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Price Of Eggs Goes Way Up

The ad is simple: Egg donor needed. But the reward is ample: $50,000, ten times the going rate. Beyond the cash, there's the fine print. You must be at least 5 feet 10 inches tall, have at least a 1400 SAT score and no medical problems.

This offer has created a nationwide controversy about the intersection of the free market and egg donation, reports CBS News Correspondent Diana Olick.

The ad is running in the newspapers of America's top universities, including Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Cal Tech. The ad is now making news itself because of how expensive the offer is to harvest a woman's eggs.

"This is not about an Ivy League egg," says Darlene Pinkerton, a lawyer who is representing the couple who made the offer.

The prospective parents want to remain anonymous, but Pinkerton says their motives are genuine: "When the family first suggested $50,000, we tried to talk them out of it, because we thought it was a lot of money. But they felt that they wanted to be generous to a woman who was going to be generous to them."

For decades, infertile couples have targeted college campuses, looking for babies to adopt, and more recently, eggs to buy. But never before have the criteria for the donor been so specific, nor the price so high when there are still no guarantees.

Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist from the University of Pennsylvania says it scares him a bit explaining, "We're moving away from donation. We keep talking about egg donors. When your paying $50,000, you're selling. That means we're in the business of buying babies. We don't allow a woman to sell her baby to some couple that is infertile. If you're buying all of the ingredients, then your doing the same thing."

"It bothers me to see a price paid for certain traits that have nothing to do with genetic transmission," says Dr. Mark Sauer, a fertility specialist. He fears the new price will have a dangerous impact on the industry.

"It makes it prohibitively expensive. You will disenfranchise a large number of women who could access this care, just because they can't afford it. So doctors like myself would end up only treating the rich."

The couple has received more than 200 applications and is now in the midst of a massive screening process. When that process is finished, some tall, intelligent student will find herself with a lot of money.