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.