Many egg donation agencies and private couples routinely exceed compensation recommendation limits for potential donors, a new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology has found. Additionally, around one-quarter of the ads for eggs listed specific requirements for potential donors, such as appearance or ethnicity. The study also 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.
From a sample of over 300 college newspapers, the study 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). Requirements for appearance or ethnicity are also against ASRM guidelines, which prohibit linking compensation to donor personal characteristics.
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 researcher Aaron D. Levine, who suggests verifying donor agency compliance (which is currently self-reported) or changing the format of advertisements.
But 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?"
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Source: Georgia Institute of Technology