Egg donors are a hot commodity targeting young fertile women in need of money to pay for college tuition, bills, etc. Seen on the side of buses, movies and ads in college newspapers, such as University of California at Berkeley’s “Daily Californian,” offer $25,000, $65,000, or even six-figure sums, for “exceptional” donors — attractive people with perfect SAT scores or who belong to certain ethnic groups, reports NYU Livewire.
There is a dark side to these young women who donate their eggs as seen in the Eggsploitation documentary trailer above. These ads make egg donation appear easy/ breezy, but it can come with complications and implications that impact these young women both physically and emotionally for the rest of lives, even leaving them unable to reproduce and bear children.
A 30 year old Scientist, who was a 25-year-old graduate student donating her eggs for the first time said in a statement to NYU Livewire,
“When I was first considering being a donor, I was really misinformed about the process.”
She went through a series of tests and was placed on birth control to synchronize her cycle with the woman who wanted her eggs. She injected herself twice daily with the hormone stimulant Lupron, which shuts down the normal ovarian process. At 35 hours before retrieval, she had to give herself what she calls “the big shot,” which stimulates the ovaries to produce extra eggs, reports NYU Livewire.
On retrieval day, she was anesthetized while a needle was inserted through her vaginal wall to withdraw 20 to 30 eggs, each about the size of a dot. The process took about six weeks, and six more for her body to re-adjust. Then she had a scare. She experienced “ovarian hyperstimulation” — a serious potential side effect of egg donation.
“I first realized something was wrong when I couldn’t breathe,” she said. “I gained 17 pounds over three days. Everything hurt. I looked pregnant. I was completely freaked out.”
Her case was mild. Another young women was donating eggs to pay for college tuition when her doctor snagged the left wall of her ovary, leaving a cut that would become scare tissue. To extract eggs, the doctor passes a hollow needle up into the ovaries and uses suction to basically vacuum the eggs out of the ovarian follicles, reports Marie Claire.
The let her go home heavily sedated, leaving the snag ignored, but two weeks later she still felt sedated. After going to the hospital, they informed her she may have received too much anesthesia and it would wear off. Another month goes by, she gets worse and collapses.
“The weird cramp blossomed into a fiery stab that spread through my abdomen and I collapsed from the pain.”
She finds out that a cyst formed on top of the scar tissue from the cut, and she collapsed because it burst. She had three options on how to deal with this problem. (1) ignore it and expect more cysts (2) have surgery to remove the tissue (most likely result in more scarring), (3) have surgery to remove the ovary altogether.
This young woman’s ovary was damaged and it would be more difficult for her to have children in the future. Damaged for life trying to make money giving someone else life.
There are plenty of stories of egg donation gone wrong and of course there are those that have no complications. Egg donation is a medical procedure and has implications. There is a reason that the money is so enticing. Think before you make a choice that could effect your life forever.
Founded by 3 egg donors, weareeggdonors.com provides support and is a community for egg donors on all sides.