ART Procreation Business in Belgium: It’s Already There

In order to know the current rates being offered for oocyte donations, a Belgian journalist visited several fertility clinics throughout the country.

None of the clinics openly displayed their prices, since the Belgian law of July 6, 2007 concerning assisted reproductive techniques (ART) prohibits human gametes from being bought and sold. As stated in Article 51: “Gametes may be lawfully donated. Nevertheless travelling expenses or salary losses, as well as an allowance to cover any hospitalization costs for sampling the donor’s eggs may be reimbursed according to the King.

Some clinics offer lump sums of approximately 500 € as compensation to donors. According to a specialist at a private clinic, even greater sums of money are offered since: “if no money was offered, there would not be any donors.”  The highest rates are paid by the UZ Brussels clinic, where egg donations can be paid up to 2,000 €.

The journalist interviewed a 23-year-old student, who acknowledges: “A friend told me it was an easy way to make money (…). With 2000 €, I could buy a small car, help out my mother or pay for a holiday.” To meet the ever-growing demand for eggs, some hospitals turn a blind eye to donors’ motivations.

In the light of these lucrative offers, how can we be sure that young women are not donating eggs for the money?

In China, students donate their eggs to pay for their studies and can earn up to 50,000 € per procedure for oocyte sampling! The young women are chosen according to criteria based on aesthetics and their educational level. Although punishable by law in the event of an accident, this has visibly not deterred the procreation business traffic.

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