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A proposed California bill may allow egg donors to be paid for research purposes

The laws surrounding the process of egg donation vary from country to country and in the US, from state to state. For example, in Canada the laws strictly prohibit egg donors from being financially reimbursed for their donation, whether that donation is for the purpose of assisting in the creation of a child or for research purposes. In the United States it is common practice in most states for egg donors to receive financial compensation when they are assisting in creating a life. However, in California and several other states it is currently against the law for women to be paid for donating their eggs for research purposes, although it is not prohibited for men to be compensated for donating their sperm.

Four female Democratic legislators are attempting to change the legal landscape associated with egg donation in the state of California. If passed, the proposed bill will allow researchers to recruit and pay women to donate their eggs for research purposes. The proponents and supporters of the bill believe the current ban on payment to women is discriminatory and that the proposed law supports gender equity.

In contrast, those who oppose the bill are uncomfortable with the commodification of women’s eggs in general – whether for family building or research purposes. They also are concerned about the health consequences of egg donation which involves a much more invasive and medically risky procedure than sperm donation. They argue that there has been insufficient follow-up of egg donors, to fully understand the long-term consequences of egg donation. Critics also fear that vulnerable women – particularly those who are economically disadvantaged – may be targeted as research participants and be subject to exploitation. Although the proposed bill attempts to address some of these concerns, critics suggest there are many unanswered questions and legal uncertainties still to be addressed.

To read more about this issue, click here.

To read more about egg donation, click here, here, and here.

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