PORTLAND, Ore. - The rivalry between the Oregon Ducks and the Oregon State Beavers has moved off the football field and into the fertility clinic.
A new study found Oregon State University women are paid more for their eggs than women at the University of Oregon.
To find intelligent young women, fertility clinics often advertise in college newspapers. Georgia Tech studied those ads at 306 schools and found that Oregon State University women were offered $5,000 for their eggs while women at the University of Oregon were offered a thousand dollars less.
Why the difference?
“We are a more science and engineering oriented-type school and those people tend to have higher IQs so they want eggs from those people,” said an Oregon State student who identified himself as David.
While he’s not a potential donor, he’s right. The study found the higher the school’s average SAT score, the more money was paid to women for their eggs. At Ivy League schools, the offers were up to $50,000.
But some questioned the ethics.
“It’s an undue inducement for a poor student and it begins to really commodify the process,” said Dr. Susan Tolle who heads the Center for Ethics in Health Care at Oregon Health and Science University.
She said the problem is not that women are paid for their eggs but the ethical boundaries that are broken.
“For the inconvenience, for the extra time spent, there can be some compensation, but when it becomes undue influence, then it temps a person who is financially desperate to do things they would not otherwise do,” she said.
Besides, there’s no guarantee someone will end up with a brilliant child, she said. The genetic link to intelligence is complicated and other factors like the environment a child grows up in may also play a role.
The ethical standard for payment is no more than $10,000 and is not based on the assumption that someone’s DNA is better.
The Georgia Tech study found that a quarter of the schools it studied violated that standard.
Additionally, for every 100 SAT points, payment went up $2,300.
The state of Oregon is on target when it comes to the standard, which is $5,000.