The Economics of Assisted Reproduction

38 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2005

See all articles by Sherrie A. Kossoudji

Sherrie A. Kossoudji

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: January 2005


Typically, when two people decide to become parents, they procreate by copulation and produce a child. What do people do if, for some reason, they can't produce their own children but want to be parents? Today, a prospective parent can go to the web, drop a vial of sperm from a donor with specific selected characteristics into a "shopping cart" and have that sperm delivered in twenty-four hours. Similarly, one can sift through the profiles and pictures of women who are egg donors and select eggs from women with desired characteristics and arrange an egg delivery. These markets are two segments that loosely fall under the rubric of Assisted Reproduction Technologies (ART), which is a shorthand term for the numerous procedures aided by technology used to produce a baby. This primer in the economics of assisted reproduction introduces some of the economic dilemmas brought about by new reproductive technologies. Now the cost of producing children can radically differ among people of similar incomes and values because a prospective parent may have to pay to gain rights to the genetic components that build the child.

Keywords: fertility, women's labor, gender

JEL Classification: J13, J16

Suggested Citation

Kossoudji, Sherrie A., The Economics of Assisted Reproduction (January 2005). IZA Discussion Paper No. 1458, Available at SSRN:

Sherrie A. Kossoudji (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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