Money & payment
Most programs offer payment to women donating their eggs for their time, effort, and discomfort — your payment does not and should not depend on the number or quality of eggs retrieved. Outside of the United States, however, payment and compensation expectations may vary.
Questions to ask:
How much money can I receive for my eggs?
Even though some egg donation ads claim to compensate egg donors as much as $100,000, most women are compensated in the range of $3,000-$10,000 per donation cycle. First-time donors are often compensated $3,000-$5,000. The price goes up, usually by about $1,000, with each subsequent donation based on how well the process went in previous cycles. The amount of compensation tends to vary based upon geographical location, whether specific traits or qualities are in high demand, and whether you are a “proven donor” (past donations resulted in pregnancy).
If you decide to withdraw from the program before eggs are retrieved, some programs will provide partial compensation based on the number of days of medication taken. Compensation expectations should be discussed and determined prior to starting the medication protocol. Donors should not be required to pay for any of the medical costs, regardless of whether they decide not to donate, or withdraw from a donation after the cycle has begun. No donor should feel obligated or threatened to continue under fear they will be responsible for medical costs.
According the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), donors are required to pay taxes on any money received for donating eggs, using the Form 1099.
When will I receive payment?
A payment schedule should be set forth before beginning the egg donor cycle. The payment schedule can take several forms. Sometimes a donor will receive payments based on the donor reaching different stages in the cycle, e.g. starting injections, administering the “trigger” shot, and retrieval. Other times a donor will receive compensation only after retrieval. Donors can and should feel comfortable negotiating for which payment schedule is right for them. Payment should not be contingent on the “success” of a cycle such as whether a donor produces a certain number of eggs, e.g. more money for more eggs.
Will I need to pay taxes on my egg donation compensation?
The short answer: Probably. A groundbreaking tax court ruling in January 2015 determined that fees paid to egg egg [-Adena] donors are, indeed, taxable. However, despite this ruling, many egg donors continue to successfully appeal taxes owed.
About the tax court case: Nichelle Perez, an egg donor out of California, donated her eggs twice. She did not report her compensation as income when filing her taxes. However, her agency reported the amounts to the IRS who subsequently requested Ms. Perez pay taxes on the compensation. Ms. Perez appealed, just as many donors before her. This time the appeal led to a landmark case before the United States Tax Court – the first case addressing the tax treatment of compensation received for the sale or donation of human eggs.
In short, she lost. The court held “[c]ompensation for pain and suffering resulting from the consensual performance of a service contract is not “damages” under I.R.C. section 104(a)(2) and must be included in gross income."
However, despite the holding of the court, the decision is far from a cut and dry decision regarding all egg donation compensation. Several questions remain unanswered. Posed by attorney Dean Masserman, they are as follows:
- Was the court suggesting that if the contracts were re-written and clearly stated that the compensation is for the sale of eggs that Perez would have won?
- If language was added that compensation is dependent upon the quality and quantity of eggs retrieved would it make a difference? Would any egg donor agree to such terms?
- Isn’t revenue from the sale of property and goods taxable anyway?
- Does the sale of single-cell genomes fall within the exception regarding the sale of body parts?
Moreover, the ruling underscores the importance having a contract signed by both parties -- the egg donor and the recipient(s) -- with separate legal counsel. Because egg donation practices are unregulated and wide-varying in the United States, egg donors should advocate for a contract and separate legal representation. Also note that a medical consent form is not the same as a legal contract between both parties.