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.
Josh and Yessica Holloway Expecting The 'Lost' star and his wife since 2004 are expecting their first child together in 2009.
Nigel Barker & Cristen Chin It's a Girl! The couple, who were originally told they would be having a boy, were "elated" when doctors told them they were actually having a girl! Jasmine Barker was born Dec. 7, 2008 and weighed 7 lbs., 11 oz.
Jim Spellman, WireImage
Eric Mabius and Ivy Sherman It's a boy! The 'Ugly Betty' star's wife gave birth to son Rylan Jaxon Mabius on December 8. This is the couple's second son.
Jordan Strauss, WireImage.com
Amy Jo Johnson and Oliver Giner It's a Girl! The actress, best known from her days on 'Felicity' and as the original Pink Ranger, welcomed daughter Francesa Christine on Dec. 1
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Jonny Lee Miller and Michele Hicks It's a Boy! The star of 'Eli Stone' and his model-actress wife welcome their first child together, the awesomely named Buster Timothy Miller.
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images
Anne Heche and James Tupper Expecting The 'Men in Trees' couple met on the set of their show. This is their first child together. Heche has a son, 6, from a previous marriage.
David Livingston, Getty Images
Gena Lee Nolin and Cale Hulse It's a Girl! The 'Baywatch' star and her NHL husband already have a son, Hudson.
Michael Buckner, Getty Images
Daniel Giersch and Kelly Rutherford Expecting The 'Gossip Girl' star and her husband also have a son, Hermes.
Larry Marano, Getty Images
Parminder Nagra and James Stenson Expecting | Summer 2009 This is the first child for the 'E.R.' star and her photographer boyfriend.
Noel Vasquez, Getty Images
Cobie Smulders and Taran Killam Expecting | Late Spring 2009 The 'HIMYM' actress and her actor boyfriend are expecting their first child child together.
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?