New York State To Allow Payment For Eggs Used In Research
Earlier this month the Empire State Stem Cell Board announced a decision which gives stem cell researchers in New York more access. The June 11 decision will allow the use of public money to purchase of eggs (oocytes) for research.
The decision begins as “voted to allow funding of research on stem cell lines derived using eggs (called “oocytes”) donated
solely for research purposes where the donor was, or will be, compensated for the expense, time, burden and discomfort associated with the donation process – within specified limits -- as is currently permitted when women donate oocytes for reproductive purposes in New York State.” Women who donate may receive up to $10,000 in compensation.
This decision is good for stem cell researchers who have had difficulty recruiting unpaid donors under the National Academy of Science (NAS) guidelines. NAS guidelines prohibit paying women for eggs used in stem cell research.
The decision will allow researchers access to “fresh” eggs rather than just those discarded after in vitro fertilization which may be of poor-quality.
The decision gives medical ethicists and opponents pause. Even though women are already compensated for giving their eggs for fertility purposes, many worry that this decision opens the door for exploitation of women in financial need.
The Board states this measure applies only to women making donations of eggs specifically and solely to stem cell
research. The Board states that there will be rigorous institutional oversight to ensure that no undue inducement to donate is used.