Sell your body! Interest in egg donation and surrogate pregancy grows

It sounds like a great idea at first. Especially if you're a grad student long on youth and fertility but short on money (and you're a girl, of course.) A twist on the old "sell your body" route: Sell your eggs to an infertile couple, or agree to gestate a baby for them.

According to this Wall Street Journal story, some clinics are reporting a surge in women selling their eggs or offering to be a surrogate mother. The price for a surrogacy is about $25,000, while eggs sell for between $3,000 and $8,000, although that number can jack a lot higher if you're a 6-foot Swedish athlete with perfect SAT scores.

I remember hearing about this when I was in grad school and thinking, hey, $3,000 for something I'm not even using sounds like a great deal. Several of my friends then were mulling the option.

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But there is no free lunch. Once you've been chosen, there are the daily hormone injections, the constant blood tests and ultrasound scans. Then your eggs are "harvested" using a needle through the vaginal wall while the donor is under general anesthesia. Ewwww!!!

Then there are the lifestyle changes you must agree to while being shot up with hormones every day. No drinking. No smoking. No sex...none of this likely to appeal to your average 20-something grad student. There is also some concern that the increased hormone levels can play havoc with your own reproduction system down the road.

But the clincher for me: Those eggs make MY children. Genetically linked to me. Am I going to sell them to the highest bidder? No.

No interest in running into a 20-year-old version of myself someday who I did not personally have a hand in raising.

This factor doesn't seem to faze everyone. "Whenever the employment rate is down, we get more calls," Robin von Halle, president of Alternative Reproductive Resources told the WSJ. Her agency has seen inquiries from would-be egg donors up 30% in recent weeks, to about 60 calls a day. "We're even getting men offering up their wives. It's pretty scary."

Would you be up for anything like this? There's money to be made, sure. But at a cost. Does the cost outweigh the benefit?
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