Sunday, July 07, 2013

California Legislation Removing Ban on Payments for Eggs for Research Heads to Governor

Legislation to allow women in California to be paid for their eggs for scientific research is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown following final legislative approval last week.

Sponsors of the bill, a national fertility industry organization, expect the governor later this month to sign the measure, which would go into effect next year.

The measure, AB 926 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, would repeal a ban on payments to women who provide eggs for scientific research. However, the measure would not affect the ban on payments to egg providers in research funded by the $3 billion California stem cell agency. That ban is covered by a separate legal provision. Stem cell researchers around the country have complained that they they cannot get eggs without payment.

Women in California can be paid for providing eggs for reproductive purposes. According to a legislative analysis, payments can run as high as $50,000 for women with special characteristics but average around $9,000 for each session, which can generate more than one egg.

The sponsor of the legislation is the American Society for Reproductive Medicine of Alabama, whose members represent a wide swath of the $5 billion-a-year fertility business. The measure would open new business avenues for the industry.

Bonilla argues that the measure allows women to be treated on the same footing as men who provide sperm for research and would encourage more research into reproductive health issues.

Opponents argue that the safety of the egg production procedures has not been well-established including their long-term impact. They also argue that allowing payment would lead to exploitation of poor and minority women.

The bill received its final legislative approval on July 1 when the Senate passed it on a 24-9 vote.

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