It is not uncommon or illegal for European women to travel overseas and pay for fertile eggs and sperm: these trips to America are very often. But on the ground of European Union it is forbidden to pay a fertile woman for offering her eggs. Paying for eggs is according to European Union s law violating ethics and law and according to UK law eggs donors cannot be paid for more than 270 euros (approximately 380 dollars) per month for compensation for travel expenses and time they spend off work. In Spain the price rises up to about 900 euro (about $1,200) for donating eggs.
This generally applied rule in UK and in the rest of the Europe makes it very hard for infertile women to obtain eggs. This is the main reason woman and men decide to go overseas and pay for eggs and sperm. Fortunately European Union has not yet decided that traveling overseas to countries like America where paying for eggs and sperm is legal and a common practice, is not yet illegal. The debate sparked after an American fertility clinic participated on promotional event in London where they offered free eggs from American woman to one of the participants of the promotional seminar.
Approximately 100 attendants participated on a promotional seminar where the basic marketing push was to choose a couple for a free egg donor treatment. The prize itself worth more than $10.000: a fee for a donor who must undergo a monthlong treatment that includes hormonal injections in order to stimulate the ovaries and then undergoing a process of retrieving eggs is in America worth approximately $6.000, and a $4000 as medical costs of hormonal treatment and the procedure of egg retrieval. Interestingly, this price is not very high for US market since it has been known that other US based clinics pay woman up to $35.000 for their eggs. Since the winning couple is traveling to US for the treatment, the company is not violating any UK laws. The problem however occurs somewhere else It is about considering human egg as a product and commodity.
Dr. Francoise Shenfield, a fertility and medical ethics expert at University College London says: "In Europe, we have the general idea that altruism is a good thing, and we don't want to turn human body parts into a commodity." I believe the doctor is right: giving an egg is an act of altruistic donation and promotional seminar like this trivializes altruistic donation. On the other hand paying for eggs could be a good idea, as it would allow more women to have children as the supply of available eggs in EU would definitely increase if women were offered more money for egg donation.