Friday, 13 March 2009

People sell blood to fight recession

Feb 13, 2009
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: Want to make Rs 50,000 in one go to beat the economic crisis thrown up by global recession? Simply `donate’ your egg. Or do you need just Rs 7,000 to augment your pocket? Then settle for sperm `donation’. Will Rs 1000 suffice? Blood sale is the best option.
The rate card at illegal sperm, egg and blood banks is loud and clear.
Walk in, donate and walk out with your purse loaded with money. Donation of vital body fluids and eggs is not a new phenomenon, but the present economic slowdown has only added new players to this silently thriving medical business. Hyderabad is one of the few cities in the world where a number of illegal sperm and blood banks thrive clandestinely, without the official licence.
The global economic recession may have resulted in a steep fall in business and industrial incomes the world over, but it has given a new
impetus to illegal organ and body fluids trade. The sale of sperm,blood, ova, plasma and hair has recorded at least 50 per cent increase in the last six months in the United States and other industrialised countries.
India, where the full tremors of economic slowdown are yet to be felt,
is slowly catching up with the US on this front. But unlike in the US,
for obvious reasons, there are no official statistics in India on the
sale of sperm, eggs, blood and plasma.
Medical insiders and sexologists admit in private that more and more Indian youth, men and women, are going in for donation of their vital body fluids, besides eggs and hair, to beat the economic recession. A one time sperm `donation’ (sale) fetches anything upward of Rs 2,000 depending on the complexion, height and social background of the donor, nay seller. Blood donation brings in between Rs 400 and Rs 1,000 depending on the urgency.
The latest fad is blood plasma donation. And those with long, curly and beautiful hair are also in demand. But it is the egg donation that is wrought with pain and suffering. The egg donor undergoes severe pain while the egg is removed from the body.
”It is a multi crore business, mostly done under wraps. We have pecialized sperm banks in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and other major cities. They keep the identity of donors secret. Recession or no recession the activity has been thriving illegally. The number of people selling body fluids and eggs has definitely gone up now, may be due to economic slowdown. yderabad is already notorious for organ sales,” points out senior sexologist Dr Swayam Prakash.
In the USA, the Northeast Assisted Fertility Group has found that the
number of applications from women looking to donate their eggs has ecently doubled. The number of men selling their sperm has also increased by at least 15 per cent. The rate card in the USA is far higher than that of in India. A young woman donating her eggs makes a cool 10,000 US dollars or Rs 5 lakh. The sperm donor will get $50 to $200.
“Wigs and hair extensions are always in demand, and the companies that make them constantly have to source high quality human hair. This is where you come in. How much you'll get for your hair will depend on its colour, length, type and quality. A particularly popular head of hair may sell for £1,000 or even more,” says the NAFG report.
Dr Swayam Prakash warns that donating eggs may often lead to hospitalisation and future infertility. “This is because the drugs used by fertility clinics to stimulate egg formation will have long term side effects,” he said.
The youngsters, who want money, are just cashing in on the infertility
situation. Though India is the second most populous nation in the world, it also has one of the top infertility rates. The number of childless couples has been growing steadily in India, partly due to genetic and partly due to environmental reasons including lifestyles.
According to the World Health Organisation, 8-10 per cent of couples
experience some form of infertility problems. In India nearly 1.5 crore couples are infertile.

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