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Should There Be Stricter Regulations For Egg Donation?

Posted Nov 15 2012 12:00am
Guest Post By Suzy Mage

According to the most recent data from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), in 2010 alone 146,693 egg donors completed the donation cycle, resulting in 58,727 live births.

The first live birth resulting from egg donation and IVF occurred in 1978. The child's name was Louise Brown, who still today stands as an example of what the then-new technology could bring to an infertile couple. The doctor who is credited for developing the treatment of natural cycle IVF, Robert G. Edwards, won the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine in 2010. Since Louise's birth, egg donation has become a common practice worlwide.

The European Union passed a law prohibiting the act of giving payment for  egg donations . Women can donate their eggs, but not for profit. This altruistic method does not apply in the United States, which follows a more self-regulated system. Currently in the US, there are no laws regarding payment for women who donate their eggs. Rather then set legislation, fertility clinics and IVF centers in general follow a set of recommendations created by the ASRM.

Fertility clinics pay young women for donating their eggs. These women are compensated for both their eggs and time spent during the process. According to the ASRM, the recommended payment for a first time donor is anywhere between $2,500-$5,000. However, these are not strict guidelines. Some clinics pay up to $10,000 per egg donation, or more. It is not uncommon for doctors to ignore the guidelines, since there are no repercussions for doing so.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also set some standards for clinics to follow - however, similar to the ASRM, these agencies have no enforcement methods and the discretion is left up to the states. The states then make their own laws regarding egg donation, which many times are quite lax.

In 2002 the Uniform Parentage Act (UPA) was passed. The UPA is not a law but rather a model for states to follow. In it, each form of assisted reproduction is addressed: egg donation, sperm donation and embryo donation . However, not each state follows the model the same way. For example, Delaware follows the UPA 2002 model verbatim, while neighboring New Jersey does not have any laws that address egg donation, The vast differences in regulations between states leave many people asking why there is not a federal law covering egg donation in the US.

Whether or not federal legislation on assisted reproduction is passed, infertile couples will continue to seek out the best options for them to have a child.
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