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IVF Clinics Raffle Off a Human Egg

5848722_2bec94d8fb1A London IVF clinic is partnering with a Virginia clinic in a unique raffle with a one-of-a-kind prize, reports the Daily Maila human egg.

My neighbor won a Harley in a raffle last year, but a human egg?

At least one doctor says it’s common practice in American clinics, where guests who attend seminars on infertility and IVF can enter to win free treatment.  But the idea has Brits up in arms over commercializing human life.

The two clinics got together because there’s a general shortage of donor eggs in the UK.  That’s because women are only paid about £250 (about $380 U.S.), while American women can be paid up to $10,000 each time they donate.

In the UK, parents can choose eggs from women that are similar in appearance, education, and social standing.  They also have to agree to have their information open to any children born with their eggs once those children reach 18.  But winners of the raffle will be able to choose from a far larger pool of candidates, and even see a photo of the donor once they make their choice.

So it’s easy to see why UK moms might be tempted.  But people like Josephine Quintavalle, of the Comment on Reproductive Ethics, thinks the raffle is wrong. She told the Daily Mail: “The capacity of the IVF industry to commodify human life reaches a new low with this latest deplorable initiative. Imagine a child one day finding out that he or she came into being thanks to such a blatantly commercial initiative.”

Women don’t need to win the raffle to get around Britain’s ban on the sale of human eggs.  At least 10 women are signed up for treatment in the next three months, reports the Times Online.  One of the first women, Celia, came for the better egg quality and the privacy.  She told the Times:

“I wanted someone who looked a bit like me as an adult, but the main consideration was the quality of her eggs,” said Celia. “This woman produces 30 at a time, and they were split between me and another woman, otherwise the cost of donation would have been double the £9,000 we actually paid”

“I don’t want anyone to know these babies are not mine. Not my family or any of my friends. We don’t intend to tell the children, either.”

Tell us what you think: Is raffling off a human egg an appropriate way for IVF clinics to advertise their services?

Photo: alykat, Flickr

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