Local egg donors scammed, never received payment for services

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by Diana Zoga

KMOV.com

Posted on December 14, 2011 at 6:37 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 14 at 10:21 PM

(KMOV) -- The owner of a former fertility brokerage company pleaded guilty on Wednesday after being accused of scamming women who donated their eggs.

According to officials, Janae Helgerson defrauded six women in Missouri and in other states. Helgerson's company, Midwest Egg Donation, connected egg donors to couples. According to the U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Missouri, couples paid for the medical procedures and gave money to Helgerson to pay egg donors. Helgerson was supposed to keep an "agency fee" and give the rest of the money to the donors.

U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan says six women are owed almost $30,000 for eggs donated between 2006 and 2009.

"While she advertised nationally, when her operation went belly up and she started to lie to the egg donors, they happened to all be here in eastern Missouri," said Callahan.

Three of the victims live in the St. Louis area and three others lived out of state, but donated their eggs at medical facilities in St. Louis.

Angie Polete says she is still owed around $7,500 for her eggs and travels expenses for her egg donation.  The single mother of two and full time nursing student says she decided to donate to help another couple start a family and help support her own.  Polete says she decided to donate in 2007 and found Midwest Egg Donation, on-line.  In 2008, she underwent weeks of medical testing and procedure to donate her eggs. 

"lt is exhausting.  There is a lot of travel time involved driving to and from the hospital, to and from all your psch evals, and your genetic counselings," said Polete.

Polete later learned the couple who received the eggs went on to have twins.  She says she was glad to help another family. 

Polete plans to attend Helgerson's sentencing hearing on March 16, 2012.

Helgerson faces a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines.

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