Two Completely Different Markets for Babies

If you want to adopt a child in the United States, you’ll face an array of bureaucratic roadblocks and invasive interrogations. Adoption agencies will assess your finances, your relationships, and your fitness as a potential guardian. The interests of the child, not the desires of the would-be parent, will be treated as paramount throughout.

If you want to procure sperm or eggs, the process is completely different. You can shop for gametes the way you’d go shopping for a house or a car — buying ova from an Ivy League undergraduate, or sperm from a 6-foot-8, athletic, blue-eyed Dane. The person selling you the right to bear and rear their biological offspring can do so anonymously, with no future strings attached at all.

The result is a freewheeling fertility marketplace whose impact on American life keeps increasing. Sperm donations generate between 30,000 and 60,000 conceptions every year, and roughly 6,000 children are conceived through egg donation annually as well. About a million American adults, if not more, are the biological children of sperm donors.

Full article on the fertility marketplace.

Comments (6)

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  1. Virginia says:

    It’s ironic: teenagers get pregnant by accident all the time, and yet, to adopt a child, you almost have to have been nominated for sainthood. It seems to me that those that self-select for adoption would probably be much better parents than those that self-select for accidental pregnancy.

  2. Tom H. says:

    Fascinating editorial. The questions is why do we regulate the hell out of adoption (thus significantly raising its price) while taking a laissez faire approach to womb renting and egg selling?

  3. Vicki says:

    I think a lot of people believe that women own their own eggs, but that they don’t own their own babies. Therefore, it’s OK for society to regulate what they do with their babies, but not their eggs.

  4. Larry c. says:

    Following up on Vicki’s point. As the child evolves from egg to fully formed baby, society’s interest in protecting the entity enlarges. This is the implicit understanding of abortion law (OK for the first six months, iffy in the last three months, and forbotten after delivery).

  5. Joe S says:

    I agree with Larry. The social interest in the two markets is not the same.

  6. Ian Random says:

    Virginia, for the case of teens I often wonder why embryo transfer isn’t used. It appears to be quite common in livestock, yet pretty rare for humans. They even had it on Dirty Jobs. I lean pro-life, but I’d love to see aggressive pro-lifers put their uterus on the line and gestate one from a teen that opted for such a procedure over an abortion.