A fertility clinic in London is offering a free human egg this week to promote a "baby profiling" service. The lucky winner will get to chose an egg based on the donor's profession, hair color, and race.
The winner will also receive a free IVF cycle, which will have to take place in the U.S. because of certain pesky British fertility laws. The sale of eggs for profit is banned in Britain, unlike the U.S., where desirable donors can sell their eggs for thousands of dollars. But some ethicists argue that because selling other human tissue is illegal across Europe, UK businesses shouldn't be allowed to participate in a similar venture overseas. Josephine Quintavalle, of think tank Comment on Reproductive Ethics is firmly against the scheme:
The IVF clinics involved in this initiative are feeding off the colossal vulnerability of wealthy infertile women at the expense of the welfare of equally vulnerable poorer younger women; not an edifying trade-off under any circumstances, but particularly not when children are involved.
However, Mohamed Menabawey, director of the fertility clinic in question, says he just wants to help women. He also defends the raffle by pointing out
This is how Americans do it - in order to attract people to seminars they offer one free treatment for people to come.
He is not wrong. There is nothing Americans love to hear more than the word "free." Especially when it isn't prefaced with "buy one..." or followed by "with purchase."
British Fertility Clinic Raffling Human Eggs [Sydney Morning Herald]
Fury As IVF Clinic 'Raffles' Off Human Egg - And Lets The Winner Choose What Race She Wants [Daily Mail]