Many egg-donor recruiters ignore ethical standards

Posted On August 10th, 2012

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),


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So Eager for Grandchildren, They’re Paying the Egg-Freezing Clinic

Posted On May 14th, 2012

Some observations on The New York Times article today: Firstly, IVF is so expensive that even mature adults with established careers need their parents to pay for it. Secondly, most eggs retrieved and frozen are not viable, that is, they will not become healthy embryos that result in live births. A typical result of a cycle with an egg donor in her 20s would be something like 12 retrieved, 10 mature, 7 fertilized, 2 transferred, 2 frozen, and with luck, a positive pregnancy that goes to term. If you retrieve 12 eggs and freeze them, not all will survive the thaw and fertilize. If a woman wants to preserve her fertility, she should do it in her 20s, but the need does not present itself until a woman is in her 30s.


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Sanford Benardo Makes an Appearance on The View

Posted On June 27th, 2011

Sanford M. Benardo, Esq., president of Northeast Assisted Fertility Group, appeared on ABC’s The View this week, in an exciting episode co-hosted by special guest Giuliana Rancic focusing on surrogacy.

Update – A summary of what was discussed:

Where is Surrogacy legal?

  • Commercial surrogacy – paying someone to carry for you – is illegal in most of the world. In the United States, however, surrogacy is state-law controlled. States in which surrogacy is legal include California, Illinois, and Massachusetts.
  • In New York, for example, it is illegal for a state resident to be compensated as a surrogate. A resident of New York who is looking for a carrier, on the other hand, can always engage residents of a state in which surrogacy is legal.

What is the difference between ‘Traditional’ and ‘Gestational’ surrogacy?

  • Traditional surrogacy is used to describe a situation in which the carrier or surrogate is using her own egg.
  • Gestational surrogacy is the term used when the carrier or surrogate has no genetic relationship to the child.

What makes a good surrogate?

  • Ideal carrier candidates are generally middle-class women who have had problem-free pregnancies and have the full support of a husband or partner.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a surrogate be sure to check out our surrogacy FAQ,


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Sanford Benardo Speaks at Albany Law School

Posted On October 8th, 2010

Sanford M. Benardo will be speaking at the Albany Law School on October 28.  The Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology has dedicated its 20th anniversary symposium to assisted reproductive technology and Sanford’s talk will cover the concerns of recipients and concerns of donors in egg donor contracts.

Click here for more info.  (The symposium can always be viewed live via web.)


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Fertility Laws in the US vs Canada

Posted On March 25th, 2010

The following is a response to “The Human Egg Trade (How Canada’s Fertility Laws are failing donors, doctors, and parents)”.

The situation in Canada demonstrates how a lack of clear regulations for egg donation has a ripple effect of deviance from standard protocols in other parts of the process. The egg donation arrangement where a young woman was coerced to donate for an unofficial compensation even after having a failed cycle which produced no viable embryos and caused her painful hyperstimulation, was handled badly at every step, starting with egg donor/recipient relations to the medical procedure. What doctor would agree to cycle an egg donor after her last retrieval was so poor?

Doctors in the US scrupulously pore over egg donors’ records, and if there are any concerns she would not be allowed to donate again. Perhaps it is the ready availability of so many good candidates in the US that allows American doctors to be so picky. Doctors also have their own success rates at stake, which they need to maintain to attract patients.

The egg donation business in the US shows how a sensibly regulated free market works to the advantage of all, especially compared with Canada’s grey market or the UK, where they are so skittish that compensated donation is completely banned.


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Should I Tell My Child He/She was Conceived With a Donor Egg?

Posted On March 1st, 2009

Of course, only you can make a decision about your child. But in my experience, openness and honesty is rewarded with respect. On the other hand, secrecy and deception fosters anger and resentment.

Your child will love you no less with the knowledge about his or her conception. It does not threaten the family unit at all, but inspires new connections. Take a look at this Science Daily article: “Re-shaping The Family: What Happens When Parents Seek Siblings Of Their Donor-conceived Children“.

Parents who have conceived children with the help of sperm or egg donors and then try to find the egg donors — and also other children conceived with the donors’ help — often end up creating new forms of extended families, according to new research.


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CNN’s coverage of octuplets and fertility clinics

Posted On February 19th, 2009

CNN has run an article, “Six embryos?! How to avoid a fertility fiasco” which spotlights the birth of octuplets to Nadya Suleman last month, and the picture this has painted of fertility clinics.

This article demonstrates how important the ASRM’s guidelines are in keeping fertility treatment safe as well as free of government intervention. Make sure your clinic and/or egg donation agency is a member of ASRM and follows its recommendations.


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CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta as Surgeon General?

Posted On January 8th, 2009

I have praised Dr. Gupta on the blog before [“Egg Donation and the Economy”, October 28] as the only journalist to point out the biggest flaw in the “egg donor surge” story: most women who apply for egg donation, about 9 out of 10, do not qualify.

He was able to get the story right because he is a doctor as wellas a journalist.

Some people are reacting to his nomination as if Obama asked General Hospital’s Dr. Alan Quartermaine to be Federal Reserve Chairman. But the Surgeon General is really a spokesman, basically, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta really is a doctor, and I think he is a great choice. People know him and will likely listen to him. He appears enlightened and independent. He is also younger and better looking than the average Surgeon General, but let’s not hold that against him.

I couldn’t imagine Obama attempting to politicize the position the way that Bush did with Richard Carmona. Maybe Dr. Gupta could make a real impact on the public awareness of stem cell research, reproductive rights, assisted reproduction and infertility, and other controversial issues. During the conservative Reagan era, C. Everett Koop bravely and sensibly took on the AIDS epidemic when there was a great deal of public fear and misunderstanding. It would be great if Gupta could keep public health issues focused on good science rather than politics, religion, and prejudice.


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