Thursday, February 4, 2016

US to allow the sky's the limit for donors

From the US today comes news that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine has settled a court case brought by disgruntled egg donors over a cap on the amount that they might get paid.

The ASRM has agreed to remove the caps on payments. The deal still needs the approval of a court. Currently the amount that egg donors can be paid in the US varies, by virtue of the ASRM guidelines, to be between US$5,000 and US$10,000. The donors claimed that the caps were in effect an unlawful cartel.

This step is a retrograde one. No doubt the ASRM felt that legally it did all it could. The removal of a cap opens the possibility of exploitation of donors,  with all that entails. I say possibility, because we really don't know what might happen. Donors might be paid a huge new amount, or the market might work- and the amounts may not vary much.

A likely impact is that unpaid donors in the US asre now going to be as rare as hen's teeth. Therefore those (unpaid) donors in the US whose frozen eggs are exported to Australia for IVF here are likely not to donate- making the shortage of donors here more acute, and with the outcome that more Australians will go overseas for egg donation.

Legislation to cap payments to donors in the US is clearly needed. The sooner, the better.

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