By Robin von Halle
Are your organs, your blood, even your eggs property? If so, should you be taxed on the proceeds when you give that blood or those eggs? Two law school professors say yes.
“It’s a slam dunk. There’s no doubt this is taxable,” Bridget Crawford of the Pace University of Law told Wall Street Journal columnist Arden Dale, who wrote that “the Internal Revenue Service would likely win should it decide to pursue those who don’t pay taxes on the sales of their own body materials,”
Dale also interviews Lisa Milot of the University of Georgia Law School, who wrote in a recent paper that “[the] debate is whether the human body is exclusively a laborer, or if it can also be a factory or a collection of spare parts.”
An imminent change in the law? Probably not. But it’s something to think about. After all, if the biomedical and fertility industries grow too temptingly large for the IRS to ignore, these arguments might turn from theory into law.
If that happens, you can expect the long waiting lines for surrogates and donated eggs to grow even longer as the incentives shrink and fewer women are willing to participate. America is one of a few industrialized nations with liberal fertility laws. Imposing additional taxes could undermine that status to the detriment of everyone involved.
Our donors and surrogates are compensated for their time and medical expenses, not the “product” they’re providing. They are taxed on their income. We don’t believe an additional tax is necessary or fair. For the reality is that one woman’s hope is not another’s property.