Canadian women selling their eggs illegally

Frances McInnis
Shine On

Ladies, is $5,000 enough to make you break the law and give away your eggs? That's the going rate, according to a recent report by CTV News dealing with the issue of women selling their eggs.

The television station spoke to one young student who made $5000 from selling her eggs to a couple that was desperate for a baby.

"I would definitely do it again," the woman told CTV. "It's such a great opportunity to help somebody who can't have children."

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The woman says she knows several other women who have connected with an agency in Canada that matches young women with couples from around the world who want children.

It is illegal to sell human eggs in Canada, and those who do risk penalties of up to $500,000 in fines or 10 years in jail. However, donors can be compensated for expenses and exactly what constitutes those expenses is not clearly defined. The payments made to women donating eggs fall into this legal grey area.

Moreover, no one has ever been charged, which is the main source of the problem, according to Roger Pierson, a professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Saskatchewan  "It does absolutely no good to have a law in the books that is neither enforceable nor enforced," he told CTV.

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Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, a federal agency, is the entity charged with policing the country's fertility industry.

Some think that compensating egg donors provides a financial incentive that may cloud decision-making and put the donor's health at risk. There are also moral and ethical considerations over making money off one's eggs.

However, the practice is not illegal in many other countries. In the U.S., for instance, compensating egg donors is both legal and widely practiced. In the U.K., egg donors may have their expenses paid and also receive a one-off fee of £750 ($1,190) per course of donation.