Author:Queenan, Joe
Position:Brief Article

The chattering classes recently worked themselves into a dither when an enterprising "fashion photographer" set up a Web site offering prospective parents a chance to purchase eggs "donated" by professional "models." The photographer, Ron Harris, contended that his service was fully in keeping with contemporary mores, and that parents desirous of raising attractive children were perfectly within their rights to purchase eggs from certifiably beautiful young women. More to the point, attractive young women were more than within their rights to market their most precious genetic resources.

But ethics experts, geneticists, zeitgeist buffs, and even garden-variety pundits saw things differently. Quite apart from the perceived slight to homely, plain, disfigured, or stone ugly human beings everywhere, moral avatars decried the birth of as the first step on the slippery slope toward the establishment of a society even more pitilessly Darwinian than the one we now inhabit. And consumer advocates everywhere had to be somewhat unnerved by the price tags being thrown around, starting in the $15,000 range, with the figure then escalating upward, depending upon the comeliness of the model. Already, if Harris is to be believed, one couple has offered $42,000 for a model's eggs, which, based on the photographs I have seen, seems a smidgen pricey. In the opinion of some high-minded observers, this situation could put the projected child in the uncomfortable position of having to start life already 42 grand in the hole, with her parents taking umbrage should she fail to deliver on her pul chritudinous promise. Or turn out to be a boy.

As the proud parent of a lovely, young daughter whose adolescent glamour didn't set me back one nickel, I would be loath to fork over the price of a Jeep Cherokee just to get a kid who probably wouldn't look that much better than the one I got for nothing. But I am man enough to admit that I might be whistling a different tune if my daughter--or son--had been born with a face that could, proverbially, stop a truck. This being the case, I am not prepared to pillory affluent young couples who decide to go the on-line ovulation route. To each his own. Different strokes. Etc.

Nevertheless, it is my heartfelt belief that the future of such on-line auctions does not lie in the realm of interactive gorgeousness. To my way of thinking, prospective parents who wish to ensure the future happiness and economic well being of their...

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