A sizable share of the U.S. organizations recruiting egg donors online don’t adhere to ethical guidelines, including failing to warn of the risks of the procedure and offering extra payment for traits like good looks, according to a U.S. study.
Women are recruited to donate eggs to fulfill a growing demand by couples seeking in-vitro fertilization (IVF), but a number of websites seeking to recruit them ignore standards set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
“I would argue that there needs to be more attention from ASRM about these agencies, because you don’t want these women exploited,” said Robert Klitzman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and lead author of the study that appeared in the journal Fertility & Sterility.
Ethical standards set forth by the ASRM specify that donors should be at least 21 years old, and those between ages 18 and 20 should receive a psychiatric evaluation first.
Also, women are not to be paid for their eggs but compensated, equally, for their time. Donor traits such as college grades or previous successful donations should not result in higher payment.
But abiding by the recommendations is voluntary, and the guidelines carry no legal authority, though ASRM will sanction members who do not adhere to the guidelines. But that doesn’t cover non-member organizations.