Thu, February 26, 2009
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U.S economy falls, egg donors rise

2009-02-26 06:01:44 GMT2009-02-26 14:01:44 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

Nicole Hodges is an aspiring actress.

But the 23-year old from New York City has been out of work for three months and is desperate for cash.

She's decided drastic measures are necessary - she's donating her eggs to a fertility clinic

SOUNDBITE: Nicole Hodges, wants to donate eggs, saying (English):

"I'm still paying off college. I have credit card bills and you know, rent in New York is so expensive, so essentially live."

Around 7 million people are affected by infertility in the United States and as the economy sinks further into recession fertility clinics have seen more women offering to donate their eggs for cash windfalls of up to 10,000 (USD).

Katherine Bernardo works for the egg donor program at New York's Northeast Assisted Fertility Group.

SOUNDBITE: Katherine Bernardo, Northeast Assisted Fertility Group, Egg Donor Program Manager, saying (English):

"Remember that egg donation helps a lot of people. It is safe if done by a professional, medically ethical clinic. It helps everyone. It helps the donor. It helps the recipients have a child and it's a very effective form of treatment for infertility.

Nicole says she understands the medical risks, and has the support of her family and some friends.

SOUNDBITE: Nicole Hodges, wants to donate eggs, saying (English):

''Just because there's going to be a child out there with my biology, doesn't necessarily mean that makes me their mother. It's the same thing with adoption. Yes they're from a different place biologically, but their mother is the person that takes care of them and that they come home to.''

An ideal donor is aged between 21 and 30, healthy, attractive and educated. Women also have to pass medical, psychological and genetic testing.

SOUNDBITE: Katherine Bernardo, Northeast Assisted Fertility Group, Egg Donor Program Manager, saying (English):

"Yes, there is an economic climate that encourages women to find creative ways to make money and we agree with that. That doesn't mean that anyone interested in egg donation actually goes on to donate because so few women are actually eligible.''

Nicole's decision isn't without a cost - she will need to have hormone injections until the eggs are ready to be retrieved.

But she, and many others it seems, believes the benefits are worth it.

Neena Dhaun, Reuters.

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