Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 43 (3):610-618 (2015)

We systematically examined the content of the websites of 46 agencies that buy and sell human eggs to understand how they market themselves to both donors and recipients. We found that these websites use marketing techniques that obscure the realities of egg donation, presenting egg donation as a mutually beneficial and fulfilling experience. Sites emphasize egg donors' emotional fulfillment and address recipients' anxieties by stressing the ability to find the perfect “fit” or “match”, suiting recipients’“preferences”/“desires”, and even designing/customizing a child. Agencies attempt to create a sense of connection between the recipients and donors by reporting donors' personal characteristics — e.g., interests/hobbies, traits, mood/temperament, and self-reported childhood behavior/memories. Sites present donors as caring/generous and smart/successful/beautiful. These data, the first to examine several key aspects of egg donation agency websites, reveal critical aspects of how these companies communicate to prospective donors and recipients, raising several ethical concerns. Websites frame information in ways that may bias consumers, making emotional appeals that may distract from appropriate risk/benefit assessments and obscure the ethical challenges of egg donation. These data highlight needs for improved practices, adherence to guidelines, and consideration of enhanced guidelines or policy
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DOI 10.1111/jlme.12303
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