The class action lawsuit filed in April 2011 will likely go to trial next year, according to a front page article in today’s NY Times.
The suit claims that the ASRM’s guidelines capping donor compensation to 10K, although technically not a law, is in effect illegal price fixing. Some agencies have been flouting this cap for a while, as there is no legal limit on egg donor compensation. We at NAFG do not, however, because as members in good standing of the ASRM and SART, we pledge to abide by these guidelines, and only to work with clinics that also abide by them. A representative from the ASRM a few years ago read our Web site text with a fine tooth comb, pointing out all the places we needed to add yet more references to their guidelines. So these guidelines remain a powerful force: their purpose is to self-regulate the industry so the government does not step in and regulate it for us.
The article mentions donor compensation as high as 75K; I have never encountered anything like this. If it is true, it is rare. However, qualified (clear their screenings and make a good number of high quality eggs) and desirable (highly educated and attractive) donors are very hard to find. Without the compensation cap, donors can demand their own prices, making the field even more competitive.
As outdated as the compensation cap is, we at NAFG have found the order it imposes useful. We offer 10K to all our donors, whether they have donated previously or not, no matter their education level or ethnicity.