A new study reports that though two-thirds of egg donors are satisfied with their experience, 14 percent reported negative feelings — and 12% reported mixed ones — following their procedures.
The study examined completed questionnaires of 80 egg donors from around the U.S. All of the women participating had been paid for donating their eggs, with payments ranging from $1,100 to $7,300. In the questionnaires, two-thirds of women rated their feelings about the entire experience (including the months of no booze, no smoking, no sex) as one hundred percent positive. The other third was not so certain.
The most common negative feelings women reported on the survey were frustration that the donation process was anonymous, and feeling that they had been underpaid (considering the physical side effects reported, which include ovarian cysts, fertility problems and weight gain, its not hard to understand why a woman would feel underpaid receiving $1,100 for the unrestricted access to her fallopian tubes). Seven of the women who responded said that they were still curious to know exactly what happened to their eggs, and whether any children were brought to term with their DNA. Two donors “developed ongoing concerns that a child that they bear and raise might, by chance, meet and develop a relationship with her donor offspring.” Although two women out of eighty can hardly be considered representative of the general population of egg donors, it is interesting that a significant number of respondents aren’t thrilled with their choice.
Another important factor that is often ignored is the economic aspect of the transaction. The survey did ask about the monetary compensation, however, it did not mention any correlation between the happy donors and the well-paid donors. While they reported that some women claim they were not motivated purely by altruistic reasons, and some (the more honest ones?) admit that money was their sole motivation, the article did not provide numbers for these respondents.
In last months Wall Street Journal, “Annie,” a 29-year-old lawyer, said that she chose to donate her eggs not because she needed the money, but because she “thought it was a great thing to do to help people.” Unfortunately, her admirable act did leave her “heartbroken” when the baby conceived with her egg died in utero. The second couple who received her eggs wanted an anonymous arrangement, so Annie does not know whether or not there is a baby on the way. Annie says that although she will probably donate again, being an egg donor "is something to seriously think about, and not just go into for the money. You have to ask yourself, once this process is over and there's this baby out there, how are you going to feel? Think about it — a lot."
Related: Women Line Up To Donate Eggs [WSJ]