Egg-donation? Or Egg-sploitation?


April 24, 2019

Today, high school proms are getting pricey, and 20-something living is getting dicey, but first…
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Human egg donations are a lucrative business… but it’s not always as egg-vertised

Well, the ad was enticing, we’ll give them that: “Earn a minimum of $40k to help us complete our family!” it said. “Our ideal match would be under the age of 29, Japanese, and well-educated (Ivy League or similar).”

Infertility has spawned a bustling industry of matchmaking agencies like that one, which help parents pick the perfect egg donor.

But many donors believe the process treats women more like egg factories than people, leaving them feeling isolated and concerned about their safety.

Is the cash worth it?

According to the journal Nursing for Women’s Health, egg donation was first successful in 1983, but it was originally intended to serve a specific population: Women younger than 40 who had premature ovarian failure.

A few years later, scientists discovered it could also help women have babies in their 40s and 50s. And thus, the egg-conomy was born, bolstering egg donation cycles to a 10x increase by the 1990s.

Egg donation? Or egg-sploitation?

Though the process is labeled a “donation,” money got thrown into the mix around 1993. Now, like many fields, donors are rewarded for past performance (to keep them coming back for more).

But is it ethical to entice a woman into donating her eggs out of financial desperation? Especially when there’s little research on the long-term risks?

The process isn’t a stroll in the park

To increase the chances of success, donors are given drugs to promote the production of additional eggs (normally women produce one egg each cycle). 

The process often requires women to inject themselves with hormone-filled syringes — then have a doctor pierce their vaginal wall with a thick needle to “suck out the extra eggs,” Wired reports.

It was this process that Dr. Jennifer Schneider believes could have been responsible for the death of her daughter — who donated eggs 3 times in her 20s before succumbing to stage 4 colon cancer, according to Insider.

Not many eggs in the research basket

Schneider has since published multiple papers urging scientists to at least conduct more research on the risks of donating eggs (to very little avail). 

As of now, the few studies out there have proved her theories to be anecdotal, but there’s still too little info to fully conclude.

Not an Easter story
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High school proms are getting extremely expensive

Ahhhh, prom, that fairy tale night of limos, glamour, dancing, buckets of fresh pig blood, and — a TON of cash.

According to the most recent data (compiled by Visa in 2015), the average prom attendee spends $919 on the likes of tickets, dresses and tuxes, haircuts, shoes, jewelry, makeup, manicures, corsages, tanning, transportation, dinner, and post-prom activities.

The tradition began more than a century ago as a simple “night of firsts,” and started to evolve into an elaborate affair in the 1950s, when American families found themselves flush with disposable income. Today, prom is a veritable money-pit.

The average middle-income family spends $234k raising a kid (0 to 17); at $919, prom represents about 0.4% of this entire 17-year cost.

These rising costs have drawn criticism that prom isn’t accessible to everyone. Though for many, it never has been: Until 2013, a handful of proms were still segregated — and in some states, gay couples have been banned from attending prom altogether.

Prom got dark.
 

Kohl’s stock explodes after announcing it will accept Amazon returns at all its locations

Yesterday, Kohl’s announced it will accept returns for items ordered on Amazon at all 1,150 of its US locations beginning in July. After the news, Kohl’s shares surged nearly 10%.

The move extends the partnership Kohl’s and Amazon have enjoyed since 2017, when Kohl’s first started selling the e-commerce giant’s smart-home products at select stores.

It’s all about collaboration, people!

Beyond Amazon, Kohl’s is piloting other partnerships to drive traffic to its stores, taking in-store tenants such as grocery chain Aldi and concrete-jungle-on-a-budget Planet Fitness.

Kohl’s hopes these partnerships will entice people shopping for groceries, returning Amazon items, or looking to get jacked, to stick around afterward and buy Kohl’s products — a move that analysts believe to be one of the few advantages it has over rivals like Macy’s and J.C. Penney. 

And it’s already paying off

Early data from Earnest Research found that sales at Kohl’s stores in Chicago — the market that helped kick off the Amazon partnership — outran sales nationwide last year.

What’s more, the firm found that the percentage of “new customers” at the Chicago Kohl’s (defined as those who didn’t shop at Kohl’s during the prior year) was up 9% in 2018, compared to just 1% growth in the rest of the country.

» Let’s play ‘department store dash’

Extreme renters: Young, well-paid people are choosing not to own anything

As NPR’s Sam Sanders reports, a small but growing number of 20-something professionals are shunning ownership altogether and turning to the sharing economy for all of their basic needs.

They rent everything — beds, workspaces, cars, bicycles, furniture — and live a life of self-imposed ultra-minimal ownership.

Who needs stuff?

Poised to grow to $335B by 2025 (a 20x increase), the sharing economy is trickling down into the granular cracks of capitalism: You can now rent everything from a vacuum cleaner to a dog.

As a result, some young professionals, like 27-year-old Steven Johnson, see no need to own anything.

Johnson uses Lyft and Uber instead of a car; a PodShare bunk bed in lieu of an apartment; a gym membership for fitness, laundry and showers; and WeWork to run his business. He owns only two outfits, which he rotates accordingly.

Material minimalist / digital hoarder

Though folks like Johnson rent by choice, many others use the sharing economy as a financial crutch. A rough housing market coupled with insane student loan debt has prompted some millennials to pare down — at least when it comes to material items.

“I talked to a lot of minimalists,” one researcher told NPR. “They own like 30 things, but … they hoard digitally. They have tons of photographs. They have thousands and thousands of Instagram posts.”

Nothing says minimalism like a WeWork insta-selfie.

» Would you rent everything in your life?
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Click, record, close → the hustle says…

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