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REUTERS: In hard times, more U.S. women try to sell their eggs.

27 February, 2009


By Michelle Nichols and Angela Moore

February 27, 2009

Women, who are usually hardest hit during an economic crisis, have been looking for new ways to make money and, across the country, several have found a way.  In the last year, growing numbers have been selling their eggs to fertility centers for as much as $10,000.  I would imagine that a woman would have to be really desperate to want to undergo hormone injections until she was able to provide the eggs, but desperate times require desperate measures.

Don’t run out the door just yet, though.  It seems that not all women who want to be donors are acceptable. Obviously, a women has to be healthy physically and emotionally; she must undergo a psychological evaluation, and it helps if she is young.  Two other factors in her favor are that she be attractive (because no one who is paying for the opportunity to have a baby wants one that isn’t attractive) and that she be well-educated (because as we all know those education genes almost always slip in through the woman’s eggs).  Does anyone know if there are similar requirements for sperm donors?  I’ve always been under the impression that they just slip into a cubicle, glance through a few girlie magazines or watch a porno movie, drop off their specimen, grab the money and leave.  But what do I know?

If the woman, passes all these requirements, she still has to be “selected” by the prospective recipients.  So it isn’t exactly a drive-by donation.

Don’t get me wrong: I have not objection to sperm and egg “banks” for couples who are unable to conceive a child without medical assistance.  What did surprise me about this article was the response of the very people who “harvest” the eggs.

“And remember the economy puts strain on the recipients too,” [Katherine] Bernardo said. “It’s a very expensive undertaking to use a donor egg and an IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle.”

Excuse me.  I missed something here.  Young girls desperately need money so they offer their eggs to an infertile couple.  I get that.  But, I am supposed to pity the economic plight of the recipients?  Hey, if you can’t afford it right now, don’t do it.  Wait til times get better.  If you are willing to to through an “expensive undertaking” in order to have a baby, you’d better have the expenses to do it and then to raise that baby. Sorry Ms. Bernardo, you can’t equate the young woman’s attempt to survive to the couple’s attempt to satisfy their need to parent.  I’m sure there are plenty of unwanted babies who would be more than pleased to be selected [and they don’t really need to be beautiful or smart to respond with love].

Here’s another who makes his living from the donor “banks,” but needs to throw in a little humanitarian motivation, lest we think of it as crass commercialism.

“We understand that financial compensation is certainly one motivation, but should never be the sole motivation. These women are providing a great gift to others that should not be taken lightly,” said [Eric] Surrey, a past president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive  Technology.”

Maybe, I’m just a little too suspicious.  The story is really about the economy and ways that women can make ends meet, right not about justifying the expense or the gift of In Vitro?  How much do you suppose these two “gift” of their salary every year to help poor people receive IVF?

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