China: Around The Nation

Chinese university student sells her eggs for US$41,000

Medical expert warns unregulated procedure is risky and possibly life-threatening

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 8:33pm
UPDATED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 8:55pm

A woman university student in Shanghai sold 20 of her eggs on the black market for 250,000 yuan (US$41,000), according to an investigative report by a local television station.

A reporter from Shanghai Television went undercover as an egg donor and met a broker on the black market in Shanghai on February 19, according to the news programme which aired earlier in the week.

Footage she took with a hidden camera showed her waiting to be interviewed along with a half-dozen other women in an office building. When it was her turn, the broker asked her a range of questions, including details about her scores on each subject of the college entrance exam and the medical history of her extended family members.

Donors used their appearance, health and education as bargaining chips to negotiate the highest possible offer for their eggs, according to the report.

The undercover journalist remained in contact with one woman she met who said she had sold 20 eggs. “I don’t think there is any risk to this,” the woman was quoted as saying. “Another girl who I came here with is doing it for the second time.”

The reporter said the woman was paid 250,000 yuan for her eggs, and used some of the money to buy an iPhone Plus 7.

The harvesting procedure took place in an office building rather than a hospital.

The broker told the reporter their medical personnel were working surgeons from top-tier hospitals on the mainland. “The process is safe, with no risk and is quick,” the broker said. “In return, you receive a large sum of money. The baseline pay ... is at least 10,000 yuan. There are cases where some donors are paid more than 100,000 yuan. We pay you as soon as we get your eggs.”

The majority of donors were in their 20s, and most recipients were in their 40s, according to the report. The company did not allow donors to directly contact recipients.

The programme quoted a medical health expert as saying donors whose underwent harvesting in unregulated conditions were at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which could be life-threatening in extreme cases.