Want To Donate Eggs? It Helps To Have the Right Genes

Everyone probably knows by now that an egg donation isn’t just an act of benevolence. It’s a sale. And it can be a very lucrative one, if you have the right genetic background. The LA Times reports that Asian egg donors are in particular demand. While women from most ethnic groups receive about $6,000 for a donation, Asian women are routinely being offered $10,000 – $20,000.

Part of this is due to a shortage of Asian donors, and an increase in infertile Asian couples who want a child of their same ethnic background. Experts told the LA Times that there’s a cultural stigma surrounding adoption in many Asian communities, making egg donation a more acceptable option in the eyes of many potential parents.

Not only that, but Asian women tend to out-earn women of other ethnic groups, making 13% more than white women, 31% more than black women, and 52% more than Latinas. So the financial incentives which drive many women to donate their eggs have to be higher to get their interest. Professional Jewish women are also in high demand as egg donors for similar reasons.

Of course, the relative financial security of different ethnic groups goes both ways. African American couples are less likely to seek an egg donation, because for many of them it’s not an affordable option. So even though there are many black women willing to be donors, in many cases they never have the opportunity. One agency owner told the LA Times that some of her competitors wouldn’t even bother putting black donors in their databases.

The uncomfortable disparity between donors of different ethnicities only intensifies the ethical quandary that’s faced doctors for years: is it right to pay women to donate eggs? The process itself can be painful and risky, so it makes sense to compensate a woman for her time and the inconvenience involved. On the other hand, opponents argue it can be exploitative – of course disadvantaged women are going to be more interested in the quick $6000 or more. It seems to be a question without an easy answer.

Related Stories:
Should Sperm Be Worth More Than Eggs?
One Embryo Plus Three Parents Equals Ethical Dilemma
Israeli Family Permitted to Freeze Dead Daughter’s Eggs

Photo credit: Ed Uthman via Flickr


Deborah F.
Deborah F5 years ago


lis Gunn
lis Gunn5 years ago

Having read this article yesterday and posted a comment, I then thought about it some more. And the more I thought about it the more angry and distressed I became. Especially since some comments on this site seemed to have considered it.
Although there are laws against drug, people and child trafficking, against sex slavery and in some places against prostitution, what are the laws against trafficking in human organs or eggs? Please tell me that there are some because I find myself thinking that provided there is a $ or two to be made, America doesn't seem to care.

While admitting that things must be very tough that women would even consider selling their ova, surely one does not condone exploitation of women to put put food on the table or to feed one's habit (which is what happens in the case of many prostitutes)

And what of the medical ethics in such operations. What doctors perform such procedures and at what cost? Bet the medicos involved are very well off and cater to the rich The profit motive rears its ugly head yet again. These doctors aren't saving lives. They are pandering to a greedy, selfish clientele of which they members. Yes, off you go and ban abortions and contraception. Leave those to back alley butchers and charlatans and superstition. The disadvantaged, poor and ignorant will be exploited yet again.
@Ana K. and@ Mandi D, I'm surprised that intelligent women like you would have even considered it for a second.

lis Gunn
lis Gunn5 years ago

How gross. On the one hand we have anti-choice groups pushing legislation so that women don't have a choice about contraception, abortion or reproductive rights and on the other hand profiteering from surrogacy, IVF and egg donation? Has the world gone barking made? Talk about exploitation!
And don't let's forget the patents on human genes. It's all about money.

I'm aware that in the US, blood donors are paid. I assume that organ donors also get something for their trouble ( even if the donor is a poor Indian who sees very little for his/her "donation").Not so great a leap of faith to the emerging black marketing of human parts. So sad that all that money couldn't be put to better use to alleviate the suffering of those who are already on the planet.
Stop overpopulation or the world's problems will just get worse.

Gary Ansorge
Gary Ansorge5 years ago

J.L. A.

If you can't tell the difference between an ovum and an organ, what the heck are you doing using a computer? If you're not very careful, you might get your fingers caught in between the keys and that could really hurt...

Lost Account
Past Member 5 years ago

Stop overpopulation!

Lost Account
Past Member 5 years ago

We have WAY enough people on this earth already!

Megan Wetzel
Megan Wetzel5 years ago

Interesting article!

Patricia H.
Patricia H.5 years ago

thanks for sharing

Ana K.
Ana Keo5 years ago

I read about this on the newspaper last week. Asian women donating their eggs are in high demands. And the price they get from the donations are enough to buy a used car or a semester worth of college. I'm actually considering this at the moment to help my parents pay the bills. Another perk of being Asian! :D

Ian Fletcher
Ian Fletcher5 years ago

Hmmm.. This just made Asian looking Jewish girls more sexy!