Rising demand for young egg donors

easy money

The high rate of infertility, triggered by today’s fast-paced lifestyle, and the increasing demand for human eggs by childless couples has set in motion an industry that is growing by the day. 

Egg donation, a philanthropic exercise people would say, is a boon for many women who are unable to produce their own eggs due to one reason or another. In today’s world, many women choose to marry late because of their career and professional commitments. Because of advanced age their capacity to produce eggs or the quality of their eggs also deteriorates. In addition, stress, environment, lifestyle, take a toll on women’s health.

 “It has been seen that even young women are suffering from a poor ovarian reserve and require egg donation. So egg donation is a useful option for such women,” says Dr Preeti Gupta, IVF consultant and gynaecologist, Jaipur Golden Hospital. 

But what is alarming doctors is the rising incidence of young girls who are willingly coming forward to donate eggs, for a generous remuneration, unmindful of the health concerns and the risks involved. The trend being observed by fertility clinics is shocking “as 1/5th of the total egg donors are young girls aged between 20-25 years. Worse, these young women are donating eggs even after being warned about the health concerns and problems that might crop up at the time of their conceiving,” says Dr Gupta.

Reportedly, a healthy young donor gets a minimum Rs 20-25,000, which can go upto Rs 40,000.

Alarming as this trend may be, doctors say that “Young ladies aged between 21-35 years with regular cycles, preferably having at least one child, are good candidates for egg donation. They should also be healthy without any medical illness.”

Although egg donation is a safe procedure, it helps to know what it involves. Blood tests are done to ensure general well being and fitness and also rule out infections like hepatitis B, C and HIV. Hormone injections are given daily for 10 to 12 days and egg retrieval is done on the 14th day and under anaesthesia. 

“This procedure is usually safe but does carry some risk as ovarian hyperstimulation, where ovaries become enlarged in size carrying all the fluid and eggs. It can be life threatening also,” says Gupta.  “The other risk”, she warns about “is bleeding from the enlarged ovaries into the abdomen which requires surgery and blood transfusion. Hence, it should be done by an experienced fertility specialist who knows which injections to give and how much to give.

 Also, it should be done at a centre where facilities for post-operative monitoring are available, so that any abnormal bleeding can be detected and treatment initiated immediately,” added Gupta.

Donating eggs can fetch the young lady with a lot of money, but infection in the uterus and ovaries can jeopardise her future fertility. Taking fertility medicines many times also enhances the risk of ovarian cancer. 

Normally, a donor can donate eggs only upto six times. Since there is no database of donors maintained by the government, and absence in the of any regulations, as in the instance of surrogacy, many women, usually from low socio-economic strate are taking advantage of the situation.

However, these days even young college girls are donatings eggs to earn a fast buck.Twenty-six-year-old Seema Kumari* spoke to Metrolife about her egg donation experience. “I got married at quite a young age and now have a child to look after. I am also a divorcee and I need money to support my child’s education. I am not educated as well and take dance classes, but earning money through egg donation is simpler. You get good money from this.”

Another donor Krishna* said, “I belong to a very poor family and egg donation was a quick and easy way to earn money. I know there are health issues but this was the only option for me.”

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