Do Women Really Become Surrogates For Purely Altruistic Reasons?

More and more women are selling their eggs and becoming surrogates because of the current economic clusterfuck, the Wall Street Journal reports. You can earn up to $50,000 by selling your eggs or renting your uterus. Besides the physical demands on egg donors (no drinking, no smoking, no sex) and the possible physical damage (your ovaries can become dangerously swollen), what sticks out about the article is when the CEO of an egg recruiting agency tells the Journal, "Many of these women have college loans to pay off or they want to help buy a house or provide for their own kids' education. But they are also looking to do something good for other families. And some of them say they love being pregnant."

It reminded me of this passage from the hotly debated Alex Kuczynski piece in the New York Times Mag:

In our experience with the surrogacy industry, no one lingered on the topic of money. We encountered the wink-nod rule: Surrogates would never say they were motivated to carry a child for another couple just for money; they were all motivated by altruism. This gentle hypocrisy allows surrogacy to take place. Without it, both sides would have to acknowledge the deep cultural revulsion against attaching a dollar figure to the creation of a human life.

One could debate whether or not pure altruism exists (I generally lean towards no), and obviously reproductive motivations are multifaceted. But it seems to me that while "doing something good for families" might be a perk of being a surrogate or donating your eggs, the main motivation is money. And hey, according to the Journal, you can get $25,000 for your eggs if you're "100% Jewish with ... High SAT Scores... Attractive, at Healthy Body Weight and Free of Genetic Diseases." If the economy keeps going the way it is, at those prices I may be putting my eggs on the market.

Ova Time: Women Line Up To Donate Eggs — For Money [WSJ]
Her Body, My Baby [NY Times Magazine]

Earlier: Writer, Socialite Explains Her "Mad Desire" For A Baby Through Surrogacy