Virginia Clinic's London Egg Giveaway Draws Criticism

By Pat Lawson Muse
|  Wednesday, Mar 17, 2010  |  Updated 5:15 PM EDT
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Virginia Clinic's London Egg Giveaway Draws Criticism

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A Fairfax, Va., fertility clinic hoping to drum up business in Britain has ignited a firestorm of controversy by offering up free eggs.

The offer came during a promotional seminar in London. The event drew criticism in Britain about the ethics of holding such an event, according to the Associated Press.

As part of a marketing push, Genetics and IVF Institute held the free seminar for British couples looking to become parents. One randomly-chosen participant was slated to win the donor eggs. Each one's worth more than $10,000 -- $6,000 to the donor and $4,000 to medical costs associated with hormone treatment and egg retrieval.

Some critics said the egg offer violates the spirit of a European Union law that forbids fertile women from being paid for their eggs. Donors in the UK can only be compensated 250 pounds ($384) per month for travel and time off work. The law limits the number of women who can become donors and makes it very difficult for infertile women to get donor eggs in the UK and much of Europe.

However, it’s not illegal for Europeans to pay for eggs overseas, so for years, infertile European women have gone egg-hunting in other countries, including the U.S.
 

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