Yet Another “Surge” Article – Wall Street Journal

Posted On December 9th, 2008

“Ova Time: Women Line Up To Donate Eggs – For Money”

Melinda Beck’s piece in today’s Wall Street Journal was overall accurate. It even acknowledged the cost for the recipient side.

It also acknowledges the ASRM’s limit on compensation and mentions one donor agency that ignores it, since “the offer brings in donors who might not otherwise be interested.” But that is just the point of the limit; a compensation of $50,000 can be unduly coercive. Furthermore, since any legitimate clinic is a member of the ASRM and therefore pledges to abide by its guidelines, what clinic would agree to work with these donors? These exorbitant fees depend on ethical breaches by more than just the agency, but the doctor as well.

The ASRM’s compensation limit was set in 2000, and reiterated in 2007 but not updated. I think the changing times require an update to $12,000 or more. But until it is official, in our egg donation program we will keep our compensation at $10,000. It is worth it to keep our ethical standards.


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Is the Surge Working? ABC and NBC Cover the Story

Posted On November 3rd, 2008

The broadcast networks are catching up with this old story about the alleged “surge” in egg donations. In ABC’s video “Egg Donations On The Rise” (shown on Good Morning America), they had one clinic owner testify that applications are up about 50%. However, the piece assumed throughout that anyone who applied could actually donate eggs; it never distinguished between egg donor candidates and actual donors.

This caused some major inaccuracies. Anyone can apply to be an egg donor; only a small percentage, about 10%, will go on to donate. There was no claim that the actual number of egg donor cycles have increased as well. [See my earlier post: Egg Donation and the Economy.]

Another claim, that a “decline in standards” would be an inevitable consequence of this influx of egg donors, is illogical on two counts. First, the bigger the pool of applicants, the more selective recipients and doctors can be; second, FDA regulations for screening are uniform and not a matter of interpretation. The report implied that egg donation agencies screen candidates, but in fact, medical professionals do. Corners are never cut in order to accommodate any candidate; it’s against the law. Although it provided no evidence, the piece implied, however, that these risks are taken. It puts a sensationalistic spin on the story, no matter how erroneous.

NBC Nightly News did a segment (“Surge in Egg Donations Raises Concerns“) which covered the alleged surge in context of the health of the egg donor,


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