Paul Lauritzen July 11, 2009 - 11:29am
The New York Times ran an editorial today endorsing the plan to use state money to pay women for eggs that will be fertilized with the goal of deriving embryonic stem cells. It reads, in part: Women already get paid comparable sums to donate their eggs to help infertile women have a child through in vitro fertilization. It is hard to see why they should not be paid for contributing their eggs for research. The money is meant as reimbursement for travel, housing, child care or medical expenses. It would also compensate the women for the considerable time, burden and inconvenience of harvesting their eggs, a process that can take 56 hours spread out over many weeks.Apart from the absurdity of saying that women should be paid to donate, the problem with the Times position is that it ignores that fact that such a policy promotes the commodification of human bodies. That is never a good idea, but it is an especially bad idea in our current economic situation, where desperate times may call for desperate measures.The Empire State Stem Cell Board acknowledged this potential danger, but endorsed the payment policy anyway. Their statement endorsing the payment policy can be found here.