Reproductive technologies allow some people who previously couldn't have babies to do that.
In almost every human society, perhaps 15 percent of the population is infertile, so there's always been a big demand for babies.
Right now, the estimated average cost of producing a baby through these new treatments in the U.S. can be well over $50,000.
As I looked into it, I became convinced that reproductive technology was a market — with supply, demand and price coming together in a transaction.
Question: At Columbia University, there are ads in the student newspaper offering to pay tall blondes with high SAT's $8,000 to $20,000 for eggs to be used by infertile couples. Is this a good price?
Answer: Hmm. I think the price for Harvard eggs is higher, around $25,000. There have been ads offering even $50,000 and $100,000 for "exceptional eggs" though no one's ever come forward to say they've gotten that much.
The donor typically is young — 20 to 21 years old. She's run up the credit card bills, and she doesn't want Mom and Dad to know. She sees these very pretty ads in the school newspaper and this seems like a good way to solve a problem. The concern is that we don't know the long-term effects of doing this.
For egg extractions in general, there have been a couple of instances of horrific side effects. There are lots of cases of smaller ones. When you take large doses of hormones to produce eggs — either as a donor or an infertile woman — you're going to have bloating, mood swings, discomfort. All this is manageable.
But if you do that three or four times, are there longer-term effects we don't yet know about?
Full article: An Economist Examines the Business of Fertility
Photo credit: Jodi Hilton for The New York Times
All rights reserved
TODAY'S BOOK SUGGESTION:
The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception
by Debora L. Spar
-- Despite legislation that claims to prohibit it, there is a thriving market for babies spreading across the globe.
Fueled by rapid advances in reproductive medicine and the desperate desires of millions of would-be parents, the acquisition of children—whether through donated eggs, rented wombs, or cross-border adoption — has become a multi-billion dollar industry that has left science, law, ethics, and commerce deeply at odds.
In The Baby Business, Debora Spar argues that it is time to acknowledge the commercial truth about reproduction and to establish a standard that governs its transactions.
In this fascinating behind-the-scenes account, she combines pioneering research and interviews with the industry’s top reproductive scientists and trailblazers to provide a first glimpse at how the industry works: who the baby-makers are, who makes money, how prices are set, and what defines the clientele.
Fascinating stories illustrate the inner workings of market segments--including stem cell research, surrogacy, egg swapping, "designer babies," adoption, and human cloning -- as Spar explores the moral and legal challenges that industry players must address.
The first purely commercial look at an industry that deals in humanity’s most intimate issues, this book challenges us to consider the financial promise and ethical perils we’ll face as the baby business moves inevitably forward.
Hardcover: 302 pages
Click to order/for more info: The Baby Business
Find it on Amazon: US | Canada | UK
• Follow us on Twitter, join the conversation on our Facebook page, circle us on Google+, follow our pins on Pinterest.
More "Pregnancy Over 40" blogs to visit:
• Life Begins... - Pregnancy stories of loss, hope and help
• Pregnancy Stories by Age - Daily blog of hope and inspiration!
• You Can Get Pregnant in Your 40's - Sharing articles, discussing options and suggestions
• Stories of Pregnancy and Birth over 44 - sharing news stories I find online, for inspiration!