Fertility customers run ads offering tens of thousands of dollars for young women egg donors with the right genes, looks, talent and SAT scores
UPDATE 5/11/10: ABC News report
-- From "Yes, top students reap rich rewards, even as egg donors" by Stephanie Ebbert, Boston Globe Staff 3/26/10
The Harvard Crimson was one of three college newspapers that ran an identical classified ad seeking a woman who fit a narrow profile: younger than 29 with a GPA over 3.5 and an SAT score over 1,400. The lucky candidate stood to collect $35,000 if she donated her eggs for harvesting.
The ad was one of 105 college newspaper ads examined by a Georgia Institute of Technology researcher who issued a report yesterday that appeared to confirm the long-held suspicion that couples who are unable to have children of their own are willing to pay more for reproductive help from someone smart. The analysis showed that higher payments offered to egg donors correlated with higher SAT scores.
Anecdotal reports have long depicted eager prospective parents willing to pay outrageous sums for carefully screened donors of sperm or eggs, and stories of parents offering tens of thousands of dollars for eggs from geniuses or extraordinarly talented musicians pop up regularly.
The stories have alarmed some medical professionals and raised ethical questions. Concerned about eggs being treated as commodities, and worried that big financial rewards could entice women to ignore the risks of the rigorous procedures required for harvesting, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine discourages compensation based on donors’ personal characteristics. The society also discourages any payments over $10,000.
Fertility clinics are required by federal law to report their pregnancy success rate but not what donors are paid. Agencies involved in donations say they are not purchasing eggs but compensating donors for their time and the ordeal they must undergo.
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