Risk Information Provided to Prospective Oocyte Donors in a Preliminary Phone Call

American Journal of Bioethics 1 (4):3 – 13 (2001)
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Abstract

In order to accommodate for the present shortage of oocyte donors, oocyte-donation programs place ads in college newspapers and provide large monetary compensation to encourage participation. Large compensation acts as a strong incentive for young women to undergo the potentially risky procedure of donation. In this enticing situation, it is particularly important for programs to fully inform prospective donors of the risks of the procedure so that they can accurately weigh the costs and benefits of donating. However, because oocyte-donor programs must alleviate the shortage of donors if they wish to maintain a financially viable business, there is reason to fear that they may minimize or misrepresent risks when recruiting egg donors. In this pilot study, the risk information provided by programs (n=19) to prospective oocyte donors in a preliminary phone call inquiry was investigated. The majority of the programs provided incomplete and/or inaccurate risk information. Policy changes are recommended to reduce the potential for undue influence and to standardize and regulate the risk information provided to prospective egg donors.

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