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December 22nd, 2008
07:47 PM ET

Eggonomics

Program Note: Watch Randi’s full report tonight at 10p ET.

Randi Kaye
AC 360° Contributor

Men have been donating sperm for years, but in these tough economic times more and more women are donating their eggs, for the MONEY!!

All you have to do is visit http://www.craigslist.com or pick up a college campus newspaper and you’ll see ads from young women, often between the ages of 21 and 30, offering to donate their eggs. They need the cash and can easily pick up $10,000 for donating their eggs, and as much as $30,000 if they serve as a surrogate and carry the baby.

I recently spent some time with a 26-year-old woman who lives in New York City. Courtney Smith donated eggs a couple of years ago when money got tight. She was paid $7,000 for it. She just got matched with another recipient who plans to pay her $8,000 next month to donate more eggs. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends a maximum of $10,000 paid for eggs. Courtney is doing it because her bills are piling up. She works full time as a wine steward at a high end restaurant in Manhattan so she doesn’t have the time, she says, to get a second job. This is the easiest way she knows to her earn some extra cash. Once she’s matched anonymously with a recipient, usually a couple who can’t have children on their own, she begins taking hormones which stimulate ovulation. Just a few weeks later, a doctor extracts the eggs and they are given to the couple to be fertilized. Donors like Courtney walk away with the cash.

How does Courtney feel knowing that a part of her, her DNA, is out there in someone’s child that she’ll never meet? She says she’s okay with it because she’s not as attached to her eggs as any woman might be to her child. But the author of the book, “The Baby Business,” told me she’d never let her own daughter donate her eggs. She thinks because women do this at such a young age, they may not be mature enough to realize they could regret it later on. The author, Deborah Spar, says she also thinks the whole process could be dangerous, and she says there is definitely a “cringe factor.” Supporters of egg donation say it’s important to remember this helps couples who are struggling with infertility. It is one of the most effective means of treating it.

Times are so tough these days that the agency we visited told us they have seen donor applications double in recent months. As the economic news gets worse, more women offer to donate. Women can donate up to six times in their life. Courtney says she’ll keep doing it until money is no longer an issue.

What do you think of donating eggs for cash? Would you do it?


Filed under: Economy • Randi Kaye
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Laura

    Why not give a couple the gift of life. I'd give my eggs up.

    December 23, 2008 at 10:30 am |
  2. Chuck Jones, Pittsburgh

    Don’t believe the HYPE!!!

    Anderson – I know you report more serious stuff on Obama, Carolyn Kenedy, and the economy. Well, the economy can’t possibly be all that bad. I live in Pittsburgh and unable to find a WII in any of our retail stores. This is the 3rd year for this item. So either Nintendo is hyping up their item to keep demands high or people are just not as bad off as the news makes it sound. If the economy is so bad, WHO is buying this stuff?? So, here is one of your faithful keeping you honest.

    Chuck

    December 23, 2008 at 10:09 am |
  3. Judith

    "Eggonomics" sounds like something is about to lay an egg on the more layers of economic manipulation and pandering. If this is the "new and improved" way of reproducing the human race and it pays in the range of $10,000 to $30,000 dollars to it's donors I say: Invest your money wisely and to don't fall for the "bailout" philosophy breeding in Washington and across this nation. Peace and love to all my brothers and sisters who are facing hard times during this economic restructuring called a "bailout".

    December 22, 2008 at 9:10 pm |
  4. Dulcie

    Randi,

    I though seriously about doing it when I was college. I didn't feel particularly attached to my eggs/DNA and figured 'why not'? But the idea of having my cycle manipulated with hormones bothered me, so I didn't.

    December 22, 2008 at 8:21 pm |
  5. Ratna, New York, NY

    Hi Randi,

    There was at one time (before the age of 32) I considered this option to pay for college, but I was very uncomfortable that my DNA is going to be shared out there by people who will be blessed by parenthood exept for me. So I never donated. Besides I would never be able to tolerate the fertility drug that is taken for ovulation, but would consider to get pregnant myself -once I find and marry my Mr. Right 🙂

    December 22, 2008 at 7:56 pm |
  6. EJ (USA)

    Plus I plan to sell pictures of my children for at least $5 million dollars like Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt.

    December 22, 2008 at 7:54 pm |
  7. EJ (USA)

    I'd never donate my eggs. That's just like giving your kid away. I couldn't do it. (I have nothing against other women who do – as I know lots of couples cannot have children) I can give away my blood, maybe even some bone marrow if a relative truly needed it – but eggs? No way.

    December 22, 2008 at 7:51 pm |