Frequently Asked Questions: Egg Donors

Q:What are some of the issues that would be covered by a legal agreement with the recipients?
The legal agreement will typically establish the intentions and responsibilities of the parties and address their mutually agreed upon decisions regarding confidentiality, sharing of future medical information, future contact (if any), financial arrangements, and the disposition of any embryos remaining after treatment is concluded.
Q:I am donating my eggs to my best friend. I completely trust her and know that she wouldn’t try to take advantage of me. To save costs, can we all just share an attorney for the legal paperwork?
It’s not a good idea for both sides to be represented by the same attorney. The cost for you to have your own attorney is minimal, in the grand scheme of things, and provides extra protection for both you and the recipients.
Q:I am entering into an anonymous egg donation arrangement through a clinic. How can I be sure that my anonymity is maintained throughout the legal process?
The contracts can be signed using just your first names, pseudonyms or your donor identification number. There is no need for your name to be disclosed to the recipients as part of the legal process.
Q:Is there any possibility that my identity might be disclosed in the future?
It is possible that laws might change; no one can guarantee that you will have complete anonymity in the future.
Q:What will happen to any extra eggs that are not needed by the recipients?
In the majority of cases, fertilization of the eggs will be performed within minutes of the egg retrieval procedure, so the eggs will no longer exist in their original form. Since the resulting embryos can be frozen for many years, the recipients might have embryos remaining once their family building is complete. Any limits you wish to place on the use of these leftover embryos can be placed into your contract. For example, some donors have moral concerns about stem cell research and don’t wish leftover embryos to be used for such research; other donors don’t want leftover embryos donated to another couple for reproductive purposes.
Q:Do egg donors have any legal obligations or rights to the resulting children?
Your attorney will do his/her best to provide that you have no legal obligations or rights whatsoever to the resulting children. However, egg donation law is an evolving area of law and thus it is very important to discuss this issue with your attorney.
Q:How much will I get paid for my eggs?
Well, technically nothing. Payment is not provided for the eggs themselves; rather, compensation is typically provided for the time, effort, inconvenience and pain of undergoing an egg donation cycle. This means that your compensation should not be based on the number of eggs retrieved or whether a pregnancy results. Compensation is typically set by the clinic and/or matching agency, and may be negotiable between you and the recipients. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends compensation of $5000, allowing up to $10,000 in special circumstances. Most agencies and clinics work within this range.
Q:Can I meet the recipients in an anonymous donation?
The level of contact can be whatever is mutually agreeable to all the parties. You should be aware that if a child is born, you may have an obligation to keep your address and certain medical information updated for a period of time, either through the clinic, the matching agency or the attorneys. Please talk with your own lawyer to determine what your specific obligations are with regard to this issue.
Q:What happens if the recipients fail to compensate me as we had agreed?
Many agreements specify that the donor will not begin any injectable medications until the recipients have deposited all of the funds that will be required to compensate the donor into an independent escrow account. Please discuss the specifics of your donation agreement with your attorney.
Q:Why does my husband/boyfriend need to be involved in the legal process?
It is beneficial for everyone if your partner is supportive of your decision to donate, as he is likely to be a support person for you throughout the process. He may also need to be screened for communicable diseases and agree to remain monogamous with you during the cycle. In addition, it is important to establish his legal obligations (such as the obligations regarding confidentiality and anonymity) and to ensure that he doesn’t inadvertently obtain legal rights or obligations to the resulting child.
Q:Once the legal agreement with the recipients is signed, will I need to be involved in any further legal process relative to the donation?
It is possible that your cooperation will be needed in the future for legal proceedings that are necessary to establish the parental rights of the recipients. Please talk to your attorney for specifics relative to your situation.