Women in Canada Using Internet to Sell Their Eggs to Researchers

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 22, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Women in Canada Using Internet to Sell Their Eggs to Researchers Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 22, 2006

Montreal, Canada (LifeNews.com) — One of the dangers of human cloning and embryonic stem cell research is pressuring women to sell their eggs to researchers. The buying and selling of a woman’s eggs could easily lead to the exploitation of poor women.

However, news reports from Canada find women are using a loophole in the nation’s law prohibiting the buying and selling of eggs to advertise selling them.

Canada’s Assisted Human Reproduction Act, approved in March 2004, prohibits the sale of human genetic materials. The law, apparently, does not prohibit advertising the sale of the materials, such as a woman’s eggs.

Le Journal de Montreal conducted interviews with six women who have advertised their eggs for sale on the Internet. One woman was in financial troubles and another wanted additional money to help her buy a house.

“Clearly, if it’s illegal to sell eggs, it should be illegal to advertise selling them,” University of British Columbia geneticist Patricia Baird, told the Canadian Press. “The potential for exploitation of women who need money to sell their eggs is enormous.”

Diane Allen, with the Toronto-based Infertility Network, told CP that she worries Health Canada of doing little to enforce the law.

“What does it mean when we as a society allow, or turn a blind eye to, the recruitment of young women to be egg donors when we don’t know the long-term consequences of that both in terms of their physical health … and also the psychological issues," she asked.

"Would you want your daughter to do this," she told Canadian Press.

Josephine Quintavalle with the UK-based Comment on Reproductive Ethics, a pro-life bioethics group, also expressed concern.

“Women can die from egg harvesting, or suffer irreversible infertility, and the long term effects of the drugs which are used in the process are still being questioned,” she said.

Researchers in South Korea who have come under international scrutiny for fabricated their embryonic stem cell research results also participated buying human eggs from women for their studies.