According to a survey published in Fertility and Sterility, about a third of about 100 donor recruitment organizations studied do not adhere to the ASRM's ethical guidelines. These guidelines include the minimum age of 21 for egg donors, the cap on donor compensation of 10K, and a compensation rate not based on donor characteristics or previous donation results.
This last requirement is the least understood by both donors and recipients. Some recipients question our uniform 10k compensation, commenting that 10k is a big sum for an "unproven egg donor." But they do not realize that the donation process is the same for a first timer as it is for a third timer, and the donor is being paid for her time and effort, not for her eggs. As long as the retrieval occurs, the donor gets paid her full compensation, whether 7 or 37 eggs are retrieved (whether the eggs get fertilized, grow into healthy embryos, and result in a pregnancy and live birth is another story).The donor does not get paid any part of her compensation (in our program) if the retrieval does not occur, so this lessens the financial risk.
As far as setting individual compensation according to SAT scores, prestigious educations, looks, etc.: rating women according to these measures is, to put it plainly, just gross. That is another justification for our uniform compensation policy.
Although the ASRM guidelines may seem arbitrary in some respects and could use updating (especially the 10K cap), industry self regulation deters government intervention, which could be disastrous to infertility treatment in the US. ASRM members have carefully reviewed our site to make sure our language makes our compliance crystal clear, and we take their guidelines seriously.
Donor recruitment agencies that ignore or flout the rules put all the egg donor agencies, including the ethical ones, at risk.
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