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A new report indicates men and women are more likely to try to sell their eggs and sperm to fertility clinics these days due to the poor economy. A report from the Northeast Assisted Fertility Group finds the number of people filling out applications to make money from the sales is on the rise.

The report indicates the number of women donating their eggs has doubled in recent weeks and, at the Boston-area egg-donor agency Prospective Families, it has jumped about 30 percent since September.

“We're seeing more donor applications because people are looking at more creative ways to get money,” attorney Sanford Benardo of NAFG, told the Boston Herald newspaper.

The number of men donating sperm grew by 15 percent in the last year according to California Cryobank, with offices in the Boston area and California.

The women involved in the painful egg extraction procedure can make as much as $10,000 from the sale.

Although most people are denied their applications for the sales, those who are successful find another, albeit unorthodox, means of generating family or personal income.

Bernardo said most women would not be able to make money from selling their eggs because the screening process eliminates all but a handful of candidates — and not all women choose to go through with the process because of medical or pain-related reasons.

“The take-away message is it’s not a fast and easy route to $10,000,” Bernardo told the newspaper.

Amy Demma, the president and founder of Prospective Families, says of the 300 new applications in recent months, 263 were declined. Another 5 percent of those who are accepted decided on their own not to continue the process.

“We've seen an increase in applications. There have been no changes in the number of donors,” she concluded.

The low number of egg donors is one reason among many why critics of embryonic stem cell research and reproductive cloning don't think either process will work. Both rely on egg donors for the studies to move forward.

In a December 2006 editorial, Dr. Monique Baldwin talks about egg donations and the problems with the controversial science.

"Hidden among the promises of cures and hype about a biotech boom is the assumption that thousands of women will merrily undergo hazardous egg harvesting procedures to hand over their eggs to the cloners," she writes.

Katrina George agrees and says, "Amid all the hype, there has been silence about the interests of one stakeholder: women."

"Cloning embryos for their stem cells depends on a continuous — and large — supply of ova. This requires high doses of ovulation-stimulating drugs, with side effects such as hot flushes, bloating, moodiness, headaches, weight gain and tiredness," she explains.

The risks for women donating their eggs can even be fatal.

"There is increasing evidence that the super-ovulation process is associated with more serious health risks. Up to 10 per cent of egg donors experience ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, which can lead to hospitalization, renal failure, future infertility and even death," she concludes.

[27Jan09, Washington, DC] [26January2009, Ertelt, Washington, DC]