The ASRM guidelines suggest that it is wrong to pay more for eggs from donors with particular characteristics. The problem, as the ASRM sees it, is two-fold. First, placing special value on particular characteristics conjures up eugenics, which has a frightful history. Second, this sort of differential compensation somehow magnifies the effects of commodification, which it seems worries the ASRM. (The reason I’m sounding a bit skeptical here is that it seems to me that much already commodifies eggs and so I’m not sure there’s much added harm here.)
So here’s the thing that is bothering me. It seems to me that, like it or not, when people use ART, they do choose gametes for the particular qualities of the donors. No one says “oh, just pick one for me at random.” And generally, my guess is people are often (probably most often) trying to match characteristics so that a child will look like them.
Lots of people use reproductive technology in order to have a child who looks like them. Additionally, where only one member of a couple has fertility issues, they can have a child that is at least genetically related to one of them.
So while the ASRM may have guidelines that suggest that the hand-picked designer child is a bad thing, the fact that people think it is important is a big part of why so many people use ART. In other words, if people really took the ASRM guidelines to heart, there might be a far smaller market for ART. Which is not where the interests of the ASRM lies. I suppose I think it is a bit disingenuous to protest about hand-picking donors where the industry to some extent relies on people believing that having that resemblance is very important.