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Egg Donation:
An Annotated Bibliography
Beth Merrifield
Academic affiliation: Oklahoma State University
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Craft, Ian. “An Inconvenience Allowance Would Solve the Egg Shortage.” British Medical Journal 314 (1997): 1400-01. Argues against the excessive payment of egg donors. Suggests that payment is a necessary evil and wants a national board to screen donors. Believes a reasonable “inconvenience allowance” would help solve the egg shortage, yet would have to be monitored to keep from being abused. Argues that the payment of egg donors disadvantages the egg recipients and raises the cost of being infertile. Points out the relationship between the media and donation law. Sites the example of the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority policy urging doctors not to use egg donors that were paid more than $24 per donation. Talks about upcoming laws that would be more restrictive and possibly harm sperm banks operated for commercial purposes. Is a valuable article for those with knowledge of the subject wanting a logical reasoning on the payment of egg donors. Provides factual information to support a moral argument against the excessive payment of egg donors.

Elster, Nanette. “Stem Cell Research: Ethical Issues for Women Donating Eggs and Embryos.” Human Rights 29.3 (2002): 23-24. Begins with the history of Dolly the sheep and a brief history of cloning and stem cell research. Explains federal laws, including that federal funding cannot support, “the creation of human embryo or embryos for research purposes” (23). Explains the options for excess eggs after donation, and the option that allow couples to donate their left over eggs to research. Warns of the exploitation of donors and discusses ways to prevent that, including appropriate payment for donors. Urges that the physical and mental health effects for donors be more closely examined and appropriate legislation be passed to protect donors. Provides good scientific background and technical information for research in the ethical side of the subject. Provides impartial facts, as well as an educated opinion on the subject.

Johnson, Martin H. “The Culture of Unpaid and Voluntary Egg Donation Should Be Strengthened” British Medical Journal 314 (1997): 1401-02. Discusses the legal reasons why payment for egg donation is wrong. Shows how payment can have a negative effect on donors and their motives for donating, and how that can be detrimental to the recipients pregnancy and child. Explains the effects of payment on a child born from an egg donation. Shows that the majority of British women favor unpaid egg donations. Suggests that laws against the payment of donors do not have a negative on donation but encourages the already existing idea of donation without payment. Provides information on the negative effects of donors who receive payment. Provides scientific and legal information, which helps support ethical arguments.

Klein, Jeffery and Mark V. Sauer. “Oocyte Donation.” Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 16 (2002): 277-83. Gives the history of egg donation, beginning in with rabbits, and continuing to other mammals. Explains the uses of egg donation in modern reproductive technologies. Gives an overview of indications for donation, recipient screening and the recruitment and screening of donors. Gives a detailed history of egg donation, as well as current donor procedures. Discusses the risks involved for egg donors. Describes the criteria that egg donors must meet, including, being free infectious diseases, heritable conditions, and behavioral risk factors. Describes the screening process potential donors must undergo, and the laws that effect them. Discusses the psychological effects and monetary reimbursement of egg donation. Does a good job of covering a lot of aspects, but as a result is vague in areas.

Klock, Susan Caruso, Jan Elman Stout, and Marie Davidson. “Psychological Characteristics and Factors Related to Willingness to Donate Again Among Anonymous Oocyte Donors.” Fertility and Sterility 79 (2003): 1312-16. Reviews a study that “assesses the post-donation psychological status”(1312) of recruited and paid egg donors. Discusses the materials and methods used in the study, including the types of test used to review the donor’s psychological status. Reports the results of these tests, giving detailed information on the psychological state of one hundred fifteen first time and repeat donors. Discusses the demographics of egg donation, how the women learned about egg donation, their honesty in reporting medical history, and how many and what kind of donors would be willing to donate again and in what conditions. Evaluates the motivation of egg donors, including their altruistic and financial reasons. Compares the demographic differences in first time and repeat donors. Is a valuable article for someone with an extensive knowledge on the subject, such as a professional or graduate student. Uses detailed scientific language to report a scientific study to the medical community. Provides valuable information on the psychological effects of egg donation.

Kolata, Gina. “Price of Egg Donation Soars, Setting Off a Debate on Ethics.” New York Times 25 Feb. 1998: A1+. Oklahoma State University Microfilms. Discusses the rise in price for egg donors. Examines the controversy that high prices create, including possible price wars for eggs, as well as debate over whether eggs are “a gift or a free market commodity”(A1). Discusses payment for eggs in the U.S. and other countries. Reviews the possible risks for egg donors, citing to near death incidents. Discusses the possible positive outcomes of a pregnancy from a donated egg. Includes that it is important to “make sure that children come into the world in a loving way”(A13). Is not a very scientific article, but provides an interesting overview into egg donation. Gives the opinions of professionals in the field. Presents complicated issues in a relatively simple way to make the subject matter available to all types of people.

Larkin, Marilynn. “Curb Costs of Egg Donation, Urge US Specialists.” The Lancet 356 (2002): 569. Suggests the payment of egg donors, “should reflect the time, inconvenience, and physical and emotional demands.” Discusses the pros of capping the donation payment at $5,000, which include avoiding price wars. Describes the two types of monetary compensation offered, direct monetary compensation and a sharing arrangement. Emphasizes that “payment to the donor should never be conditional.” Discusses the differences in the financial rewards in the U.S. and in England, where there are much stricter donation policies. Argues that even a high sum like $5,000 is not enough to have a strong influence on most women, who donate for anyone wanting a better understanding of how egg donation is handled in the U.S. as opposed to other countries. Is a good article from an economical viewpoint, but fails to provide much in depth information.

Meyer, Cheryl L. The Wandering Uterus: Politics and the Reproductive Rights of Women. New York: New York UP, 1997. Gives a brief yet thorough history of egg donation. Proceeds to give a detailed account of the donation and egg retrieval process. Discusses the double standard in egg donation and sperm donation, especially with regards to payment and anonymity of donors. Discusses the egg shortage and the causes behind it, including the cryopreservation of embryos. Reviews the pros and cons of “Methuselah Moms” or postmenopausal mothers. Explores the double standard between older men and women who parent children. Discusses the discriminatory practices involved in egg donation, based mostly on the race. Reviews the risk of egg donation for donors and recipients, including complications form hormone therapy and implantation. Points out the risks for children born from a donated egg, including birth defects and risky pregnancies. Reviews the regulations behind egg donation. Valuable book for information on the causes and effects and pros and cons of egg donation as it concerns women and children. Is not technical in its approach to the subject, yet is well researched.

Milich, Marvin F. “Reproductive Technologies Must Be Regulated to Protect Society.” Reproductive Technologies. Leone, Bruno, Scott Barbour, and Brenda Stalcup, eds. San Diego: Green Haven P, 1996. 158-62. Discusses reproductive technology as it affects social values and the moral dilemma that these procedures create. Discusses the medical community’s responsibility towards patients, including completely informing patients as to statistics and risks involved. Urges patients to take appropriate responsibility for their medical procedures, patients cannot completely rely on technology, they must do their own research and ask their doctors appropriate questions. Discusses the governments role in regulating reproductive technologies. Suggests several policies that the government could implement to help regulate reproductive technology. Includes the publishing of information regarding IVF services and statistics, insurance coverage, and encouraging the privatization of reproductive technology organizations. Is informative in the legal and governmental area of egg donation. Does not require any previous scientific or medical knowledge.

Sauer, Mark V. “Exploitation or a Woman’s Right?” British Medical Journal 314 (1997): 1403. Shows the differences in egg donation in the U.S. and other countries where payment is prohibited. Discusses the “moral ambiguity” egg donation creates. Weighs the advantages and disadvantages for donors and recipients. Shows how mistrust for reproductive sciences has grown. States that doctors have encouraged payment for egg donors. Argues that a fertility program is only as strong as its donation program and that the payment of donors encourages these programs. Discusses the ability of a young woman to make a responsible decision about such an important matter yet recognizes that they are allowed by law to this. Explain that the individuals have rights and society should look toward the programs enrolling these donors. Is an interesting article that provides many ideas for topic to do further research. Does not give much technical information or facts.

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