Here is the verbatim comment from Bowen:
“I am concerned that prohibiting women from being paid for their eggs or for participating in research singles them out from how other medical research subjects are treated. That, in turn, is likely to reduce the number of women who can or will take part in embryonic stem cell research.”
IPBiz notes that men can be paid for their sperm. Although the context of the senate vote was embryonic stem cell research, the twist and turns of the economy of human eggs in the in-vitro fertilization [IVF] business might merit consideration. The need for human eggs does not come only in stem cell research. Further, as discussed in a previous IPBiz post, the usefulness of frozen eggs is not as great for non-frozen eggs.
Consider the following text from an article written in 1998:
Egg donation is a quietly expanding industry, changing the way we look at the family, young women's bodies, and human life itself.
It is not a pleasant way to make money. Unlike sperm donation, which is over in less than an hour, egg donation takes the donor some 56 hours and includes a battery of tests, ultrasound, self-administered injections, and retrieval. Once a donor is accepted into a program, she is given hormones to stimulate the ovaries, changing the number of eggs matured from the usual one per month up to as many as fifty. A doctor then surgically removes the eggs from the donor's ovary and fertilizes them with the designated sperm.
But it's good money -- and getting better. New York's Brooklyn IVF raised its "donor compensation" from $2,500 to $5,000 per cycle earlier this year in order to keep pace with St. Barnabas Medical Center in nearby Livingston, New Jersey. It's a bidding war. "It's obvious why we had to do it," says Susan Lobel, Brooklyn IVF's assistant director. Most New York - area IVF programs have followed suit.
The International Fertility Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, for instance, places ads in the Daily Princetonian offering Princeton girls as much as $35,000 per cycle. The National Fertility Registry, which, like many egg brokerages, features an online catalogue for couples to browse in, advertises $35,000 to $50,000 for Ivy League eggs. While donors are normally paid a flat fee per cycle, there have been reports of higher payments to donors who produce more eggs.
Defenders argue that it's only right that women are "compensated" for the inconvenience of egg donation. Brooklyn IVF's Dr. Lobel argues, "If it is unethical to accept payment for loving your neighbor, then we'll have to stop paying babysitters." As long as donors know the risks, says Mark McGee of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Bioethics, this transaction is only "a slightly macabre version of adoption."
Look also here.
Of the location of ACT in Alameda, note the following from the ACT site:
The Company’s Chairman, President and Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Michael West, and its Chief Executive Officer, Mr. William Caldwell, IV, reside in California. Dr. West and Mr. Caldwell are actively pursuing strategic collaborations in the state of California with members of academia, industry and foundations to further accelerate the pace of our research efforts. In February 2006, the Company relocated its headquarters to Alameda, California, where voters in November 2004 passed Proposition 71. Proposition 71, often referred to as the “Stem Cell Initiative,” provides for $3.0 billion of funding over the next ten years for stem cell research in the state of California.
[IPBiz post 1918]