Bitcoin Baby: Infant Born After Fertility Treatment Paid With Digital Money

Monday, 10 Jun 2013 03:21 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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A California fertility specialist promoting bitcoins as a monetary option is particularly proud of the first baby “bought with bitcoins” after a couple paid for their fertility treatment with this new digital currency.

Dr. C. Terence Lee of Brea, Calif., worked with one of the couples in his practice to help them have their fourth child and accepted payment for his services in bitcoins. Lee told CNN Money this is the first time he’s aware of that anyone paid for fertility treatments that way.

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Lee actually had to encourage the couple to pay in bitcoins by offering his services at 50 percent off. He said they initially didn’t understand how the digital currency works.

They’re not alone. Lee is avidly promoting bitcoins in his business, but also may be one of the few who really understands how it works.

The idea of bitcoins has been controversial since its 2009 launch, although the currency is garnering attention as the stock prices rise and fall. The volatility is one issue that people raise as a problem with bitcoins, especially for businesses that need a stable cash flow.

Mother Jones wrote an article explaining what bitcoins are, but even that information leaves many still at the “huh?” stage. “A Bitcoin is a unit of currency, launched in 2009, that only exists online and isn't controlled by any kind of central authority, like the US Federal Reserve,” the article said.

Lee, who spoke at a conference promoting the new currency, Bitcoin 2013, has promoted the use of bitcoins at his office for some time with a sign listing Visa, Mastercard and Bitcoin as the electronic payments he’ll accept. But Lee said most people don’t even ask about the sign or what a bitcoin is.

The virtual currency has "blown up" in the last few weeks, according to an ABC news article. Bitcoins in August last year were worth about $10 each, while in May they’ve reached $115 each. The article goes on to list unusual things you can buy with bitcoins – everything from a windshield to a wetsuit.

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Related stories:

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U.S. Authorities Seize Accounts of Major Bitcoin Operator

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