Big bucks for eggs


Egg donation agencies and private couples are paying well beyond the recommended compensation limits for preferred, potential egg donors, as much as $50,000 in one case says a study from The Hastings Center Report.

Over 300 college newspapers were sampled for ads seeking egg donors. Twenty five percent showed ads offering in excess of $10,000. This is a violation of the guidelines laid out by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

The price went up with the average SAT scores at the universities where the ads were placed. The correlation between SAT score and monetary compensation equaled about $2350 per 100 point increase. Many ads also requested specific ethnicity and certain physical characteristics having to do with appearance.

ASRM guidelines state that payment at or above $5,000 require some sort of justification and that any sum over $10,000 is simply inappropriate. In the ads the research team considered, many offered $20,000 to egg donors, several offered $35,000 and one went as high as $50,000.

However, the ASRM has only provided guidelines and technically the people who make these offers are not doing anything illegal. Compensation limits are an open question. There is concern about exploitation so the industry does take steps to self regulate which is why the ASRM came out with its recommendations. Limits protect women who may feel significant pressure from interested parties to donate. Research Aaron D. Levine who contributed to The Hastings Center Report suggests that verifying donor agency compliance and/or changed the format of advertisements may be two ways of helping to stabilize and monitor compliance.

But it should be regulated at all? John A. Robertson, of the university of Texas argues against it. “We allow individuals to choose their mates and sperm donors on the basis of such characteristics… Why not choose egg donors similarly?”

Source: The Hastings Center, Medical New Today


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