What It Takes to Be an Egg Donor

How some couples are finding fertility solutions in a young woman's eggs, and what it takes to be their egg donor.

A Stranger's Eggs

Roughly 15% of American couples struggle with infertility. And when fertility drugs, in vitro fertilization, and other fertility technologies don't work, couples who can afford it are turning to egg donors. Some ads in college newspapers offer as much as $10,000 for the right eggs, a sum that could buy half a semester at some private schools. It's a tempting amount of money to many financially strapped college women. But critics say the ads often focus on the desperation of infertile couples and the money they may be willing to spend, and gloss over the obligations and risks to the donor.

The American Fertility Association, which provides information for couples having trouble conceiving a child, says egg donation can mean the difference between no children and a family for a childless couple.

But this lofty contribution by a young woman also requires drugs, at least a monthlong time commitment, and a risk, though small, of medical complications. Psychologists who work with egg donors say potential donors must also realize they are creating a child they can never acknowledge or have a relationship with.

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