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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 26 November, 2002, 10:57 GMT
Students sell their eggs
embryo
Women cannot sell their eggs for profit in the UK
Two female students at British universities have used a fertility agency to sell some of their eggs to infertile couples in the United States.

The women were paid $6,000 and $8,000 (approximately 3,800 and 5,000) for their eggs.


If you can't use your own eggs, you're going to try and give the best that you can to your child

Karen Synesiou, Egg Donation Inc
It is illegal for a woman to sell her eggs for profit in the UK, but it is perfectly legal to do so in the United States.

Now the Californian-based company which arranged the students' sale, Egg Donation Inc, is planning to advertise for more donors in a British newspaper.

The company's founder and director, Karen Synesiou, said there was a huge demand in the States for British donors.

Paying off debts

It has been reported that the students - one in Bristol and one in Birmingham - were raising the money to help pay for their education.

Asked about this Ms Synesiou said she could not comment.

But she said she had thought that students in the UK did not have to pay for their university education.

Ms Synesiou said the amount paid to an egg donor depended on factors such as their qualifications, what they looked like, what the infertile couple were requesting and whether or not they had donated before.

"You're looking for someone who's between the age of 21 and 32 years old, whose height/weight ratio is appropriate and you're looking for someone who's really intelligent and nice looking," she said.

"If you can't use your own eggs, you're going to try and give the best that you can to your child and generally what you're going to do is try and find a nice looking donor."

Egg Donation Inc asks donors to send photographs of themselves, their siblings and any children they may have.

In the UK, men and women receive 15 - ostensibly to cover their expenses - for sperm and egg donation.

Read a selection of your comments on this subject below.


Your reaction


Why shouldn't people be able to profit?

Ellen Reid, UK
As a hard-pressed student myself, I have pondered the pros and cons of selling my eggs. I believe that if people are willing to pay for them, why not sell them? After all, the Government made immense profit by selling the railways, so why shouldn't people be able to profit from selling their reproductive ability?
Ellen Reid, UK

It's a disgrace that students have to resort to tactics like this to pay for an education. The Government have forgotten again about the higher education policy in the UK. They have got a lot to answer for; I won't be voting Blair when I graduate with 13,000 of debt next year.
Pete B, UK

They are intelligent young ladies who are old enough to make their own decisions. Goes to show what you have to do to get a good education in Britain!
Dave Dunne, UK

I guess it's a perfect way of raising money for expensive education in the UK as well as giving joy and happiness in the lives of childless couples.
Taku, UK

I don't see where the ethical problem lies in payment for eggs. Sperm donation has been commonplace for years. Harvesting the eggs is a far more complicated and invasive procedure than collecting sperm, and it's only reasonable that the women concerned should accept recompense for the trouble and pain they go through.
Ann, UK

It is a terrible act of desperation when a woman will sell her eggs in return for an education. Whilst I would support people donating for charitable motive, I abhor it being done for a profit at the expense of someone less fortunate. There must be a better way for education to be funded, a way that doesn't burden students with worries of debt or moral dilemmas.
Mark, UAE (UK expat)

I see nothing wrong with a woman selling her own eggs. The problem I see is that students are forced to this because of huge student debt. These students are our future! That's why I got my daughters out of the UK - I'd like them to have a chance.
Mike, NZ

Selling or giving away your eggs is exactly the same as selling or giving away your child. There is absolutely no difference as the egg will become a human being who will never know who their real mother is or where their genetic make-up came from.
Nisha, England

I was going to sell mine - but according to the criteria, I am too old, fat and ugly...ho-hum
Lisa Remmer, UK

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jon Kay
"So far two British women have been recruited"
Karen Synesiou, director of Egg Donation Inc
"You are looking for someone who's really intelligent and nice looking"

Click here to go to Bristol

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

11 Oct 02 | Health
26 Jul 99 | Medical notes
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