Text Size: A A A
Another Voice
Is There an Ethical Problem Here?

In this issue of the Hastings Center Report, Aaron Levine reports that, in a survey of two months of advertisements for egg donors in 306 college newspapers, he found that nearly half of the ads exceeded the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s $10,000 recommended limit on compensation. He also found that the higher the average SAT score of the college or university, the more likely that the ads exceeded that amount, suggesting that “donor agencies and couples valued specific donor characteristics and based compensation on those preferences.” This would also violate the ASRM guidelines.

Based on this research, Levine questions whether the “current self-regulatory framework provides appropriate ethical protection for oocyte donors.” He suggests some ways to improve enforcement and how college newspapers might aid in that effort. He is fair-minded and aware of the effect of bans and compensation caps on the availability of donor eggs.

But while admiring Levine’s diligent efforts to bring facts to bear on a policy issue, I am left wondering whether there is an ethical “there” there worth worrying about.

In this issue of the Hastings Center Report, Aaron Levine reports that, in a survey of two months of advertisements for egg donors in 306 college newspapers, he found that nearly half of the ads exceeded the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s $10,000 recommended limit on compensation. He also found that the higher the average SAT score of the college or university, the more likely that the ads exceeded that amount, suggesting that “donor agencies and couples valued specific donor characteristics and based compensation on those preferences.” This would also violate the ASRM guidelines.

Based on this research, Levine questions whether the “current self-regulatory framework provides appropriate ethical protection for oocyte donors.” He suggests some ways to improve enforcement and how college newspapers might aid in that effort. He is fair-minded and aware of the effect of bans and compensation caps on the availability of donor eggs.

But while admiring Levine’s diligent efforts to bring facts to bear on a policy issue, I am left wondering whether there is an ethical “there” there worth worrying about.

John A. Robertson, "Is there an Ethical Problem Here?" Hastings Center Report 40, no 2 (2010): 3.
Support The Hastings Center

Make a Gift

Other ways to give

  Full Access Ad

IRB ad

Support