Due to the number of women facing fertility problems, it has become quite common for many of them to seek out reproductive assistance. Infertility is often due to a woman's inability to produce eggs - usually caused by early menopause or damage to the ovaries. Fortunately, in vitro fertilisation and egg donation gives these women the opportunity to carry and deliver a child.
Although the donor may be personally selected by the woman, in order to prevent future custody problems, the procedure is normally done via the help of an anonymous egg donor. The clinic (often called "egg donor agency") will advertise a need for healthy donors between the ages of 21 and 35. Advertising methods usually include newspaper ads as well as radio spots; some clinics may even visit college campuses to recruit interested women.
Legally, the donor cannot be paid for her egg; however, she can be compensated for the time and inconvenience she undergoes, which can be quite significant. Indeed, due to the amount of screenings, exams and medical treatment required, the egg donation process may take up to three months' of the donor's time, during which she must be available anytime for checkups. Because of the time required, monetary compensation helps to attract a larger and more diverse group of willing donors.
When a potential donor responds to the ad, the agency will first ensure that she is a non-smoker and is within the ideal weight range for her size. After these qualifications are met, the donor must provide her family's complete medical history and be screened for various physical and mental illnesses. Once deemed healthy, she will then be matched up with a recipient. The recipient and donor must not only have the same blood type, but should also have similar characteristics and features such as eye colour, hair colour, skin tone, etc. Some recipients may even provide IQ prerequisites or request their donor have specific skills (art, music, writing, and so forth).
Once the donor is matched with her recipient, she will be placed on fertility drugs that are designed to stimulate her ovaries and increase a large quantity of eggs. During egg retrieval surgery, the eggs are then transferred to the recipient and fertilised with sperm (typically the recipient's husband).
The amount of compensation provide to donors varies according to location and agency, however, they are typically compensated £2,600 - £3,900. Some agencies may provide additional compensation for exceptionally intelligent and/or attractive donors. Very altruistic donors may even refuse payment, but most are motivated by both the personal gratification and monetary compensation they receive.