The legislation is touted as providing equal treatment for women, permitting them to be paid for supplying eggs for stem cell and other research, much as men are paid for sperm. It also would put women who sell their eggs for research on an equal economic footing with women who sell their eggs for fertility treatments, which is currently permitted under state law. Payments to those women range from an average of $9,000 to as much as $50,000, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.
Assemblywoman Susan Bonillla, D-Concord, author of the bill(AB926), says,
“It is time to let women, just as any other research subject, make an informed decision as to participation, and justly compensate them for doing so.”
“It has led to a de facto prohibition on women’s reproductive research in California, adversely impacting the same women that the ban intended to protect. With few oocytes donated, fertility research and fertility preservation research has been at a standstill. This greatly affects women suffering from fertility issues and women facing cancer who would like to preserve their oocytes.”
“Unlike infertile women who are considered patients, egg donors are treated as vendors( (her italics). When they walk out of the IVF clinic, no one keeps track of them. My daughter’s death was not reported. The long-term risks of egg donation are unknown."
“I fear that cases like mine are buried deep by fertility centers concerned about their image. An industry thriving on profits and reputation has little incentive to report adverse events, or protect the health and medical rights of donors.”
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this article said the IVF business generated $4 billion in revenues annually. More recent estimates place it at $5 billion.)