Egg Donor Compensation

June 21, 2007 | By:

Okay, so I read the article in The New York Times about egg donors and how ALL egg donors donate eggs for the money.  I wanted to puke.  I happen to know a lot of egg donors who didn’t JUST do it for the money.  Believe it or not some donors really do WANT to help people have babies.  And I also happen to know from personal experience after 6 IVF cycles that this isn’t exactly a fun, pain-free process and I think that monetary compensation or a gift (whatever you want to call it) is appropriate.  But at what point is that compensation crossing a line?  In the UK, donors cannot receive any compensation and as a result there are no egg donors.  Clearly, some financial incentive must exist for people to be able to build their families through egg donation.

However, notwithstanding whatever The New York Times may think, I have never met a donor who asked for $50,000 to donate her eggs.  I’ve heard about them from many sources, including from that famous argument on The View (and again I wanted to puke–so much judgment from people who know so little about what it’s like to be infertile).  These uber expensive donors may well exist, and they may have every right to ask for $50k (although I think the ASRM would have something to say about that), but I personally think they are urban legends.

What do you think about donor comp?  Do you think it’s fair to compensate donors?  Do they get enough money?  Too much money?  Should it be taxable income (in all states but California it is not taxable income unless and until the IRS issues an opinion)?

When responding to this blog, please refrain from flaming anyone, legitimate opinion is what we’re after here . . . lively discussion, but I will take down any comments that are offensive.

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  1. Mel says:

    I am fine with monetary comp because I think it is very difficult to come up with a comparable thank you for the pain and emotional journey undertaken by donating ones gametes. Society has designated money as a form of “thank you.” Therefore unless we’re going to restructure our social rituals across the board, we have to accept that money is often the way we thank people.

    I look at the UK’s donor programs as a what-not-to-do across the board. Oy.

  2. Violet says:

    As an IM – I feel quite comfortable compensating my donor.

    I think we can all agree that the drugs, monitoring, retrieval etc . . are not only unpleasant – but they also take time. Time away from work, family, school or whatever may be a donor’s livelihood. That should be compensated.

    I think the ASRM has set reasonable guidelines and I would like to see them followed.

    But I am also not attempting to nation build – I am family building – so I don’t feel like I need to pay $50,000 for a mini-me.

    I am not well versed in the legalities of this – so this is all my opinion – nothing more.

  3. Daria says:

    I’m glad my donor is not 50k, because that is simply unaffordable for us, but their contribution is literally priceless.

    I have no problem fairly compensating these amazing women for their gift and their inconvenience. Its not an easy thing for them to do!

  4. Dndylyn says:

    Should it be taxable income (in all states but California it is not taxable income unless and until the IRS issues an opinion)?

    Are you kidding? It is taxable income – the IRS has made the definition of “income” pretty clear. Anyone who thinks that they are somehow tax exempt is naive and asking for an audit. And when it happens, look out – because the interest and penalties assessed will be steep.

    I’m also not really sure why the IRS rules wouldn’t apply across the nation – after all, we are talking about the Federal government. “All states but California it is not taxable income” Really? I wonder if the IRS would agree.

    Whether one believes the income to be free from the long arm of the IRS or not, it is taxable. There is no pain and suffering claim that applies to donation because it is a voluntary risk being assumed by the donor, a service she provides, and an agreement under a contractual arrangement. This is very different from the pain and suffering compensation received via a civil law suit or tort action where someone unwillingly suffers and is then compensated for their suffering.

    Altruistic or capitalistic in motivation makes no difference. Money is money and per the IRS, taxable.