Let Chicks Charge for Eggs


Virginia Postrel points out that the National Academies' new guidelines for stem cell research include a ban on paying women for their eggs. So egg donors should be volunteers? Well, I'd like to meet the woman who will let a pack of doctors stick suctioning needles into her ovaries for the sake of science rather than, say, $15,000.

Feminists and pro-lifers get worked up over the egg donor issue, but it's working out for thousands of cash-strapped Ivy-leaguers and the older, financially stable couples eager for their DNA. Egg "donation" happens all the time, and despite the misnomer, it's not a humanitarian or idealistic endeavor (and shouldn't be sold that way). It's a transaction based on a woman's willingness to undergo significant discomfort (and some risk) for a wad of cash. Take away the cash, and I'm guessing the eggs will be gone, too.

Wired weighs in here.

NEXT: Photos of Dover Caskets Made Public

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Has there been a long term study on women who are egg donors. I am curious about the psychological and physiological condition. Also is it better for stem cell research for them to have an egg or a fetus? None of this has to do with should they do it, I am just wondering if the information is available.

  2. I think the fellas in the NA are just jealous that broads can get $15,000 for eggs, and they can’t get dime 1 for their man-juice.

  3. In Albany back in the 80s a sperm bank was paying guys $50 for their jiz! There were a lot of tests you had to do first, though, so I didn’t know too many who did it.

    Is the 15K for one egg or the whole bunch of them?

  4. Do they really pay 15k for that? If I had known it would be that lucrative, I’d have been on the table long ago!

    At 43, am I too old? I could do that, like, four times and pay for my daughter’s college education. Hmmmm….

  5. My friend, who is planning to never have kids, has mentioned wanting to sell her eggs quite a few times, but she’s never gone through with it. Don’t know why, though.

  6. I think the fellas in the NA are just jealous that broads can get $15,000 for eggs, and they can’t get dime 1 for their man-juice.

    Sort of resembles the pay rates in the porno industry. As ever, supply and demand.

  7. Lowdog, I understand it’s painful. And probably a hassle to get time off work for it, and all that. Maybe she didn’t know it was that lucrative, either.

  8. How much for a dozen?

  9. free form – yeah, I figure as much, which is why I mentioned it. Because I know she had actually looked into it, so I’m sure she knew it was fairly lucrative (althought who knows how much they pay here in AZ, for instance) and a hassle, at the very least. But again, she doesn’t want kids, and likes money but doesn’t make a lot of it, so…

  10. “Take away the cash, and I’m guessing the eggs will be gone, too.”

    Yep that’s for sure. People don’t flock to the hospital to donate a kidney either. Why should they? It’s risky and painful. Now if a guy could make $20,000 or whatever the market will support, there would be a list of people wanting to give up a kidney instead of a list of people dying to get one.

  11. Bobster – you are obviously a part of the “culture of death” because you think it’s somehow “cool” to get paid to donate your kidney. If you’re not doing it to assuage some Christian guilt, or to suffer for the sake of suffering, then it’s not moral.

  12. Lowdog,

    Don’t be so damned one-sided. The athiest lefties are against this just a much as the religious righties. They’re afraid that poor women will sell their eggs to those “oppressive” rich women or some such bullshit.

  13. The price quote cited by Postrel is $5,000 a pop.

  14. I think the fellas in the NA are just jealous that broads can get $15,000 for eggs, and they can’t get dime 1 for their man-juice.

    Like I said earlier, I’ve got six gallons of that stuff out in the car, and I can’t give it away.

  15. I think it’s barbaric that the law doesn’t allow us autonomy over our own bodies — whether it’s to sell eggs or sex.

  16. Yeah, I don’t understand why women who are having whatever procedure shouldn’t be able to kill two birds with one stone. For some women, this might be a way to cover the costs of otherwise unaffordable procedures.

    …Still I can see why some knee-jerk feminists might find the sale of eggs objectionable. It smacks of “The Handmaid’s Tale”, doesn’t it? That alone might make some of them uneasy.

  17. from the yale article… “We geneticists have done too good a job in making people believe genetics is more than it is in terms of complex social traits,” said Yale professor William Summers, who teaches “Biology of Gender and Sexuality,”. “With things like SAT scores, it is certainly going a bit much to think it is inheritable, but it shows the desperation of people who want a baby, who want the best baby they can get.”

    what drives a yale professor to say something so demonstrably false? just admit it: they’re getting what they paid for.

  18. I don’t know Rikurzhen. I’ve known quite a few bright people with stupid parents and bright parents with stupid kids. I think if you use your brain early and often, you’ll end up smart. Let is waste away and it’ll end up just that: waste. Hell, they’ve even recently proven that exercise grows new brain cells. Medical scientists have been insisting for years that we have a set number of neurons. Well, they were wrong.

    This is something that really bothers me about current human culture. It’s often assumed that people with grad. degrees are at least mildly brilliant. I don’t really think so. Grad degrees, particularly doctorates, only really prove that a person is somewhat single-minded. I’ve always thought that being broadly educated was much more impressive and useful.

  19. Sell eggs for money? Bah – that’s too not going far enough.

    We should be able to sell our blood for money. Cripes they pay for plasma, but not blood. Think of the those people that have nothing of value to offer society (the unemployed, but sometimes labeled “oppressed”) – it would be like their own ATM machine inside of them.

  20. Actually, they don’t pay for plasma, technically. As was explained to me when I sold plasma a few times about 10 years ago, it is illegal for them to pay for plasma, they are paying you for your *time* while “donating” the plasma.

  21. From what I understand the procedure to collect eggs involves high doses of hormones in order to get the body to produce several eggs at once. The women donating the eggs must also avoid sex during the process to avoid having the five or six eggs fertilized. The Ideal donors are successful, intelligent, good looking women, preferably ones that have already produced a healthy child. These are not the sort of women likely to need the $15,000. If the eggs where used of scientific purposes the restrictions on donors may not be as though allowing women who do need the money to donate a needed scientific tool and be reimbursed for the significant time and trouble the procedure involves. I?m sure some feminists will come out against egg donation for money, just as some denounce surrogate motherhood as exploitation and treating women as merely ?wombs for rent.? I never understood why a woman using the uniquely feminine aspects of her body to earn a prophet pisses off feminists so very much.

  22. In theory, I think, most of the eggs donated for stem cell research would come from “leftovers” at in vitro fertilization clinics. That means that theoretically women wouldn’t be going into this specifically to donate eggs for the cause. But it also sounds to me like there would be potential for fertility clinics to get double payments for their work. The infertile couples pays their fee, and then the clinic charges researchers some handling fee for turning over any leftover eggs or embryos that the woman does not use.

  23. The problem with selling blood is that the kind of people whom selling blood would be most likely to attract would be the kind of people who are least likely to be in good health etc., so you really wouldn’t want to buy their blood. (A lemons market, if I remember my econ class correctly)

    Of course, if you allowed people to be paid for giving blood then a market for carefully screened and checked blood (at a premium) might well develop.

  24. Donating eggs is not easy- A woman has to give herself hormone shots for a couple of weeks and then the eggs will be harvested. There is a risk of the hormones forcing the ovaries to force too many eggs out at once. There are risks- and they get all they eggs then can- 1, 5, 10 – whatever is there.

    It isnt easy- or fun. But if a women wants to sell her eggs to a couple or science or to be painted and become part of an art display- it is no one’s damn business

    The gov’t and the “feminist” need to stay the hell off and out of my body

  25. I never understood why a woman using the uniquely feminine aspects of her body to earn a prophet pisses off feminists so very much.

    I’ll bet that an athletic young woman at Harvard could get herself an Isaiah or even Mohammed in exchange for some eggs. Or at the very least the crazy dude who wrote the Book of Revelation.

  26. The Real Bill, after several decades of research the heritability of IQ scores has been pretty well established at (at least) 0.6. That is, at least 60% of the variation in IQ scores among adults is attributable to variation in genotype. (The professor should know this.) Of course that leaves big room for other input (as you point out), but again I think they’re getting what they paid for.

  27. “My eggs, my eggs,
    He begs and begs
    To be the father of my eggs…”

    Quoted from memory (feminist poetry reading at the former nudie bar in Married with Children…)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.