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

Keehn, Jason; Holwell, Eve; Abdul-Karim, Ruqayyah; Chin, Lisa Judy; Leu, Cheng Shiun; Sauer, Mark V.; Klitzman, Robert L.

Objective: To examine compliance with ethical guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 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: The Internet.

Patient(s): None.

Intervention(s): Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measure(s): Mention of increased payment for particular donor traits, recruitment age less than 21 years, noting risks to donors.

Result(s): Of the 102 sites, considerable numbers were noncompliant with ASRM's guidelines that prohibit varying compensation based on a donor's traits (34%), and recommend an age of 21 years or older (41%), and presentation of risks alongside compensation (56%). Trait-based payment variation was associated with being an agency rather than a clinic, location in the West, not being endorsed by ASRM or Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), and referring to ASRM's guidelines about compensation. Of sites mentioning traits, prior donation success was the most commonly paid for trait (64%).

Conclusion(s): Our data, the first to systematically analyze agency and clinic websites reveal that many 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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Fertility and Sterility

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July 7, 2020