If You Think It’s A Walk In The Park For Us — Think Again

By on January 7, 2009

The recent frenzy in the media surrounding egg donation, the risks to egg donors, the long terms effects, etc, has me perplexed and frustrated. Egg donation has been around since the 80’s. It’s not some new fangled gizmo that guarantee’s a baby for those of us that are infertile. While the technology is amazing the risks now are less as the technology has improved than it was when it began. I can only think the reason it’s in the headlines is due to our economy, and perhaps the media is having a slow news day and needed something to sensationalize.

CNN, NBC, and I think ABC have all jumped on the media bandwagon to write their own spin on egg donation. Talking to the egg donors themselves I think was a great idea. Hearing straight from the horses mouth in regards to what their experiences are is not only educational but beneficial to all of us, so perhaps we can appreciate what they do go through to help us out. I want to say there here was some research conducted with various fertility clinics which is good, as well as interviews with specific egg donor agencies and a handful of attorneys who specialize in 3rd party reproduction. But do you know who they left out?

They left out the thousands of couples and single moms and dad’s who have selected this avenue as a way of creating or growing their families — you and me! Are we not one of the best resources out there who are living this, in the trenches, and going through the motions?

We know what it’s like to be asked to pay over 10k for an egg donation cycle, and are offended each and every time we are made to listen to the justification of why 15, 20, or 25k is acceptable for eggs. We wade through paperwork, legal contracts, we negotiate with our donors, our clinics, our RE’s, and we are often at the mercy of the nursing staff at our respective clinics as we deal with the lack of information (it’s on a need to know basis I am told), while we go through a myriad of testing and anything else we are requested to do to become a parent. If I read one more article about how egg donors are exploited I am going to scream.

Here’s a newsflash — we recipient parents do not go out of our way to see how we many eggs we can pry out of the ovaries of unknowing egg donors. We also are not out to get what we can for rock bottom prices either. We recognize these girls basically put their lives on hold for 8-10 weeks, changing their daily routines, undergoing a regimented medication protocol, only to have their ovaries jabbed with a sharp hollow needle repeatedly to harvest eggs for hopeful mom’s like me.

Don’t think we recipient parents aren’t jerked around or exploited. I am sorry, there are many egg donation agencies and brokers our there that are not ethical. That don’t abide by ASRM guidelines, that don’t think twice of ripping off recipient parents. They prey upon the very fact that we are desperate to become parents. So much so that many of us have written very large checks paying for over inflated costs, ridiculous charges, and even sometimes for donors that don’t even exist, or they know aren’t going to cycle.

Oh and another thing — egg donors are not the only ones who are taking medication — by the time we have gotten to the egg donation phase in our lives many of us have gone through one, two, sometimes three or four IVF cycles. Failed ones at that, countless IUI’s, and in many cases in the event we have gotten pregnant we’ve miscarried — many of us countless times.

Not only do we take birth control pills to sync us up with our egg donor, we often take lupron which is an injection, antibiotics, some of us are on blood thinners which is another injection, estrogen which is another injection, and then finally the big daddy of them all, progesterone in oil. Which is delivered I might add through a 22 gauge needle which is about 1.5 inches long.

And for those who are severely reproductively impaired like me, I had to continue those injections all the way through the 16th week of my pregnancy!

So – CNN, Anderson Cooper, NBC, ABC, Nancy Grace, come talk to us, we invite you begin a dialogue so we can tell you how it really is from our perspective.

1 Comment
  1. Reply


    January 8, 2009

    Thanks so much for your great perspective and insight Marna! I was just talking about this very topic with a colleague of mine earlier today.

    While there is still much to be explored regarding the complexities involved with egg donation, the emphasis always seems to be on the egg donors. There are many other organizations popping up out there more and more these days that take on the voice of the egg donors or potential egg donors. I think PVED is the only organization that looks from the side of the egg donor recipient families. How interesting!

    I wish there was a way we could harness all of this energy and passion from all sides and coordinate everyone’s efforts in order to benefit everyone involved with the egg donation process. If you have any ideas about how to do this, I would be happy to help however I can. I agree that all these inaccuracies in the media portrayals of egg donation does everyone a major disservice. Great job, and keep up the outstanding work!

    Evelina W. Sterling, PhD, MPH, CHES
    Author of Having Your Baby through Egg Donation (Perspectives Press 2005) http://www.myfertilityplan.com



Portland, OR

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