Donor Compensation

January 7, 2009 | By:

there should be no question about this! I have twice been a donor and it is indeed an extremely taxing, invasive, time-consuming process. the money I see as necessary compensation for pain, time, and traveling, for there is plenty! for the gift of my eggs, the responsibility I proudly shoulder, I would never take money. it is a wonderful, powerful feeling to know you are absolutely helping a woman who might otherwise be helpless.


(This post was made on 1/4/08 and brought over from our old blog on typepad)

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  1. Denise says:

    Then do not call it donation. It is not a donation, it is a sale. It is egg purchasing. The name Egg donations is a PR to make the “donors” look like Fairy God Mothers helping the poor infertile woman to overcome her disability and misery (in many cases).
    Help is not compensated otherwise it is not help; it is service. Help is given freely and without ties. If you want to help, just do it, and do not ask anything in return. If you want compensation, call it service and own to it.
    And you call your “help” pain and suffering? This is NOTHING compared to the pain, suffering, dispair, lonliness, humiliation a infertile woman goes through. Get over it and call by what it is. A SALE at the expense of a person who is completely helpless.
    That’s all.

  2. Liz says:

    Wow, I see we’ve hit a hot button here! Compensation for egg donation is a highly debated issue. There are countries (the UK for example) in which women are forbidden to donate eggs for compensation and as a result, there are virtually no egg donors available. Women in the UK who suffer from egg-related infertility are truly helpless unless they have a friend or family member that is willing to go through the arduous process of having her ovaries hyper-stimulated to produce a large number of eggs and then surgically removed to donate to her infertile friend or sister. This process involves daily and sometimes multiple injections, daily transvaginal ultrasounds and a somewhat invasive surgical procedure for which they receive anesthesia (in Canada most women are not anesthetized for the egg retrieval procedure which I think is inhumane), and usually have to rest for one or two days after the procedure. It is not an easy process for anyone, the infertile woman herself undergoing IVF or an egg donor, and let’s be honest about that. Egg donors, compensated or not, ARE fairy god mothers to the women they are helping because they are choosing to put themselves through what often is an uncomfortable two months. If in addition to what they choose to go through at a physical level, they also have to travel on top of that, take time off from work, or do anything else that causes them inconvenience, then there is even more reason for them to receive compensation. How much compensation they receive is a matter that is and should continue to be discussed. But there is no question in my mind, as a woman, as an infertile woman, as an attorney, and as an agency owner, that egg donors deserve to be compensated for their time, their effort, their pain, and their suffering in doing something truly GENEROUS and SELFLESS for someone else.

    I do understand the pain and suffering, despair, loneliness, and humiliation that infertility brings. I spent more than 10 years of my life trying to have a baby and build my family, I went through seven IVF cycles, I endured nine miscarriages (losing ten babies), and had two failed adoptions along the way (from which my husband and I have yet to rebuild our financial footing). I KNOW what you feel Denise. I am sorry you feel so angry about how expensive egg donation is. There are women who donate for very low fees, there are shared donation programs (which you reference in your other post) to help infertile families deal with the burden of the cost, there are programs and grants you can apply for to help with the cost. drug companies have programs whereby they donate medication. I know there are some agencies (mine included) and attorneys (my office included) that provide steep discounts and even free cycles to infertile families that truly cannot afford the egg donation process. Attorney Theresa Erickson just announced the winner of their free cycle contest ( If you want, email me and I can provide a list of agencies and attorneys that will offer you help to build your family if financing the cycle is your obstacle to having a baby. And I don’t for one minute begrudge you your anger or frustration. I have posted on my own blog — and done so at the cost of my professional reputation as a reproductive lawyer and author — about how angry I still feel about being infertile. I even had someone flame me on my own blog about “getting over” my anger. PULEASE!

    I thought seriously about taking your post down because I feel that it unfairly characterizes egg donors and the legal issues presented by the egg donation compensation. I believe in free speech and the first amendment, so I chose to leave your post up and allow people to respond to your feelings as they deem appropriate. However, let it be known that I will NOT permit any inappropriate posts on this blog and/or anyone to flame anyone else. I can and do take posts down. But I didn’t with yours because you did touch upon a legitimate and hotly debated issue in this industry: whether donors should be compensated. That is what this thread is discussing and you have every right to express your opinions.

    But I want to make one thing clear. The vast, vast majority of egg donors are truly giving, selfless women who go through quite a bit to help someone else have a baby. I work with egg donors every day. I screen women for my agency every day. If I think a woman is donating for purely financial reasons, I discuss that with her. Egg donors are helping create a life and a family and financial motive alone should not be what drives them to be an egg donor because there is a responsibility that comes with donating eggs and creating a human life.

    I am sorry for what you are going through Denise. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I wish you peace on your journey.


  3. Denise says:


    I do not think you understood what I said. I am not against compensation. They can ask as much compensation as they want if there is a market. What I am agaist is calling it a donation.
    When you donate clothes to charity, do you expect to be monetarely compensated? When you donate food for a starving family, do you expect money in return? When you donate your time to take care of someone in need, do you get paid? I am sure you do not.
    So, it is unfair to these people that are truly practising the act of donation, to name egg sellers as egg donors. They are not donating the eggs, they are selling them.
    So, this was my point. If a woman wants to sell their eggs, fine, no problem. Just do not call it donation. To call it this way is just PR. It is only so that those women can pose as good and selfless souls. They are not. They are providing a service. They would only be truly selfless if they did not ask for compensation.
    And I am sorry if you thought this was a flaming post. It was not intend as such. It is just that in the age when politically corrrect the order of the day, I think that twisting the meaning of such an important act as donation is, it is moraly and ethically wrong.