Gov. Brown vetoes bill allowing women to sell their eggs to research

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An embryologist searches for a human egg during an in vitro procedure.

An embryologist searches for a human egg during an in vitro procedure.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday vetoed a bill that would have lifted a ban on women being paid for donating their eggs to medical research.

The action came after conservative groups raised ethical issues about the sale of human eggs and six years after the practice was prohibited by the state.

“Not everything in life is for sale nor should it be,” Brown wrote in his veto message.

Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) introduced the measure, saying it was unfair that most other research subjects are compensated.

“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,” said Bonilla in a statement. “AB 926 addresses issues of equity and, most importantly, of women’s health.”

The lawmaker said the ban on compensating women for donating oocytes for research has reduced research in fertility issues, resulting in women suffering from infertility or cancer to make treatment decisions without the best scientific information possible.

Brown was not convinced that things have changed enough in the six years since the ban was put in place. “In medical procedures of this kind, genuinely informed consent is difficult because the long term risks are not adequately known,” Brown wrote. “Putting thousands of dollars on the table only compounds the problem.”

The measure is supported by groups including the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and the California National Organization for Women.

Opponents include the California Right to Life Committee and the Center for Bioethics and Culture. Groups opposed to the bill argued that it poses a health risk because some egg harvesting exposes healthy young women to multiple synthetic hormones in order to produce many times the normal number of eggs per cycle.

The group Concerned Women for America of California lobbied against the legislation, saying it is concerned with the basic moral and ethical issue of what they see is essentially creating a “commodity” in human eggs.

Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

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