With the rising cost of college tuition, many young people today are struggling to finance their education. Slaving away at a part-time job is one option, but advertisements in newspapers are publicizing an alternative for young women: donating an egg. Donors are offered between $3000 and $10,000 for a single egg, and for those with certain desirable traits- like race, appearance, high test scores, or athleticism - the compensation can be $20,000 or more. Figures like these can prove very tempting to a female student struggling to pay the bills. But what exactly does donating an egg involve?
Egg donation is more or less the female equivalent of sperm donation-only more complicated, risky, and lucrative. Every year, thousands of babies are born with the help of egg donations to women who, for a variety of reasons, cannot become pregnant using their own eggs. The process involves removing eggs from a donor's ovaries and fertilizing them in vitro. After being allowed to develop for a couple of days, three or four embryos are then implanted into the uterus of the woman who will mother the child.
The process is usually coordinated by fertility clinics or egg 'brokers', who often do the research and place the ads. It was after seeing one of these ads that Julia Derek considered becoming a donor. After finishing college when she was 24 years old, she approached a fertility clinic and since then became a twelve-time donor. She says that money was her main motivation for doing it - she was paid $3,500 per donation.