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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

Our phones have been ringing off the hook lately. And it’s not just surrogates and egg donors who are calling (although they’re calling too), but reporters. In the last two weeks alone, we’ve been interviewed by the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, ABC News and CNN.

It all started with the Sun-Times, which ran an article suggesting that the slumping economy is actually good for the fertility business. Ours was among the agencies contacted, and, in fact, we have seen the number of calls from potential egg donors and surrogates increase over the last few months.

It doesn’t really surprise me.

For some women, donating eggs is a way to supplement their income, pay off debt or even splurge on a high-priced item. We know that money is a motivating factor, and if it’s the main reason a woman calls us, then that’s okay by us. It only benefits our intended parents.

That being said, egg donation isn’t for everyone. The idea of donating a handful of eggs in order to collect a handful of cash is incredibly simplistic and, in fact, belies the time, effort and, for some, discomfort of the egg collection process. That’s why we thoroughly screen all our donor applicants and have each woman go through psychological counseling. We weed out candidates who wouldn’t be able to handle the emotional aspects of donating or simply aren’t a good fit.

Whatever your reasons for donating in whatever economic environment, the need for them continues unabated. And recipients are extremely thankful.

In the end, that’s the ultimate reward.

By Robin von Halle

If you’ve been reading our blog regularly (and we hope you are!), then you know that surrogacy is a topic that we’ve been writing about a lot lately.

Between Baby Mama, the Dancing With the Stars finalist who is using a surrogate to have her son, and certain other celebrities who feel that pregnancy would limit their dating options, surrogacy has been making national headlines!

We think that many of you may want to learn more about how surrogacy affects everyday women, and now you can ask us.

We are having our first surrogacy teleseminar on Thursday, July 31 at 1:30 p.m. CST. We will feature four panelists: ARR’s Mary Ellen McLaughlin; Attorney Nidhi Desai; Elaine Brown, one of our surrogates; and Jan Elman Stout, a psychologist. And I’ll be the moderator.

The seminar will last approximately an hour, and there will be time for a question and answer session. To make your free reservation, click here. Call 312.666.6662 if you have any questions, or visit the teleseminar Web site.

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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