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

Capsule:
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.

Authors:
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

Abstract:

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

Design:
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.

Setting:
Internet.

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

Results:
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.

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