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08/30/2007

Should I sell my eggs?

Via Art Caplan comes this pointer to a first-person piece by Jill Colvin in the New York Press about egg “donation.” Here’s a snip:

While Julia’s repeated donations were beyond anything that I could imagine, as a self-declared feminist, the idea of taking charge of my body was appealing. I would be desexualizing conception and motherhood and taking charge of my own fertility, which seemed like an empowering idea. To be honest, the thought of altruistically fulfilling the dreams of a desperate, infertile couple didn’t seriously enter my mind until a social worker at the fertility clinic I visited asked me why I was interested in donating my eggs other than the money, and I was forced to muddle together a heartfelt story about knowing a woman who had had difficulty conceiving and about how I wanted to bring joy to the world. Nonetheless, that all sounded good, too.

But my initial excitement and visions of empowerment soon began to fade as I learned that the process was far from the simple one promised on agency homepages. The risks were frightening, with potentially devastating consequences (see sidebar page 15). Most telling, however, were the pages and pages of photographs of young, attractive women who were featured on numerous online donor catalogues for potential recipients to choose from. The women’s names, heights, bodyweights, hobbies and IQ scores were listed, with price tags all but stamped onto their foreheads. Some even included asking prices and donor status. It was like flipping through a human Sears catalogue, and I felt uncomfortable with the idea of gracing its pages.

Does she end up donating? You’ll have to read the rest to find out. Interesting fact reported by Colvin: in New York City the going price for eggs is currently about $8,000.

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