A reader shares her experience:
Your reader noted that models and actresses get a premium on their donated eggs, and that reminded me that there’s also a Jewish premium.
I seriously considered donating my eggs as a way to pay off some grad school debt. I knew from the frequent ads in my undergrad newspaper (a prominent liberal arts school) that there is a high premium not just for the characteristics of being tall, slim, and with high SAT scores, but also for being Jewish – especially on the mother’s side since the ethnicity is traditionally matrilineal. Based on what I saw at the time, I could get about 40% above average (an extra $3K+) just for being ethnically Jewish.
It was interesting to think about my genes as high-priced commodities in this way – both flattering and uncomfortable. But it certainly makes sense in economic terms that low supply leads to high demand. And in this case, it’s not just a matter of wanting a baby that looks like you (as with the ad you posted specifying a Caucasian donor), but of wanting a baby that is part of your culture in a very deep and irreplaceable way.
Ultimately I decided against donating because the process sounds so unpleasant. I also have reservations about going to such lengths to bring new children into the world when there are so many already born who need a loving home.
Update from a reader:
“I seriously considered donating my eggs ….I could get about 40% above average (an extra $3K+) just for being ethnically Jewish.”
That’s not donating; that’s selling.
The reader responds:
It absolutely is selling. So is most sperm donation. Though actually one could look at the money for egg donation as being compensation for the months of physical discomfort, as opposed to the egg itself.