CA bill would allow women to sell human eggs for research


Supporters of the egg donor bill simply want parity. They say that people get paid for giving samples from other areas of their body in the name of medical research. So, why not this.

Cancer survivor Raquel Simental got through her devastating illness three years ago. But the rigorous chemotherapy left her with a 98 percent chance she'll never get pregnant. She thinks California law that bans women from selling their eggs to medical research has slowed any progress science could have made to save her fertility. Researchers say there simply aren't enough eggs to make discoveries faster.

"If more women would have participated in research around fertility because they are able to be compensated for their time and trouble, if I might have had a different outcome," Simental said.

A proposal headed to the governor's desk would allow research institutes to pay women for their eggs. California is one of only three states that doesn't allow compensation.

Depending on the project, payments could be as much as $10,000 per procedure. In fact, scientists hope to use eggs to test cancer drugs that won't destroy reproductive systems.

"So that in the future we can tell a young woman who's going through cancer treatment if you use this chemotherapy drug, you can cure your cancer and still retain your fertility," said Shannon Smith-Crowley with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Documentary filmmaker Jennifer Lahl thinks Governor Brown should veto the bill because she says studies have never been done to prove the procedure is safe. The veteran nurse made a documentary called "Eggspolitation" about donors who claimed to have severe medical problems after the procedure.

"I've interviewed women who've gone on have strokes, tortioned ovaries, developed cancers, not being able to conceive their own children down the road," Lahl said. "Money is coercive. Women will take risks if they need the money."

"I would say to those critics to make in my shoes," Simental said. "I am not going to be able to enjoy what a lot of women can enjoy."

Once the measure reaches Governor Brown's desk, he has 12 days to take action.

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