Fertility industry offers big money to recruit 'desirable' egg donors at top universities

March 24, 2010

(Garrison, NY) Many egg donation agencies and private couples routinely exceed compensation recommendation limits for potential donors, a new study finds.

From a sample of over 300 college newspapers, findings revealed that almost one-quarter of advertisements offered payment in excess of $10,000, a violation of guidelines issued by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).

Compensation strongly correlated with average SAT score of the university's students, according to the study published in The Hastings Center Report by researcher Aaron D. Levine, of the Georgia Institute of Technology. In addition, approximately one-quarter of the advertisements listed specific requirements for potential donors, such as appearance or ethnicity. This also goes against ASRM guidelines, which prohibit linking compensation to donor personal characteristics.

Holding all else equal, such as demand for in vitro fertilization within a state and donor agency variables, Levine found that each increase of 100 SAT points in the average for a university increased the compensation offered to egg donors at that school by $2,350.

Of the advertisements violating ASRM guidelines, many offered $20,000, several offered $35,000, and one was as high as $50,000. Current ASRM guidelines recommend that sums of $5,000 or more require justification and sums above $10,000 are not appropriate.

The extent to which compensation limits are appropriate remains an open question, says Levine, but industry steps to self-regulate could alleviate concerns about exploitation. Monetary thresholds may be valuable if these limits protect a substantial number of potential donors from undue pressure to donate. Levine suggests verifying donor agency compliance (which is currently self-reported) or changing the format of advertisements.

In a related commentary, John A. Robertson, of the University of Texas, argues against greater regulation, and calls the current guidelines into question themselves. "After all, we allow individuals to choose their mates and sperm donors on the basis of such characteristics," he writes. "Why not choose egg donors similarly?"
-end-


The Hastings Center

Related Reproductive Medicine Articles from Brightsurf:

When reproductive rights are less restrictive, babies are born healthier
American women living in states with less restrictive reproductive rights policies are less likely to give birth to low-birth weight babies, according to a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, published by Elsevier.

Partner selection ultimately happens in the woman's reproductive tract
The female reproductive tract has the final say in human mate choice, according to new research from the University of Eastern Finland.

Vagabonding female butterflies weigh in on reproductive strategies
A new study by researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, published today in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, shows that dispersals, when undertaken by butterflies in search of unpredictable resources, selectively burden the egg-carrying females on their long flights.

Immune functions traded in for reproductive success
Researchers at the MPI of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany, and the University of Washington in Seattle, USA, for the first time, investigate the phenomenon of sexual parasitism in deep-sea anglerfish.

Research reverses the reproductive clock in mice
Researchers have lifted fertility rates in older female mice with small doses of a metabolic compound that reverses the ageing process in eggs, offering hope for some women struggling to conceive.

NUS Medicine researchers can reprogramme cells to original state for regenerative medicine
Scientists from NUS Medicine have found a way to induce totipotency in embryonic cells that have already matured into pluripotency.

What we're learning about the reproductive microbiome
Most research has focused on the oral, skin, and gut microbiomes, but bacteria, viruses, and fungi living within our reproductive systems may also affect sperm quality, fertilization, embryo implantation, and other aspects of conception and reproduction.

Operating room reproductive hazards for female surgeons
Researchers in this review article discuss occupational reproductive hazardsĀ for female surgeons in the operating room, including radiation exposure, surgical smoke, working conditions and physical demands, sharps injuries, anesthetic gases and the use of toxic agents.

The reproductive function of the clitoris
A recent review published in Clinical Anatomy highlights evidence that the female clitoris is important for reproduction.

Do magazines exaggerate fertility at advanced reproductive age?
A new study has shown that popular magazines commonly feature older pregnant celebrities on their covers with no mention of the risks of advanced maternal age pregnancy or the advanced reproductive technologies and methods needed to achieve these pregnancies.

Read More: Reproductive Medicine News and Reproductive Medicine Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.