Canadians selling human eggs

The controversy over selling human eggs has come up again in Canada as one reproductive technology clinic has decided to ignore a voluntary moratorium on the sale of the cells.

The clinic offers money to people who donate either sperm or eggs. One egg donor was paid $2,000 for her contribution.

She says paying donors is the only way clinics can ensure there are enough eggs to meet the growing demands of women seeking reproductive technologies.

The donor, who asked CBC News to use only her first name, Jodie, says the money is not the motivation for donors but it does help cover the inconvenience women experience as they go through the donation procedure.

"People don't realize that the three-month time commitment affects not only your working life but your personal life as well," Jodie says.

Health Canada wants the practice of buying human eggs banned but a bill introduced two years ago died before the last federal election.

The concern for some medical ethicists is how far reproductive technologies may go. Ethicist Margaret Somerville says a large number of people still think it's not ethically acceptable to commercialize the reproductive process.

But Jodie says reproduction should be a right for everyone and the supply of eggs needs to be ensured.

Right now the sale of human eggs is legal in Canada and the clinic can ignore the voluntary ban. But Health Minister Allan Rock says he'll try again to introduce legislation to ban the practice this fall.