Marketing Motherhood: Rights and Responsibilities of Egg Donors in Assisted Reproductive Technology Agreements

Terman, Sarah | January 1, 2008

Each year thousands of young women enter the American gamete market as egg providers. This Comment examines the rights and responsibilities of egg providers in assisted reproductive technology (ART) arrangments. Section One describes the rising demand for alienable eggs and analyzes the ways in which American courts have provided an incentive to ART clinics to move away from traditional surrogacy arrangements toward arrangements involving egg providers. Section Two focuses on the current state of federal and state regulation of egg transfer and includes a discussion of the current bifurcated system of body part alienability, in which eggs may be bought and sold, while organs may only be acquired through gratuitous donation. Finally, section Three addresses three looming questions in the area of egg provider fertility arrangements. First, do egg providers retain any legal responsibilities for a genetic child born as a result of their donation? Second, can egg providers ever sue for shared custody of their genetic children? And third, if egg providers come to believe that their eggs have been misused, can they pursue contract claims against intended parents and fertility clinics?