Donating eggs in order for others to become parents is one of the greatest gifts a woman can give. However, not every woman can be granted this opportunity as donors have to be healthy and fertile and usually between the ages of 21 to 31.
While some women are attracted to the cause of egg donation in order to help couples struggling to conceive, it should also be noted that some donate eggs for the financial rewards. Then again, whichever the case may be, the bottom line is that giving your eggs away is a gift for infertile couples.
If you are considering becoming an egg donor, you need to weigh the pros with the cons first. Yes, egg donation is a noble act but knowing the risks will let you know whether you’re fit to donate or not.
List of Pros of Egg Donation
1. It makes you feel good.
The psychological benefits of donating eggs can be both a pro and con (which will be discussed later). On the good side, you will feel happy to have donated eggs to a donor bank or to couples who have had fertility troubles.
Although we have advanced reproductive technologies these days, there are still couples who struggle to have a child. It’s hard for us to imagine the internal stress they are going through but knowing that that can be alleviated with a single donation creates a feeling that is incomparable.
2. It makes you aware of your fertility potential.
You might want to have kids someday and being an egg donor before that time comes can give you insight into whether or not you can produce healthy eggs. In case you want to delay giving birth, you can also decide to freeze your eggs.
If the results turn out negative, then this can be a good conversation point with a potential spouse who may want children. Knowing as early as possible in the relationship that conceiving might be an issue is a good step.
3. It allows you to receive free testing for certain disorders.
In the US, testing for several of the common genetic disorders is recommended by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology for couples who are thinking of getting pregnant. Genetic diseases usually happen when two people with the same genetic mutation produce offspring. As such, testing is important in the pregnancy planning stages to determine whether couples carry a specific mutation that may affect their child.
Those planning to conceive will also get free screening for infectious diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and syphilis.
4. It allows you to receive financial compensation.
You can receive financial incentives for agreeing to donate eggs. This reward is for your time and effort, as well as travel expenses and the several medical procedures you have to go through. According to US News, women could receive up to $4,000 to donate.
5. It provides an opportunity to know the child.
This, however, is not true in all cases. As such, it can be both a pro and a con. But in certain “directed” egg donation cases, donors can have contact with the child throughout their life, albeit limited. This usually happens when eggs are donated to someone you know. It’s also possible in cases where those who received your eggs agreed to maintain contact.
List of Cons of Egg Donation
1. It has psychological disadvantages.
An article in Fertility and Sterility notes that one out of five women have doubts over how their donation will be used in conceiving a child. Not only that, they have concerns over how the child will be raised as well.
Some egg donation brokers also project a negative attitude towards donors. For instance, they seek people based on race, genetics, intelligence and physical characteristics. They do this in order to help couples receive eggs that will more or less produce a child that closely resembles them. The trouble with this is that there is just no guarantee that promise will be met. In addition, this kind of screening process has been compared to a “master race” mentality.
It’s understandable for donors to feel that prospective parents using egg donors would turn out to be neglectful and disinterested. However, those who usually go for this kind of method are from stable financial backgrounds and have loving homes.
2. It involves a process that takes time and a whole lot of effort.
Donating eggs is not a simple matter. The retrieval alone takes a minor surgical procedure lasting 10 to 15 minutes. Not only that, you also have to be sedated and you need to have a full day’s rest after. Following the procedure, you can be disoriented or have your reflexes impaired. Although complications resulting from egg retrieval are rare, there have been reports of individuals who developed blood clots, bleeding or infection.
3. It may result in conception.
This is true if you do not abstain from sex at least until a week after retrieval. This happens because not all eggs may have been retrieved by the clinic. As such, you need to take precautions during the entire process to ensure you do not conceive.
4. It may lead to ovarian hyperstimulation.
This happens when women have swollen ovaries and experience abdominal pains. They also experience the retention of fluid until their next period. Experiencing these may change your menstrual cycle. That said, there are no studies that show egg harvesting procedures affect the ability of women to conceive on their own.
5. It may lead to the donation of eggs with genetic defects.
Despite going through rigorous screening tests as well as filling up questionnaires, there is still a slight possibility that the donated eggs may have genetic defects which develop into disorders. This is possible when women don’t know the detailed medical history of your family or in worst cases, use false information for the sake of the monetary reward.
Egg donation provides you with the chance to make a huge difference in the life of others. However, donating eggs is not a simple procedure and requires that you be a suitable candidate. Knowing the pros and cons of the process allows you to determine whether or not you’d like to be an egg donor.