It’s really in the category of “not news” I suppose. Apparently there was a bill pending in the Oklahoma legislature that would have made it illegal for a woman to sell her eggs. (It still would have been permissible for her to donate them.) It seems the bill isn’t going to get a hearing in committee this session, which means that the legislation will not move forward.
In fact, I find the article a bit confusing. I cannot tell exactly what it is the sponsor of the bill is trying to accomplish. It’s also interesting that the opposition figure quoted, who labels the bill “anti-family,” which is one of those phrases I tend to associate with those opposed to ART. But even with this confusion, the article clarified one point I think I’d tried to get across before.
The sponsor of the bill is Representative Rebecca Hamilton and here is what the article has to say:
“The bill would ban women from selling eggs but would still let them donate them, Hamilton said. She said there is no way to defend a practice in which women endanger their lives so doctors can profit.
“These doctors are treating these women like farm animals, and they are harvesting their ovaries,” Hamilton said.”
In general I think I understand her argument, but the argument leads me in exactly the opposite direction. The ART industry is a distinctly for-profit industry. Those who provide services, say IVF with donor eggs, are clearly making money off of the operation. But to do so, they need the eggs.
To me it doesn’t make sense to say that women can donate their eggs (and therefore get nothing of value in return) so that others can then turn them around for profit. I’d much sooner see women getting paid for their eggs.
Now of course, I do worry about exploitation of women. And I don’t really want to see women treated as cattle. But it seems to me these are problems to be addressed by regulation rather than by prohibition. It’s seems much too likely to me that prohibiting sale will do little more than drive business to other states and perhaps even create a shadow market in Oklahoma. Isn’t that what we could learn from the Canadian experience?