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What the Egg Donor Brochures Don't Say

It's lucrative for donors, but the side effects can be painful and downplayed by clinics
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2019 9:25 AM CDT
Updated May 12, 2019 7:10 AM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty/Rost-9D)

(Newser) – Stories about egg donations for couples who can't conceive typically focus on the couples. A story at Wired takes a look from the perspective of the donors—think healthy women in their 20s, often college students who are tight on cash. As it turns out, the pay can be relatively lucrative. One woman in the story donated eggs six times over four years and earned $61,000. And women who hit certain check marks—say, Ivy Leaguers who could pass for models or those with certain ethnic backgrounds (Indian, East Asian, and Jewish donors are mentioned)—can make $20,000 to $50,000 per donation. The catch? As Paris Martineau explains, the procedure is generally more rigorous and painful than the marketing suggests, and donors complain that fertility clinics gloss over the negatives.

The donation process "involves injecting yourself with hormone-filled syringes for 10 days or more, until a doctor pierces your vaginal wall with thick needles to suck out the extra eggs you've produced," writes Martineau. Some donors react poorly to the injections, with side effects that include sudden weight gain, abdominal pain, and nausea. The woman who made $61,000, for example, once became so painfully bloated she ended up in the hospital to have fluid drained from her abdomen. The story explains how social media has allowed donors to form support groups for the first time, to share stories and advice and guide newcomers. And it notes one key factor in why so many overseas couples come to the US to receive eggs: The laws here are far less restrictive on the practice here than abroad. Click to read the full story. (Read more Longform stories.)

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