Ethical Standards for Advertising for Egg Donors
Egg Donor and/or Surrogacy Agencies frequently advertise in print and Internet media and also to a lesser extent in other media (TV, Radio, Trade Shows, Seminars, etc.). This SEEDS Ethics
Principle is intended to refer particularly to Print and Internet media, but the principles embodied in the standards can likely be applied to all media.
Advertising by Egg Donor and/or Surrogacy Agencies may be targeted at egg donors and present anticipated compensation arrangements for the egg donor. The SEEDS Ethics Standard for Compensation in Advertising for Egg Donors will be established by applying the principles of honesty, clarity, disclosure, propriety, professionalism, non disparagement, and non exploitation.
Advertising targeted at egg donors is generally designed to inform them of an opportunity to donate their eggs under certain conditions and for a certain fee or fee range. Where possible, these ads are written in such a way as to inform the donors about the process they will be exposed to and the fee(s) they will earn.
The medium for ads targeted at egg donors is often print of on line publications, generally periodicals, less often dailies (such as newspapers) or Internet media (particularly web sites and blogs). Space in print media advertising is generally limited and there is usually little room for extensive messages. Space in Internet media is generally much more generously available and gives place for much more extensive information.
For purposes of this standard, Advertising is considered to be all information presented by agencies to potential donors that can be construed as information designed to attract those donors to consider donating their eggs for the agencies’ Intended Parents.
Egg donor ads do not have to state the compensation intended to be paid to the donor. To the extent that such ads do state fees, they must be the fees relevant to the donor opportunities being advertised. For example, it is not ethical to state a fee for a donation to take place in New York City if the donation is expected to be in Arizona. It is also not ethical to state a single fee if the actual fee will vary dependent upon location or other factors. If a range of fees or varying fees are presented in the ad, it must clearly be stated what conditions will govern the actual fee. If fees are contingent in any way, i.e. depend on any condition, e.g. repeat donor, location, etc. those factors must be explained in the ad. If fees are to be paid in segments, those facts must clearly be explained in the ad. It is presumed that donor fees will be paid at the time of egg retrieval unless otherwise stated.
Payments to the egg donor that are not expressly part of the actual egg donor fee should be presented in the ad, e.g. travel expenses. Specific amounts do not have to be identified, but the ad should state that donor’s travel expenses, etc. will be reimbursed.
Monetary arrangements should be presented in an appropriate professional manner, not dominating the ad nor in presentation format to call undue attention over other elements of the ad. The monetary information should not be presented in comparative manner to any other agencies’ fees.
Presentation and Display
Ads should be placed in appropriate media or in appropriate locations within web sites or blogs. Media selected should be reputable and non exploitative. Placement within media should be appropriate. Ads should be professionally and tastefully designed and not be overly ostentatious.
To the extent possible within the confines of the ad/Internet space available, the following should be presented: Why an egg donation is important; Qualifications to be an egg donor; Description of the egg donation process; Compensation for the Egg Donor; Risks of Egg Donation; Description of the Agency and its People. Testimonials are permitted as long as they are genuinely written by prior donors, not written by agency staff, and not excessive.