Human Egg Donation: How it Works

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Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to get pregnant by natural means. For some couples, either same-sex, or when one or both partners are infertile, egg donation is an option worth considering. There are, however, guidelines and issues of legality that also need to be considered and adhered to.

The Law and Egg Donation

Regulatory laws regarding infertility treatment and egg donation in the US vary in different states. The US has been criticized for its lack of clearly defined rules and regulations on reproductive technologies. The American fertility industry has a lot of free range so many clinics have the power to form their own policies and procedures.

US law doesn’t require the licensing of in vitro clinics, nor are they required to have shared standards of donor recruitment and regulation. While there is no absolute authority in charge of handling potential ethical dilemmas to do with human egg donation, there is a main body that provides the most commonly-accepted standards and procedures for medical centers: American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). The ASRM provides guidelines for infertility clinics and offers an accreditation program.

Human Egg Donation: How it Works

According to the ASRM, egg donors are generally between the age of 21 and 34. The egg donors have the choice of remaining anonymous or not to the egg recipients. IVF clinics, agencies, or egg banks recruit egg donors. Known donors, also known as ‘directed donors’, are most often a close friend or family member. Whether the donor is directed or unknown, a legal contract documenting the roles of all parties and removing the parental rights of the donor should be drafted.

Donor and Recipient Evaluation

Potential egg donors should undergo testing for STI’s like HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and Hepatitis B and C. Further genetic testing should also be done regarding the donor’s ethnic background and history. Mental-health screening is also an important part of donor evaluation.

Recipients will also be evaluated to ensure that they are of sound mind and health and are capable of providing for a child. This process will involve medical history, blood typing, testing for STIs and STDs. For older recipients, additional testing regarding their ability to undergo pregnancy will be undertaken. Couples considering egg donation should undergo counseling to make sure the egg-donor decision is right for them and something both partners are fully supportive of. The male partner will also have his sperm examined to ensure its capability to fertilize the donated eggs.

If there is any concern regarding the competency of the recipient to care and provide for the child, the clinic has the right to deny the treatment. There are also regulations stating that patients should not be denied treatment due to any sexual preference, marital status or disability, if they have demonstrated they are fully capable of caring for the child.

Financial Aspects of Egg Donation

Clinics and agencies are advised to follow the guidelines set forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine Ethics Committee. These regulations state that donor payments that are more than $5,000 necessitate justification and that payment sums that exceed $10,000 are inappropriate. The guidelines are firm in that no donor is entitled to a payment of over $10,000, regardless of the circumstance, and each egg donor is allowed to donate a total of six times throughout her lifetime.

The egg donation process in the USA is a complex one as laws regarding egg donation and infertility treatments have not been standardized and vary from state to state. It is crucial, therefore, that an attorney who specializes in parental rights in these kinds of circumstances is enlisted to draw up a legal contract stating the roles of the donor and recipients and removes the parental rights of the egg donor legally.

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