Wednesday, May 23, 2007

American Sociological Assn Study : Valuation of Egg and Sperm Donors

no. 377

The ASA released today the results of a study undertaken by Rene Almeling, a UCLA Ph.D. candidate in sociology, where Ms. Almeling reviewed the operations of US sperm banks and egg agencies. The following are excerpts of the study's summary linked through this posts' title.


“Men donors are paid less for a much longer time commitment and a great deal of personal inconvenience,” she said. “They also are much less prepared for the emotional consequences of serving as a donor of reproductive material. Women, meanwhile, are not only paid more for a much shorter time commitment, they are repeatedly thanked for ‘giving the gift of life.’

“From compensation rates to the smallest details of donor relations, sperm donors are less valued than egg donors,” Almeling said. “Egg donors are treated like gold, while sperm donors are perceived as a dime a dozen.”

“A pronounced double-standard exists in the way that men and women donors are valued by the fertility industry, and it can’t be explained medically or by market forces,” Almeling said. “Based on the availability of donors alone, you would expect the abundance of potential egg donors to drive down compensation fees and the scarcity of potential sperm donors to drive up their fees. But I found just the opposite."

My comments:

I found Ms. Almeling's comments and conclusions interesting as my expectations were very often the opposite of hers. While I do think sperm donors go through a longer comittment period it seems to me that egg donors are subjected to the greater inconveniences of being subjected to actual medical procedures, taking drugs that could affect their own reproductive systems down the road as compared to the men who very often are just “get[ting] paid to do what you [they] already do.” Yes I understand because men are comitted to a longer relationship to their banks they are in effect agreeing to affect their own social lives due to required "abstinences" between "donations".

I am not trying to discount the contribution of the sperm donors as I am greatful for the eventual creation of my own children but I am just surprised by the researcher's own surprise at the results of h er own study.

1 comment:

Bea said...

Yes, I was surprised, too. " can’t be explained medically..." - this doesn't seem to add up. To my mind, it *can* be explained medically.