Two fertility experts were arrested in Tel Aviv last week following an investigation into the illegal sale of eggs extracted from patients undergoing fertility treatment. According to Aryeh Edelman, the police officer in charge of the investigation, Drs Zion Ben-Rafael and Ya'akov Ashkenazi would routinely remove extra eggs from women and then offer them to other patients. 'It was like a factory' he said.
While some women were unaware the doctors were harvesting extra eggs, others were offered discounts of up to 10,000 shekels (£1,600) on their fertility treatment in return for the egg donations. 'They thought they were giving eggs only to one woman or two' said Mr Edelman. 'What they did not know was that the eggs were going to ten or 12 women'.
It is illegal for women to donate eggs in Israel unless they are undergoing fertility treatment, and there is a huge shortage of eggs at most clinics. Alice Shalavi, of the Israel Women's Network, believes there is a lot of pressure on couples to have children of their own, rather than adopting. 'Obviously these doctors were cashing in on this, knowing they had a market for ova' she added.
The two men have been allowed to continue their work, but must now perform all medical procedures under police supervision.