Donated Eggs: Big Payoff for Would-Be Parents and Big Payday for Egg Donors

Women who are not fertile when they are ready to become mothers may resort to donated eggs.

But not just any eggs. They are not all created equally.

Some egg donors boast a better pedigree than others, at least in the eyes of some prospective mothers.

And some of those mothers will pay a hefty premium to acquire those eggs over others.

How much? Tens of thousands dollars in some cases. One agency reports payment of as much as $50,000 and even $100,000 for eggs from a highly attractive and intelligent egg donor.

Some, including the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, are critical of what seems to tread perilously close to an auction to the highest bidder.

Others feel that the free market should control this like any other “transaction” people engage in.

Egg donors are mindful of the risks and inconvenience they incur in donating their eggs, including hormone treatments, and the time commitment required.

Some of them resent the disparity in pay and the lack of transparency. In an effort to fix some of these perceived problems, they are suing the organizations of clinics, as a class, claiming illegal price-fixing.

And at least one donor attributes her advanced cancer diagnosis to over-donating – out of ignorance allegedly resulting from nondisclosures by the clinics.

Would-be mothers often have lots of criteria once they decide to use donated eggs. Everything from anticipated resemblance to themselves, to good health, to intelligence, aesthetics, etc.


  1. this ABC News story: ‘Premier’ Donor Eggs Command High Prices for Desirable Genes
  2. this New York Times piece: Egg Donors Challenge Pay Rates, Saying They Shortchange Women and
  3. this New York Post article: ‘Being an egg donor gave me terminal cancer’ .