Arizona Public Radio | Your Source for NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Earth Notes

AZ House moves to ban sale of women's eggs

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – The measure is being pushed by Rep. Bob Stump. He said
the procedure is medically hazardous and that people on
either end of the transaction should not benefit.

(Just as it's unethical and illegal to sell human
organs, so it should be illegal to sell human eggs.
Would we countenance the selling of bone marrow for
transplants? Would we allow scientists to pay
individuals to give up certain internal organs for

But Stump conceded his concerns go beyond the medical
health of the donors. He wants to throw an additional
roadblock in the path of human cloning, a process that
often starts with donated human eggs. The call for
human eggs, advertised in some campus publications,
apparently can be lucrative: One company's classified
ad says women can earn up to $24,000 for six separate
egg donations. He said college students in particular
are targeted. And he said the practice can lead to
exploitation of poor women who pursue the cash despite
risks. This isn't Stump's only effort this session.
Earlier this week, he convinced the House Health
Committee to approve a measure which requires a doctor
to inform a prospective egg donor that there are risks,
including complications from having hormones injected
to produce multiple eggs as well as potential problems
from the harvesting procedure. Stump acknowledged that
these dangers exist whether eggs are donated or sold.

(But intent has to be operative when it comes to
ethical practice. Is one donating an egg to an IVF
clinic to enable a childless couple to have a child? Or
is one selling one's eggs for cloning research, again,
with no medical benefit for themself, and for the
express purpose of destroying cloned human embroys?)

As approved by the House Judiciary committee, the
legislation would subject violators to up to a year in
jail, whether they are the donors or the companies that
buy the eggs. The measure does not ban donations,
whether for fertilization or medical research. But it
does spell out that women could receive no money or --
quote -- other valuable consideration. Rep. Ben Miranda
said that raises questions about whether women could be
compensated for their time or out-of-pocket expenses.
Stump said he will attempt to clarify the measure
before it reaches the House floor. Stump's campaign
against human cloning is not new: Last year he ushered
through legislation to ban the use of state funds or
resources for any human cloning research. In Phoenix,
for Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer