Building a Long Term Nest Egg for your future

Recommended by Dr. Michael White, Updated on January 5th, 2018
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The ad wasnt exactly subtle: Genius Asian Egg Donor Needed Above Average Compensation. The author of the ad, which ran this past January in MITs student newspaper, left little to the imagination as to the ideal candidate. 21-year-old Chinese MIT student with A grade point average, near-perfect SA T score, several awards in high school and university, he wrote. She wants to be an egg donor in order to help bring a child into the world with the same special gifts she has.

In an age where infertile couples can option the ovaries of healthy young women for a fee, prospective parents can now choose the race, body type, IQ even alma mater of the egg donor who will contribute to their future offspring. The more specific or rare the desired trait, the more compensation donors can expect. And increasingly, it pays to be an Asian egg donor.

While the majority of egg donors are paid between $5,000 and $7,000 per donation, Asian or part-Asian donors can demand upward of $10,000. Part of the reason may be basic supply and demand: Infertility is equally common across races, but Asian American women may be more desperate to have children. A 2006 US military study found that, in an equal-access to fertility treatments setting, Asian American women had a rate of utilization that was four times higher than the general US population. This may be due to many Asian societies still placing a high social premium on childbearing.

On the supply side, Asian egg donors are harder to come by than other races and are therefore among the most sought after, according to many egg donor agencies, with Chinese, Japanese and Korean egg donors in highest demand.

But the procedure may come with a personal cost. Unlike nearly every other medical procedure offered in the US , egg donors take on their physical burden without knowing the risks involved largely because the medical community has never studied them. Whereas the Food and Drug Administration requires a lengthy vetting for the vast majority of pharmaceuticals, fertility clinics are permitted to provide drugs whose long-term effects have never been studied on the target population the young, healthy and usually poor women who donate eggs.

The reasons for this oversight are founded in the complex history and politics of assisted reproductive technology in the US . But it amounts to a medical sector devoid of government regulation, standardized protocols and risk information for a large percentage of its participants including, increasingly, Asian women.

The Truth About Harvesting

Raquel Cools tan, oval face appears on a screen against a dark background. The high-powered studio lighting turns her rosy Vneck sweater a hot pink and illuminates her long, dark hair like a shampoo commercial. Facing the camera, she launches into an explanation of her hobbies her love of yoga, travel and triathlons. At several points, she giggles and blushes. Family is huge to me, she said with a mix of humility and coquettishness.

The woman in the egg donor advertisement video bears only a little resemblance to the one standing in front of me in real life. On the day I meet her at her art studio, Cools hair is short and unstyled, her face devoid of makeup. She wears a simple black dress, sandals and no jewelry. She is also standing in front of a neon light installation shaped like a uterus. When I mention the differences between the video and her current appearance and personality, she smiles. Thats egg donor Raquel, she said. Its the version of me that recipient parents want to see.

Cool, 27, is a former egg donor and performance artist living in Santa Cruz, CA. Her latest exhibit, Live, Nude Eggs chronicles her experience through mixed media art and a heavy sense of metaphor. Inside the studio, we walk past a series of portraits depicting various medical slides of Cools body. One picture focuses on her hormone-stimulated ovaries overflowing with developing oocytes. On top of each one is drawn a tiny arrow with a price tag.

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