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The Genetics and IVF Institute, based in Fairfax, Virginia, countered that it was simply offering a seminar in London commonly held in the U.S.
"They're not raffling off a human egg," company spokeswoman Trina Leonard said.
Britain's fertility laws stem from the EU's Tissues and Cells Directive, which says donors can only be paid for their inconvenience, though the compensation cost varies across the continent. In Spain, for example, women can receive up to about euro900 (about $1,200) for donating eggs.
Fertility expert Allan Pacey, at the University of Sheffield, suggested Britain's supply of available eggs would increase if women were offered more money to donate, saying "250 pounds barely scratches the surface" of covering for the inconvenience.
Pacey drew a line, however, at selling the eggs, and said the U.S. clinic's stunt risked turning human eggs into a commodity. "Having a lottery is not how we do things in this country," he said.
Polish citizen Hanna Tlatlik, who works in a London shop, said she thought paying for eggs was a good idea, as it would allow more women to have children. "You have to pay for everything," said Tlatlik, 24. "What can I give if not money?"
But not all women in Britain thought offering more money for eggs was a good idea.
"It doesn't feel like a commodity that should be profitable. I could never charge someone for that," said Rhiannon Prytherch, a 28-year-old actress and theater manager in central English city of Derby. She said she might feel differently, though, if she were the one needing eggs. "If I were a woman who wanted to have a child, I would be willing to pay."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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