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Thursday, March 30, 2017
Human life for sale? - concerns raised over price-fixing for gametes and embryos
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¬†The HFEA has today launched a consultation on sperm, egg and embryo donation, with the main focus on the compensation of donors. "A shortfall in available sperm and egg donors is already a reality in the infertility industry and is expected to increase after donor anonymity is removed," said Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics. "This latest HFEA consultation exercise is their response to the crisis. The first question to ask is whether the HFEA should have any role at all in the promotion of gamete donation. Is this really what they were set up by Parliament to do? "They may call it a public consultation but it is interesting that Ms Leather writes a foreword to the document addressed to every possible stakeholder ('donor-conceived people, donors and recipients of donated gametes or embryos, and those working in clinics, laboratories and universities') without any mention at all of the public at large, except in the context of 'potential donors or recipients of donated gametes or embryos in the future.'! "This document is simply a smokescreen to legitimise the payment of sperm and egg donors according to ruthless market driven imperatives,'" said MsQuintavalle. "Concepts of human dignity and international prohibitions on the sale of human tissue, are set aside as the mindless HFEA searches for new ways to promote donor conceptions. Deceptive language such as 'compensation', 'legitimate expenses', 'inconvenience', should not fool anybody. The HFEA is trying to get around the prohibitions in whatever way it can, and is basically asking how much an egg or embryo is worth. "We're not just talking infertility here, either. Eggs and embryos are much in demand in the aggressive world of biotechnology as well, and with more and more IVF clinics and Universities assuming dual roles in infertility treatment and stem cell research, the marketing of these will ensure that considerable sums of money are involved. "One sees the potential for incredible exploitation of women and human life as financial incentives become very real indeed. The HFEA document bandies round sums of up to £1,000 for egg donation. Is this per egg, or per harvesting cycle? Given that egg harvesting can kill, one might argue that no sum is high enough to compensate for such a risk. And one must ask what on earth is the HFEA doing getting involved in the promotion of such risky practices? It is a very cynical exercise indeed. "There are legitimate concerns padding out this latest consultation document from the HFEA; issues of guidance on the selection and screening of donors, and health and safety regulations. But the main thrust is sinister; it is about the buying and selling of human life?" Source: CORE
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