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sex, surrogacy, oocytes, taboo, compensation


This Article examines three traditionally “taboo trades”: (1) the sale of sex, (2) compensated egg donation, and (3) commercial surrogacy. The Article purposely invokes examples in which the compensated provision of goods or services (primarily or exclusively by women) is legal, but in which commodification is only partially achieved or is constrained in some way. I argue that incomplete commodification disadvantages female providers in these instances, by constraining their agency, earning power, or status. Moreover, anticommodification and coercion rhetoric is sometimes invoked in these settings by interest groups who, at best, have little interest in female empowerment and, at worst, have economic or political interests at odds with it.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Ovum, Wages, Taboo, Sex, Surrogate mothers