Should Women Be Allowed to Charge What the Market Will Bear for Their Eggs?

Yes. Next question.



An editorial "Paying for Egg Donations," in today's New York Times asks, "Should a woman who donates eggs to help people with fertility problems conceive a child be able to charge as much as she can get in a free-market transaction?"

Yes. Next question.

Guided by bioethicists who want to make sure that women will not be tempted by filthy lucre to take the risks involved with producing extra ova for sale, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology suggest that women should not receive more than $10,000 per cycle. The Times points out:

This payment system is unfair. However well-intentioned, it favors the fertility clinics, which can keep more for themselves if they pay donors less, as well as the women who pay for fertility treatments. Meanwhile, it shortchanges the egg donors, whose wishes are ignored in the equation. And if there are indeed risks, they can be addressed and mitigated by the clinics and the doctors, who can strengthen their screening and counseling procedures and provide more information.

Somewhat to my surprise, the Times more or less correctly concludes that this price-fixing scheme by clinics is wrong and has denied women their rightful say in these transactions.

For more background, a must read is my former Reason colleague Kerry Howley's superb "Ova for Sale," in which she details her own experiences with selling her eggs.

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  1. All your eggs are belong to us

    And bonus points for using “ilthy lucre”. That term is underutilized.

    1. Set us up the sperm.

    2. Are the white eggs more in demand?

  2. Should Women Be Allowed to Charge What the Market Will Bear for Their Eggs?


    1. I would rather women be allowed to charge what the market will cough up for their eggs. With sausage.

      1. I, for one, object to this blatant income opportunity gap. I can’t seem to be able to give my sperm away for free, and these women are getting $10,000 per egg? I think some kind of egg re-distribution program is in order here.

  3. producing extra ova for sale

    That’s…not how ova work.

    1. If i’m not mistaken, doesn’t egg donation involve hormone treatments that cause the ovaries to release multiple ova at a time?

      1. Yes, but you can’t actually ever “produce” more eggs. You have them all when you’re born.

        1. *** standing ovation ***

        2. Yeah, but you’re producing more in the sense that you are making more viable at once than you would naturally. I’m okay with Ron’s word choice.

          What would you prefer? Express?

          1. what is wrong with “release”?

          2. “Release” is probably the most common term used in general with respect to the female reproductive cycle. “Express” is fine.

            1. “Eggjaculate”?

              1. You patriarchal shitlord! Taking a male term and recycling it…horrible!

                1. This is in response to Citizen X (hell, even the reason comment section squirrels hates the females)

          3. Yeah, that’s how i took it – “produce” meaning “here they are,” rather than “create.”

            If a traffic officer tells me to produce some ID, i’m not going to make a driver’s license right there.

        3. so you can produce more if you have daughters…business idea

        4. Female eggs are some of the first structures to develop in a fetus. Like, really early in the process of fetal development.

        5. I don’t think it’s totally inaccurate. The eggs exist but aren’t in a mature fertilizable form until the ovary ripens them. Normally, every month, multiple premature eggs “die” and one ripens. The homone treaments cause multiple eggs to ripen instead of just one.
          So it’s fair to say it makes you produce more ripe eggs.

    2. You’re just a slacker

    3. maybe the women who are prone to having multiples could give up their extra eggs, “dibs on the cuter/smarter/less colicky one”

  4. Where are the radical feminists? They, more than anyone else, should understand the importance of letting women make choices over their own bodies. Oh, wait….

    1. You mean this isn’t just a really convoluted question about prostitution/sex trafficking?

  5. Yes. Next question?

  6. the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology suggest that women should not receive more than $10,000 per cycle

    Per *election* cycle?

    1. Well, they are free to cap their rates at that level.

  7. What does being an egg donor involve, exactly? Because $120k/year sounds pretty sweet…

    1. I think surgery is involved to actually get the eggs. You don’t just release them into an easily accessible area.

      1. They don’t just go into a coop and sit down on a comfy bed of straw?

      2. *Some* people find that area easy to access.

        *** kicks pebble ***

        1. …ladies.

      3. “Surgery” is not the right word. They don’t cut flesh, they knock the woman out with sedatives (not general anesthesia), stick needles in through the vagina, and suck the eggs out. You’re basically sore for a day, like you have menstrual cramps, and there is a small risk of complications.

    2. You should read the Kerry Howley piece if you really want to know, but the short answer is a couple months of medication, and surgery. And none of it can begin until a woman who wants your eggs decides to choose you.

      1. Hmm, that’s pretty intrusive. Sounds like an area ripe for technological innovation.

        1. She does not make it sound like a fun experience, from a physical perspective.

      2. “Love? That word is unknown here. I’m just looking for a female swollen with eggs who will accept my genetic material.”

      3. It’s not “surgery”. See my comment above. The eggs are extracted with needles.
        The hormones also are only for 1-3 weeks, they just start the woman on birth control pills for a month beforehand so they can start with a “blank slate” in terms of egg development in the ovaries. It makes it easier to predict what the ovaries will do with a given dose of the hormones.

  8. I do wonder how much an A-list celebrity could charge under such an arrangement, especially if she gave the proceeds to charity?

  9. An editorial “Paying for Egg Donations,” in today’s New York Times asks, “Should a woman who donates eggs to help people with fertility problems conceive a child be able to charge as much as she can get in a free-market transaction?”

    I don’t know. Should a construction worker who “donates” his time to his “supervisor” be able to charge as much as he can get in a “free-market transaction”?


    The money that donors get is meant to compensate them for physical and psychological tests; weeks of hormone injections to stimulate egg production; frequent tests and ultrasound examinations to track the developing eggs; repeated visits to the doctor, and minor surgery to remove the eggs when they are ready for retrieval.

    And the money that I pay my employees is meant to compensate them for the physical and mental stressors of their labor, the wear and tear on their automobiles and clothing, occupational testing and physical examinations, medical consultations, and minor surgery to improve their performance and aesthetic appearance.

    Does everything have to be a moral drama?

    1. To slavers, yes. It’s to distract from the fact that they are slavers.

      1. AND that they are too incompetent to support themselves by honest productive work, so they resort to screaming to the world how important they are.

    2. Being a bioethicist means devoting your life to creating drama where there is none in order to make yourself seem like a moral authority. Basically they are the Lucille Bluth of the sciences.

      1. As near as I can tell, having spent a little time with “bioethics” issues is that bioethics mostly involves coming up with complicated arguments for why people shouldn’t be able to do what they want, medically.

        It is profoundly in opposition to the idea that people are moral agents who can and should make their own decisions about what happens to themselves. You never see a bioethicist say “Well, if that’s what the patient wants, there is no good moral or ethical basis for us to deny it to them.”

  10. ” Kerry Howley’s superb “Ova for Sale,””

    I have a number of conflicting feels.

    one, i feel like I missed out on that sale. I would have raised a group of ninjas who would be devoted to tracking down and beating up will wilkinson in front of their unknown mother. The story would then be made into an excellent Anime film.

    two, i feel something like a cosmic-groan of groaning groan-ness over the epic horror of that pun

    tertiarally = most exclusive caviar *ever*

  11. If a woman donates an egg/eggs and doesn’t use a fertility clinic can she be held liable for e.g. (*stifles own sniggers*) child support?

    If not, it would seem an unqeual application of the law to force a man has to go to a clinic to donate sperm but not a woman for eggs.

    1. Shawnee County District Court Judge Mary Mattivi said on Wednesday that Marotta failed to conform to Kansas law, which says a licensed physician must be involved in an artificial insemination process, court documents show.

      I want to feel bad for Mr. Marotta, but the truth is that we license physicians for the sake of public health and safety.

      Only a true paranoiac would believe that governments use licensing systems to force trade through bottlenecks to generate income for themselves and particular special interests while punishing anyone who defies the state. When you recognize the tremendous harm caused by unlicensed sperm donation in this nation every day, you understand why we have the safeguards we do.

      1. When you recognize the tremendous harm caused by unlicensed sperm donation in this nation every day, you understand why we have the safeguards we do.

        The question isn’t whether someone is getting fucked, it’s whether everyone is getting fucked equally. If I’m a second-class citizen because I can’t equally donate reproductive material under the law, I need to be damned sure to write my congressperson and let them know my fundamental human right to waffle between first, second, and third person in the reproduction process as I see fit has been violated. *Especially* if it’s been violated because of the gender I choose to identify as.

      2. Or the one I don’t identify as, I guess, it’s so hard to keep up now that everyone is blatantly making it up as they go along.

    2. It seems like it would be pretty difficult to donate eggs without involving a physician. Do I don’t think that situation is likely to come up.

      1. You’re confusing physical necessity/expediency with regulatory capacity.

        You already need the clinic to establish a (lack of) parenthood on the one hand. *If you apply the law equally* the question of what fee they collect on that legal process is a question of degree, not kind.

        1. That is to say, if you’re a physician and you want to donate your own eggs to a family member, or if you otherwise have the practicals of transferring reproductive material down and don’t need to involve a clinic (like a man), you still have to involve a clinic.

          1. Yeah, it’s still awful. But unlikely to ever be tested in court.

  12. My wife and I were just discussing this and being a surrogate mother and what it would cost for her to want to do it. $10k for eggs is less than half what it would take for her to sell them. And we were both shocked at how cheap it is to have someone carry a baby. The going rate for women who volunteer to be a surrogate mother was like $36k plus medical. Mrs. SFC B’s womb will cost its occupant a significantly larger amount, plus medical and a per diem.

    1. I’ve chatted with a couple of surrogate mothers. They were both women who just really like being pregnant. Odd, but hey, I’m not bioethicist, so I didn’t really see any reason to tell them that they can’t do what they want with their own bodies.

    2. The deal is – its all basically unskilled labor. And $4k a month for something that basically requires no training or skill other than ‘keep off the dope’ . . . that’s a pretty good salary.

  13. Should be able to sell your own blood, bone marrow, and organs too.

    1. Yes! The Pro-choice crowd seems to think it only involves reproduction. If you are really pro-choice and believe we should be able to control our own bodies, then it shouldn’t just be about pregnancy.

      1. This is why I try to avoid “pro-choice” in abortion discussions. Too many people assume far too narrow a meaning.

  14. But aren’t free range eggs worth more than caged?

  15. I bought brand new BMW by working ONline work. Six month ago i hear from my friend that she is working some online job and making more then 98$/hr i can’t beleive. But when i start this job i have to beleived her

    ??????? —— http://www.HomeJobs90.Com

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