Date
17 December 2017
Newly born babies at a maternal and child health care hospital in Taiyuan. Demand for human eggs far outstrips supply. Photo: Reuters
Newly born babies at a maternal and child health care hospital in Taiyuan. Demand for human eggs far outstrips supply. Photo: Reuters

Eggs for sale

Now here’s the deal: you give us your eggs, we pay you 20,000 yuan (US$3,200). You want the eggs, you pay us 120,000 yuan.

If the rates appear stiff, it’s because we’re not talking about chicken eggs, but human eggs needed to produce babies. And in several cities across China, including Guangzhou, Wuhan and Nanjing, ovary egg “donations” are a thriving, though illegal, business.

“Your 120,000 yuan ($19,200) will cover all expenses including surgery, donor, service and hospital,” a Wuhan-based agent told a Global Times reporter posing as a potential buyer.

When the reporter posed as a potential donor, she was told by another Wuhan-based agent that she would be paid 30,000 to 80,000 yuan, depending on the quality of her donations. Accommodation and transportation costs are shouldered by the agent.

Both agents assured the reporter all procedures take place in “regular, professional” hospitals in Wuhan.

Donating eggs may be an easy way to make money, but it’s not without its risks.

A 19-year-old egg donor — agents prefer to use the term “volunteer” — saw her stomach swell, making her look like she was eight months’ pregnant, after undergoing the procedure in an underground clinic in Nanjing, Modern Express reported. She had been paid 20,000 yuan for her “nutrition expenses”.

“She may have received excessive hormone booster shots,” Shi Ruihua, a doctor at Nanjing’s Zhongda Hospital, told the Nanjing newspaper.

Demand for eggs outstrips supply, according to Global Times. About 10 to 15 percent of Chinese couples suffer from infertility problems, with 5 to 6 percent caused by ovarian problems that require egg donations.

Modern Express says infertile couples wait for at least two years to receive donations through legal means. Under the government’s revised rules on human-assisted reproduction, the only donations allowed are extra eggs from women who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment.

Which is why the black market for human eggs is booming.

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SK/CG

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