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Though exploitation is possible in almost
any financial transaction, by putting a price on bodily artifacts, people are
subjected to a level of exploitation through political and economic means that
can vie for the legality of other unethical dilemmas such as organ sale.

Therefore, payments for reproductive services, including egg and sperm donation,
should be banned. Cohen in The Price of
Everything, The Value of Nothing, asserts that with regards to an unethical
transaction, an exchange is corrupting when “the relevant goods cannot be
aligned along a single metric without doing violence to our considered
judgments about how these goods are best characterized.” The altruistic
donation of egg and sperm lead to less exploitation as women often use the
payments from donating her eggs to pay
for college fees or to feed her family. With egg and sperm donation, ethical
lines are blurred since the “the voluntariness formulation asks whether consent
to the transaction was truly voluntary, given society’s background distribution
of resources. Its roots lie in the Kantian idea that humans cannot realize their
true nature as free and rational beings if they are unduly influenced by the
coercive effects of money,” making the convincing argument that there is indeed
no altruism involved in the financial retribution of egg and sperm donation.

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Egg
donation plays an important role in infertility practice, by helping women and
men have children through nontraditional methods. The access to egg donation,
is in large due to donors being paid for their services. Some view the term altruistic deed of
“commercial egg donation” as an oxymoron, as Thomas Murray writes,
“Despite the repeated reference to ‘donors’ of both ovum and sperm, paying
individuals for their biological products makes them vendors, not donors. Examples
of altruistic acts are usually reserved for ones’ offspring or blood relative.

In cases where a child needs an organ transplant, a parent or sibling will
willing lend the needed organ in order to see someone they care about live. The
case can be made that humans are not intrinsically altruistic, thus the sale of
gametes serve as an exploitative form of financial, political, or social
capital.

While some egg donors are motivated in
part by altruistic considerations, most women would not be egg donors without
financial compensation. Data collected from women at an egg donation
orientation analyzed the main motives for donation, with factors including
altruism, financial compensation, and the potential to pass on genetic
material. Results were as followed: 81.32% indicated that payment was an
important factor in their decision, and 40% of the women said that they were
currently students. The 48.35% of women, who were motivated by financial
reasons, cited that “compensation would be used for items such as for school
loans and tuition, medical debt, and to buy a house” (Gezinski). Often, the
majority of women donating eggs are under financial constraint so the
contributions granted by the commodification of their eggs appear worth the
medical risks. Although, men get less allowance per donation, there is relatively
little risk to donating sperm. The form of coercion perpetuated by the monetary
retribution subject women to painful medical procedures for a reproductive
service.

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