Global Authorities Reviewing Restrictions on Egg Donor Compensation

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There are several good reasons behind the rise in international intended parents coming to the U.S. for infertility treatment.  Not the least of which is an extremely limited egg donor pool in places where donor compensation is either not allowed or capped at practically nothing.  In a heated and ongoing debate, British Authorities are now reconsidering the ban on paying egg and sperm donors popup: yes to persuade more, and higher-quality, donors to come forward.  The other side of the debate argues that increasing egg donor and other compensation can be a slippery slope eventually commoditizing the human body.

I was recently invited into this debate by the BBC.  I discussed the issue on the evening edition of their Newshour radio program.

Obviously, in the U.S., we understand that properly compensating women for making this physical and emotional sacrifice, takes nothing away from the gift itself.  The argument being made against appropriate compensation seems to be either that industry professionals are unable to thoroughly educate and counsel donors or that young women lack the capacity to make informed clear decisions so that a little bit of money becomes “coercive”.

This is hard for me to swallow on just about every front.  I’ve found that properly educating potential egg donors and surrogates on the level of commitment and involvement that comes with the egg donation or surrogacy process automatically weeds out anyone who might be considering doing it just for the money.   Additionally, the psychological screening done at reputable agencies filters out those focused only on compensation.  In my experience with egg donation and surrogacy agencies, fertility clinics and medical professionals across the country, I have yet to encounter anything less than thorough and ethical screening standards.

I’m not sure what to say about the second argument except that once through a proper screening process with a clear understanding of the commitments that go along with becoming a donor, I’ve never seen a woman put herself through it for the money alone.