October 29, 2006
Markets For Donor Eggs And Babies Face Opposition

Audacious Epigone provides a link to an article about the prices for adoption babies and the anger that some feel about prices put on humans.

When a couple seeking to adopt a white baby is charged $35,000 and a couple seeking a black baby is charged $4,000, the image that comes to the Rev. Ken Hutcherson's mind is of a practice that was outlawed in America nearly 150 years ago — the buying and selling of human beings.

My reaction to the moral objection about prices: Would you prefer that babies be seen as worth nothing? Or do you want to force people to pay much higher prices?

My more practical reaction: A measly $35k? The white baby price is still far less than the $50,000 price which some Stanford student donor eggs fetch. The donor eggs of elite school students have much higher chances of resulting in higher IQ babies.

But the prices for the babies and for the high IQ donor eggs looked at together suggest another interesting possibility for the future: Genetically engineered babies created by women who plan to sell them once the babies are born.

Think about why the Stanford and Harvard undergrad women can command such high prices for their eggs as compared to the prices for babies. First off, a lot of women who can't produce viable eggs from their own ovaries still want the experience of pregnancy and birth. Also, a couple where the woman can't produce viable eggs still typically wants to use the husband's sperm. So those factors put limits on the demand for fully developed babies.

But another limit on the demand for babies (and it is a reason you'll rarely see publically expressed) is the widely but privately held opinion (gotta watch out for the commissars) that women who are getting pregnant out of wedlock and who want to give up their babies for adoption are lower class, lower IQ, and lower quality in other ways that are at least partially genetic in origin. However, shift ahead 15 or 20 years to when DNA testing is cheap and very comprehensive in what it can reveal. Shift ahead perhaps even further to when egg, sperm, and embryo genetic engineering is practical. The ability to modify the genes of the embryo will enable even lower class women to give birth to babies that have high intelligence, great looks, great health, and assorted desired personality traits.

Biotechnology will enable the production of more customized products. The ability to basically sell a more customized product will raise demand and market prices. This will allow some women to make money producing and selling babies.

Even before embryo genetic engineering becomes possible the market for adoptive babies will go through a big shift as a result of biotechnological advances. In particular, cheap genetic testing will cause a big differentiation of the market. Babies which today are indistinguishable will come to be seen as very different from each other in mental abilities, personalities, future career prospects, and the likelihood of behavioral problems and diseases.

The ability to genetically test babies on the adoption market will change incentives for single women on whether to get knocked up and by who. Single women who get their DNA tested and find they have highly desired features will be able to select donor sperm of men who also have highly desired features and make babies which will fetch much higher prices on the adoption market. So genetic testing combined with (a preferably legal) adoption market should raise the quality of babies born out of wedlock.

But other advances in reproductive biotechnology will limit the development of the donor egg and adopted baby markets. Most notably, advances in the treatment of fertility problems will reduce the need for couples to turn to donor eggs and adoption. Stem cell manipulations will produce viable eggs and sperm made of a couple's own DNA. Most people will prefer their own DNA for producing their babies over that of strangers.

The donor egg market may, in any case, face an increasingly hostile regulatory environment. While a debate rages in Britain as to whether to loosen restrictions on payment to egg donors the wind in California is blowing in the opposite direction. Governor Schwarzenegger faces a decision on whether to sign legislation that would ban the sale of eggs by private parties.

Hoping to preempt a controversy, the authors of California's Proposition 71, approved in 2004, declared that scientists who received grants from the $3-billion state stem cell agency could not pay egg donors but merely reimburse their expenses.

A bill now on Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's desk, sponsored by state Sens. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) and George Runner (R-Lancaster), would extend those payment restrictions to privately funded laboratories.

Feminists are behind this attempt to reduce reproductive choices.

The Center for Genetics and Society in Oakland and the Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research in Los Angeles are two of the most vocal supporters of the measure. Both describe themselves as staunchly feminist.

They imagine that they are protecting lower class Hispanic and black women from exploitation.

Emily Galpern, reproductive health and human rights director for the Center for Genetics and Society, said she feared that without the legislation, poor and minority women would be exploited for their eggs.

News flash to Emily Galpern: The poor black and Hispanic women aren't getting much "exploitation" from egg buyers as market prices for eggs attest. Upper class male patriarchal white capitalist exploiters with the money to spend on expensive eggs aren't beating a path to the doors of poor women wanting to buy their eggs. The big demand is for Ivy League egg and sperm donors who the upper class (correctly) see as possessing the right genetic alleles for giving birth to smarter babies with higher potential for success in the marketplace. Plus, I'm guessing the upper class parents simply want kids who have the capacity to become their intellectual peers.

That legislation mentioned above was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger

Update: Currently the US has the biggest market for genetic material.

The United States is one of many countries in which legislation and social norms proscribe the selling of body parts. It is also the world capital of the genetic material market: No other nation trades in DNA so widely and freely. Hopeful mothers and cash-strapped college students have been trading cash for eggs for 20 years, calling the ova a “donation” and the money compensation for time and discomfort, thus avoiding the ban on sales. Outside Food and Drug Administration mandates regarding the importance of testing donors for specific diseases and monitoring their progress, there are no federal laws restricting egg donors in the U.S.; elsewhere, the laws reflect a surprising lack of consensus on the issue. In Germany, Denmark, and Italy, egg donation is completely illegal. In Israel, payment for eggs can cover only the direct expenses related to the procedure. In the U.K., eggs are classified as organs, and payment is banned.

The rate of advance of reproductive biotechnology will slow if that market becomes subject to bans on the sale of eggs and sperm.

Update II: The newly enacted California legislation restricts payments for women who donate eggs for stem cell research while leaving payments for egg donors for reproduction still unregulated.

Though the group expresses some concern about exploitation of women who sell their eggs for in vitro fertilization, it notes that these donors tend to be white, well educated and well paid — often $5,000 to $50,000 because of the demand for their genetic material.

Stem cell researchers, in contrast, seek eggs only as a vehicle for someone else's DNA — so all viable eggs can be used, regardless of class or race.

Eventually stem cell researchers will need eggs with specific qualities. For example, they might want eggs from women who carry traits that cause genetic diseases. The ability to offer to pay those women could help to find and bring forward women to donate eggs with the needed genetic variations.

The stem cell researchers are not trying to use eggs that come from smart and good looking women. Some people (academics - probably left-wing) are upset that the smart and good looking women can still sell their eggs for top dollar.

Other critics say it's illogical to regulate payments to some egg donors but not others.

"Shouldn't we be worried about the women" donating eggs to fertility clinics? asked Radhika Rao, of UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and a member of a state commission that crafted guidelines for stem cell research. "If you pay women a lot and they're white, it isn't exploitation?"

To Radhika Rao: Why not decide that it is not exploitation in either case? I realize that isn't sufficiently Marxist for some tastes. But might it be true? If not, why not?

As a friend of mine likes to say: There's only one thing worse than being exploited: Not being exploited. What, no capitalist wants to pay you? Bummer when that happens.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2006 October 29 11:11 AM  Bioethics Reproduction


Comments
crush41 said at October 30, 2006 12:08 AM:

The article I linked to says that it is against Washington state law for women to be renumerated for the children they put up for adoption. Is that generally the case in most states? Selling eggs is emotionally and physically much cheaper than birthing for adoption, and it's potentially lucrative. But an adoption 'market' would allow older women who lacked the physical requirements for a manageable childbirth yet enjoy the material affluence to raise a child quite well.

Lea said at November 5, 2006 7:03 AM:

I read about this site in a local newspaper which told the story of a woman who came on here to advertise her eggs for sale. I would like to know more about this so if any one has any further information on how i could go about selling my eggs then please email me and let me know. Thank you.

Sara Dawdy said at December 15, 2006 9:02 AM:

22 Years old. Caucasian 5'5 120 pounds. Very Athletic, blond hair, blue eyes. Irish/Lithuanian/Native American Decent
IQ:151 Sat Score:1400

Interested in selling my eggs to a loving couple looking to have a baby of their own.

Contact: sdawdy06@yahoo.com

Email if you would like more information or pictures.

Sara Dawdy said at December 15, 2006 9:04 AM:

22 Years old. Caucasian 5'5 120 pounds. Very Athletic, blond hair, blue eyes. Irish/Lithuanian/Native American Decent
IQ:151 Sat Score:1400

Interested in selling my eggs to a loving couple looking to have a baby of their own.

Contact: sdawdy06@yahoo.com

Email if you would like more information or pictures.

Emma said at May 10, 2007 9:30 AM:

5'8'' blonde green eyes, very good health, non smoker, occasional drinker, active, intelligent 26 years old from uk. no children as yet but willing to sell eggs to help a couple wanting a baby. email for more info!

Emma said at May 10, 2007 9:31 AM:

sorry email address is betsonkatz@hotmail.co.uk thanks! emma

Michelle said at July 8, 2007 5:29 AM:

I am 5'4''. I have blue eyes, dark brown hair, slim (size 4 US). Picture can be supplied. I was educated at private school and gained a Law degree at University. I am sporty and played hockey for University and now a team. I am currently a corporate banker in London.

I am in excellent health. I currently have no children. I am looking to sell my eggs to a couple who wish to have a baby.

My email address is michelle9773@hotmail.com

Monique said at July 31, 2007 10:27 AM:

Im a young lady in great health. Tall (5'7) ,light skinned, brown eyes, latin. Id love to help you =)
Moey_888@yahoo.com

Dawn Malone said at September 13, 2007 7:14 PM:

(natural)Blonde hair, green/ yellow eyes, great family, originally scottish, have lived all over the world currently living in america. willing to sell eggs. I'm in good health, fantastic international education as well as above average grades. Don't hesitate to get in contact with me dawn_malone87@hotmail.com.

sara Tarses said at December 16, 2007 2:10 PM:

Anyone with high IQ, athletic and attractive who finds them selves pregnant and not interested in raising child? We are a happy well to do couple intersted in adopting newborn. Email is Jtarses@aol.com

randee cooke said at November 29, 2008 11:48 AM:

Hello, young female 22. Deep blue eyes (much more blue than is expected) medium brown hair and fair skin. 5'3" and 106 lbs.
I have many talents, was in "gifted" classes as a child, have done very well in the business world, bought a house at 19, and am have what is viewed as a very exceptional personality. Showed horses, modeling, dance for eight years, drama/acting, marketing, finance, animal rescue, worked at a deaf childrens camp as a teen,sports, cheerleading, loving, charity, outgoing, brave, problem solver... I am thinking about selling my eggs... but want to do some research and be sure the baby has an amazing home. Please email me if you are looking for help building your family. Pictures available. US families only please.

thepitbulladvocate@yahoo.com

paula said at January 10, 2009 6:26 PM:

Hi, healthy,young,intelligent hispanic white skin woman, green eyes,brown hair, colombian,german, raised in the US, currently in the medical field and I am more than willing to help a loving couple reach their expectations of raising a family. I will either donate my eggs or be a sarogate and be more than happy to carry your baby. :)
Email me babylucas227@yahoo.com. picture will be provided upon request.

Monica said at February 12, 2009 5:47 PM:

Very healthy and intelligent young caucasion, 5'6 and 120 lbs with green/blue eyes, medium/dark brown hair with a boyfriend who has very similar features. We've both done some modeling and been active in sports. My due date is Aug 10 and I'm willing to help a loving couple, US only, pictures and more information available.


Emma kirk said at March 23, 2009 7:22 PM:

I'm a 20 year old from England and am very serious about selling my eggs to a loving couple in America to enable me to go to University.
I have blonde hair with bright blue eyes, i am 5'6, slim, and have a very artisitic streak in me. I could even come stay with a couple if they wanted to get to know me before buying my eggs and would even consider staying during the egg processing month. If you would like photographs of me or simply want more information then please email emma.kirk15@hotmail.co.uk.
Please help make my dream come true by making your dream come true! :D

Fiona said at May 7, 2009 1:33 PM:

I'm would like to help a happy US couple make their life complete with a little baby. I am a 25 year old single Irish female. I am 5'8" and UK size 10, with brown hair and big green eyes. I went through grammar educstion, achieving 9 GSCE's and 3 ALevels. I recently graduated with a BCs Hons Psychology, as did my father and uncle in previous years. My father's side is very musically talented; I have singing exams and have been paid to sing at weddings. I have a very placid, calm personality with a lot of drive and ambition which has led me to my current profession. I would love to speak with a couple to discuss the options further.

Thank you for your time,

F

bobie barncord said at May 30, 2009 12:46 PM:

i am 19 i have no kids of my own but am willing to donate my eggs. I am heathy and i'm 5'4 and 125 pound i can show pics if needed. i would really like to help someone out so if you are interested just e-mail me. thanks for your consideration.

Michelle Lancaster said at June 3, 2009 11:33 AM:

Good Day to you,
My name is Michelle,im 31 years old english lady living with my son in Birmingham UK.I came a cross this website some weeks ago and thought why not!!.Im a very fit and healthy lady ex athlete now working freelance PA looking to sell my eggs to a loving couple of single parent in the US as i know it is illegal over here in the UK.Im not seeking to start another family nor wish too either for the succoming future and believe i have very healthy eggs which are very hard to find in this day and age.My son is 11 years old and is very athletic in his own right and plays football and runs for his county.The key to a healthy baby is healthy eggs so look no further.All travel arrangements and costs are met by the interesting party/ies and a full drawn contract to complete transaction between both partys.The fee for the egg donor is £10,000 but that does mot include treatments,travel expenses etc...That is also met by the interested party/ies.
Pictures are on requests and also only genuine partys need apply here.

Take care
Michelle xx

c said at September 11, 2009 3:01 PM:

hi i am a Deaf female aged 26 and have chosen not to use my eggs as i have a mitrcohdrial gene which means my children will be Deaf, i come from a huge Deaf family. my husband and i adopted out of the foster care system, i was just wondering how to get in touch with people who wanted eggs to prduce deaf children..feel free to contact me xtalaznova@hotmail.com

Lo said at February 11, 2010 5:51 PM:

Hello. 21/ female/ American/ mixed with African American, native american and French/ 5'7/ 160lbs/brown Almond eyes/ very fair/ beautiful natural hair/ former athlete/ 1 very healthy son/ educated and well spoken. Can supply many pictures including child to adulthood. Xcaliburssparkle@yahoo.com

Estella said at March 22, 2010 12:23 PM:

Has anyone done a study on: how healthy are donor egg babies?
Or, how healthy are babies from frozen embryos containing donor eggs?

Post a comment
Comments:
Name (not anon or anonymous):
Email Address:
URL:
Remember info?

                       
Go Read More Posts On FuturePundit
Site Traffic Info
The contents of this site are copyright ©