Monthly Archives: July 2015

Egg Donor Antitrust Suit In Today’s WSJ

P1-BU421_DONORE_9U_20150726180007In today’s WSJ, Ashby Jones discusses Kamakahi v. ASRM, the egg donor antitrust suit that I’ve written about on numerous occasions (see links below). From the text:

How much is a human egg worth? The question is at the heart of a federal lawsuit brought by two women who provided eggs to couples struggling with infertility.

The women claim the price guidelines adopted by fertility clinics nationwide have artificially suppressed the amount they can get for their eggs, in violation of federal antitrust laws.

The industry groups behind the price guidance—which discourages payments above $10,000 per egg-donation cycle—say caps are needed to prevent coercion and exploitation in the egg-donation process.

But the plaintiffs say the guidelines amount to an illegal conspiracy to set prices in violation of antitrust laws. The conspiracy, they argue in court papers, has deprived women nationwide a free market in which to sell their eggs, and enabled fertility clinics to “reap anticompetitive profits for themselves.”

One thing I did not previously know is that, according to the article, the court will hear motions later this summer on certifying an expanded class that would include not only past donors (as is currently the case) but also potential future donors. It wasn’t clear to me from the article what sort of relief would be sought on behalf of these future donors. Perhaps injunctive relief?   I’ll have to leave it to the Civ Pro experts to speculate.

In any event, my fifteen minutes of fame come at the end of the article:

Kimberly Krawiec, a law professor at Duke University who has studied the egg-donor industry, played down such concerns, adding that mothers-to-be generally aren’t looking to build a genetically superior child. Ms. Krawiec said she had little issue with couples paying more for eggs from women with, say, high SAT scores. “Fertile people have been screening for beauty and intelligence for years and years,” she said. “It’s called dating.”

The ASRM defense that the price caps are needed to prevent differential payments for particular traits is one I address in more depth in a forthcoming Journal of Applied Philosophy article. I’ll be back to say more about that in the coming days.

Related posts:

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How Can the Shortage of Kidneys for Transplantation Be Rectified?



The July issue of Medical Law Perspectives is dedicated to the topic of “Organ Transplants: Saving Lives, Facing Risks, Minimizing Complications.Phil Cook and I are featured, with a piece on “How Can the Shortage of Kidneys for Transplantation Be Rectified?” (sorry, subscription required).

Here’s a bit from the text:

Recent innovations in immunosuppression, kidney matching algorithms, kidney swaps, and NEAD (nonsimultaneous, extended, altruistic donor) chains provide great hope. Yet, so far none of these mechanisms is sufficiently developed to make a serious dent in the kidney shortage. . .

For all of these reasons, we believe the time is ripe to reconsider inducements to kidney donation, and financial inducements in particular. Granted, pure “cash for kidneys” proposals are unlikely to garner popular support at this juncture, as evidenced by public opinion polls and the federal government’s reaction to incentives for bone marrow donations. . . .But an open market in kidneys is not the only option. Instead, any incentive system should build on the existing transplant frameworks and methods that already enjoy widespread acceptance. In particular, it would make sense to continue with a system where a government agency procures kidneys from carefully vetted donors and distributes them to transplant patients according to priority established by medical need. The main change is that the government agency would be in a position to provide some financial compensation to donors. . . .

For those interested in the topic, see also our recent article in Law & Contemporary Problems, A Primer on Kidney Transplantation: Anatomy of The Shortage.

The full slate of expert commentary from Medical Law Perspectives is below:

Expert Analysis

 What Proof Is Needed for a Transplant Malpractice Action?

Robert D. Kreisman, JD


How Can the Shortage of Kidneys for Transplantation Be Rectified?

Philip J. Cook, Ph.D; Kimberly D. Krawiec, JD


What Factors Impact the Success of Allogeneic Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation?

Hugo Fernandez, MD

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