Egg Donor Starts a Class Action Suit

According to Courthouse News Service, egg donor Lindsay Kamakahi has sued the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), and the Pacific Fertility Center for conspiring to fix egg donation compensation. Her lawyers are asking for a class action certification.

She alleges that ASRM and SART published maximum compensation rates in 2000 and has not raised them since. Apparently, these rates are part of guidelines put forth for fertility clinics who are members of ASRM. If they don’t follow the guidelines, then they will be excluded from a national directory of providers. This exclusion is where the gray area begins.

Kamakahi’s assertion is also that the illegal compensation maximums were calculated based on rates paid to sperm donors, but because egg donors go through considerably more health risk and inconvenience (injections, exams, etc.) they should be paid more than sperm donors.

If her allegations are true, she’s right. Egg donors do go through a lot more invasive procedures, including anesthesia, vaginal exams, and multiple hormone injections. Although complications are rare, the risk is still present. If women could give up their eggs via masturbation, would we be having this discussion? 

Ideally, this could be settled without a class action lawsuit, but we all know that our world is often less than ideal.

My minor beef with the article is the mention that the surgical procedure for egg retrieval “may require several days of restricted activity to recover.” It is true that it MAY require this much time if complications arise, but they are rare.

This article, granted written on a legal blog, focuses exclusively on money. Yes, I donated eggs so that I could get money to pay down my student loans, but I also donated because I wanted to help people to have the family they wanted.

The legal system and the capitalist system can be so frustrating. Let’s hope for a speedy settlement via mediation…but I won’t hold my breath.

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2 responses to “Egg Donor Starts a Class Action Suit

  1. Sperm donors receive about $200 as compensation. The ASRM guidelines for oocyte donor compensation say that the “total payments to donors in excess of $5,000 require justification and sums above $10,000 are not appropriate”. So oocyte donors do indeed get paid significantly more for going through significantly more inconvenience. The guidelines were created to control excessive compensation paid to models and other “desirable” donors who in some cases received up a $100,000 compensation. Most developed countries such as Australia, Japan, UK, Germany etc ban oocyte donation or the the financial compensation of oocyte donors altogether for ethical reasons. Compensation of oocyte donors is common practice in third world countries and is seen by many as form of exploitation when women take on health risks by repeated donation just to make ends meet.

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