect the rights of the unborn child. Currently, medical records are only kept for 10 years on the donor, depriving the child of information about their medical and genetic inheritance.

Nancy Block said, "Egg donor cycles are too new. We don't know whats going to happen in the future. We certainly don't know what their family health history will be in the future. And that's why its important to keep records for in my opinion longer than 10 years."

And what about the health of frequent donors like Bethany? According to the American Fertility Association, no one has ever shown a long term complication or increased risk with repeated egg donation. Most agencies ask that potential donors undergo physical and mental health screenings, and Block says the perfect candidate should be as concerned about helping infertile couples as they are about earning quick cash.

One doctor said, "Donors are def motivated by money. I'm certainly not turned off by that at all, but if that's their primary motivation, I don't think egg donation is not for them." Bethany warns that those who consider it, need to consider all of its implications first.

Bethany said, "I think they definitely should be able to understand that there will be a child out there that is part of them and to make sure they can psychologically handle that before they actually go through with it for the money or for wanting to help."

Would you every donate your eggs?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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SallyN said...

Probably not, as I only know half of my genetic/medical history.

But regardless, I'd be concerned about the long-term effects down the line, specifically with regards to menopause. Eggs aren't like sperm - we only have so many.

Jennifer said...

I'd have to really, really think about it and my first inclination would be no. There are plenty of kids in foster care that need adopted, plus, selfishly, I would worry about the long-term health risks associated with all the hormones given to make one produce so many eggs at once.

Rachael said...

I offered to do it a few years ago for a friend who can't conceive - for free by the way. I thought long and hard about whether or not I could handle a part of me running around and even seeing him/her since I'm friends with the mother. I came to the conclusion that I would be okay with it. My eggs are just going to waste and without her and her husband they would never be anything other than eggs, therefore, I wouldn't feel I had any right to the "finished product." However, I think my friend wasn't so sure it was a good idea and was worried that there may be some tension or awkwardness down the road.

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