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Business of Beauty

Nov. 10, 1999

Shallowness more than skin deep as some buy new genes

As if our infatuation with the Internet had not gone far enough, details were released last week on a new Web Site where couples wanting to have a baby through in vitro fertilization could supposedly bid on the eggs of young supermodels.

When it gets to the point where babies are being bought and sold on the Internet, society has gone too far. Bidding on a set of racing tickets or an antique train is one thing; bidding on human life crosses the line of decency.

The site boasts that, for $24.95 a month, interested persons may view pictures of the models and bid on their eggs.

According to Newsweek, the prices for the eggs start at $15,000 and have ranged to $48,000, but no eggs have been sold to date.

The site's founder, Ron Harris, has found immediate success, with the site generating more than 1 million hits a day.

'Choosing eggs from beautiful women will profoundly increase the success of your children and your children's children, for centuries to come,' Harris wrote on his Web site.

Since when has beauty been the direct indicator of success? Harris is saying hard work and sacrifice have nothing to do with success anymore, instead it's merely one's appearance. Therefore, according to Harris' plan, to 'profoundly improve' the success of future generations, buying eggs from perfect-looking supermodels is the only course of action.

Scientists say this assertion is ridiculous.

'It's a scam,' Arthur Camplan, a prominent bioethicist told Newsweek. 'A beautiful person will not necessarily beget a beautiful child.'

So much for Harris' theory.

But what is more troubling is the popularity Harris' site has built since its inception. Although no eggs have been sold, the notion that people have paid money to view the potential donors is disappointing. After all, who's to say everyone views beauty the same way.

When society evolves to the point of taking steps to ensure beauty before birth, an alarm should go off letting us know we have gone too far.

Babies born in this way stand a pretty good chance of being brought up to cherish beauty over everything. That's not the reason we are alive, and we should not pass our shallowness on to future generations

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