Wineskins Archive

February 10, 2014

Selling Eggs on Ebay (Jan-Feb 2003)

Filed under: — @ 2:19 am and

by Mike Cope
January – February, 2003

Recently I read an essay in Atlantic Monthly by Jessica Cohen, a student at Yale. Her story began when she saw a classified ad last year in the Yale Daily News: “EGG DONOR NEEDED.” The couple placing the ad was looking for an egg from just the right donor, and they were willing to pay for it. To the tune of $25,000. Turns out they wanted an Ivy League college student, over five feet five, of Jewish heritage, athletic, attractive, with a minimum combined SAT score of 1500. The high fee caught her attention. She thought how nice it would be to make an easy (?) twenty-five grand.

She corresponded with the unnamed couple, and it introduced her to a whole world of online ads by such couples. She found one site with 500 classifieds posted: This is the ‘eBay’ for genetic material, she thought. Plus, there were ads from young women wanting to sell their eggs:

“Hi! My name is Kimberly. I am 24 years old, 5’11” with blonde hair and green eyes. I previously donated eggs and the couple was blessed with BIG twin boys! The doctor told me I have perky ovaries!…The doctor told me I had the most perfect eggs he had ever seen.”

Her e-mails with the husband were strange. He and his wife were concerned about her scores in math and science. Then the final bit of correspondence came after she had sent a few pictures: “I showed the pictures to [my wife] this A.M. Personally, I think you look great. She said ho-hum.”

My daughter died eight years ago. Who—in our success-driven world—would want her genetic make-up? She was, after all, mentally retarded. She didn’t have a 1500 on her SAT, she wasn’t headed toward an Ivy League school, and chances were really good she wasn’t going to be over 5’5”!

And yet…she changed our world. She was a quiet, loving witness to the gospel. She was an incarnation of God’s love. She received whatever gifts of service we offered to her without expecting more. She embodied the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:7: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Let the world search for “the perfect egg.” But our eyes have been opened by the breaking through of the kingdom in Jesus Christ. We’ve heard him say, “God bless you—you who are poor in Spirit. God bless you—you who mourn. And God bless you—you who are meek.”

When we forget that in creation God stamped his image on every human being and when we forget that in the work of Christ God brought a vision of a kingdom that is upside down, our sexual values and behaviors become twisted. We take a wonderful gift of God, abuse it, neglect it, or obsess on it. Only with words of creation and redemption ringing in our ears are we ready to receive the gift of sex.

Mike Cope is preaching minister of Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas and a co-editor of New Wineskins.

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