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In March, Canadian Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather said he’ll put forward a new bill that would allow sperm donors, egg donors, and surrogates to be paid for donating. Naturally, this announcement raised a few eyebrows, both in Canada and in the rest of the world.

Laws around egg donor compensation differ greatly all over the world. In countries like Australia, compensating egg donors is prohibited. In the United States, egg donors can be compensated, and they can negotiate the amount of compensation given to them. In countries like South Africa and the UK, compensation is permitted only to cover medical costs. 

As a three-time egg donor, I am ambivalent about the question of compensation, which I’ve personally struggled with a lot. Given that there isn’t a clear consensus on the issue, it deserves more careful attention, as it raises various ethical and personal dilemmas that require some unpacking.

In 2004, Canadian legislators passed the Assisted Human Reproduction Act, which expressly prohibits the compensation of egg donors, sperm donors, and surrogates. The law aimed to provide a...