Altruism?

May 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm 1 comment

It is interesting that I was talking to a friend today about altruism, only to watch ABC’s World News Tonight about egg donation.  For those of you unaware, there are times that a woman cannot utilize her own eggs for pregnancy and until recent breakthroughs, freezing eggs was not a viable option.  For most couples, they would utilize the services of a fertility clinic and would either select an egg donor that they met anonymously through data banks or databases.

In 2001 and 2002, I was an egg donor with the North Carolina Center for REproductive Medicine.  I filled out paperwork on my basic characteristics, the medical information I knew about myself and family, and other information.  I was and have always remained anonymous to the couples looking for an egg donor to couple with the husband’s sperm in a petri dish to be then implanted into the wife.  Regardless of the outcome, I was paid $2500 each time (now they pay $3000).  I had no intention of doing this beyond the first time. I had to endure daily shots, sometimes many shots at once, for over a month. The goal was to get sync with the ovulation cycle of the woman.  After the first time I did this, my nurse told me that the couple had ended up losing the baby a few weeks after implantation. I was devastated and it wasn’t even my baby.   It was then that I decided to do it again. I did this 3 more times and 3  couples now have the child they always wanted. I never checked again on the first couple to see if subsequent implantations were successful.

Why do I share all of this? Because today, the egg donor business is just that. Big business. Women are now commanding $10,000 or 3x as much for their eggs because of their hair color, education, beauty, and SAT/ACT scores.  I don’t discount the selection criteria – a mom wants to find a donor that is as close to a representative of themselves as possible. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine suggest at $10,000 limit for donations, and they also say that women shouldn’t be paid more based on their looks or intelligence. Where is the desire to help another just for the inner satisfaction of knowing a couple’s dream of having a child are fulfilled?

When did it become about money? Why is it about money? I don’t like is that one egg donor claimed that charging/accepting such a princely fee was just fine by her as “we live in a free market”. Again, true. However that particular donor has now done this 6 times (earning $100,000) and wants to open her own egg donor organization to help match couples and donors.  Do donors understand the hell they are putting their bodies through with all of these injections and other medical effects?  The fertility clinic I worked with did not allow women to donate more than 4 times due to the increased health risks.  The American Society of Reproductive Medicine indicates egg donors not exceed 6 times, so this woman is well within their guidelines.  Overall, there are no formal laws governing egg donation, so anything is within bounds.

I guess I am just bummed that the natural desire to help another seems lost and the story that I saw didn’t talk about generosity of spirit or the lifelong desire for children. It talked about donors that want to make money and moms who want to get the best advantage they can or as one parent stated “If this person is an Ivy-educated person and they have really great genes, why wouldn’t you want to do that for your kids?” she said. “To have a fleeting chance at being intellectually superior to other people, and really providing themselves with a great life.”   I know this isn’t all donors or all moms, but hearing this story didn’t match my experience at all and really made me wonder where the altruism was.  Maybe it’s there and the journalist just didn’t capture that aspect. Gosh I hope so.

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Entry filed under: Miscellania, Relationships, thoughts, well-being.

Sprouts Universal Truths?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. iowa credit repair  |  May 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

    iowa credit repair…

    credit where credit is due – I could not have said it better….

    Reply

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