The Possible Effects of Banning Anonymous Egg Donation
In the United States, most gamete donations are made anonymously. Recently, there has been some talk in the media about banning anonymous sperm donation. This would require the donors to be identifiable to the donor-conceived child after their 18th birthday so they could learn about possible predispositions to medical diseases inherited by their donor. If anonymous sperm donation becomes banned, would it be possible for anonymous egg donation to become banned as well? Would the pool of available egg donors decrease? Would the cost of an egg donation increase? Let us analyze the hypothetical implications that would result from banned anonymous egg donation.
Would requiring a donor to provide their identifying information to their donor-conceived child result in a smaller donor pool?
A study was done asking current anonymous sperm donors if they would still donate if the process was not anonymous. Out 161 donors from a sperm bank in the United States, 29% said that they would have refused to donate even with additional compensation. Some sperm donors said that they would donate if they were compensated an extra $40 - $102 per donation. We could assume a similar response in the case of egg donation and expect a decrease in the egg donor pool as less donors would be willing to participate. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine guidelines state that an egg donor should only donate up to six times in her lifetime. A decrease in egg donor applicants would mean cycling current (and willing) egg donors until they have reached their maximum six cycles. More egg donors would graduate faster, resulting in an even smaller egg donor pool. Not to mention, each time an egg donor has a successful donation, her donor fee is increased up to $10,000. The additional fee for the required donor identification would make it very costly for intended parents to consider egg donation, and may weed out the option altogether for those who cannot afford the process.As several countries outlaw anonymous egg donation, there are many international patients who come to the United States specifically for the donor egg treatment options we provide. In Australia, it is against the law to offer and receive compensation for an exchange of donor gametes. They require the donation to be altruistic in nature, and that identifying details about the donor be made available to the recipient and child. Egg donors in Australia are also expected to have already completed their own families prior to donating. All of these factors make waitlists for egg donors in Australia very long. In the United Kingdom, gamete donors are required to be registered with the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HFEA) who will provide identifying formation to any individual born of a donated gamete if requested. Compensation up to £750 can be received for each egg donation treatment cycle to cover any losses occurred while cycling including travel, accommodations, and childcare. If the United States does ban anonymous egg donation, we could imagine that regulations similar to these countries could be put in place. This would certainly cause a drop in donor recruitment and the availability of donors.Sources: