11/14/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Human Egg Donors Make Cash in Economic Hard Times VIDEO

Making Extra Cash: Human Egg Donations on the Rise.

The number of egg donations by women have increased due to the current struggling economy. Women get upwards of $7,000 for a single egg and the families that use them, get a special gift.

This CBS News video package features a mother of a child with fragile-x syndrome. If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting one of these truly special kids, you'll understand they can be a lot of fun and a hoot, but more than a handful to take care of. If a would-be mother were to find out she is a hereditary carrier of fragile-x, prudence would dictate looking to either adoption or donor egg.

While interviewed, Nancy Block from The Center for Egg Options (its URL is outside of Chicago says she sees a forty percent increase in donations, with more and repeat donors, and attributes the rise to the economy. When prompted by the Early Show consumer correspondent Susan Koeppen, Block agrees that people are "looking for money:"

It's great for school, great for the mortgage, great to help their families out and it's something they feel good about.

The report goes on to remind that egg donation is not an easy way to make a quick buck. The process is time consuming and involves medical procedure with risks. Donors:

• spend weeks taking fertility drugs
• often get hot flashes, headaches and have vision problems
• require frequent blood tests and ultrasounds
• need several days to recover after eggs are harvested in a surgical proceedure

Most interesting, is when the camera crew ventures behind the egg donor curtain to visit with donor Chisty Bush. Bush helps support her two children and pays for nursing school with the money she's earned donating eggs-- nearly $30,000. Over the past 4 years she's donated 4 times and now that money is tight, she's decided to donate again. This way, she doesn't have to work 40 hours a week so that she has time to raise her children and study for school.

It is pretty fascinating to see Bush's children and think that they perhaps have half-siblings scattered about points-unknown. Also intriguing is to consider if or how Bush might talk to her children about this fact once they are of age.

Recipients I know personally, say their particular donor agreed to accept contact from the children once they reach the age of eighteen. In this respect, there are some corollaries with traditional adoption. The video news segment states that egg donors must be a certain age, usually 21 to 34 with a limit on the number of times a woman can donate, which is about six times.

The video package ends on the note that egg donation is win-win -- for parents and donors. Seems that a third "win" is left unmentioned, that of the little ones who get to come into this world, as imperfect as it may be.


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