The Perfect Donor explores how young, healthy women are recruited for the high-demand market in human eggs.
This feature documentary weaves together the stories of eight women, as they navigate the demanding process of egg donation. Through medical screenings, hormone injections, and major surgeries, women reflect on their decisions to help other people have children.
Their journeys through egg donation are told against the backdrop of the multi-billion dollar per year infertility industry that drives the human egg market. While some women are overjoyed with their role in helping create families, others find that the thousands of dollars they were paid for their eggs comes at a greater cost.
This film weaves together the tangled intersections of joy and heartbreak, money and altruism, genetic selection, assisted family-building via technology, informed consent and women's health, and the business of making babies.
This film is part of a broader campaign to provide egg donors with more information, and improve the process for everyone.
Many egg donors are college-age women with minimal experience in how to self-advocate, or negotiate legal contracts and medical care. They put their trust in the professionals to take care of them. While all women have the right to make informed decisions about what to do with their bodies, that right relies on access to reliable information. This film is part of a larger campaign to inform, educate, and transform how egg donation is conducted, in the interest of egg donor health.
We will be working to raise awareness across college campuses, with a wide distribution to both academic and non-academic audiences. We will share information with policy-makers, in order to improve current industry standards. And we will work together with professionals in the industry to address and enhance best standards of care.
But ultimately, this film--coupled with our research--will provide women with the information they need to self-advocate and make empowered decisions.
Egg donation requires several weeks of injectable hormones to produce a higher quantity of eggs than normal, in a single menstrual cycle.
When the physician determines the eggs follicles are large enough--that they are "mature"--the donor then injects a "trigger shot" to release the eggs. Forty-eight hours later, a surgeon removes them through an ultrasound guided needle that goes through the vaginal wall, pierces the ovary, and then removes each of the mature eggs from one ovary, and then repeats the process on the other.
While egg donation is largely thought to be safe, there is still no reliable, longitudinal research that explores the impact of egg donation on women's short or long-term health and well-being. While many women go through the process with no ill effects, this is not true for everyone. More research is needed so that women considering egg donation have a better idea of the range of possibilities.
What happens to our eggs as we age?
Who needs an egg donor?
Why do women donate eggs?
When an egg donor faces infertility.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Egg donors must self-inject a variety of fertility drugs over several weeks in order to produce more eggs than they normally would in a monthly cycle.