April 24, 2024

Raffling life

A London IVF clinic raffles women’s eggs as a promotional stunt
A London IVF clinic is
raffling a woman’s eggs as part of a Mother’s Day promotion for infertility
treatment for older women. The Bridge Clinic has teamed up with an American company,
the Genetics and IVF Institute (GIVF) in Fairfax,
Virginia and is offering £13,000 of free IVF treatment in the US to the winner.

The partnership allows the Bridge Clinic to
circumvent a ban on paying for women’s eggs in Britain. It is legal in the US
and some women can get US$10,000 for their eggs. “They are much more
market-driven than we are, and they do have some rather more creative
techniques,” said Michael Summers, a senior consultant in reproductive medicine
at the Bridge.

GIVF is marketing its competitive
advantage, a profiling service. It supplies its clients with a dossier on the
egg donor which includes her education, race, age, eye colour, hair colour and
upbringing. Overweight women or smokers are not allowed to donate.

The sales gimmick was
condemned by Josephine
, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics: “Imagine
a child one day finding out that he or she came into being thanks to such a
blatantly commercial initiative? Won in a raffle?” The IVF industry had plumbed new depths, she
said. “In no other branch of medicine would the ruthless exploitation of the
vulnerable be tolerated. These women selling their eggs are taking a huge risk
with their health and future fertility simply because they need the money.”

Another advantage of
buying eggs in the US is that donations there are anonymous, unlike the UK, and
there is little danger of a grown-up child finding her biological mother. ~London
Sunday Times, Mar 14

Michael Cook