Lawsuit seeks to end NYS compensation for women’s eggs for research
ALBANY, N.Y. — October 14, 2009 Feminists Choosing Life of New York (FCLNY) filed suit Friday in New York State Supreme Court (Albany) to block the use of taxpayer funds to pay women recruited to “donate” their eggs for embryonic stem cell research.
FCLNY Executive Director, Wendy McVeigh stated: “New York State has the responsibility to protect women. Instead, the state is using taxpayers’ dollars to entice young, economically vulnerable women to experiment in this medically risky procedure.”
New York State is the first governmental entity anywhere in the U.S. to approve taxpayer money to pay women to undergo an invasive procedure to harvest eggs for embryonic stem cell research.
The legal complaint was filed on October 9, 2009 in Feminists Choosing Life of New York v. Empire State Stem Cell Board. In part, the complaint states, “The Payment for Eggs Program provides significant monetary inducements to women to engage in this painful and risky procedure, which in part disproportionately appeals to economically vulnerable women…. (it)… fails to satisfactorily provide for informed consent and other safeguards to ensure adequate disclosure to women of the risks of egg harvesting.”
In 2007, the New York State Legislature enacted a new Title V-A to Article 2 of the Public Health Act, committing $600 million for stem cell research. On June 11, 2009, the Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB), which was given the responsibility for administering the funds, passed a resolution authorizing significant taxpayer monies of up to $10,000 per donation to be used to compensate young women who donate their eggs for research.
Egg stimulation and extraction carries significant health risks, including, but not limited to, ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, clotting disorders, kidney damage, ovarian twisting, pulmonary embolism, damage to future reproductive ability, and stroke.
FCLNY also argues that research on adult stem cells, which are plentiful and don’t involve the ethical and medical concerns of embryonic stem cell research, have produced positive results that make the egg donation program funded by taxpayer monies excessive spending.
The National Institutes of Health guidelines for Embryonic Stem Cell Research recommends against payments to egg donors. The National Academies of Sciences agrees: “No cash or in kind payments should be provided for donating oocytes (eggs) for research purposes.”
Press release from Feminists Choosing Life of New York