egg donor programs in the United States has issued a response to the recent filing of an antitrust lawsuit against the egg donation industry claiming price fixing of the egg donor compensation market.
The egg donation lawsuit was filed in April of 2011 by egg donor Lindsay Kamakahi who named the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) and a California-based fertility clinic in the lawsuit.
Ms. Kamakahi claims that the ethical guidelines set forth by the ASRM which outline how much money fertility clinics should give to donors as compensation for an egg donation is in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and prevent a competitive market for egg donation.
The Center for Human Reproduction outlines several clarifications about this lawsuit in their statement below:
- When egg donors receive payments, they are not paid for their eggs; they are paid for time and efforts given to egg donation.
- This distinction is crucial: just like it would be unethical and, likely, illegal to make payments for human organs (to be transplanted), so is it unethical, and, likely, illegal, to pay for eggs.
- The principal issue to be addressed in this lawsuit, therefore, is not whether defendants potentially price-fixed what should be paid for donor eggs but whether they illegally restricted what can be paid in fair reimbursement for time and efforts extended as an egg donor.
- Whether recommendations as to what constitutes appropriate reimbursement for time and efforts qualify as “price fixing” under the Sherman Antitrust Act would appear questionable. Similar authoritative reimbursement recommendations also exist for organ donors, blood donors, participants in clinical trials, etc.