Why we should, in fact, pay for egg donation

Department of Gender and Women's Studies, UC Berkeley Stem Cell Center, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.
Regenerative Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.79). 04/2007; 2(2):203-9. DOI: 10.2217/17460751.2.2.203
Source: PubMed


In this perspective, I shall argue that women who donate eggs solely for human embryonic stem cell research ought to be compensated. My argument rests on three inter-related principles. First, it is important to recruit the healthiest possible egg donors to minimize the risks of donation. This would relieve pressure to donate on those suffering from diseases that might be treatable with stem cell-based therapies, who are likely to be at greater risk from donation. Second, I believe that it is crucial to be pro-active in building representative stem cell banks, especially in stem cell initiatives paid for, in part, by the public/government. The right of all groups to participate in and benefit from equitable and safe research must be developed for egg donors as for other kinds of research participants. Particular attention should be paid to the opinions and desires of women from historically underserved populations as to how to conduct donations and guide research so as to serve all members of society. Third, reasonable payment would undermine tendencies for domestic and international black and grey egg markets for stem cell research to develop. I then suggest replacing the question of compensation with the question of harm mitigation as the central donor protection issue.

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Available from: Charis Thompson, Oct 12, 2015
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    • "Other risks are associated with paying women for the donation of their oocytes, that will then be used in therapeutic cloning to create source material for TE research. These risks include hyperstimulation of the ovaries and complications of the recovery (either through surgery or transvaginally) of oocytes (Dickens and Cook 2007; Yoshimura 2006; Choumerianou et al. 2008; Dhai et al. 2004; Hall et al. 2006; Lomax et al. 2007; Thompson 2007). Any discussion of paid donation of source material of TE leads to discussion of risks of the exploitation of poor people (Resnik 2002; Awaya 2005; Black 1997; Smith 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: In their 2007 paper, Swierstra and Rip identify characteristic tropes and patterns of moral argumentation in the debate about the ethics of new and emerging science and technologies (or "NEST-ethics"). Taking their NEST-ethics structure as a starting point, we considered the debate about tissue engineering (TE), and argue what aspects we think ought to be a part of a rich and high-quality debate of TE. The debate surrounding TE seems to be predominantly a debate among experts. When considering the NEST-ethics arguments that deal directly with technology, we can generally conclude that consequentialist arguments are by far the most prominently featured in discussions of TE. In addition, many papers discuss principles, rights and duties relevant to aspects of TE, both in a positive and in a critical sense. Justice arguments are only sporadically made, some "good life" arguments are used, others less so (such as the explicit articulation of perceived limits, or the technology as a technological fix for a social problem). Missing topics in the discussion, at least from the perspective of NEST-ethics, are second "level" arguments-those referring to techno-moral change connected to tissue engineering. Currently, the discussion about tissue engineering mostly focuses on its so-called "hard impacts"-quantifiable risks and benefits of the technology. Its "soft impacts"-effects that cannot easily be quantified, such as changes to experience, habits and perceptions, should receive more attention.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Science and Engineering Ethics
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    • "Whether or not donors should receive financial compensation for anything other than out-of-pocket expenses has been a much debated issue for several years (Gazvani et al., 1997; Steinbock, 2004; ESHRE Task Force on Ethics and Law, 2006; Hyun, 2006; Johnston, 2006; Ethics Committee of the ASRM, 2007; Mertes and Pennings, 2007; Thompson, 2007; Dickenson, 2009; Flower, 2010; Levine, 2010 ). Although most donors indicate altruism as their prime motivation to donate oocytes, it cannot be denied that the offer of money to offset physical discomfort and time investment or the price cut for patients in oocyte-sharing programs (which accounted for half of the total number of donated oocytes in 2010 in the UK) serve as important incentives (Lindheim et al., 2001; Pennings and Devroey, 2006; Purewal and van den Akker, 2009; HFEA, 2012). "
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    ABSTRACT: As the efficiency of oocyte cryopreservation has increased rapidly in recent years, oocytes are currently being stored either in the course of IVF treatments or as a fertility preservation measure. These practices may have an impact on the number of available donor oocytes due to two different dynamics: first, a certain percentage of women for whom oocytes were cryopreserved will eventually not use their oocytes and may decide to donate them to others; secondly, especially in the practice of social freezing, women may opt to donate a portion of the retrieved oocytes in ‘freeze-and-share’ schemes in order to reduce the costs. In this article, we aim to sketch the ethical implications of such developments in general and the issue of payment to oocyte donors in particular.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Human Reproduction
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    • "Others argue that women should not be denied the capacity and the right to make free and informed decisions about their bodies and their lives and advocate a combination of payment and informed consent procedures. Allowing the development of a regular, formal market for oöcytes would foreclose the emergence of " black " informal, unregulated markets and thus prevent exploitation of women (Thompson 2007). From a different perspective, Catherine Waldby and Melinda Cooper (2010) emphasize the productivity of the female body in this new sector. "
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    ABSTRACT: Using human oöcytes for research purposes is a controversial subject, but although much has been written on the ethical issues of the practice, there is comparatively little empirical knowledge of the practice itself. This article analyzes the scope, infrastructure, and dynamics of oöcyte procurement for research in Europe and California and identifies some major trends and shifts in the field. Our research shows that oöcyte procurement strategies have evolved out of close institutional integration with the IVF sector, that there has been a shift from “poor quality” oöcytes to “good quality” oöcytes – which implies a shift to ethically more problematic procurement practices – and that we see a variety of crypto-commercial strategies, which enable monetary transactions while avoiding confrontation with non-commercialization policies. Finally, there has been a move to more commercial models of procurement, which can be interpreted as a strategy to release the infrastructural requirements that tie researchers to the IVF sector.
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