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May 20, 2011

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Joe

Are there any statistics on the socioeconomic status of the women who donate eggs in the first place? Wouldn't that be a better place to start than with the ethical discussions?

Kim Krawiec

There is some, Joe, which I summarize here. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1356012

Overall, the research indicates that egg donors are demographically similar to sperm donors in terms of age (young), race (white), and marital status (single), but egg donors have lower levels of education and socioeconomic status than do sperm donors, and are more likely to have children of their own. I cannot now remember the raw figures that went into that comparison, though I think it is available from the sources cited there.

There is also evidence of what sorts of demographic traits recipients advertise for, which I’ve discussed before (along with the limitations). http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2010/04/the-value-of-smart-eggs.html

But, as interesting as this information is in its own right, I fail to see its relevance to the question of either the moral or legal permissibility of attempts by competitors to collude on maximum compensation. Suppose egg donors are all poor and uneducated? How does that justify collusion to depress compensation? Suppose that they’re Ivy League girls who just want some extra spending money? Does that mean the Sherman Act doesn’t apply?

I could see why this information might be relevant to debates over the need for mandatory disclosure, counsel, or even minimum compensation rates. But maximum compensation? No.

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