Cross-posted from the Great Beyond
The New York Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB) has approved the use of state funds to compensate women who donate eggs for embryonic stem cell research.
The board, which implements New York’s $600 million stem cell research initiative, reached the decision on 11 June. Board members noted that taxpayer funds are already used to compensate some egg donors in state-subsidized in vitro fertilization programs. They also emphasized that researchers in other states that do not allow payment for eggs – including Massachusetts and California — have largely failed to recruit donors.
Nevertheless, the decision sparked a predictable outcry from activists. The New York State Catholic Conference called it “a grossly unethical, dangerous and exploitative move that treats women’s body parts as commodities,” (Catholic Courier) and Thomas Berg, a Catholic priest and a member of the ESSCB’s ethics committee, criticized the board for not allowing public comment on the issue (Christian News Wire).
By Heidi Ledford
See also Nature news: Egg shortage hits race to clone human stem cells