Advertisement
Roche
Roche

CIRM to pay for eggs?

Recent comments by California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) President Alan Trounson imply that the agency may be looking for ways to pay women for their eggs for stem cell research. Currently, laws in California and Massachusetts — two leader states in stem cell research — prohibit compensation for eggs. But with a shortage of available human eggs for research purposes, the issue remains a national sticking point to the progress of stem cell research and linkurl:cloning

By | March 27, 2008

Recent comments by California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) President Alan Trounson imply that the agency may be looking for ways to pay women for their eggs for stem cell research. Currently, laws in California and Massachusetts — two leader states in stem cell research — prohibit compensation for eggs. But with a shortage of available human eggs for research purposes, the issue remains a national sticking point to the progress of stem cell research and linkurl:cloning science.;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/daily/53224/ At a meeting of CIRM's Standards Working Group (SWG) on February 28, Trounson called on the CIRM to explore ways to reimburse women for eggs, according to the linkurl:transcripts;http://www.cirm.ca.gov/transcripts/default.asp of the meeting. "The demand for oocytes may be way beyond what we can possibly deliver," said Trounson, in response to the growing number of applications to use human eggs in research. He cited the failure of many researchers to obtain eggs through donation without financial reward. "Women are not prepared to go through those procedures without some form of compensation," he said. linkurl:Proposition 71,;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/23342/ which was passed as a statewide ballot initiative by voters in 2004 established linkurl:CIRM;http://www.the-scientist.com/news/display/53676/ as an agency to award grants and loans for stem cell research. Although the legislation established stem cell research as a state constitutional right in California, it prohibits compensation for eggs, but allows reimbursement of direct expenses. One idea that arose at the meeting was to subsidize the cost of fertility treatment for women donating eggs, as is currently done in other countries, such as the UK. However, opponents of this move argue that covering the costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is another form of paying for eggs. "[If] a person gets a discount in IVF, it's compensation," said Susan Fogel of the Pro-Choice Alliance at the meeting. Trounson "called for a discussion to look into various options," said Don Gibbons, CIRM's chief communication officer. "There are no pre-conceived notions of what we want [the SWG] to do." There is currently "no regulatory proposal on the table," said Geoff Lomax, senior officer for the SWG, who described the February 28th meeting as a "thinking out loud session." He said that plans are underway for a meeting in the late summer or early fall that will bring together scientists and special interest groups to look into different options for obtaining human eggs. "There needs to be a future meeting to talk about the issue of egg donation," Lomax told The Scientist. Kevin Eggan of Harvard University's Stem Cell Institute told The Scientist he was "heartened" by Trounson's comments, but doubts that CIRM can do much in its role as a regulatory agency within the existing legislation. He called on the National Academy of Sciences to revisit the issue, stating that women should be compensated for providing eggs for stem cell research, just as they are for donating eggs to treat infertility and as they were in the early days of IVF research. "Clearly that's the expectation of these women for egg donation," he said. "Human research donors, which is what these women are, should be compensated for their time, their effort, and any duress they incur." Jeff Sheehy, a CIRM board member, said he reacted "viscerally" to Trounson's announcement. "It seemed to fly in the face of Proposition 71," he said. Sheehy told The Scientist that Proposition 71 was approved following a campaign that promised a no-compensation policy for CIRM-funded research. "Why go against the will of the legislation in what voters thought they were approving?" he said. A good review of the issues raised at the Feb. 28 meeting can be found at the linkurl:California Stem Cell Report;http://californiastemcellreport.blogspot.com/2008/03/egg-shortage-is-more-cash-answer.html blog.
Advertisement

Comments

Avatar of: Marcy Darnovsky

Marcy Darnovsky

Posts: 1

March 28, 2008

Susan Fogel of the Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research attended the CIRM committee meeting at which Alan Trounson floated this proposal. She characterizes it as a "bombshell" - see her guest post on Biopolitical Times, the blog of the Center for Genetics and Society:\nhttp://biopoliticaltimes.org/article.php?id=3958
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 23

March 31, 2008

Why not address it like we do many other problems today, outsource it. Set up clinics in the third world that buy eggs from women on a simple fee for service basis. \n\nNot only do the women selling eggs get much needed money but they also would get much better health treatment than they can normally get because they must be in good health and free of disease and some parasites for the eggs to useful and is in everyones best interest to keep the women that donate the eggs in good health.\n\nBuy setting up several clinics in different countries it should be possible to insure against an uncertain source of a source of supply we now face due to the variation of political wind patterns that presenting a ever increasing risk to scientific research for no good reason other than people have found way to use mass media to inflate their view of reality to the point it seems to have equal value with that of those that spend their lives working in that field of research. And then use that to interfere with progress and work in the field they disagree with using any means they can find.\n\nIf continued to it's logical conclusion we risk having another dark age in the making. One where popular opinion driven by a few charismatic promoters over rules facts and science or any institution, group or thought is hung out to dry for reasons with no base in fact, law or reason. Only on who has the best advertising campaign and can field the most vocal and persistent supporters for a sustained effort until their point of view no matter outrageous it seems at first rings true if it is repeated enough times by enough different sources. The truth is very limited in fighting this kind of campaign as they are limited to using statements and facts that are true while those that oppose them have no such limitation.\n\nPosted anonymously as I don't want to be a target of one or more of those groups. Such as those that attack researchers the work with animals in their homes. Some of the people that drive these movements have lost all touch with reality and believe the ends justify any means they think necessary.\n\nFeed up in Oklahoma.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

April 20, 2008

To go for poor women´s eggs for free is unethical. Why don´t researchers make an awareness campaign to obtain women voluntary donation of eggs for stem cell research? \nIn the opposite, why not pay for a scarce resource and women painful procedure in all countries? \nStem cells research is important enough to be constrained by restrictive regulations.\nFrom Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Follow The Scientist

icon-facebook icon-linkedin icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube
Advertisement

Stay Connected with The Scientist

  • icon-facebook The Scientist Magazine
  • icon-facebook The Scientist Careers
  • icon-facebook Neuroscience Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Genetic Research Techniques
  • icon-facebook Cell Culture Techniques
  • icon-facebook Microbiology and Immunology
  • icon-facebook Cancer Research and Technology
  • icon-facebook Stem Cell and Regenerative Science
Advertisement
Advertisement
Mettler Toledo
BD Biosciences
BD Biosciences