Video Two: Shopping for Egg Donors

May 2, 2009 by

“Shopping for Egg Donors,” the video below, is the second in a series of five mini-videos created to spark a grassroots conversation about new technologies that could alter human nature. Videos 3 through 5 will be released in July, August, and September, 2010.

This series is about new genetic and reproductive technologies that may help prevent disease and ease human suffering, but also have the potential to fundamentally change our human nature. We encourage you to think about the issues presented in each video in this series, find out more by exploring the resources at, share the videos and the link to this site with your family and friends and encourage them to share them with others, and get more involved—as soon as possible.

Time is of the essence. These technologies are being developed at a rapid pace. We all have to work hard to ensure that people from all walks of life have a say in what should—and should not—be done—before it’s too late.

Take a look at our second BioConversations video below. The third video, “Choosing Our Children’s Traits,” will be released on July 5. Please sign up for our RSS Feed and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s out. (continue below)

If you’ve picked up a college newspaper lately you may have seen one of the many ads recruiting young women to provide eggs for other people’s fertility treatments. With jobs for college students scarce and tuition soaring, the thousands of dollars on offer have got to be tempting.

My colleagues who teach in the California state university system have talked with a number of students who considered or went through with egg extraction. The process includes daily injections of powerful hormones whose side effects can include serious complications – even (thankfully rare) fatal ones. They say that even when the egg brokers or fertility clinics provide good information about side effects, their students often discount it because they need the cash. “By the time they’re given the risk information, they’re already counting on the money,” one teacher told me.

I can easily imagine my daughter, who’s now 16, coming home from college in a few years with the exciting news that she’s going to be able to pay her own tuition this semester with the money she made selling her eggs.

The growing market in women’s eggs is one of the ways in which we’re already feeling the effects of new reproductive and genetic technologies. Many of these technologies can be of great benefit, but some could seriously harm individuals, communities, or society as a whole.

We hope BioConversations will help all of us understand and tackle the sometimes complex concerns these new technologies raise. Please share these mini-videos and website with your friends and families, and let us know what you think!

Sign up for the RSS Feed and we’ll let you know as soon as the next video is released. We welcome your comments and reactions. Please share them at the link below.

Marcy Darnovsky

Associate Director, Center for Genetics and Society


Amounts paid for eggs

Risks to egg donors

California law


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