Extracting the eggsOncethe eggs are ready to be extracted, donors are heavily sedated and10-15 eggs are extracted with a large needle inserted into the ovarythrough the vaginal wall. Derek describes the egg retrieval asrelatively easy and painless. The procedure takes about 30 minutes, anddonors usually experience some pain and discomfort for a couple of daysafter the surgery. It took Derek about ten days to recover the firsttime, and she says that the recovery period was shorter for hersubsequent donations.Butdonating eggs multiple times did take its toll on Derek. After herninth donation, she started to become depressed which she thinks wasdue to a hormonal imbalance caused by the hormone treatments. Thedepression became more and more severe, she says. It just got worseuntil I couldn't leave my bed and had to see a doctor. I believe it waslinked to my repeated egg donations since there was nothing else goingon in my life at the time that could have explained why I became sodepressed.An article in the Boston Globe from June 2006 states that there is no government or industry group that tracks how many times a woman has been an egg donor, although The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has now set guidelines recommending no more than six donations in a lifetime. Scientists don't know if repeated donations have long-term effects on a woman's fertility. The United States is one of few industrialized countries that allows egg donors to be compensated. TheUnited States is one of very few industrialized countries that allowsegg donors to be compensated.
Since few women are willing to go throughthe process for free, finding acceptable eggs can be very difficult inother countries. Today, many European and Canadian couples travel tothe U.S. for the sole reason of obtaining eggs for in vitrofertilization. The phenomenon has become so widespread that fertilityclinics advertise for these reproduction tourists.Thisincreased demand for eggs is also driving up the rate of donorcompensation in the U.S. Many are concerned that paying donors,particularly very large amounts, causes young women desperate for moneyto agree to a procedure without fully understanding the risks involved.Many donors feel that they were not fully informed and have laterregretted their decision to donate. Now 35 years old, Derek says that her decision to become a multiple donor was fuelled by the fact that she was young and felt invincible. I was a bit of a feminist, and donating eggs made me feel empowered - I was spreading my genes, she says. I would have benefited from more discussion about the problems . I overdid it.