Up for action in the state Senate Health Committee is a measure that would permit paying women who provide the eggs if they do so for the purposes of research. The compensation is condemned by some because of the risk of providing the eggs, which requires heavy hormonal stimulation. But legalizing payment is sought by others as an aid to science and as a matter of equality for women.
Opposition to the measure includes Dorothy Roberts, a nationally recognized bioethicist who serves on the research standards group of the California stem cell agency.
The legislation, AB2531 by Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood, is sponsored by the fertility industry, which is largely unregulated. A similar measure was vetoed in 2013 by Gov. Jerry Brown who said, “Not everything in life is for sale nor should it be.”
Opposition to the measure includes Dorothy Roberts, a nationally recognized bioethicist who serves on the research standards group of the California stem cell agency. Also opposed is the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley. Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the group, said this spring, “Offering large sums of money encourages women in need to gamble with their health. It’s what bioethicists call ‘undue inducement.'”
According to the Senate analysis by Melanie Moreno, Assemblywoman Burke says, “AB 2531 ensures that women are treated equally to all other research subjects – allowing them to actively evaluate their participation in research studies and be paid for their time, trouble and inconvenience when they do participate. Given that compensation is allowed in 47 other states, and there is no evidence of abuse, it’s time to reconsider our ban, just as New York did.”
Ed’s Note: David Jensen is a retired newsman who has followed the affairs of the $3 billion California stem cell agency since 2005 via his blog, the California Stem Cell Report, where this story first appeared. He has published more than 4,000 items on California stem cell matters in the past 11 years.