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Fertility and Reproductive Medicine Blog

Update on Arizona Legislature-Two Potentially Damaging Bills to the Practice of Reproductive Medicine in Arizona

Summary of Senate Bill 1360 (SB 1360) introduced in the Arizona Senate, February 2012

This is a complicated bill, a type we have seen before that has a claimed purpose and a real purpose. Here, the real purpose appears to be discouraging or stopping egg donation by adding unnecessary, burdensome, vague, and expensive new requirements – and by threatening infertility doctors with hefty fines or loss of their medical license if they violate any of the new rules.
SB 1360 would mandate that language calculated to discourage egg donation be required in advertisements for egg donors and would mandate informed consent requirements for egg donors that have nothing to do with her health. But most objectionably, SB 1360 would require that all clinics report to the State Government personal and medical details on each donor egg cycle — which the Government will then aggregate and publicize to the world on the Internet.
Objections to consent provisions in SB 1360
– Arizona already has a law it just passed in 2010 to regulate the informed consent process for women who wish to donate eggs to an infertile couple. There is no need to pass another law adding yet more requirements.
– The infertility community (patients, donors, and doctors) is being singled out for an excessive state mandated informed consent process that is not required for other medical treatments, including procedures where the risk of death is high or where the therapy is new (IVF has been around for over 30 years).
– In one section of the bill (36-1702(D)), every single interaction between doctors, egg donor agencies, and patients will be put under a microscope. For example, if a doctor tried to reassure an egg donor patient that the medical procedures were “generally safe,” that could be construed as incomplete and “misleading” – leading to an enormous fine or license revocation.
– We believe this bill is an attempt to scare potential egg donors with unnecessary and, in some cases, inflammatory information against infertility treatments. It also has the effect of making fertility doctors less likely to want to practice medicine on Arizona, because the bill contains penalties such as losing their licenses or having to pay huge fines.
Objections to reporting and publicizing provisions in SB 1360
– Infertility clinics nationwide are already required by law to report each IVF treatment cycle to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including donor egg cycles. The information reported includes de-identified information about the donor, her treatment response and the outcome for the recipient (including birth data, birth defect data, pregnancy complications, etc). A second Arizona mandated reporting system is therefore duplicative and unnecessary. It will likely drive up the costs of infertility treatments for Arizona residents.
– The bill purports to collect data on egg donation complications, but has a mechanism that falls far short of medical standards. Any time a medical professional thinks a woman has a health problem that could be related to egg donation, he has to report it to the state or risk losing his license. But the doctor never has to “prove” the complication was really related to egg donation; the assertion is enough. Thus, SB 1360 sets up a process where complications may be reported to avoid liability, regardless of whether the connection to egg donation is remotely valid. This unreliable “data” could then be used to justify further limits or even an outright ban on this important family building option.
– The numbers (“sample size”) of egg donors that will be treated at clinics in Arizona will not be enough for the Legislature to come to any well informed public policy decisions. If the purpose of collecting the data is to then review it and analyze it, important and far reaching public health decisions could be made based on data that is not statistically relevant. This is not how public health decisions are made in this country and could lead to unwarranted and harmful outcomes.

This legislation is plainly not in the best interests of infertility patients and is anti-family. Infertility patients and egg donors are being singled out for non-consensual, intrusive governmental scrutiny regarding their private procreation. Worse yet, the details of their medical treatment will then be held out for public inspection when the government posts the collected information on the Internet. There is no justification for publishing this information publicly, except to hold our medical treatment up for shame and criticism.
The goal is to track information on every egg donor, including such sensitive topics as her race, education, employment status, and prior pregnancies. Collecting this type of information does not protect public health or improve medical treatment. Instead, it is a strategy to enable some elected officials to gather data they want to further a political agenda: to prevent Arizona infertility patients from being able to have families via egg donation.

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Posted in IVF - In Vitro Fertilization