A recent survey of US fertility clinics shows that the average payment to egg donors is well within the $5,000 limit recommended by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The survey, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility last month, showed that the average payment to egg donors was $4,217, while at least one centre had paid a donor $15,000. The survey was sent to 394 clinics in the US, 191 of which responded.
The ASRM formula for the payment of egg donors multiplies the average sperm donation payment of $65-$70 by the average number of hours an egg donor spends in a medical setting. The 'justifiable' price is calculated as being somewhere between $3,360-$4,200 per egg, with an upper limit of $5,000. Payments of over $10,000 are considered 'beyond what is appropriate'.
The study was conducted by Sharon Covington and Dr William Gibbons on behalf of the US Society for Assisted Reproduction Technology. The findings are thought to mitigate against claims that payments for egg donation are so high in the US, that they are coercive. If payment is too high it is feared that young women, made vulnerable by debt and financial problems, will donate without regard to the considerable health risks involved in the procedure. Sharon Covington told Reuters, 'I think that what gets headlines is to look at an industry that's kind of out of control and gone awry, and we don't believe that is the case'.
The researchers admit that their analysis does not cover the entire field of egg donor payment. For example, the survey did not extend to egg donation agencies. Although egg donor agencies have to comply with ASRM guidelines the researchers acknowledge 'it is unclear whether they are in fact doing so'.