Thursday, January 1, 2009

Selling Your Eggs for Money

I know a lot of you are having money issues, but this is a big step! 

FROM ABC: How far would you go to pay your bills if money was tight and debts were piling up? With the economy tanking, it's a question many are facing. One answer we heard about might sound extreme to some people. But it's legal and lucrative. It's also big business, and it involves real medical risks. We're talking about young women becoming egg donors or surrogates in large part because they need the money.

The ads are everywhere: college newspapers and craigslist. I would love to give somebody a chance to have a child. I am also looking to pay part of my way through school. compensation for surrogacy would allow me to stay home full-time which otherwise would not be an option. I am a medical student, musician, and am quite athletic I am charging a significant fee. That is how thousands of women in today's tough economy earn extra cash and lots of it! They are donating their eggs!

It pays as much as 10-thousand dollars. Women who carry the baby as a surrogate mom can rake in even more: 30-grand in some cases! At 26, Courtney Smith has lots of bills to pay. She's a wine steward at a high end Manhattan restaurant but says the economy is hurting business, and as a result, her bank account. She's already cut back on eating out and cab rides, she'd get a second job but she doesn't have the energy or the time. So she plans to donate her eggs. 

She first did it two years ago when money got tight. So how much were you paid when you donated your eggs? I was paid 7 thousand dollars. How did that feel? I felt good, I mean, it feels good to have money. And I paid off a student loan Courtney provided these baby pictures so recipients can see what their child might look like. Once matched--usually with a couple unable to have their own children--donors like Courtney take hormones to stimulate ovulation.

Weeks later, the recipient gets the eggs. The donor gets the money! Deborah Spar, author of "The Baby Business," says she'd never let her daughter donate! I worry that women are deciding to sell their eggs too quickly. That they're being overly driven by the financial concerns here. Spar is concerned about the womens' health. Ovaries can be over-stimulated which she says can be dangerous. It is one woman giving birth to a child who is genetically the child of another woman. It is a sale of our most intimate product. courtney says sharing her DNA doesn't bother her -- she has no emotional connection to her **eggs**.. she says-- and she doesn't think she'll have any regrets knowing a child that's a part of her - who she'll never meet is out there. kathy benardo started a donor agency where courtney is registered. 

I don't want people to lose sight that this is a treatment for infertility. infertility is a disease, and this is one of the most effective treatments there are. courtney was recently anonymously matched with a recipient who will pay her 8-thousand dollars. the maximum recommended by the american society for reproductive medicine is 10-thousand dollars, though some recipients place private ads like this one, offering much more. benardo says the number of donor applicants at her agency has **doubled** in recent months. as the news has gotten worse and worse the interest in egg donation has increased. what gets somebody picked..? 

kb: attractiveness is number one. you have to be attractive and it's a beauty contest to a certain degree. but also education, high test scores, ability in music, in sports, things like that. most women say the money is secondary..that it's really about helping others.. courtney says those women are kidding themselves. rk: would you donate your eggs if you weren't getting paid for them? personally i don't think i would if it was for a stranger. most women who donate are under 30... when their eggs are healthiest. they can donate every three months but no more than six times altogether. courtney will keep doing it as long as she needs the money, but she does plan to save some eggs.. to have her own child one day. 

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


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