Our Experience with Egg Donation, Inc. (ED, Inc.)
Plus an Egg Donor Contract
Egg Donation, Inc. (ED, Inc.) is an agency which matches egg donors with infertile couples. We had an horrible experience dealing with them. We would like to share our experience with anyone who is interested.
Infertility is already a painful experience but dealing with ED, Inc. was an experience we hope no one needs to go through. We paid more than $4,000. And more than one and a half year after we contracted with them, we ended up with nothing but a painful memory. Not only did they not fulfill their obligation, but also sued us for breach of contract several years later. That's why we are sharing this experience with anyone who is interested to know.
In summer of 2000, we contracted with Egg Donation, Inc. (ED, Inc.) to find an egg donor for us. It took them almost a year to match us with an Russian girl. After the psychological screening and medical examinations started, ED, Inc. sent us a letter asking us to give them their matching fees, $1,900, and the money for the donor's fee and donor's travel expenses. In the contract we signed with them almost a year ago, it stated donor's fee was $2,500. They told us the donor's fee was $4,000 without any explanation. We checked with our donor, she said ED, Inc. told her that her fee was $3,000. After we confronted the information with ED, Inc. the director was furious and told us to choose a donor whose fee was $2,500. We had no choice but to continue the process since we had paid more than a thousand dollars medical fees for our donor.
In the same letter ED, Inc. sent to us asking money for the donor, they also asked us to pay for an attorney whose office was supposed to be independent from ED, Inc. After we refused to use the attorney they recommended to us and started looking for an attorney ourselves, ED, Inc.'s director accused us wasting time.
After we found our own attorney and were getting ready to start the procedure, we found our donor was no where to be found. We contacted ED, Inc., they told us to find her ourselves and did not have any better idea. Later we found out our donor had left the country with no returning date because her U.S. visa had expired and ED, Inc. did not mention anything about her legal status to us. All they cared was they found a match, collected the fees.
After our donor left the country, we asked ED, Inc. to return our money back including donor's compensation and travel expenses. They refused to return our donor's money until we filed a complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau. After that they still refused to return their matching fee back. They said they would continue to match us with another donor. But during the four months after that, they used many different excuses not to match us with another donor. In fact their director, Karen Synesiou, had closed our case after we started asking our money back. During that four months, we begged her to reopen our case, she first said we needed to close the BBB complaint before they would match us again. After we closed the complaint, she wanted a written report from BBB. After BBB staff sent a written notice, she said they did not receive the report. After that she said she was not satisfied with the report. After that she said she wanted us to hire an attorney. After that she said we had not paid the attorney when we contacted her, she still refused to open our case and refused to work with us again. In the last email she sent to us she said she would close our case as if our case had always been opened.
During those four months, we pleaded with her repeatedly, tried to reason with her and even begged her. We told her we started a $3,000 medical flex dollars account for this procedure in July 2001. If we did not finish this procedure by June 2002, IRS would forfeit all our money that were left in that account. She was not moved. Not only did she refuse to reopen our case but also because she needed to find good explanation why she refused to reopen our case, she attacked us personally. We paid $2,500 for their services and more than $1,500 medical bills for the donor. But after more than one and a half year, we ended up with nothing. She gave us so much stress and anguish during those months, we do not want anyone to experience it again.
After ED, Inc.'s director refused to refund our money and also refused to match us again, we contracted with another agency to match us with a donor. It took only about four months from the time we contracted with that agency to our first embryos transfer. The first transfer did not produce any good news but the second transfer did. We now have a healthy, beautiful daughter. We are so happy and grateful for the fact that one day we could be parents too after more than ten years of trying.
Just when we were celebrating the birth of our daughter and enjoying our new busy life, we received a court summon one day in 2004. It was from California Superior Court stating that ED, Inc. is suing us for breach of contract and libel. They say we owe them $3,000 plus attorney fees and also because of this website their reputation has been damaged.
We could not believe what they are doing to us. For one thing, they are the one who owes us money, not the other way around. Another thing is the contract we signed with them clearly states that if "any controversy or claim arises...the Parties agree that they will first submit any dispute that they may have to non-binding mediation... If the Parties are unable to resolve their dispute by mediation then the Parties shall be required to submit the dispute to non-binding arbitration... Should the Parties be unable to resolve their dispute by arbitration, then each Party shall have the right to file a lawsuit to seek redress for any alleged dispute." They neither submitted their dispute to mediation nor to arbitration. They went directly to file the lawsuit. This should not have come as a total shock considering the facts that they did not fulfill their contractual obligation when paid in full and when the contract says the donor's fee is $2,500 and they asked us to pay $4,000. They just do not have any respect for the contract we signed with them.
We thought since we have the returned checks to prove we had paid them in full and printed email to back all our claims, this case should be straight forward and end quickly, but we were so wrong. Once the case started, our attorney had meetings to go to, phone calls to make, documents to prepare. Mark even had to interrupt his work and fly to Los Angles to attend a mandatory mediation. And we don't even have a court date at this point. The case still has a long way to go but we have already paid over $10,000 in attorney fees to defend ourselves.
According to California law, in our case, we cannot get our attorney fees back even if we win the case in court. Our attorney estimates that, when the case is over, his fees will have been several times more than what we have paid. ED, Inc. has its own in-house attorney and is trying to use its vast financial resources to ruin us even when the whole thing is their fault. We have become the victim of this mean-spirited corporation the second time.
We would like to share the egg donor contract we used on this website for those of you who could use it. The egg donor contract is both in web version and in Word version. You will need to modify it to fit your situation. Please don't sue us if you don't like the contract. :-)
Evelyn & Mark