It is illegal in Canada to buy human eggs. The Assisted Human Reproduction Technology Act says:
No person shall purchase, offer to purchase or advertise for the purchase of sperm or ova from a donor or a person acting on behalf of a donor.
This is not a trivial criminal offense. The maximum penalty upon conviction is a $500,000 fine and 10 years imprisonment. Compare that with the maximum penalty of 5 years for infanticide, proscribed in s.237 of the Criminal Code.
Even so, CBC News is finding this isn’t a deterrent. Women are selling their eggs, and being paid $5,000 to $7,000 for each harvesting procedure. This is similar to CTV’s coverage of the story one year ago. Both of these exposés rely on anecdotal stories and anonymous interviews, as well as experts’ concerns about the lack of enforcement. We are left to imagine how this, and expectations of minimal medical risk, entices more than just a few women to pay off student loans.
To those women in Canada who sell their eggs, here is this timely reminder: when you file your taxes today, you need to claim any sales of your eggs. According to the Canada Revenue Agency, the proceeds of crime are taxable.