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Media Center – Press Releases

Busting Five Myths About Egg Donation


CHICAGO (Nov. 30, 2010) – The steady increase in recession-spurred egg donor prospects has not resulted in a larger pool of qualified candidates, a leading agency that matches egg donors and gestational surrogates with intended parents said today.

“While media coverage, and especially about the compensation (averaging $5,000 to $7,000) has created awareness and a flood of prospects, the vast majority have not qualified as donors for various reasons,” said Mary Ellen McLaughlin, a partner at Chicago-based Alternative Reproductive Resources (ARR).

She added: “It speaks to the misconceptions the media perpetuates, often inadvertently, like that most donors are poor, young and uneducated, and just want to make a quick buck,” she said. “It’s among the many myths surrounding the fertility industry.”

Among the myths ARR makes a point to dispel:

Myth No. 1: Anyone can do it.
Many women can physically donate their eggs. Not everyone otherwise qualifies, however. ARR utilizes a 27-page pre-screening questionnaire with prospective donors. If they qualify there, they must also pass physical and psychological tests. ARR receives up to 50 applications monthly; less than 5 percent actually become donors.

Myth No. 2: It’s all about the money.
ARR’s donor surveys show that over 70 percent donate for altruistic reasons. “Most know someone with infertility issues, or were inspired by a story,“ McLaughlin says. “Compensation is secondary.”

Myth No. 3: Egg donation causes medical problems.
There’s no biological basis for these claims, doctors say, but they don’t know for sure either way. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) says the long-term health effects of egg donation have never been studied. However, egg donors undergo the same drug treatment as IVF patients, and studies of that population show this is safe.

Myth No. 4: A donor can donate as many times as she likes.
ASRM guidelines restrict women to six donations in their lifetimes, depending upon the approval of a treating physician.

Myth No. 5: Intended parents only want Ivy League donors.
Every intended parent has different criteria. ARR says most search for an egg donor with similar traits, like ethnicity, hair and eye color, height, etc. They also look for similar interests, such as cooking or sports.

Founded in 1992, ARR was the first egg donor/gestational surrogacy agency in Chicago, and one of the first in the nation. For information, e-mail info@arr1.com, or call 773.327.7315.

Media contact:
Robyn Velasquez
Hodge Media Strategies

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A Parent’s Story:
Cheryl Johnson, Willowbrook, Ill.

I always wanted children, but as I grew older I knew the chances of becoming pregnant would become harder. ARR had the philosophy I was looking for in an agency. The ARR team made me feel very comfortable as a single woman making a life-changing decision. I also was impressed by ARR’s egg donor process. ARR did extensive background work as part of the process, ultimately matching me with two exceptional potential donors. They both shared my characteristics and values. I am now the proud mother of twin boys. My donor and ARR helped me create the family I always wanted.

  american society of reproductive medicine