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CA egg donor bill would allow women to sell eggs for research

July 11, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
California is one of only a few states that prohibits women from selling their eggs for research purposes. But that may soon change with the egg donor bill.

Cancer survivor Raquel Simental got through her devastating illness three years ago, but the rigorous chemotherapy left her with a 98 percent chance she'll never get pregnant.

She thinks California law that bans women from selling their eggs to medical research has slowed any progress science could have made to save her fertility.

Researchers say there are simply not enough eggs to make discoveries faster.

"If more women would have participated in research around fertility because they are able to be compensated for their time and trouble, I might have had a different outcome," she said.

A proposal headed to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk would allow research institutes to pay women for their eggs. California is one of only three states that doesn't allow compensation. Depending on the project, payments could be as much as $10,000 per procedure.

In fact, scientists hope to use eggs to test cancer drugs that won't destroy reproductive systems.

"So that maybe in the future, we can tell a young woman who's going through cancer treatment if you use this chemotherapy drug, you can cure your cancer and still retain your fertility," said Shannon Smith-Crowley with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

Jennifer Lahl thinks Brown should veto the bill because she say studies have never been done to prove the procedure is safe. The veteran nurse made a documentary called Eggspolitation about donors who claim to have severe medical problems after the procedure.

"I've interviewed women that have gone on and had strokes, torsioned ovaries, developed cancers, not been able to conceive their own children down the road," said Lahl. "Money is coercive. Women will take risks if they need the money."

Simental disagrees.

"I would say to those critics to make in my shoes. I am not going to be able to enjoy what a lot of women can enjoy," said Simental.

Once the measure gets to the governor's desk, he will have up to 12 days to take action.


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