Re: A.7669, Fitzpatrick: In relation to State Payments for Human Eggs

Published on April 30th, 2018

Memorandum of Support

This legislation would prevent the exploitation and undue inducement of vulnerable low-income New York women by ending the egg harvesting payment policy of the Empire State Stem Cell Board. This practice has no health benefit for the women involved and may result in serious health consequences for them, as the long-term risks of hormonal stimulation are unknown. The New York State Catholic Conference supports this legislation.

In June of 2009 the Empire State Stem Cell Board voted to allow state payments for the “donation” of human eggs to be used specifically to generate embryonic stem cells for research. This is achieved through the process of human cloning. Payments are allowed not only for actual expenses involved, but also for the time, burden and discomfort associated with the process. The Board, without prior legislative authority or public input, approved contract language to enable researchers to compensate women up to $10,000 for each retrieval of eggs. In the October 5, 2011 edition of the journal Nature, researchers from the New York Stem Cell Foundation detailed how egg donors have already been compensated $8,000 for oocytes used to generate embryonic stem cells.

Current Public Health Law (Section 4307) in New York State prohibits the sale and purchase of human organs, but does not include eggs in the definition of “human organ.” It is this loophole in current law which allows reimbursement to women for their “time, burden and discomfort” in providing eggs for research.

Assembly bill 7669 is the legislative remedy needed to correct this dangerous and misguided policy. We urge you to approve this legislation.

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