Cyber babies — staff editorials

The business of assisted reproduction recently took a turn for the worse.

The eggs of beautiful, healthy and intelligent women will now be auctioned to the highest bidder over the Internet. And the architect of this ingenious Web site – – will take 20 percent of the profit from each sale.

The brainchild of Ron Harris, a photographer and proprietor of several pornographic Web sites, his newest site attracted five million viewers in one day alone. Harris calls his business Darwin’s `Natural Selection’ at its very best.

While the concept of genetic engineering is hardly new – sperm banks have existed for years – Harris’ methods are ethically questionable. Many of the female donors – actresses and models according to Harris – may be selling their ova for the wrong reasons. Some women undergo the painful and sometimes dangerous operations out of financial desperation, or, worse yet, for exposure on the Internet to help acting or modeling careers.

Harris is making a monetary gain from people’s insecurities. These anxieties are a manifestation of a society that holds physical attractiveness at a premium. Harris explains that his site simply mirrors our current society, and perhaps he is right. But preying on society’s vulnerable side is poor justification for this sort of business.

Assisted reproduction is a God-send to many infertile couples. Ideally, the procedure should be held in the highest regard. However, regulation of the industry of assisted reproduction is nonexistent, leaving room for profiteers like Harris.

Assisted reproduction is a wonder of modern medicine. But the auctioning of the components of human life to the highest bidder is a one step closer to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.

Ultimately, the means of the process of assisted reproduction, the buying and selling of ova and sperm, should be as sacred as its end: the creation of human life.

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