Cheaper by the Dozen

Just in time for Easter, the federal court in San Francisco has an entirely different egg story. A woman who participated in human egg donor services has accused the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and fertility clinics of keeping human egg prices artificially low in violation of antitrust law.

Lindsay Kamakahi says through her lawyers that members of the society allegedly agreed to maximum price rules and this, the suit says, amounts to price-fixing in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Also named was the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, based in Birmingham, Ala., and the Pacific Fertility Clinic in San Francisco.

Kamakahi alleges that women receive compensation of roughly $75 to $93 per hour for time spent in a medical setting, roughly about the same rate as men for sperm donation. The lawsuit says society members include 392 practices and represent over 85 percent of the clinics engaged in reproductive technology.

The suit states the donor services market represents sales of $80 million annually and is self-regulated. Only two states regulate pay for human eggs, Louisiana, which bars payment, and Indiana, which caps the payments, according to the lawsuit.

Prior to 2000, the ASRM and SART issued guidance that prices paid should not be “excessive.” But in 2000, the societies issued a report that stated “sums of $5,000 or more require justification and sums above $10,000 go beyond what is appropriate,” the suit alleges.

The suit, filed April 12, asks the court to certify a class of women who were compensated for egg donation and a class of defendant clinics and the society. It also seeks unspecified damages of alleged price-fixing.

Case: Kamakahi v. American Society for Reproductive Medicine, C11-1781JCS. (N. Dist. Calif.)

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