Egg donation or donor exploitation?

Fertilization through egg donation began in the 1990’s and was successfully achieved in 1984. Ever since there has been debate surrounding the ethics of egg donation.  As the success rate of fertilization is almost doubled if a donor egg is used, the demand for donor eggs has increased steadily since first discovered.

And the market is competitive, Steinbock (2004) reports couples paying anything from $3,000-$80,000, depending on what positive attributes and talents the donor may have. From IV league education to musical ability couples are willing to pay high price for these precious eggs.

However Steinbock (2004) also reports that although some donors are compensated generously for their eggs they are not given adequate information to help them make an informed decision.  Egg donation takes time and can, in some cases, need follow up medical care. The recipient’s chances of pregnancy increase with the number of oocytes produced by the donor. Yet at the same time this increases the chances of the donor suffering from hyperstimulation syndrome. Often egg donors are not made aware of these complications.

One egg donor NYC reported to the advisory committee New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, that, she was not aware that her donor cycles had been stopped secondary to her developing hyperstimultion syndrome (Steinbock 2004).  As far as she was aware she thought so many eggs had been taken due to the fact that she was very fertile.

Society justifies paying for egg donations, so the women who are unfortunate enough to suffer infertility problems have a choice. However it must be duly noted that there is a growing need to protect the donors. Steinbock (2004) suggests one way to do this is to limit the financial rewards to a fair and reasonable price, as this protects against exploitation of donors as well as financial manipulation of vulnerable couples.