Answering Egg Donor Wanted Ads

What You Need to Understand Before You Respond to an Egg Donor Wanted Ad

Woman sitting at computer in darkened room looking up egg donor ads
Before you answer that egg wanted donor ad, do your research. Don't give them any personal information until you know who they are. Sam Diephuis / Getty Images

So, you've decided to become an egg donor! One of your first steps may be looking online at egg donor wanted ads. In fact, your first exposure to the idea may have been through an ad. 

Some clinics and intended parents place egg donor wanted ads in university publications, hoping to attract young women looking to make a little cash and help someone build their family. 

Donating your eggs to an infertile couple is a very special gift.

Your contribution to their family will always be cherished. 

However, before you pick up the phone and answer an egg donor ad, you need to do some research. And understand what you're getting into...

Is Egg Donation For You?

The first big question is whether or not egg donation is right for you.

Women decide to donate for a number of reasons, with the best reason being the desire to help a couple have a baby.

However, when your first exposure to egg donation is through an egg donor wanted ad, there may be a tendency -- at least at first -- to focus on the cash.

The cash for egg donation is given in exchange for all the time and effort you go through when donating your eggs, and there's a good reason for that.

Egg donation involves a lot of time and effort!

There is also risk involved. The fertility drugs you'll be taking -- if you are accepted and go through with it -- come with serious potential risks to your health.

They are the same drugs women going through IVF treatment themselves take. 

Before you pick up the phone to answer an egg donation ad, do some research about what will be expected from you first.

Egg donation is not for everyone.

Anyone Can Place an Egg Donor Wanted Ad. Do Your Research!

When answering an egg donor wanted ad, keep in mind that anyone can place an advertisement.

There are very few regulations on who can be egg brokers. Not every egg donor agency or fertility clinic is the same. Some are better than others, and some ads may not be from legitimate companies at all.

What can you do to research an egg donor wanted ad?

Research the agency or clinic online. If an ad mentions the name of a clinic or agency, you can do a web search first.

A professional looking website isn't a promise of anything, but it helps.

Look to see how much information is provided on the website. Is the process clearly explained? Does the website look like someone put a lot of thought into it, or does it look quickly slapped together?

Are they upfront about compensation and egg donor requirements and risks? (Yes, there are serious risks. It's important you know them, and even more important that they explain them all clearly to you.)

Call the agency or clinic and interview them.

Before you let them interview you, you need to interview them.

When you call up the agency or fertility clinic, ask about the staff.

How long have they worked in assisted reproduction? What training and credentials do they have?

Ask them for references.

If they won't give you the names of women who have donated in the past for them, be wary.

Ask about compensation.

Find out how the compensation for egg donation is handled.

Is it held in escrow by a legal firm in good standing? 

You should not be in a position of "just trusting" that they will pay you.

Speaking of compensation, how much does the ad offer?

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) suggests egg donors receive between $3,000 and $8,000. They say offers over $10,000 are not acceptable.

If the ad offers $10K or more, keep in mind that this goes against guidelines. You should be very suspicious of compensation promises above $25,000.

Ask people you know about the agency or clinic.

Ask other students, ask your own gynecologist. They may have heard good (or bad) things about a particular clinic or agency.

Whatever you do, don't trust the information you gather from online people.

Clinics and agencies have been known to place "scouts" on message boards. That online pal telling you how great a clinic or agency is might not be a real egg donor or fertility patient.

Confirm their professional associations.

If they are a fertility clinic, check to see if they are members of the ASRM and Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART).

You may also want to check their success rates at the Center for Disease Control's website. You may think this doesn't apply to a donor, but a good success rate for the patients may mean a better experience for the donor as well.

Check with the New York State Department of Health. 

The New York State Department of Health gives licenses to egg donation agencies, even those outside of New York. They are in fact the only licensing currently available.

The licensing is handled by the Blood and Tissue Resources Program, and you can contact them to confirm whether or not an agency has their license.

(If an egg donor agency outside of New York does not have a license from New York State, it's not a bad sign. But having one is certainly a good one.)

Use common sense and follow your instincts.

If you feel uncomfortable when you call or meet with an agency or clinic, or if anything doesn't feel right, don't move forward with them.

Ask questions before you sign any contract or agree to medical screening.

Be sure to ask all your questions before agreeing to medical screening and before signing any contracts.

If the answers don't feel right to you, or if they won't answer your questions, don't go through with anything.

Do not meet with anyone alone or give over any information without through research.

Do not agree to meet with anyone alone, and do not give your information to just anyone.

Check them out before you disclose personal information.

Beware of Very High Compensation Promises in Egg Donor Wanted Ads

I mentioned this above, but it's worth repeating. You should be wary of egg donor wanted ads that offer very large sums of money, or anything greater than $10,000.

Most egg donor wanted ads promise compensation, anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, and this is the normal range. The ASRM says that compensation above $5,000 must be justified, and that payment above $10,000 is not acceptable.

That said, you may see egg donor ads offering much higher compensation rates, as high as $25,000 (at the very, very high end.)

You should know that even if you answered these ads, there may or may not be someone offering to pay that much for your eggs. It may be meant to lure you into answering the ad.

Or, the ad may be aimed at applicants that meet very specific criteria (like perfect SAT scores or members of a particular religion or ethnicity.)

Don't Be Afraid to Look Beyond the Egg Donor Wanted Ads

Even if your first exposure to egg donation is through an ad, don't feel limited to answering just what you've seen in the paper.

If egg donation seriously interests you, consider calling up local fertility clinics and asking them for advice. (Not sure who to call? Ask a doctor your trust, your family doctor or your gynecologist.)

You can ask the fertility clinics if they handle egg donors themselves, or if they work with particular egg donor agencies. Meet with a few agencies or clinics before deciding who to donate with.

Becoming an egg donor is a huge decision. Don't feel rushed, and take the time you need to research your options.

Sources:

2008 Guidelines for Gamete and Embryo Donation: a Practice Committee Report. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Accessed December 2, 2010. http://asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/News_and_Publications/Practice_Guidelines/Guidelines_and_Minimum_Standards/2008_Guidelines_for_gamete%281%29.pdf

Becoming an Egg Donor. New York State Department of Health. Accessed December 2, 2010. http://www.health.state.ny.us/publications/1127/

Interests, obligations, and rights of the donor in gamete donation. Ethics Committee. American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Accessed December 2, 2010. http://asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/News_and_Publications/Ethics_Committee_Reports_and_Statements/interests_obligations_rights_of_donor.pdf

Carol Fulwiler Jones, MA, LPC, LMFT. http://www.TheInfertilityCounselor.com Email Correspondence/Interview. November 8 and 10, 2010.

Lisa Greer of Beverly Hills Egg Donation, LLC. http://www.bhed.com Email Correspondence/Interview. November 6 and 28, 2010.

Wendie Wilson, President of Gifted Journeys. http://www.giftedjourneys.com Email Correspondence/Interview. November 8, 2010.

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