Archive for March, 2009
Monday, March 23rd, 2009
Many women feel as if they have tried everything: monitoring cycles through body temperature, over-the-counter fertility predictors, fertility-enhancing drugs and in vitro fertilization. After many attempts at becoming pregnant, it makes sense that the frustration can become more than a difficult issue physically, but also emotionally.
Thousands of women each year are now seeking the help of egg donor agencies such as Beverly Hills Egg Donation. When fertility treatments are unsuccessful, many women are told “no” [about having children] because of their age. But with the use of an egg donor and the added help of chiropractic, there may still be plenty of reason for hope. At least one study showed that, after receiving chiropractic care, previously infertile women were much more likely to become pregnant (Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, 2003). And while reasons behind chiropractic’s success in treating women who have difficulty becoming pregnant aren’t certain, there are a number of possibilities why it may work.
Chiropractors believe proper alignment works in several ways to increase the likelihood of becoming and staying pregnant. Chiefly, improper alignment of the cranial, spinal, and pelvic bones can hinder the nervous system, which controls a woman’s reproductive system, causing imbalances and hampering her ability to get and stay pregnant.
Many of the patients Dr. Matthew Gloin, D.C. sees for infertility have tried everything. They come to chiropractic to help prepare the body’s nervous system for the upcoming egg donor cycle. Dr. Gloin first talks to them about their menstrual health history, noting signs of imbalance, which have often been problematic since the onset of menstruation, including heavy cramping, mood swings, and missing periods. ”We balance the body [through chiropractic],” says Dr. Gloin. Patients receive a combination of chiropractic adjustments, three times a week to start. After adjustments start to hold, patients visit once or twice a week.
How long should chiropractic take to work? Not long, says Dr. Gloin. ”We give it three months. Often women will become pregnant following egg donation not only because of their fertility experts, but because their nervous systems are functioning at full capacity through chiropractic.” Unless there have been serious compromises to reproductive health, he says, such as a history of extreme athletic activity or substance abuse, chiropractic may set the stage for a successful pregnancy.
-Dr. Matthew Gloin, D.C.
Friday, March 20th, 2009
Often, egg donors inquire about egg donation and expect that they will be donating just one of their eggs to an infertile couple. It just doesn’t work that way. When an egg donor is matched with a recipient, they are contracted to donate the eggs that they produce in a particular menstrual cycle. During that cycle, the physician that they are seeing intentionally increases the number of eggs that are produced. While a “normal” woman might release one or two eggs a month, those numbers would be cause to cancel an egg donor cycle prior to the retrieval.
The number of eggs produced and donated in an egg donor cycle can range from about 8 to as many as 40 (although that is very, very rare). The average cycle results in a retrieval of between 15 and 20 eggs. The eggs are fertilized after retrieval, and often not all of them will successfully fertilize and develop. About 12 to 14 healthy embryos generally result from 20 eggs. Some of these embryos (possibly 2) will be transferred to the recipient or a gestational carrier, and the remainder frozen for future use.
We always encourage any questions a prospective donor might have. Please refer to our main site for more information about becoming a donor and feel free to contact us for more information.
-Ellie Klein, BHED Cycle Coordinator
Saturday, March 14th, 2009
So many BHED (Beverly Hills Egg Donation) donors are accomplished, well-educated young women, that we thought it might be valuable to give you some highlights now and again. Our list of dedicated egg donors includes women who speak three and four languages, college graduates with 4.0 GPAs, and women working on their Master’s Degrees and even PhDs.
Among our linguists, we can count Alexa #3127 who speaks Czech, Ticiana #2995 who is a native Portuguese speaker, Thomasina #4798 who learned Italian in college and is now fluent, and Natalia #870 who speaks both Russian and Chuvash. Asha #4746 speaks four languages – English, Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.
Our college graduates boast degrees in a wide variety of disciplines. For example, Lynn #4857 has a degree in Architecture, while Ashley #4593 graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Theology. Jeni #3093 completed her B.S. in Economics at UCLA, Lisa #3986 has a degree in Zoology, and Lynnea #4083 is pursuing her degree in Biopsychology.
We have quite a few donors who have completed or are enrolled in Master’s programs, including Terri #4759, Jennifer #4389, Hannon #4506, and Michelle #4577.
In blogs to come, we’ll highlight state-and-nationally recognized athletes, dedicated volunteers (including several donors who have started their own non-profits), state beauty pageant winners, professional models and much more! We continue to be impressed with the outstanding and altruistic young women that are part of our donor program.
-Alexa Abrams, BHED Director of Donor Recruitment
Thursday, March 12th, 2009
In terms of how much to compensate an egg donor, the ASRM report specifically states that payments to donors “should be fair and not so substantial that they become undue inducements that will lead the donors to discount risks.” This is a point that I feel cannot be stressed enough. Any donor assumes certain risks – medical, emotional, and even financial, and being a donor is a huge responsibility. They spend hours being screened, filling out health history information, going to appointments, and undergoing the retrieval procedure. We want to make sure that the donor is not so enamored by the compensation that she will receive that she doesn’t fully assess the risks and responsibilities that go hand in hand with participating in a donor cycle.
The report goes on to state that while there is no consensus on the exact amount of compensation a donor should receive that “sums of $5,000 or more require justification and sums above $10,000 are not appropriate.” I believe that anytime one sees an advertisement promising more than these recommended amounts, or anytime a donor requests a fee in excess of these amounts, one should proceed with caution. Additionally, there are many clinics and physicians that will not work with a donor requesting a fee higher than the ASRM suggested guidelines. The ASRM report makes it clear that programs (agencies) recruiting donors and anyone assisting a recipient that has recruited their own donor should establish a compensation structure that “minimizes the possibility of undue inducement of donors and the suggestion that payment is for the [eggs] themselves.”
This can lead to the following issue that I am constantly debating with friends and colleagues: if these guidelines exist, why are some donors offered twelve, fifteen, or twenty thousand dollars (or more) for their donations? If you have an “elite” fee or an “elite” program, where fees are higher based on education, talent, appearance, or IQ and test scores, aren’t you in fact paying for “superior” eggs? And doesn’t that completely contradict what the ASRM report has stated? If the ASRM guidelines are all we in this industry have to go by, I think that anyone in the field owes it to the integrity of the field in general, and the the individuals involved specifically, to maintain the guidelines to the best of their ability.
-Kate Lyon, Attorney at Law
Monday, March 2nd, 2009
Egg / Ova / Oocyte Donation* offers a viable option to women who have been told that they cannot or should not attempt to achieve a pregnancy using their own egg(s). This can be, and generally is, an extremely emotional step for any individual or couple to take. It is also one that can be costly. With the current state of our economy, the expenses related to any infertility treatment are being more closely examined by those that find themselves in need of such treatment, and the compensation provided to donors is just one of these expenses to consider. With more young women applying to become donors, because of the financial incentive that does exist, many of us in the field (and those that are thrust into this world because of their own fertility situation) are constantly wondering “how much is too much?”
As an attorney in the field, I take very seriously the responsibility of ensuring that the Egg Donation Agreements that donors and recipients (or “Intended Parents”) enter into are drafted appropriately, taking into consideration the standard of the industry and the guidelines that are available. It is especially important to make clear not only the exact compensation the donor is going to receive, but what exactly the donor is being compensated for.
While in California, that state in which I practice, there are no laws that specifically deal with egg donation or compensation, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine has published a report that deals specifically with the financial compensation of egg donors. (“ASRM Ethics Committee Report: Financial Compensation of Oocyte Donors,” Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 88, No. 2, August 2007). The report makes clear what many of us in the field so strongly believe: that compensation to egg donors is justified on ethical grounds, but care needs to be taken with the explanation and delineation of the structure of the compensation, as well as the amount of compensation. Both donors and recipients need to clearly understand that the donor is receiving compensation for the time, inconvenience and discomfort associated with the entire egg donation process: from the screenings required before a donor can begin medication, to the actual cycle obligations (which includes taking various hormone medications), and then the retrieval procedure.
Compensation should never be dependent upon a certain number of eggs being retrieved or upon the quality of eggs being retrieved (which can, by extension, also mean that the fertilization rate of such eggs or whether or not a pregnancy is achieved from the donation should not be considered when structuring compensation). The ASRM report even goes on to state that compensation should not vary based on the number or outcome of prior donation cycles or the ethnic or other qualifications/characteristics of the donor.
*In the assisted reproductive technology (“ART”) industry, professionals use several terms when discussing oocyte, or “egg” donation. For purposes of uniformity, the term “egg” and/or “eggs” will be used in this entry.
-Kate Lyon, Attorney at Law