Is it exploitation? Hmmmm.
Yesterday I came across a video called Maggie's Story - a short documentary that's part of the series named Eggsploitation. The name may give away the content of the film.
I realised that I didn't have a choice but to watch the film, upsetting as it may be.
Here's a summary of what it's about (spoiler!):
Maggie was 20 when she decided to donate her eggs the first time. She was paid US$1600 as compensation, which paid for her uni fees and books. She read the fine print on the contract which said something along the lines of: 'In the 1970's it was thought that egg donation may lead to ovarian cancer, but that was later found to be false'. That was pretty much the only (kind of) warning she was given. She donated her eggs a total of eight times from the age of 20 to the age of 32. At 32 she found a lump in her breast and the clinic she was at ordered a mammogram and the lump was classified as benign at that point. Several months later the lump was growing so she went to a new doctor and it was found to be stage 4 breast cancer.
Now this is obviously really worrying because I would HATE for my donor to have any kind of side effects, let alone cancer!?!? Maggie's felt that she wasn't adequately informed of the risks or given appropriate care when she found out about the cancer. I don't understand why she was allowed to donate so many times when by law in America it should only be a maximum of six times in her lifetime. So it sounds like there could have been negligence on the part of the clinic. Regardless, it's worrying.
I watched a second Eggsploitation film and do wish I'd watched it earlier. I might not have chosen this path, to be honest. The major theme in both was that there was very little care from the clinics who were caring the egg donors and as a result they had health complications. I have great rapport with my agency and fertility clinic who I suppose I just need to trust will do the right thing by the donor and ensure she has the best possible care during and after the procedure.
How do I feel about this now? Not great. Maybe I was naive to not even look into this initially?? I hope we're doing the right thing.
Life is so much easier when you just have sex to make a baby!!!