Debora Spar Will Explore ‘The Baby Business’ at Wellesley College on Nov. 1

For immediate release:
Oct. 27, 2006
Arlie Corday

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Debora L. Spar, a professor of business administration and an associate dean at Harvard Business School, will explore the business and politics of reproduction in her lecture, “The Baby Business: How Markets Are Changing the Future of Birth,” Wednesday, Nov. 1, at 4:30 pm in Pendleton East 239, Pendleton Hall, on the Wellesley College campus. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Author of The Baby Business: Elite Eggs, Designer Genes, and the Thriving Commerce of Conception (Harvard Business School Press, 2006), Spar’s research explores how money, science and politics are driving what she calls the “commerce of conception.”

“In the past several decades, breakthroughs in medicine and biotechnology have begun to alter the basic process of birth,” she said. “How will private firms respond to the market opportunities that reproductive science now offers? And how will firms deal with the regulatory and moral challenges that will undoubtedly accompany the scientific advance?”

Recently interviewed by The New York Times about the topic, Spar noted that ads in newspapers looking for egg donors may sound enticing, but such arrangements come with a price.

“There have been ads offering even $50,000 and $100,000 for ‘exceptional eggs,’ though no one's ever come forward to say they've gotten that much,” Spar told the Times. “The donor typically is young — 20 to 21 years old. She's run up the credit card bills, and she doesn't want Mom and Dad to know. She sees these very pretty ads in the school newspaper and this seems like a good way to solve a problem. The concern is that we don't know the long-term effects of doing this.”

Spar argues that it is time to acknowledge the commercial truth about reproduction and to establish a standard that governs its transactions. Her lecture is sponsored by Wellesley College’s economics, education, international relations, political science and women’s studies departments and Phi Sigma and Women for Choice student groups.

For more information, contact Professor of Economics David Lindauer at 781-283-2159.

Committed to education women since its founding in 1870, Wellesley College has long been recognized as one of the finest liberal arts colleges in the nation. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to