EXTRA: Controversial conception

11:47 AM, May 19, 2007   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida -Even on the cellular level, it’s amazing how a baby is created: a sperm and an egg combing into one. When couples can’t do it on their own, some turn to science.

“The only way we’d be able to have a child is to go through invitro with an egg donor,” said “Jane”, a donor recipient.

“Jane” doesn’t want to be identified. Not many people know her son is the product of another woman’s egg. Because of her decision she’s lost friends.

“Some people feel that’s not how God meant for children to be born,” she said.

With help from a fertility clinic, “Jane” and her husband were even able to pick out their child’s features.

College students are typically sought out as donors. Kelli Richardson, on the other hand, was a single mother of three.

“I would think that would be very heartbreaking never to have a child. So if I can give someone like that and help them with something, that would be just remarkable,” Kelli said.

Thousands of children have been conceived through egg donation, yet donors are hard to come by.

“They aren’t donating a human being. It’s an egg and it has to be fertilized to become a human being,” said Dr. Sandy Goodman, fertility specialist with the Reproductive Medicine Group.

As many as 80 couples are waiting for an egg at the Tampa fertility practice. “Jane” and her husband didn’t have to wait long though. It took six weeks for doctors to find them a donor. Three weeks later, “Jane” was pregnant.

“Being a mom is 90 percent what you bring to the child. Nurturing and all that is really only 10 percent genetics,” she said.

The price is steep, costing couples an upwards of $30,000. Donors are paid for their eggs. Dr. Goodman calls it a $3000 compensation for time, effort and discomfort. It was lucrative enough for Kelli to donate four times,

“It would be my DNA and that’s it,” she said. “It wouldn’t be my child. It wouldn’t be my husband’s sperm with it.”

It may sound like an easy way to make a quick buck, but the process is extensive.

“The donors have to go through psychological and medical screening,” Dr. Goodman said.

“You have to think about what you’re doing and if you want to go through the process giving yourself all the medication, going through the surgery,” Kelli added.

The price is also emotional. Kelly admits, she wonders about those eggs she donated, what those children may look like.

“I’ve thought about it. I would like to see pictures. It’s confidential and it would never happen.” She said.

And “Jane” wonders how she’ll tell their son about his conception.

“Once he’s old enough to understand, we’re definitely going to explain it to him.” She said.

But for now, she wants to keep it a secret.

Alexandra Hackett, Tampa Bay's 10 News

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