Thursday, April 9, 2009

Market for eggs and sperm

The Boston Globe reports Recession spurs egg and sperm donations
Giving provides extra income

"Couples, and some single women, pay $20,000 to $30,000 for an egg donation, in vitro fertilization, and transfer to the recipient. Donors generally must be healthy nonsmokers between ages 21 and 32 with a good family health history, "reasonably educated and reasonably attractive," Benardo said. Screening involves physical, psychological, and genetic testing. If accepted, the woman undergoes hormone injections, then a surgical procedure to remove her eggs. Fees paid to the donor generally range from $5,000 to $10,000. Recipients choose prescreened donors."
"In Charlestown, NEEDS (National Exchange for Egg Donation and Surrogacy) also reports a 25 percent increase. "Very few of them will say just straight out it's for the money," said NEEDS manager Jan Lee. "They don't want to sound like a money-grabber. We ask them if they're applying because they need the money or out of the goodness of their heart, and they say both." "
"[Dr. Vito Cardone, founder of Cardone Reproductive Medicine & Infertility] cautions against women seeing this as a gold mine.
"The money that's given is limited; it's not going to be something to create a yearly revenue to get them through life," he said.
He believes in compensating women for their time and trouble but said there needs to be "some ethics to it" - both an altruistic motive and a monetary limit.
"When I see people who want to 'sell' their eggs for $20,000 or more it makes no sense, because then it becomes commercial, like selling any other thing," he said. "There has to be a little bit of kindness, because these couples have had a lot of hardship and desire a child very strongly." "
" Sperm donations are also on the increase, although they pay much less - an average of $85 to $100 per donation. Such "banks" generally require that the donor be at least 5-foot-8, a college student or graduate between the ages of 18 and 38, and in good health.
California Cryobank, which has offices in Cambridge, recruits largely on college campuses and asks each donor for a year's commitment, with the average donor contributing 2-3 times a week.
In the past six months, applications are up 20 percent, said Scott Brown, communications manager. "I think the recession has certainly opened up interest," he said. But less than 1 percent of applicants are chosen, based on family history, a physical exam, and analyses of blood, urine, and semen. "It's tougher to get into the Cryobank than into Harvard," Brown said."

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