The Price of White Eggs

The price of a human egg depends on the characteristics of the donor. In America, eggs harvested from white college students at Ivy League institutions can sell for as much as $100,000. But there's a cheaper way to get them. Selling human eggs is illegal in much of Europe, however Cyprus and Spain have loopholes in their fertility industries markets that encourage desperate and poor women to sell their eggs for as little as $1400. The donors are mostly refugees from the tattered economies of Eastern Europe who jump at the chance to earn a couple hundred dollars for undergoing potentially dangerous egg harvesting procedures.

Cyprus is now one of the top destinations worldwide for fertility tourism, performing thousands of egg harvestings each year. Yet activists claim that the profit motive is driving some doctors to increase egg production by putting donors through more dangerous harvesting procedures. In Spain, illegal immigrants fill the lobbies of world class fertility centers while at the same time providing a safe haven for women to seek out fertility treatments that are illegal in their home countries.

Meeting Natasha: The Scout

With no other means of income, illegal Russian immigrants in Cyprus often resort to a dangerous yet relatively lucrative option: selling their eggs.

Unpacking the Global Human Egg Trade

Modern fertility technology has made parenthood a possibility for thousands more people, but it has also created a lucrative market -- and ethically questionable -- global trade in human genetic material. 

The Cyprus Scramble: An Investigation into Human Egg Markets

Through a trick of favorable currency exchange and lax laws the island nation of Cyprus is one of the fastest expanding markets for human eggs. Here an implantation costs between $8,000 and $14,000. In the U.S. the price floats between $20,000 and $30,000.