What Policies Govern Egg Donation?

The United States is characterized by a significant lack of regulation regarding reproductive technology.  Because most infertility research is not federally funded, the fertility industry has more autonomy than other areas of health.  Reproductive technology is one of the least regulated medical specialties in the US,  and physicians and researchers are relatively free to formulate their own policies about procedural standards and ethical questions.

Unlike most of Europe, US policy does not require infertility clinics to be licensed by law, and no uniform standards exist about proper methods for egg donor recruitment and care.  Many physicians and researchers oppose increased regulation, and the current lack of legislation seems to encourage the "laissez-faire" approach to reproductive technology.  However, growing sentiments within the US, and agreement within much of the international community, seem to suggest that increased oversight will be necessary in the future to ensure high quality reproductive care and minimize harm.

What Are Other Countries Doing?
Existing international policies provide examples of the ways other nations have chosen to address the ethical dilemmas raised by gamete donation:

Where Should We Go From Here?
Although governmental oversight may not be the best answer to the questions raised by reproductive technology, some form of a regulatory body should address these questions.  Although many other industrialized nations have offices dedicated to the analysis of ethical problems raised by reproductive technology, the United States has no clear authority in this area.  Many physicians and researchers feel that regulation and oversight would be most appropriate coming from within the medical community, and this will only come with stronger unity and increased awareness among health care providers.  The American Society for Reproductive Medicine, which offers a voluntary accredidation program for infertility clinics, provides a good basis for the development of future regulatory mechanisms.    

[ Home ] [ Previous ] [ Next ]