Women give the ‘gift of life’ by donating eggs
For Rachel Strobel it would only be for a best friend or relative with the dream of having a child, but without the capability, that she would even consider donating her own eggs.
Women from the age of 19 to 32 can donate their eggs and receive thousands of dollars in compensation once the process is complete.
“I just can’t imagine donating for the sake of money,” said Strobel, 19, a freshman pre-communication major. “It would really be like having your own child running around somewhere that you have no clue about.”
By donating “the gift of life,” women are able to help other women who would not have had the ability to become pregnant and deliver their own baby.
To begin the egg donation process, women must undergo a psychological evaluation, have extensive physical examinations, and provide thorough medical history.
Some women, especially college age students, or those in need of financial relief, consider egg donation a viable option.
“I think I’d donate for the money,” said Ashley Seippel, 20, a sophomore open-option major. “Five-thousand dollars is a lot of money. Maybe do that one time instead of a summer job or something.”
Candidates eligible to receive egg donation include women over the age of 50, those who have undergone chemotherapy, women who have gone through premature menopause or are carriers of a genetic disorder.
Clinical nurse Cath McBreen, of the Advanced Reproductive Medicine department at the CU Health Sciences Center in Denver suggested that only a select few go through the donation process with the intention of receiving compensation.
“Of course the money is nice, but most donors have a level of true altruism,” McBreen said.
The majority of donors believe that it is the most generous thing they can do for another woman.
McBreen made it clear that the CU Advanced Reproductive Medicine Department is no longer recruiting donors. Women interested in becoming donors are being referred to private egg donor agencies in Colorado, such as the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.
McBreen said that compared to the CU Health Sciences Center, which gives donors around $3,500 upon completion, private agencies commonly give donors $5,000 to $7,000.
“It is mostly due to their advertising that the private agencies can offer more compensation,” McBreen said.
The majority of women who go through egg donation do so without any complications, but there are some associated risks.
Donors are required to self-inject fertility medications and visit the facility every day for up to ten days. The fertility medications induce ovulation of the eggs and mature more of them.
The fertility medications are known to cause hot flashes, mood swings and sleep problems. The medications rarely lead to severe medical complications, including blood clots and kidney failure, and can require removal of both ovaries.
An increased number of eggs are produced during the donation cycle and there is a chance that a woman could become pregnant with twins, triplets or quadruplets if contraception is not used.
A woman is born with several million eggs, and by the time she reaches puberty she has around 300,000 eggs. The retrieval procedure only takes about twenty of the donor’s eggs. The donation does not decrease the woman’s chance of conceiving a child in the future.
The actual retrieval process requires surgery under sedation. A needle is inserted into the ovary and the eggs are retrieved using suction. The procedure lasts about 30 minutes.
Robyn Curtis, public relations coordinator at the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, explained that most programs use “anonymous donors,” but others allow the potential parents to be quite selective in choosing whose eggs they will use.
“Some agencies require a photo of the donor in order to get a person with the type of attributes that the potential parents request,” Curtis said.
The application for egg donors to complete includes questions about physical appearance, personality, education, personal interests, and often, athletic ability. Donors must also provide information about their ethnic background.
Curtis said that some of the parents do not intend to tell the child or family and friends about the child’s origin, in which case the parents look for a donor with the same ethnicity and similar eye and hair color.
All parties in the donor process, including the couple receiving the eggs, must sign confidentiality contracts. Although a lot of information is provided about the donor, her identity is to remain strictly anonymous.
Programs keep certain information about donors on file and some of it may be available to the child. The recipient will have important information about the donor, but they will never meet or know each other’s names.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Sarah Ruybalid at email@example.com