[EDITORIALS]Human egg traffic unethicalThe cyber crime investigation team of the Seoul Police Agency on Friday arrested an Internet broker who arranged surrogate motherhood and the sale of human eggs to infertile couples, on charges of breaking the Life Ethics and Safety Act. Three women who sold their eggs and three women who bought them were also arrested.
The arrest of this broker and the women who engaged in the sale of eggs seems to back allegations that an illegal human egg business is flourishing through the Internet.
Police authorities said that the broker, a man in his late twenties, had managed four online communities since May, and these had arranged the selling and buying of eggs between women in their twenties and infertile women.
The man allegedly received over 3 million won ($2,863) for each of these three transactions he brokered. He allegedly had also closed eight other sales and said there were 23 more women who had offered to sell their eggs.
Police also found evidence that some eggs were sold overseas, signifying that the human egg business is being meticulously and extensively conducted.
Most of the women who sold or offered to sell their eggs were college students. In addition, most cited economic reasons, such as credit card debts, for their decision to sell their eggs, but some had more frivolous motives such as simply wanting to buy a ski resort season ticket.
A human egg is the source and origin of a human life and should not be bought or sold for money. Selling one’s eggs to pay credit card debts or to buy ski season tickets is an act that violates human ethics.
Experts have also warned that the artificial extraction of human eggs can have dire consequences. Such a process requires the donor to take ovulation-inducing medication or hormone shots and in the worst cases could lead to infertility.
The existence of women offering over the Internet to become surrogate mothers has also become a problem. The broker that was arrested had also received 30 million won each from five infertile couples for providing them with surrogate mothers.
This commercialization of the female womb must be denounced. However, there is no relevant legislation to punish such an act.
The government must fix the loophole in the existing law that allows human eggs to be sold under the guise of human organ donations and must also reinforce its surveillance of harmful online human egg business sites.