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Selling your eggs to the highest bidder.... right or wrong?

(29 Posts)
OracleInaCoracle Sat 15-Aug-09 16:13:46

is this not mercenary?

don't get me wrong, i am (obviously) not opposed to egg donation, in fact that is the only way we can afford ivf. however, if you excuse the fact that it was in the DM - i was searching mn on there, I am shocked that young women see their fertility as a commodity.

who (in these cases) is being taken advantage of? the donor who is facing financial hardship? the recipient who is desperate for a child and willing to do anything to concieve?

I mean if the HFEA allow payment for donation (as is proposed)where do they draw the line? should you be able to sell a kidney? why not increase donations by abolishing the lack of anonymity clause?

expatinscotland Sat 15-Aug-09 16:23:15

EVERYONE is being taken advantage of, IMO.

I think of myself before I had children, and there's no way I could have fully understood the emotional impact of my genetic material becoming a human being, and how I'd feel about it.

Yes, I saw it as a commodity.

And the vast majority of egg donors, particularly from Eastern European nations or Russia, are desperate.

Even in the US, 9 times out of 10 people do it to pay off debts, usually from education.

It's wrong to blame these young women entirely - but that's the DM for you.

expatinscotland Sat 15-Aug-09 16:31:25

there's a world of difference between a donor who has had children herself and someone who hasn't, tbh.

but this is a poor article in that the author heaps all the blame on the donors.

i don't think that's entirely fair at all.

AvrilH Sat 15-Aug-09 17:16:48

I would be willing to donate an egg to a couple struggling with infertility, except for the physical trauma and time involved. This way, women can be compensated for that.

I don't think anyone is necessarily being taken advantage of. If the donor is facing financial hardship, and desperate for money, it might be a good deal for them. If the recipient is desperate for a child, this makes it possible for them...

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Sat 15-Aug-09 17:56:08

But Avril...if a person is forced to do something they wouldn't do otherwise, that may have negative impacts on their emotional health, (sex work, egg donation, drug dealing, selling a kidney) to get money, they are being exploited.

It's a different thing if it's something the woman would consider doing anyway, and has thought through the consequences very well.

I would donate eggs if a friend asked me (knowing the egg/s wouldn't go to her but to an anonymous recipient). It's not something I'd do with no benefit for me. However, if there was a modest payment, it's something I would certainly consider doing once. It would be win win for me - helping childless couples have children, and financial reward. Does that sound cynical? Anyway. I wouldn't be doing it because I'm drug dependent, or in fear of loan sharks, or living in desperate poverty, it would be a free choice.

OracleInaCoracle Sat 15-Aug-09 18:01:27

exactly expat, the implication in the artice (as i saw it) was that donation is wrong in any circs.

re the genetic material and the idea of having another "child" out there, donors do have to go through implication counselling. mil cant get her head around the possibility that ds may eventually have a half sibling out there. its easier for dh and myself because we have discussed it at length and it really is the only way we can afford ivf for a few years and im not getting any younger.

but avril, should the creation of another life be a commodity? i suppose somthing in me is repelled by the thought of someone profiting from another persons misery.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Sat 15-Aug-09 18:10:42

Well lissie, if it results in a child for them then it's not their misery is it? In fact, they are profiting from making some people very happy...
I do see what you mean, it's a slightly weird thought, have men ever been paid for sperm donation in this country? I have to admit I don't like the american model, although it does mean that people are more likely to find donors.

Same with blood donation I suppose. Here, our stocks are low because we have ethical and safe screening processes and limits on how long you have to wait between dobnations, and you only get paid in biscuits. But that means in the case of a national disaster we would run out of blood in about 3 days.

I still think I would consider it, but I'd want to offer the couple a guarantee - eg if the first round doesn't work, or results in miscarriage for example, I'd do it again for nothing...I woouldn't want to profit from someone's misery

MaggieBeauLeo Sat 15-Aug-09 18:13:04

I would only do it for a sister or cousin or friend.,, but that's not to say that I think it's wrong. Just wouldn't do it myself.

I think people who do it, should save back a few eggs for themselves, just in case. It's be awful to do that and then not be able to have a child yourself.

OracleInaCoracle Sat 15-Aug-09 18:16:37

kat, in the uk you are entitled to have your costs reimbursed (time off work etc) but you aren't allowed to profit. its the same for sperm donation. the biggest problem in the uk, and the reason that stores are so low is because the dponor waives anonymity, so 18y on the child can make contact.

expatinscotland Sat 15-Aug-09 20:00:25

also, as is typical for the DM, there was a misogynist slant. the author decried the possibility of a donor like sarah having a half-dozen children scattered around the globe.

a sperm donor, however, can father just as many or more.

tbh, she sounded rather bitter towards donors who get paid.

it's misguided, imo. it's a highly invasive and painful procedure, far more so than sperm donation, for both sides donor/recipient, and it doesn't address the misery that may be the motivation for donors abroad or their desperation and unhappiness, whatever it may be. it's all seen from the point of view of the childless couple.

MaggieBeauLeo Sat 15-Aug-09 20:27:59

I agree, read the article and they really demonised the egg donor. Presumably she had her reasons for needing that 12k. Perhaps the (male) knob at the next desk doing the same job as her was being paid 24k more a year than she is?/??

MaggieBeauLeo Sat 15-Aug-09 20:28:00

I agree, read the article and they really demonised the egg donor. Presumably she had her reasons for needing that 12k. Perhaps the (male) knob at the next desk doing the same job as her was being paid 24k more a year than she is?/??

ChasingSquirrels Sat 15-Aug-09 20:34:45

ahh, from the title I assumed this was HEN eggs - and thought "well why not"!

scottishmummy Sat 15-Aug-09 20:48:02

ironic,when MN in meltdown about DM,it is linked and provides source of stories

cherryblossoms Sun 16-Aug-09 01:43:05

I can't be bothered to read the DM link - I feel it will just wind me up no end.

Basically, the idea of paying for donors to donate eggs is being suggested because too few eggs are being donated through altruism, or through the "in exchange for IVF" schemes that run.

As I'm sure you know, egg donation and sperm donation are not equivalent; egg harvesting is complicated, time-consuming and painful and can have health implications.

I think what worries me is the, very strong, possibility that the (economically) vulnerable women in society will find this is a new way of being exploited. As is already the case where there is payment for all sorts of donations. I can't think of this in any other way other than against a background of information about women in the third world who "donate" kidneys, for cash their families need.

So any talk about women being mercenary just winds me up a bit.

cherryblossoms Sun 16-Aug-09 01:46:53

I guess, at the other end of the transaction, it opens onto a horrid place where those that can pay, will buy their way onto a fast-track of paid-for "donated" eggs, whilst those that can't pay just wait, and wait for the, presumably depleted, pool of unpaid-for donated eggs.

Which seems to be the case in countries that allow paid-for donations of body-parts.

Not great all round.

expatinscotland Sun 16-Aug-09 10:32:04

I agree, cherryblossoms.

I hadn't considered it from that viewpoint, of cash for body parts, but well, it sort of is.

And anytime you have that, you do indeed get exploitatin of desperate people.

I think the DM article has focussed too much on the donors and not the issue surrounding anonymity.

I signed up for egg donation whilst under going IVF several years ago. Even though I underwent the in depth counselling I sometimes had mixed feelings about it. One of the hardest things I have ever had to do was write a letter to my potential offspring should they wish to contact me when they were 18. As it happened I reacted to the drugs in two cycles so never got to egg harvesting stage. I then felt guilty as I'd let the recipients down.

Even though I wasn't paid with money, I was 'paid' in kind with IVF. It was a transaction and there's no getting round that. I certainly wouldn't do it for nothing as the risk to me is too great. Unlike blood donation which is minimally invasive as v little risk.

It is a very complex area already when the donation is altruistic, never mind being paid for it.

I think the article has over simplified the issues (but it's the DM so wouldn't expect anything else).
I was happy to do it but it had implications for my whole family. We discussed these and would have discussed them with my DS1 when it was appropriate.

The whole anonymity issue really needs to be discussed and reviewed. I really feel for couples who need donor eggs. It must be heart breaking.

OracleInaCoracle Sun 16-Aug-09 12:49:51

Im glad this is turning into a proper debate about donatrion. lazyjourno's (love the name btw) as i said in the op i will be using the egg share scheme to fund IVF, and at times i do feel a little uncomfortable about that, i mean what about women like me who arent eligable for NHS IVF, cant afford private but need donor eggs? we start our counselling on the 1st and, as someone who didnt see her father til she was 17 yet is the female version of him, i have had a couple of wobbles. but i have to do this. I am dreading writing that letter.

Penthesileia Sun 16-Aug-09 12:57:26

Why is no-one asking about the mercenary intentions of private fertility clinics? They make millions out of the misery of couples trying to conceive? No-one asks about their morals.

This is not to say that donors should be paid extravagant "market" rates (I am inclined to feel that it is too risky for vulnerable women who might be coerced into donation); but let's not try to pretend that the fertility industry isn't already a slightly morally dodgy place, where doctors and their clinics make a lot of money, even if they don't produce "results".

OracleInaCoracle Sun 16-Aug-09 13:05:37

totally agree. over the years i have had to chase up test results weeks later, been told i couldn't get a scan for another 2w when i was bleeding and had one sided pains (was an ep and if it hadnt been for NHS direct i would have been screwed) waited mnonths and months for appointments etc.

i sent back family history form on thursday, got call on friday to say it was recieved and looked good, counsellor appointment offered for that day(!) couldnt make it so one available for 1st (day that counsellor gets back) everything is moving at a great pace. because they are making money from it.

Penthesileia Sun 16-Aug-09 13:17:39

Sickening. I find the commodification of any aspect of health revolting, TBH. It leaves those without financial resources at the mercy hmm of those with them.

I really, really hope it all works out for you, lissielou. Fingers crossed.

OracleInaCoracle Sun 16-Aug-09 13:22:43

thank you. i do wonder how i would feel about it if we didnt need it ourselves. as i said to dh, im half disgusted that we are moving at such a pace and half thrilled. the socialist and the selfish sides are both getting a bit of a work out!

Penthesileia Sun 16-Aug-09 13:27:12

Well, you shouldn't feel any bad feelings yourself: you are donating your eggs (right?) and someone else is paying for your treatment (that's how it works, right?). Doesn't sound exploitative in the sense that at least there are fixed costs for the other couple, IYSWIM? They know that your round of IVF will cost X amount. The danger of the "eggs to highest bidder" is that the price could go anywhere. FWIW I think that, given the way the fertility industry operates today, your course of action is amongst the more ethical, IYSWIM.

Penthesileia Sun 16-Aug-09 13:28:45

I mean, your hand is being forced by the fact that the industry charges such exorbitant rates and makes such enormous profits out of it. If the charges were closer to cost price, it would be fairer.

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