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Meet the Egg Donors

There are hundreds of agencies, generally privately run, that seek out egg donors and match them with recipients. Some agencies, and sometimes even individuals, advertise in student newspapers, seeking donors. This ad ran recently in the USC student publication, The Daily Trojan.

Nowadays, most of the donor agencies have Web sites. They use them to recruit both donors and recipients. Most have databases that contain information about available donors. And most are careful to guard this information from the merely curious; they require some sort of registration in order to access information about the donors.

But there are a few Web sites that don't restrict access to information about their donors. One in particular, eggdonor.com, puts the photos, along with a good deal of information, right out in the open for anyone to see.

Egg Donation, Inc., which runs the site, claims to be one of the oldest donation agencies with one of the largest rosters of donors. Based in Encino, the firm says it offers discounts and pro bono donations to low-income recipients, and at least according to a brief survey of internet forums devoted to IVF, enjoys a good reputation.

Perhaps in the age of Facebook, it's not so surprising that many young women interested in donating their eggs would be willing to have their pictures and personal information available on a Web site accessible to anyone. But what is astounding about this particular site is that a number of the women have submitted photos that, well, could not be considered anything approaching matronly. They appear to be more appropriate for a racy dating site. For an interesting, if fairly scientific overview of the egg donation business in the US, we recommend an article published two years ago in The New England Journal of Medicine, The Egg Trade — Making Sense of the Market for Human Oocytes.

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