Human Exceptionalism

Auditioning to Sell Your Eggs

Ounce-for-ounce, human eggs are the most valuable commodity in the world–if you are beautiful and intelligent. Why, young college women at elite colleges receive tens of thousands for delivering a microscopic product to would-be parents who don’t just want a child, but one beautiful and smart enough to suit their high standards.

That crass market was the subject of a piece in the Daily Mail about an actress, named Robyn Young, who has sold her eggs repeatedly to help support herself as she tries to build a career. From the story:

The process works much like an acting audition with the egg agency setting up interviews with different couples until one picks her. A full background check is carried out on each of the participants. It involves standard health checks such as a blood test for diseases, however it even goes as far as to check her high school grades. The better you did at school, the more money you can command for each donation session.

The story describes some of the pain involved in the process. But the news for suppliers is worse than that. As the CBC’s (for which I am a paid consultant) award-winning documentary Eggsploitaiton clearly demonstrates, in some cases, the egg sellers are the ones who pay a high price. A few egg suppliers die. Some lose fecundity or suffer terrible side effects such as ovaries that swell to the size of a peach, or larger.

We live in ugly times. The living human body and its constituent parts and functions are becoming marketable commodities to be mined by the well off to fulfill their yearnings and desires. In the end, those who suffer most are people desperate enough to sell.

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