Compliance with donor age recommendations in oocyte donor recruitment advertisements in the USA

Title: Compliance with donor age recommendations in oocyte donor recruitment advertisements in the USA
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: April 2013
Published In: Reproductive BioMedicine Online
Description: IVF using donated oocytes offers benefits to many infertile patients, yet the technique also raises a number of ethical concerns, including worries about potential physical and psychological risks to oocyte donors. In the USA, oversight of oocyte donation consists of a combination of federal and state regulations and self-regulatory guidelines promulgated by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. This study assesses compliance with one of these self-regulatory guidelines-specifically, ASRM's preferred minimum age for donors of 21. To assess compliance, 539 oocyte donor recruitment advertisements from two recruitment channels (Craigslist and college newspapers) were collected and evaluated. Of these, 61% in the Craigslist dataset and 43% in the college newspaper dataset listed minimum ages between 18 and 20, which is inconsistent with ASRM's preferred minimum age recommendation of 21. Advertisements placed by oocyte donor recruitment agencies were more likely than advertisements placed by clinics to specify minimum ages between 18 and 20. These results indicate that ASRM should evaluate and consider revising its donor age guidelines. IVF using donated human eggs can help many patients who have difficulty having children. However, the technique also raises ethical concerns, including concerns about potential physical and psychological harms to egg donors. In the USA, oversight of egg donation relies on a combination of federal and state regulation and professional self-regulation. Governmental regulations address only limited aspects of egg donation, such as the potential spread of infectious diseases and the reporting of success rates, leaving voluntary guidelines developed by an association of medical professionals to address most issues, including ethical concerns raised by the practice. One of these voluntary guidelines recommends that egg donors should be at least 21 years of age. In this article, we analysed 539 egg donor recruitment advertisements published on Craigslist and in college newspapers to see whether fertility clinics and egg donor recruitment agencies follow this recommendation. We found that 61% of advertisements in the Craigslist dataset and 43% of advertisements in the college newspaper dataset listed minimum ages between 18 and 20 and, thus, did not follow the recommendation that egg donors be at least 21 years of age. Advertisements placed by egg donor recruitment agencies were more likely than advertisements placed by fertility clinics to list minimum ages between 18 and 20. These results indicate that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine should evaluate and consider revising its donor age guidelines. © 2012, Reproductive Healthcare Ltd. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation: Reproductive BioMedicine Online. 26. Issue 4. 400 - 405. ISSN 1472-6483. DOI 10.1016/j.rbmo.2012.11.011.
Related Departments:
  • School of Public Policy