To: Bob Cook-Deegan
From:  Amber Johnson
Date:  February 22, 2000
Re:  Stricter Guidelines for Recruitment of College-Age Women for Egg Donation

Statement of Issue: The current shortage of healthy donor oocytes, as well as the rising demand for infertility treatment, has led to increased recruitment of young, college women for egg donation.   Most campus advertisements use financial incentives to attract students for this procedure, which carries documented surgical risks and long-term effects.  These young women will more likely regret their decision and suffer harm than donors who already have children and are more likely to donate for altruistic reasons.

Policy Options:  Although other countries, including the UK, Israel, Denmark, and Canada, have guidelines discouraging the use of financial incentives for donors, the United States has no such policy. Best Policy Action:  A limit on allowable compensation to egg donors will eliminate financial motivation for the most high risk donors, while still allowing infertile couples to benefit from donor oocytes.  Although not a cure-all, this is a necessary, attainable first step in regulation. Other small changes, such as a “cooling off” period in the consent process and increased risk education, could be incorporated into the policy with little opposition and ensure more informed donation.   This policy also combats the rising problem of egg auctions, which compromise optimal donor and recipient matches in favor of high profits.

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