Recruiting egg donors online An analysis of in vitro fertilization clinic and agency websites’ adherence to American Society for Reproductive Medicine guidelines

Systematic analysis of 102 websites of IVF clinic and egg donor agency websites demonstrate considerable lack of compliance with ASRM’s ethical guidelines regarding trait-based compensation, presentation of risks, and recruitment age minimums.

Jason Keehn, M.S., Eve Holwell, B.A., Ruqayyah Abdul-Karim, B.A., Lisa Judy Chin, J.D., Cheng-Shiun Leu, Ph.D., Mark V. Sauer, M.D., Robert Klitzman, M.D.

Volume 98, Issue 4, Pages 995-1000, October 2012


To examine compliance with ASRM’s ethical guidelines regarding trait-based payment variation, presentation of risks, and minimum recruitment age.

In June 2010, we systematically examined 207 websites, of which 102 were egg donor agency or IVF clinic websites that both recruited online and displayed compensation amounts.


Main Outcome Measures:
Mention of increased payment for particular donor traits, recruitment age below 21, noting risks to donors.

Of the 102 sites, considerable numbers were non-compliant with ASRM’s guidelines that prohibit varying compensation based on a donor’s traits (34%), recommend an age of 21 or above (41%) and presentation of risks alongside compensation (56%). Trait-based payment variation was associated with being an agency rather than a clinic (p<.001), location in the West (p<.001), not being endorsed by ASRM or SART (p<.001), and referring to ASRM’s guidelines about compensation (p<.001). Of sites mentioning traits, prior donation success was the most commonly paid for trait (64%). Conclusion:
Our data, the first to systematically analyze agency and clinic websites reveal that a large proportion do not follow ASRM’s guidelines. These data have critical implications for policy, practice and research, suggesting needs for consideration of possible changes in guidelines, and/or improvements in compliance and monitoring by ASRM or others.

Translate »