By Tonya Carey, Egg Donor Recruitment Specialist
Tonya Carey has been with Oregon Reproductive Medicine since 2015. She connects women from all around the country with our Egg Donor program.
Why do women choose to become egg donors?
There are a variety of reasons why someone may decide to become an egg donor. Two important factors we consider are altruistic and financial motivations. Many donors have someone in their life who was affected by infertility or they feel a strong desire to help. In a poll conducted in ORM’s private egg donor Facebook group, 82% of respondents stated they were initially drawn to egg donation for altruistic reasons, while the remaining were drawn to the compensation. Helping someone create a family is a very rewarding experience, and though it may seem a bit scary at first, the outcome is simply remarkable. In fact, we have had several donors meet with their recipients after being matched, and even some donors who have met the children born from their egg donation. The bond that can be created through this process is extremely fulfilling for both the donor and recipients.
The initial curiosity for many donors may come from hearing about the financial compensation donors receive. While donors are not compensated for their eggs, per se, they are compensated for the time and commitment to the donor process. We have found that most donors who are initially interested in compensation usually have a goal in mind. They may be saving to purchase a house, a car, fund a wedding or pay for college expenses.
ORM Donors Commitment
An egg donor is required to attend several appointments leading up to their egg retrieval and it can be a big scheduling commitment, and our egg donor team does a great job to work around donors’ schedules. They also undergo medical interventions such as ultrasounds, blood draws, hormone injections, and the laparoscopic egg retrieval itself. They may see minor changes in their body such as weight gain, mood fluctuations, skin changes, and even bruising at the injection site.
The emotional journey egg donors go on during the process, may seem to some like a bigger commitment than the time itself. Egg donors have a choice in whether they would like to be known or have contact with the recipients, or if they would like to stay completely anonymous. There are several levels of engagement when it comes to communication, and our team helps donors weigh these options. Each option carries its own emotional impact not only at the present time but also in the future. ORM has an amazing group of psychologists who speak with each donor regarding these options to help them navigate this emotional decision. Although donors do have the option to change their mind at any time, we also discuss with them the impact this may have on recipients who may very much look forward to that communication.
ORM Donors Compensation
While donor compensation varies by program and even by region, most programs follow the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines when setting their donor compensation. ASRM advises that egg donation pay should not be based on things such as ethnicity, education, or cycle outcome. At ORM our compensation ranges from $7,000 to $10,000 and is tiered based on experience and the number of times a donor has donated. We absolutely love our donors and developed this tiered compensation to thank them for their continued commitment to the ORM Donor program. Over the past couple years donor compensation has been an active discussion topic in the fertility field as some donors feel the compensation restrictions are not fair to donors. ASRM’s recommendations are simply guidelines and not regulations, so there are programs out there who pay higher than the $10,000 recommended cap. There is an ethical concern about coercion when compensation becomes too high and so many programs, like ORM’s, continue to align with the ASRM recommendations.
In addition to the donation compensation, we also cover travel expenses for all donors living out of our local area. This includes flights, hotel, and per diem for both the donor and a companion. It is very important to us that our donors are supported throughout this process, and having someone accompany them to Portland and support them through the process is a big part of that. The ORM Egg Donor Team works with donors across the US and is very familiar with coordinating out of area monitoring and travel accommodations. A visit to Portland can be a great experience for our egg donors and there is usually time to tour the area. The Pacific Northwest is definitely a breathtaking place to visit! Donors have the option to add days to their trip (extra hotel stay not included) to explore. There are beautiful mountains, forests, vineyards, and the Pacific Ocean, all within driving distance.
Become an ORM Donor
Our hope is that ORM Donors walk away with an enlightening experience, a little extra cash for their upcoming endeavors, and peace of mind that they generously helped someone create a family. If you are thinking of becoming an egg donor for the compensation or for altruistic reasons, please reach out to us and we would be happy to walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. We also host Egg Chats for those interested in learning more!