Selection Biases and Choices in Assisted Reproduction Markets

Sherrie Kossoudji, University of Michigan

A major ethical question about the commercialization of Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART) is the concern that prospective parents desire, and can buy, “designer babies”. In this paper I analyze preferences for babies’ characteristics when traditional reproduction is replaced by commercialized components and assess the ‘value’ of different characteristics. I ask whether ‘value’ in the market reflects gender stereotypes. I address three bias questions. How are sperm and egg donors different from the general population of potential donors? What are the determinants of donor selection? How are the determinants of choice different for men (sperm) and women (eggs)? The work uses a large sample of both egg donors and sperm donors. The data sets contain information on physical characteristics (like height, weight, eye color, and hair color), education, intelligence and skill characteristics, and other information like race, ethnicity, and religion that are compared to a nationally representative sample.

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Presented in Session 43: Genetics and Demographic Behavior