Barnard College Holds Panel on Egg Donation

Posted On November 18th, 2009

A story ran on Tuesday about a panel at Barnard College which sought to raise questions about the cost and benefit in ongoing debates over egg donation.

Unless these quotations are wrong (and they may indeed be, if Barnard’s student journalism is as poorly researched as this panel discussion), these Barnard gals don’t really understand egg donation.

According to the panel’s organizer, who is apparently a student in her junior year: “Donors typically receive anywhere from $4,000 to $25,000 per egg.” This shows complete ignorance of the process, in which eggs are retrieved in numbers ranging from 5 to 20 or more at a time (no doctor would retrieve just one egg!). The donor gets paid per retrieval, not per egg. Her compensation does not depend on the number of eggs retrieved, but is a fixed amount agreed upon before the donation process starts. The compensation limit is $10,000 per retrieval, but these panel participants quote higher compensation fees throughout to make egg donation seem exploitive.

They also mention that egg donor advertisements do not include the risks. This is generally true, but although anyone can apply, only a small percentage of applicants actually go through with it (most do not qualify). Women who do donate are given extensive information about the risks. Most women who donate choose to do it again, and find it a very positive experience.

The panel discussion did not include any actual egg donors or anyone who conceived a child through egg donation: perhaps their participation would have injected some reality.

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