CHICAGO, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Jennifer was a junior in college when she decided to donate her eggs to a couple undergoing fertility treatments. Like most donors, she was primarily motivated by altruism. But she admits that the compensation -- $7,000 – didn't hurt.
"Compensation for egg donation is always the hot topic when it comes to the fertility business. It's also one of the most misunderstood topics," says Maryellen McLaughlin, partner at Alternative Reproductive Resources (www.arr1.com), Chicago, a gestational surrogacy and egg donation agency.
She adds: "What escapes most critics is the fact that the egg donation process is not a walk in the park. If it were, we'd see more women willing to donate. But it's a process, both mentally and physically. And undergoing that process is what they're paid for – not the egg itself."
Compensation to egg donors is intended to reflect the time, effort and inconvenience the process entails. They undergo a lengthy screening process, medical evaluations, hormone injections and an outpatient surgical procedure to retrieve the eggs, all of which can consume six months or longer. (Visit http://conceptionconnections.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/step-by-step-understanding-the-egg-donation-process/ for a step-by-step description of the process.)
Jennifer's first donation cycle took about eight months. "The hardest part was suppressing my ovaries to get everything to a base level before starting the stimulation. In a sense, it was like going through a mini menopause," says Jennifer. "This happened during midterms. I was studying with a friend and started getting hot and sweaty for no reason. It kept coming in waves. Luckily, this stage only lasted about a week."
Compensation to the donor should be in compliance with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) ethics committee. Those guidelines forbid paying additional fees to egg donors for specific traits and compensation exceeding $10,000 is inappropriate.
"Compensation should not be viewed as a bonus for good looks, brains and athletic prowess (and providing such genetics to the highest bidder)," says McLaughlin. "It really reflects a process that's far more complicated and, often, more uncomfortable, than people realize. Without it, people would be far more limited in their options to build families."
Media contact: Robyn Velasquez
SOURCE Alternative Reproductive Resources