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24 Feb 2020, Edition - 1686, Monday

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Coimbatore

Prostitution passé. City students now sell eggs for quick money.

Vidyashree Dharmaraj

Real life has begun imitating reel life in Coimbatore, with some young girls selling their eggs to make a quick and easy money, unaware of the risks involved in donating eggs to infertile childless couples.

Reel life had John Abraham and Ayushman Khurana introducing the Indian populace to an open but hardly spoken-about profession — a sperm seller – in the runaway hit, Vicky Donor. Handling the sensitive subject in a subtle and understated manner, the film dealt with the issue of childless couple buying sperms for getting children through artificial insemination.

The audience loved the movie, peppered with comic touches and punchy dialogues rendered in trade-mark rustic Punjabi fashion, and began to empathize with the many childless couples and what they go through in their lives.

Now, cut to real life, here in Coimbatore city. Other than the oldest profession in the world, prostitution, young girls here have taken to “selling their eggs” to make quick money.

A baffled police officer stumbled upon this new racket – after a BE student of a local engineering college confessed to him that she also sold her eggs. She also confessed to engaging in prostitution.

The surprised police officer, who requested anonymity, dug further.

The girl student told him that her roommate and friend introduced her to this business. This girl lied to her parents about her visit to Chennai for a fortnight, when she underwent the process of “selling her eggs.”

“Egg donations” can fetch anything between Rs 40,000 and Rs 100,000 and sometimes even more, depending on the urgency and need of the childless couple. Eggs of educated girls are much in demand and those with fair skin too are sought after for their eggs. Several customers want eggs from Brahmin community girls, say IVF experts in Coimbatore.

How does this racket operate?

The hospitals procure eggs from single women keep a note of her educational qualifications, physical attributes and family background, all of which go into making a pitch to the patients seeking fertility treatment, much like Dr Baldev Chadda of Vicky Donor film fame, played by veteran thespian Anu Kapoor.

Dr Mridubhashini Govindarajan, Director, Women’s Centre, said the girls indulging in this activity are perhaps unaware of the medical repercussions of their actions. Urging that this “fertility trade” must be strictly regulated and monitored, she said a woman can donate eggs only thrice in her lifetime.

“Though egg donation per se is legal, the hospitals should ensure that the donor is thoroughly screened, make sure that the woman is fertile, married and has biological children and is between 21 and 35 years of age,” she said.

But, it is unfortunate that there are no ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) banks in the State. Ethically, the hospitals should procure eggs only from the ART banks certified by the Indian Council of Medical Research, she said.

The instances of students resorting to selling oocytes (eggs) to make quick money is disturbing, she said adding that prostitution and donation of eggs, without proper screening of the donor, could be a lethal combination as improper screening would mean chances of sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and other pelvic infections.

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