Via Media

Via Media

Free country, free market, choice, my body..

So why not sell your eggs?

Five years after a trade group tried reining them in, fertility clinics and brokers are bidding up prices for eggs sold by cash-strapped college women with top test scores and picture-perfect looks.

Advertisements in campus newspapers and on websites plead daily. “Egg Donors Needed. $10,000,” says one in The Daily Californian, the student newspaper at the University of California, Berkeley. The ad, from a San Diego broker called A Perfect Match, seeks women who are “attractive, under the age of 29” and have SAT scores above 1,300.

Eggs have been traded almost since the fertility industry started 30 years ago. But now, new technologies tied to the Internet have turned the business into a global bazaar of egg merchants, with little regulatory oversight.

Classified-ad website Craigslist publishes 150 ads on a typical day. A Web search for “egg donor” at Google produces dozens of links to advertisers. As other nations curtail the practice — Canada did so in 2004 — the USA is becoming the industry’s last bastion.

Comments read comments(14)
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Stephen S

posted March 17, 2006 at 11:58 pm

I see similar ads in the Yale Daily News. It is so impersonal, inhuman, pragmatic. Eugenics plus prenatal gold-digging is a horrendous combination.
It makes me fear for the day when couples select the hair/eye color, skin tone, height, weight and other traits before the child is born. If something comes out incorrect they will abort the child and sue the doctor and then start over.
While I generally agree with the econo-political theory of “free markets=free people”, I am constantly aware that this freedom is nothing without virtue and correctly formed conscience.

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posted March 18, 2006 at 12:59 am

Didn’t we fight a war about 145 years ago to finally decide that one could not have property in the human body? That you could not “own” or sell a human body (and thus, by inference, you could not sell a part of that body)?

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Kevin Jones

posted March 18, 2006 at 2:04 am

I wonder when the first Oedipal stories will hit the news. Or have they already, with the sperm banks?

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Sandra Miesel

posted March 18, 2006 at 8:55 am

Interesting question: would it legally be incest for a father to beget a child by his daughter if donated gametes and a surrogate mother were used? Probably not.
The article assumes that couples are buying the eggs but nothing stops singles from doing it, too.

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posted March 18, 2006 at 10:25 am

It is always assuring that trying to build a master race one child at a time pays so well…

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posted March 18, 2006 at 11:48 am

Egg Donation: Exploitive? Ethical?

When I was a cash strapped medical student, I was always on the lookout for a clinical study in need of normal controls. My forearms are still scarred from all the vials of blood I donated for $5.00-$10.00 a pop. The guys, on the other hand, had ready ac

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posted March 18, 2006 at 12:49 pm

I’ve seen these ads at University of Michigan, too. Only I recall those being $50,000 …

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posted March 18, 2006 at 5:31 pm

We have them too, only $5,000 is the most that I have seen. The bizarre thing is that the donor has to make many medical visits, give herself shots, etc. It’s not just a windfall of money, it’s more like a part-time “job.”

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Tom Haessler

posted March 18, 2006 at 7:15 pm

Do feminists complain about the inequality involved in the low cost of dudes’ sperm?

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Catherine L

posted March 18, 2006 at 10:51 pm

I saw an ad in a ladies’ room: “Need some extra money? Help an infertile couple have a baby with the gift of your eggs.” This was sooo exploitive, it being in a little diner in downtown Corpus Christi, Texas. I don’t think too many Yale students or alumni were wandering through there.

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posted March 19, 2006 at 8:44 pm

While I generally agree with the econo-political theory of “free markets=free people”, I am constantly aware that this freedom is nothing without virtue and correctly formed conscience.
Can’t have everything, can we. It classic economics isn’t it? You take a naturally occuring element and sell it. Where there’s money to be made, there’s a will.

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posted March 20, 2006 at 10:37 am

I know there are ads in The Daily Princetonian looking for egg donors. It implies that you will be so happy after you do this (bec you make an unfertile woman happy). At least the difficult medical process of donating eggs discourages some would-be donors, and although college students can always use money, the scholarship money at Princeton is excellent, which I imagine cuts down the number of women who consider this.

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posted March 20, 2006 at 12:49 pm

…fertility clinics and brokers are bidding up prices for eggs sold by cash-strapped college women with top test scores and picture-perfect looks.
As in “Supermodel Looks, BIG Boobs, and Certified Genius Level IQ?”
Would you really want to be the kid test-tubed under that guarantee who falls short of those guaranteed expectations?
Or maybe worse, who fulfills them all?

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posted March 20, 2006 at 4:09 pm

Given the incidence of cosmetic surgery in younger women these days, the prospective “parents” may be in for a bit of an aesthetic shock when infant genotype trumps ersatz maternal phenotype!

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