Why Do Infertile Couples Choose Egg Donation?

by Mayumi Kurosawa

We read and studied skin tone and the persistence of biological race in egg donation in class. Of course, I know that there are many infertile couples want their baby and they choose egg donation as a medical interventions. But, I don’t understand why they choose egg donation and don’t agree with egg donation itself.

In Japan, egg donation is still in a gray zone. The legal system about egg donation has not been constituted enough, so there are few clinics that practice egg donation. Therefore, most Japanese people are not familiar with egg donation. But, in America, it’s not illegal and more egg donations are occurring and accessibility is improving. In fact, Japanese infertile couples go to America to be donated egg. For example, Seiko Noda, she is a Japanese politician, was donated an egg in America and gave a birth to her son.

In addition to the ambiguity of legal system, many Japanese people have traditional ethic of reproduction. They prefer natural way of reproduction. From far past, Japanese people prefer natural to artificial reproduction. It is thought that unnatural and artificial way of reproduction is against natural and it is harmful to women’s body in Japan. For example, many clinics suggest natural childbirth without injection stimulating labor to pregnant women. Injecting drugs and stimulating labor artificially is against nature, and it might bring some bad influence and danger both mother’s body and baby. But, in America, painless or artificial childbirth with injection stimulating labor is popular. In terms of Japanese ethic of natural reproduction, egg donation, picking eggs from donor, fertilizing the eggs with a sperm, and then putting it recipient’s body, is truly unnatural. And, egg donation has very complicated process and it takes long time, which burdens women’s body.

The Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (JOGR) pointed out that with egg donation it was difficult to hold anonymity of donors. They also stated that egg donation was admitted on condition of anonymity and egg donation which egg donated from one’s friends or sisters was not be admitted because of difficulty of protecting anonymity. JOGR makes much of anonymity, whereas in America whether anonymity is protected or not is questionable. Egg donation in America, recipients can choose donor from the database in which race/ethnicity are arrayed and academic backgrounds, health conditions, and so on, are listed. If I were a recipient and could choose one donor from broader choices, I think I would not choose a donor with unhealthy condition, criminal record, and no specialties, would choose a smart, good looking, healthy, and no criminal record one. Personally I don’t care much about donor’s race/ethnicity or skin tone, but these four conditions are very important elements for me. I think that choosing a donor is like arranging a child who fits perfectly to your taste.

Also, a business aspect of egg donation is controversy. If there are a lot of demands to certain race/ethnic women donors, they can command more money than other race/ethnic women. For example, according to Los Angeles Times, recently, there a lot of demands to Asian women donors, so Asian women can be compensated more $10,000 to $20,000 for their eggs, whereas women of other ethnic groups typically get about $6,000, but they can’t for lack of demand. I know the balance of supply and demand, but I can’t help thinking that egg donation agencies and fertility clinics decide the price of each race/ethnic.  It may be too idealistic but I do think all race/ethnic should be treated equally and no race/ethnic is superior or inferior to each other.

For these reasons I don’t understand why infertile couples choose egg donation. I don’t agree with egg donation, but I think that the government should discuss and set up legal system of egg donation whether it will be banned or admitted, as long as there are infertile couples who want eggs and bother to go abroad to receive a treatment or egg donation include some problem such as a dangerous to women body and deciding the price of race/ethnic.


Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology (2007). Retrieved June 21, 2012 from: http://www.jsog.or.jp/news/html/announce_05JUN2007.html

Li, S. (2012). Asian women command premium prices for egg donation in U.S. Retrieved June 21, 2012 from Los Angeles Times.

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