For an industry that continues to do little to police itself, this is yet another black eye…
You could say I am irritated after reading The Spin Doctor, Andrew Vorzimer’s piece about Angels In Waiting Surrogacy Center out of Illinois who’s involved in a lawsuit with an infertile couple claims an unregistered surrogacy center was in cahoots with a woman who used an alias to donate her eggs more than a dozen times, in violation of industry guidelines. The couple says that when they demanded their money back from Angels in Waiting Surrogacy Center, its owner, Dianna Watschke, closed the company down and reopened under another name.
Like Andrew, I am sadly not surprised in the least bit. This is a sad state of affairs for those of us working in the Third Party Reproductive arena. History is repeating itself as this isn’t the first time an agency has closed its doors after being accused of violating industry guidelines, or even more serious allegations like fraud, or theft. And it’s also not the first time an agency has reopened with a different name or again like Andrew so aptly stated “a new look so as to mislead clients about their identity or attempt to escape liability.” To me that’s pre-meditated fraud, and isn’t that against the law?
Economic times are really tough right now – and while we as recipient parents have always been at the mercy of our egg donors to be honest regarding their egg donor profiles, there’s now a disturbing development of egg donors who are lying about where they have cycled, when they have cycled and how many times they have cycled.
Because ASRM states that egg donors are to donate and undergo egg retrieval six (6) times. That’s it. It’s for the safety of the egg donor and to limit the number of genetically related children that may meet as adults.
Do all egg donor agencies follow this guideline? Most yes, all? No. Should they? Absolutely. All egg donor agencies should be following ASRM’s guidelines regarding egg donation to the letter. That means that if they come across an egg donor who they might even suspect has donated more than 6 times they need to remove her from their program. That also means more work for clinics, as they are going to have to be even more vigilant in regards to vetting egg donors who cycle through their own programs.
Now I will say it can be tough for an agency to identify a donor who is withholding important health information about her previous egg donor cycles and retrievals. And while it’s the agencies responsibility to obtain all medical records regarding egg donation cycles from its prospective egg donors they can only gather that information from the physicians and clinics the egg donor lists and identifies. At the end of the day if an egg donor knowingly commits fraud there’s nothing an agency can do because we don’t have any sort of national registry or database.
What’s chapping my hide regarding this case is that the couple who’s suing the agency owner is stating that the agency owner has ALL the medical records of the egg donor who shows this egg donor has donated TWELVE (count em) TWELVE previous times. TWELVE FOLKS. Six more than what the guidelines allow.
This industry is the first to bitterly complain about not wanting the government to step in and regulate them. But come on folks – you are not policing yourselves. Infertility patients have enough to deal with emotionally, physically, and monetarily. What we don’t need is to put our trust into an agency that isn’t following the guidelines or worse yet knowingly deceiving the consumer – you.