Self-advocacy

Throughout the egg donation process, you will be your own best advocate. It is important to ask questions when they come up and speak up if something feels uncomfortable. Egg donation is a process that can have some significant effects on your body. It is important to know your rights as a patient; advocating for your own rights, privacy, and health is a top priority.

We often hear egg donors say “I don’t want to bother anyone.” It is important to give yourself permission to speak up for your needs and to remember that you are a patient, and you should feel 100% supported and guided along the way.

If you feel like you are being left in the dark, you can say: “I see that you are busy. I have some unanswered questions. When would be the best time to address them? Who would be the best person to direct my questions to?”

Questions to ask:

Are the professionals at the clinic/agency making decisions in my best interest or in the interest of the intended parent(s)?

Clinics will often employ lawyers, doctors, and counselors that will work with you when you are moving through the egg donation procedure. You can utilize these professionals to help you make decisions. It can be advantageous to seek the advice of a medical professional who is not invested in the process and who will not profit from your decision donation. Seeking outside professional guidance prior to and/or during the egg donation process can ensure you receive unbiased answers to your questions.

How can I best advocate for myself during the egg donation process?

Your best form of advocacy is information gathering. If something does not feel right, if you have questions, or you feel you are being kept in the dark, it is important that you get the information you need. With adequate information, you can make the best possible decision for yourself.

Another important part of self-advocacy is in paying attention to the details. Many people are in the habit of signing long contracts or accepting terms without reading the lengthy document. However, this can result in agreeing to something that you are not comfortable with. In any case in which you are given documents to sign, be sure to read them carefully. If you have any questions about the ramifications of certain parts of the documentation, ask your agency or contact a lawyer for legal advice.

Self-advocacy is also about forming community. Some of the best information you can gather in advocating for yourself comes from past and current egg donors who know the process. It is important to network with past and current egg donors who may have recommendations for questions to ask, key ideas to consider, and information on how to improve your experience should you choose to move forward in the egg donation process.

Controversy: Commodification of women's bodies

A major concern is that the egg donation process attaches a price to bodily tissues, which cannot or should not be priced. People critical of the commodification of women’s bodies argue that pricing body parts can lead to degradation and loss of personal dignity. Moreover, the large sums of compensation often targeted at college students, military spouses, and low income populations have raised concerns of undue influence or economic coercion. The concern is that someone who is paying off a debt (e.g. a student loan) is in a lesser position to decline the prospect of egg donation compensation because of their economic status.

Conversely, some argue that the decision to donate is a free choice, regardless of whether or not the transaction is contextualized as a sale of goods or services. The argument is that women should be allowed to be paid for their bodily tissue, like any other service or product.

Controversy: Exploitation of women

Another major concern is that the egg donation process exploits women. Exploitation occurs when an object is exchanged for a lesser value than what it is worth and the exchange takes place under coercive conditions. In other words, it means to take unfair advantage of someone.

One perspective views the egg donation process as exploitative and coercive. Some women’s health advocates argue that paying donors, especially large amounts, may coerce women who are in financial need to sell their eggs. These donors, eager to pay off debts such as school loans, may not fully weigh the risks and may not give fully-informed consent.

An opposing viewpoint suggests that egg donation is no more exploitative than any other kind of buying or selling process.

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