Egg Donation – When Will the Media Ever Get it Right? But, Do We Really Care?

“Is this woman worth $100,000.00?” Nice start to an even more disturbing story. Thanks ABC for your “investigative” reporting. First, that egg donor, who is a woman who chose to donate her eggs (and as it appears with full consent), did not receive that amount of money for donation her eggs just once, but six times. Yes, likely over the ASRM guidelines, but really, is that the way to start off an introduction into family building? It is Tuesday evening and the show just aired…..I am too angry to comment – will finish this is the morning.

Okay, I have now slept on it, and I am now going to comment because I do care. Not because I am a reproductive lawyer, and not because I have a financial interest in a surrogacy and egg donation center – No, because I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a daugter, a sister, an auntie Theresa, and an egg donor – and with that there is no website to link to….it is who I really am – take it or leave it. And, I am appalled by the treatment by ABC News because again the media is trying to sell a story that is “sexy.” Take it or leave it, those of us in the industry need to consider this when we get a call from a producer.

I am not going to rehash all of the theories behind why a woman donates her eggs or why women do not need to be protected from themselves, as others have done a great job doing just that, including Jacob Appel, Maureen Gill Higgins and kjda on Strollerderby. But, I am going to say that this piece was not what this industry (yuck) or all of the infertile couples and their wonderful egg donors really need to hear. I suggest that those of us involved in this field of medicine and law (better description) who help others create their families stage a media blackout. No more “sexy” stories – period. Let’s all consider how many hours we have each spent wasted on trying to “educate” these producers, who really have no interest in what we do.

In fact, 60 minutes (a CBS show) recently called me to discuss surrogacy. Well, their angle, which may have since changed but of which I want no part, was women who use surrogates to save their bodies from the harsh realities of pregnancy (really?) and couples over 60 having children so that they can have an heir (again, really?). I guess that the fringes are what sells. What about all the woman who lost her uterus to cancer or the gay couple who desperately wants a child but cannot adopt because of laws that prohibit them from doing so?

Again, we as a group can make change by doing two things:

1. Self-regulate as much as possible. Create those guidelines that respectable “players” will follow. Yes, it is going to take some time, but it is likely the best option for all involved.

2. Don’t court the media – just ignore their calls and demand something in writing (although you won’t get it).

I am sure that there is more to be done, but that is a start. Any don’t we at least need to start?

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