Online auction of models' eggs under way
Monday, October 25th 1999, 12:00 am
News On 6
More than a million people have logged onto a Web site where the
eggs of eight models are being auctioned today to parents wishing
for beautiful babies.
There was no immediate tally of how many of the 1.1 million
The Web site, www.ronsangels.com, has pictures of eight models
offering their eggs for sale. The bids start at $15,000 and can go
as high as $150,000. Harris said the site had already received a
serious bid of $42,000.
Infertility groups have expressed disgust at the offer, saying
it turns human life into a commodity. But said the auction is a
reflection of American society, where beauty can be purchased by
the highest bidder.
"This is Darwin at his very best," Harris said Sunday.
"(It's) the butterfly that's the prettiest that gets the guys."
The auction will last up to several months, with each model
deciding how long the bidding for her eggs will go and what price
should be accepted.
After a bid is finalized, both bidders and donors will be
required to undergo medical tests and engage legal representation
to drawe is free, but it costs $24.95 to get additional
information on the models.
"It's unethical and it's distasteful," Sean Tipton, spokesman
for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, said Saturday.
Infertility specialists are increasingly concerned about putting
a price tag on human eggs. While the typical egg donor is $2,500 to
$5,000 for their time and inconvenience, a couple advertised
earlier this year that they would pay $50,000 for eggs donated from
an athletic student from a top college.
Federal law forbids the purchase and sale of human organs, but
trafficking in sperm and eggs is legal.
Harris is a Malibu, Calif., photographer whose work includes
fashion photos, television directing for Playboy and exercise
videos. He said determining who is beautiful is "what I did all my
life. That's my expertise."
His Web site boasts that the models are in excellent health and
subject to rigorous physical examinations. No information about
intelligence or education is provided.
Harris says an auction of male models' sperm is being planned,
with bids from $10,000 to $50,000.
He says society's obsession with appearance has made us stronger
and healthier, and he pitches the egg auction as a chance for
parents to give their children a head-start in a society that
worships beautiful people.
"I've been around beautiful women my whole life and I think
they ... have power most of us will never understand," said
Harris, who is also writing a book about beauty, celebrity and
The models could not be reached for comment, but on the Web
site, each gives reasons for selling her eggs, ranging from "to
not be dependent on a man," to "I want to help others."
Nancy Etcoff, the Cambridge, Mass.-based author of "Survival of
the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty," says it's natural to
consider how your mate's attractiveness will be reflected in your
children. But she said such direct marketing of beauty is a false
promise because "the way that we inherit features is sort of a
genetic roll of the dice."
In addition to the medical community rejecting the idea of
selling human body parts, eBay, the world's leading Internet
auction site, has banned the sale of eggs, sperm and human organs
on its site.
But Harris said that if he can get infertile couples together
with good-looking women who want or need money, everyone benefits.