Egg Donation and Overcompensation
Imagine you’re a twenty-two year old female, fresh out of college. You have a big shiny college diploma from a highly prestigious University hanging in your bedroom, yet are still interning for no pay and looking for your first “big-girl” job. Your apartment, electricity, and cable bills didn’t end when you stopped receiving financial aid, and now you are required to start paying off those loans. You are looking for quick money and spot an ad online looking for a young, intelligent, attractive woman to be an egg donor and receive $15,000 compensation. Would you go for it? Sounds like quick, easy money doesn’t it? Well it’s not; Egg donation is not a one step, in and out procedure. It is a serious medical procedure that involves two phases: Ovarian hyperstimulation, and Egg retrieval. Ovarian hyperstimulation consists of numerous hormonal drugs (shots) in order to make the ovaries mass produce mature eggs, and then these eggs are extracted in the egg retrieval phase through transvaginal ultrasound aspiration, a surgical procedure. These tests, screenings and medical appointments can take up about 60 hours of the Egg donor’s time. (“The Medical”) These advertisements for egg donors can be found anywhere from online forums, newspapers and even agencies that specialize in egg donations such as “The Egg Donor Center” who state that their standard compensation is $5,000 and goes as high as $8,000 depending on where you live, and any unique skills, degrees, characteristics or traits you may acquire. Places like this, for donors who would have to travel, also offer round-trip airline tickets (for two), hotel accommodations (for two), grounds transportation, and daily compensation for food, lost wages, etc… (“Egg Donor Compensation”) It seems that the whole Egg Donation process has turned from a way for women who cannot produce children on their own to start a family, to an extremely money driven system that shells out more cash for superficial specifications. In 2007 The Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) developed guidelines for the financial compensation of oocyte donors. The third specification stated: “Total payments to donors in excess of $5,000 require justification and sums above $10,000 are not appropriate.” (“Financial”) A survey of US fertility clinics taken in 2007’s results show that the average compensation for egg donors is within the $5,000 limit, the average payment to egg donors was $4,217 (Hamm). It is respectable that the Ethics Committee of the ASRM realized that egg donors were being greatly over compensated and that they took the initiative to develop a list of guidelines, but is it enough? These guidelines are requirements, but not laws so it is difficult to completely enforce them. When done for the right reasons Egg donation is a positive thing. It is a great way to aid families who are infertile, and is surely a very rewarding process if you are mature enough to realize that what you are doing is to help that other family, and are being compensated for your time and the possibility of any complications rather than trying to make quick, easy money. In an article in the Medill Reports-Chicago author, Lauren Padia states: “While sperm donation can be a quick experience, often lasting less than an hour, egg donation can involve a three-to-six-month process of preparation, with time consuming doctor's appointment, injections and lots of emotional investment.” In this article, Padia exemplifies a young woman who started the donation process after coming across a craigslist advertisement while looking for a job, this young woman stated that she was drawn to the money at first but quickly, the rewards of helping the infertile couple outweighed the importance of the compensation. (Padia) Although in some cases women weigh the risks and overlook the large sums of money they could receive, the money still seems to be the motivation. As I was...
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