conceiving egg donation donor candidates

Click here for Conceiving Through Egg Donation (Part 2 of 10): Adoption.

Who Would Want to Be an Egg Donor?

IVF clinics and independent egg donor programs reach potential donors through advertising, mostly through Web and classified ads in local and college newspapers. Put “egg donor” into any search engine and you will see how various programs vie for applicants through both altruistic (Help a Family in Need!”) and monetary (“Generous Compensation!”) incentives.

People often ask why women want to donate. Some are inspired by a friend or relative who has experienced infertility. Others feel that they have “good genes” and their eggs would make healthy babies. We’ve encountered a few candidates who consider themselves very fertile, or may have just terminated an unwanted pregnancy, and feel a donation would make up for the loss in some way. But even when these reasons are involved, the compensation is the most powerful incentive.

However, it takes more than just desire for money to be an egg donor. Egg donation is not an easy way to make a quick buck. Donors generally do not get paid until after the retrieval, which can take weeks or even months after they first apply. Before they see any money, they need to go to many doctors’ appointments, answer many questions, endure medical tests and procedures, and follow a slew of directions.  All this takes intelligence, maturity, and a great sense of responsibility.

Furthermore, women who donate their eggs are not impoverished or desperate for money. Many donors are ambitious, educated, intelligent, and independent women in their 20s from middle class backgrounds, who could use some extra cash to supplement their incomes.  Indeed, the majority of recipients are white, educated professionals seeking donors with ethnic, class, and educational backgrounds similar to their own. In our experience, white, educated women are the most sought after donors. The second largest demand is for educated Asian American women, especially those of Indian and Chinese heritage.

Most programs make their applications available on their Web sites to submit electronically or by regular mail. The most basic requirements:

  • age between 21 and 30
  • good health and habits (no illnesses or conditions, no smoking or drug use)
  • good family medical history
  • body mass index under 27.

About half the applications submitted to my egg donor program are not qualified for one reason or another. Many applicants can technically qualify, but ethnic background, attractiveness, and education level determine their ability to be matched.