Human Egg Donors Win Class Cert

Two reproductive medical technology groups must face class action claims by women they fixed the price for human eggs supplied by donors through fertility clinics, a federal judge has declared.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero granted class action status last week in a lawsuit by women who donated eggs through fertility clinics and donation agencies and filed against the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).

In 2011, Lindsay Kamakahi and Justine Levy accused the groups of “horizontal price fixing” agreements in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

In 2000, ASRM produced guidelines by its ethics committee recommending the proper compensation for egg donors.  It stated that sums of $5,000 or more require justification and sums over $10,000 are considered inappropriate.

Kamakahi and Levy contend these pay limits constitute illegal horizontal price fixing and are artificially low.

They see triple damages as well as an injunction barring future alleged price fixing.

Spero granted the class to include women who donated eggs to any SART-member clinic that adhered to the ASRM guideline pricing from April 2007 to the present.  He denied class status for purposes of an injunction.

The defendants argue the women should have sought arbitration of their dispute under the arbitration terms of their donor contracts.

Case: Kamakahi v. ASRM, No. 11-1781JCS



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