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Contributed By:

Rebecca Robinson

The Ethics of Egg Donation

OPB | June 3, 2010 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:26 p.m.

Egg-donation agencies and fertility clinics nationwide saw a significant increase in egg donor applicants during the height of the recession last year. But as interest rises, so do concerns about potential health risks involved in egg donation and disparities in payments for eggs. In college newspaper ads, would-be donors from the University of Oregon were offered about $4,000; OSU students were offered $5,000. For Ivy League undergrads, the payment might get as high as $50,000.

Ethical issues abound in the field of egg donation, which is minimally regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Many women in Oregon and beyond seeking to donate eggs may not have full knowledge of what the procedure and screening process entail. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has established guidelines for the maximum compensation amount for a donor ($10,000). However, there are no laws on the books governing how much a donor can be paid for her eggs, or how selective egg recipients can be about traits from hair color to intelligence in their quest to create the ideal child. This has lead to some consternation over so-called “designer babies.”

Have you donated eggs? Do you have a child conceived through egg donation? Do half of your genes come from a donated egg? Are all eggs created equal, or should people pay more for “better” genes?


  • Catherine Meyer: Portland resident and egg donor
  • Wendie Wilson: President of Gifted Journeys
  • Michelle Hess Walton: Portland resident and egg donor
  • Dr. John Hesla: Fertility doctor with Oregon Reproductive Medicine
  • Marna Gatlin: Founder, Parents Via Egg Donation; mother of child conceived via egg donation


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