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Becoming an Egg Donor

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Some couples find it difficult or impossible to conceive. One option for women whose ovaries do not produce enough healthy eggs is to become pregnant using donated eggs. Generally, if you are healthy woman between 21 and 35, you may be able to help and receive substantial compensation for your effort. Since becoming a donor is a very important decision, it is important for you to give it thorough consideration before you proceed. Here is some advice that we hope will help in your decision.

Primarily, there are three groups seeking egg donors:

  • Infertility programs: they advertise for egg donors to help treat their patients. These programs provide all the screening, matching, and medical procedures required for the donation.
  • Egg brokers: these individuals or organizations recruit egg donors but do not provide medical services. If you contact a broker, find out who is responsible for each part of the egg donor process, such as screening, medical bills, and handling complications.
  • Specific couples - couples may offer a large amount of money to egg donors with specific characteristics, such as appearance, ability, and education. Be cautious, though, since in some cases, these are simply egg brokers looking for additional donors without a specific recipient.

You should understand the privacy considerations before proceeding. Will you be a known or unknown donor? What information about yourself will be shared with the actual or prospective recipient? State law requires the collection of some information. Other information is helpful if the receiving organization wants to advertise the characteristics of the egg donor or contact you for future donations.

There are legal / emotion / psychological implications. While at first it may seem that you are simply giving up something that your body does not need, those eggs have the potential (and indeed are being used to) give life. Seek legal advice to determine your rights and responsibilities on all aspects, including parental, before you donate. Then, think through carefully how you will feel about your offspring being raised by someone else.

Finally, most fertility programs offer payment to egg donors for their time, effort and discomfort -- not payment for the eggs themselves and should not depend on the outcome. Understand in advance what your expenses will be, what will be covered, and whose insurance will pay the anticipated and unanticipated medical and related bills.
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