Egg donation brings hope to couples who otherwise would not be able to have child(ren).
"It is the most fantastic gift that one can offer" Dr. Gazvani from the UK (London and Liverpool) says. "Donors offering their surplus eggs are giving the families here the ultimate gift of life. The joy they bring is undescribable.
Another reassuring point is that when the UKCFA and the Cyprus IVF Centre surveyed their donors the findings suggested that the ovewhelming motivation for the egg donors to donate was still altruistic despite the payment the donors receive. This to me is very reassuring. It is also very important for all of us to ensure that donors are well treated and cared for by the clinics where they donate. Donor welfare and safety should not be overlooked by the recipient couples and their clinicians. Clinicians and couples should avoid clinics where donor abuse is suspected. Otherwise donor abuse, which is known to take place in certain parts of Europe will continue."
In the UK, it is estimated that two thousand couples need donated eggs to be able to conceive every year according to reports. Many couples have to travel abroad (croos-border egg donation) to find donor eggs.
Sarah is an egg donor living in the US. This is her account;
The 27-year-old college student, identified by her anonymous donor name Sarah, will take hormone injections for two to four weeks to produce a number of eggs (10-15). These eggs will then be surgically retrieved under anaesthesia after her fertility cycle ends. She is undergoing her sixth egg retrieval. In the UK and many other European countries maximum number of times a donor can donate eggs is limited to three.
Sarah heard about egg donation from her mother. She researched the topic and the process and then decided it was something she wanted to do.
"I think, I just knew that I honestly never wanted to have children myself; so, it's just kind of one of those things, 'well, I have eggs that are fertile why not help a couple that really has the desire to want a child,'" Sarah said. "I'm not using it, why not help someone."
Before Sarah could even donate an egg, she had to go through multiple tests. Reproduction Endocrinologist Dr. Michael Murray, from Northern California Fertility Clinic, said prospective donors have to go through psychological testing and check to make sure the donor's eggs are fertile. Sarah said there was a lot of blood work involved.
"That was kinda of a strenuous process, but I see why they do it; to ensure they are getting a quality person," Sarah explained. "[The clinic gets] as much information as they possibly can get out about their potential donor."
While donors don't have to pay out of pocket for any of the testing or the treatments, they need to make time to get to appointments at the clinic and make sure they take the fertility drugs.
After all the testing, the IVF clinic will make a donor profile of the person. When a couple picks the donor, she starts her IVF treatments to ensure her egg is ready to be fertilized.
Sarah's five previous retrievals were successful and had no side effects. She was put under light anesthesia for the 10 to 15 minute surgery. Sarah said she doesn't mind the process and the staff at the Northern California Fertility Clinic took a lot of care to make her comfortable.
"I think it's great that there are facilities out there that will help couples to be able to be parents," Sarah said. "And with clinics that are actually respectful to the recipients and also respectful to the donors ... I think it's great. I'm really really happy to be part of it."
Sarah said that while she helps a couple out, she can also make money for college. Murray said egg donors can make up to $6,000 per IVF cycle.
Sarah had to sign a contract, which states that once selected a person has to donate regardless of who wants the egg. Each of her six egg donations was to different couples, she said. The Northern California Fertility Clinic makes the process entirely anonymous, where a couple or child will not be able to contact the egg donor or vice versa.
"I'm doing it because I want to give someone that gift; it's something I'm not going to retrieve later. It's not mine; it was a gift to give away," Sarah explained. "I really hope that that family enjoys it as much as I know my mom has enjoyed my siblings and me. It's not something I would want to take back or regret. This is a choice and I'm happy to be a part of it."
"It is the most fantastic gift that one can offer" Dr. Gazvani from the UK (London and Liverpool) says. "Donors offering their surplus eggs are giving the families here the ultimate gift of life. The joy they bring is undescribable. Another beautiful prt is tha fact that when the UKCFA and the Cyprus IVF Centre surveyed their donors teh findings suggested that the ovewhelming motivation to donate was still altuistic despite the payment the donors receive. This to me is very reassuring"