Building a Better Baby Business: What's Wrong with the Market for Assisted Reproduction and How to Make it Better

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Theater, Coffman Memorial Union

Prof. Spar discussed how, in the United States alone, assisted reproduction generates annual revenues of over $4 billion. Would-be parents have a tremendous array of options, including advanced techniques for in vitro fertilization (IVF), use of sperm banks, and access to egg donors. They can aim for one child or several, blond hair or brown, a boy or a girl. In the process, they can expect to pay handsomely, anywhere from $13,000 (the average price for a single cycle of IVF) to $250,000 (the cost of repeated, failed, cycles with high-end donor eggs and advanced techniques). Professor Spar described the current status of the assisted reproduction business and outline some of the major problems it poses—of equity, of contracting, and of child and maternal welfare. She also discussed avenues for appropriate public policy.

Listen to Prof. Spar's interview on Minnesota Public Radio 


Michele Goodwin, JD
University of California, Irvine, School of Law

Christopher DeJonge, PhD
University of Minnesota School of Medicine

Debora Spar, PhD, is the Spangler Family Professor, Senior Associate Dean, and Director of Research, Harvard Business School.

At Harvard, Dr. Spar teaches courses on the politics of international business, comparative capitalism, and economic development. She is also Chair of Making Markets Work, an executive education program devoted to public and private sector leaders in Africa, and teaches and consults for a number of multinational corporations, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Spar is the author of numerous publications in academic and public policy journals. Her latest book, The Baby Business was published by Harvard Business School Press in January 2006. 

December 12, 2007