Lessons from Law About Incomplete Commodification in the Egg Market
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
This article seeks to illustrate egg donation's incompletely commodified status through an analysis of two cases of first impression, highlighting the tensions that arise from attempts to reconcile egg donation's reality as a robust commercial industry with the nonmarket norms that traditionally underlie reproduction. Antitrust and taxation litigation may seem unlikely sources for guidance in navigating the tensions in egg donation's uncertain place between the worlds of gift and market exchange. Nonetheless, this litigation forces an explicit consideration of how egg donation is perceived, talked about, and operationalized, and where along the gift-market spectrum it fits. These cases also engage familiar questions of commodification, coercion, and exploitation, which are surprisingly central litigation issues.