Payment for egg donation and surrogacy

Mt Sinai J Med. 2004 Sep;71(4):255-65.


This article examines the ethics of egg donation. It begins by looking at objections to noncommercial gamete donation, and then takes up criticism of commercial egg donation. After discussing arguments based on concern for offspring, inequality, commodification, exploitation of donors, and threats to the family, I conclude that some payment to donors is ethically acceptable. Donors should not be paid for their eggs, but rather they should be compensated for the burdens of egg retrieval. Making the distinction between compensation for burdens and payment for a product has the advantages of limiting payment, not distinguishing between donors on the basis of their traits, and ensuring that donors are paid regardless of the number or quality of eggs retrieved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Commodification
  • Compensation and Redress / ethics
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Health Services Accessibility / ethics
  • Humans
  • Marketing of Health Services / economics*
  • Marketing of Health Services / ethics*
  • Marketing of Health Services / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Oocyte Donation / ethics*
  • Oocyte Donation / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Pregnancy
  • Surrogate Mothers* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States