The debate rages on about the ethics of buying and selling donor eggs for in-vitro fertilization. A recent study suggested that guidelines set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine regarding appropriate compensation for donors is largely ignored, and that ads appearing in student publications of more prestigious universities offered way in excess of the $10,000 recommended cap.
A Los Angeles Times article makes the case that with the soaring cost of higher education:
College women comprise the largest market for donor eggs, and students struggling to pay college bills may be more tempted than ever to part with their genetic material. I can imagine some women, down the road, may regret that exchange.
Slate argues that this is just a step away from designer babies, suggesting that:
The egg market shows us what lies ahead. Once it’s possible to upgrade your seed, people will do it. And that will shake the foundations of equality. Rich folks won’t just have the best health care, education, technology, and social networks. They’ll have the most talent, too. Meritocracy will become aristocracy. What then?
A Christian Science Monitor blogger suggests that capping the price of donor eggs will just push open the black market:
Price controls cause shortages, and force people to contract elsewhere, outside the regulators’ jurisdiction.
While majority of people would consider buying better babies unethical, the fact remains that Assisted Reproductive Technology is already an option only for the wealthy. With $10,000 for donor eggs, $10-15,000 per IVF cycle, plus the cost of medical and agency fees, most people just don’t have this as an option.
What do you think? Tell us how you feel about egg donation and designer babies.