Why I chose to donate my eggs

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Christopher Paul Csiszar

Why would anyone donate their eggs to help a stranger have a child? Elaine Chong explains her reasons.

I first heard about egg donation when I was at university in the US. We studied the sociology, psychology and biology of sperm and egg donation, and I was really inspired by the gift-giving nature of it – I knew it was for me.

The professor told us that egg banks wanted young, healthy women who were well-educated, but that there was a real shortage of women of colour.

I thought about people like me – from a Chinese background – who might have fertility problems and want to have children really badly. I thought about my gay male friends who spoke at length about wanting to be good parents and how my gift could help them, too.

The professor talked about how each egg could be worth up to $3,000 (£2,280) which made the lecture hall go: “Ooooooh!”

I decided to give it a go and registered via a website decorated with pictures of cheerful, chubby babies.

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Unfortunately, I failed the screening process almost immediately – anyone who lived in the UK for more than six months from 1980 to 1997 is ineligible because of the possible risk of transmitting the human form of BSE (vCJD). This also meant I couldn’t donate blood, or be put on the organ donor list.

But the idea stayed with me, and when I came back to the UK for my postgraduate degree, I decided to try again here.

One big difference is that donors here receive a one-off compensation fee of £750 ($990) to cover costs – but I wasn’t doing it for the money.

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