The rapid increase in both the use of egg donation as a treatment for infertility and the compensation available to ova donors has sparked concerns about the victimization and commercialization of women and their genetic material. Most critics point to altruism as the motivation that will prevent women from being financially coerced into donating, and ova donation from becoming the sale of gametes. In contrast to prevailing views that altruistic motivations are an unadulterated good, I argue that the rhetoric of altruism is gendered in such a way that women are expected to be emotionally invested in the families they donate to, and that such an investment draws on ideals of motherhood and encourages sacrifice and risk-taking in a way that compensation does not. This article draws on extensive Internet research on agency Web sites, an egg-donor listserv, and a public board for recipient women, as well as on qualitative interviews with egg donors.


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pp. 80-100
Launched on MUSE
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