Egg Donation Abroad: Why Do Egg Donors Donate Overseas?

Smart Business InvestmentsIntended parents are traveling abroad in flocks for egg donation and other fertility related services.  It’s less expensive and often easier. Even though an intended parent is often required to travel often thousands of miles from home it’s often less stressful, the trip becomes an extended vacation and most of the time it’s an incredibly positive experience.

The European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) performed a survey delivered by questionnaire to over 1400 egg donors at 60 clinics in 11 European countries to learn about why women in Europe donate their eggs.  This study was to discover an egg donor’s motivation and compensation regarding their egg donation abroad experience.

What ESHRE learned from this survey —

The majority of donors are keen to help infertile couples for altruistic reasons, but a large proportion also expect a personal benefit, usually financial.

The study took place during 2011 and 2012 by ESHRE’s Task Force on Cross-border Reproductive Care and European IVF Monitoring Consortium, with the results presented by the chairman of the Task Force, Professor Guido Pennings of the Bioethics Institute Ghent, Belgium.

Things like the donors age were examined with the overall average age of an egg donor in regards to this study was 27.4 years.  In Spain, 25 and a half and in Spain up to 31 years old. What was even more interesting about this survey  —

  • 46% of the donors under 25 noted altruism alone as their motive compared to 79% of those over 35
  •  12% of those under 25 were purely financially motivated compared to 1% of those older than 35. The younger you are, apparently, the more is money a motivation.

The donor groups identified in the study population were:

  • Students (18% in Spain, 16% Finland, 13% Czech Republic)
  • Unemployed (24% in Spain, 22% Ukraine, 17% Greece)
  • Fully employed (75% in Belgium, 70% Poland, 28% Spain)
  •  Single women (50%+ in Spain and Portugal, 30% Greece

RELATED STORY: The Allure of Spain Regarding Egg Donors

One third of all egg donors had a university degree and about half of all egg donors in this survey already had a child of their own. The study asked what motivates an egg donors to donate.  Altruism was the main motivator with the majority of egg donors not receiving financial compensation.

Professor Pennings was quoted as saying:

“The fact that a person receives compensation or money does not mean that she is motivated by that money,”

The study did make it clear however, that financial compensation is still an important motivation (as it should be) for many egg donors – in specific countries.  40% of all egg donors in Greece state hands down that their motivation to donate their eggs was financial.  Those donors in Russian and the Ukraine states their reasons to donate were financial as well.

What does a typical egg donor earn for her time, trouble, and pain and suffering?  Anywhere from no compensation (zero euros) to 2000 euros in Belgium.  Most countries compensate between 500 and 100 euros which is very low compared to the USA which compensates their egg donors beginning at $5000.00 dollars all the way to $25,000.00.

Professor Penning went on to say that the amount of money egg donors earn in specific countries is recalculated as purchasing power – for instance in the Ukraine this would be multiplied by four.  In Russia by two. “This would accurate assess the real dollar value – In these countries egg donation may be very attractive to unemployed or poor women. “

The last part of the study that was analyzed separated the motivation for egg donation abroad into five groups:

  • Complete altruism (helping infertile people, a family member or a friend)
  • Altruism and financial in combination
  • Purely financial
  • Altruism and for one’s own treatment (as in egg sharing),
  • Purely for one’s own treatment.

These groups were broken down by percentage.

  • 46% were motivated by pure altruism
  • 32% by altruism and financial combined
  •  10% were purely financial
  •  5% motivated by altruism and own treatment
  •  2% by treatment alone

What was even more interesting was examining which countries had the highest rate of altruism per egg donor:

  • Belgium (86%)
  • Finland (89%)
  •  France (100%)

RELATED STORY: American Egg Donors in India

Those countries who’s egg donors who donated purely for financial compensation:

  • Greece (39%)
  •  Russia (47%)
  •  Ukraine (28%).
  • Both Poland and UK had high proportions of egg sharers.

Professor Pennings closing remarks:

“This study shows the diversity of the donor population across European countries. These differences can be explained by different reimbursement systems and different legal rules of the donation practice in payment and anonymity. In general, most European oocyte donors are motivated by the wish to help other women, but financial compensation surely helps persuade some of them to actually do it.”

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