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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.

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By Robin von Halle

When most of us hear the phrase, “fertility vacation,” we think of a tropical destination where couples can get away from stress, relax for a week or two, and come home pregnant.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about another kind of fertility vacation, where intended parents travel to a more surrogacy- or egg donation-friendly state, or sometimes, to another country for in-vitro solutions to creating families. A CBC News article describes how a Canadian law prohibiting compensation for egg donors is driving couples across the border, taking their vacation time to work with agencies in the U.S.

In Canada, it’s not against the law for women to sell their eggs, only to buy them. That really limits a couple’s options: if in-vitro doesn’t work, and they can’t find a relative or friend to donate eggs without compensation, they are only left with adoption as a legal option.

Certainly, the U.S. isn’t perfect – several states don’t allow compensation for gestational surrogacy, including Indiana, Michigan and New York. Illinois, on the other hand, is especially surrogacy-friendly because, among other reasons, it allows intended parents to be on the baby’s birth certificate immediately following birth.

Until the overall environment becomes friendlier to egg donation and gestational surrogacy, a fertility vacation is an intriguing solution. Interestingly, we also are starting to get calls from couples from Australia and European countries with restrictive laws on both fronts who are looking to “vacation” in Chicago to get their fertility treatment underway.

Visit our Web site at www.arr1.com.

About Us

Conception Connections is a blog about alternative paths to family creation. It is maintained by Alternative Reproductive Resources. Contributors include intended parents, egg donors and gestational surrogates in addition to ARR staff. Our goal is to facilitate conversations about trends, issues, current events, technology and personal stories surrounding infertility, egg donation and gestational surrogacy. If you'd like to contribute, please e-mail shodge@hodgemediastrategies.com. We also welcome your comments and suggestions. Note: Comments are moderated and posted on approval.

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