Victory: Bill on Eggs for Research Awaits Governor's Signature
A bill to minimize
risks for women who provide eggs for stem cell research passed
the California State legislature with overwhelming support, and
now awaits the Governor's signature. The bill, SB 1260, was authored
by Senator Deborah Ortiz (D-CA), a women's health advocate and an
early supporter of stem cell research in California. The organizations
that worked closely with the Senator's office on this landmark bill—the
Center for Genetics and Society, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of
California, and Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research—are
hopeful that the Governor will sign it. Similar provisions have
been adopted or recommended elsewhere, but SB 1260 is the first
legislation of its kind in the US.
1260 would apply to egg procurement that takes place outside of
research funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
(CIRM), California's $3 billion dollar stem cell agency. In conjunction
with CIRM's recently passed regulations, SB 1260 would ensure that
all procurement of eggs for stem cell research in California must
meet certain standards. These include measures to ensure that women
receive medically accurate information about health and consumer
issues associated with egg retrieval, that the costs of medical
treatments for any adverse reactions to the egg retrieval procedures
are covered, that the doctor performing the egg retrieval not have
any financial interest in the research for which the eggs will be
used, and that women who provide eggs for research are reimbursed
for their expenses but not paid beyond that.
The rules limiting
payments for egg retrieval are the most controversial aspect of
the bill. In the U.S., similar provisions have been adopted in Massachusetts,
by CIRM, and by the National Academies of Sciences. Canada, South
Korea and the European Union have also passed laws limiting compensation.
about procuring eggs for research was discussed in two articles
published on the same day in the Los Angeles Times (1,
Among those quoted expressing concern about the emergence of a market
in eggs are CGS's Emily Galpern, Susan Fogel of the Pro-Choice Alliance
for Responsible Research, and Northwestern University bioethicist
Read a fact
sheet on SB 1260.
Read the full
text [PDF] of the bill.
Opinion: Judith Daar and Russell Korobkin, "You
Want Cures? Pay Up," Los Angeles Times (August 30)
Bill to Strengthen
Accountability of California's Stem Cell Agency Waylaid
The other effort
by Sen. Ortiz to improve oversight of stem cell research in California
has failed. A legislative committee tabled a bill that would have
strengthened accountability and transparency at CIRM by modifying
the initiative that established it. Ortiz vocally supported the
initiative when it was on the ballot in 2004, but soon after its
passage vowed to work to repair its flaws.
After a similar failed attempt to modify the initiative
in 2005, this year the senator introduced SB 401, which required
passage by both houses of the Legislature, the governor's signature,
and approval by voters to become law. The bill had passed two committees
and a full floor vote in the Senate. Yet in its first stop in the
Assembly, the committee chair ordered the bill to be held in the
If SB 401 had
become law, it would have required the members of CIRM's advisory
groups to publicly disclose their personal financial interests,
and would have guaranteed a return to the state on any successful
Both SB 401 and its 2005 predecessor, SCA 13, were opposed by CIRM.
With Ortiz leaving office, a critical voice will be absent in the
legislature. Further action is unlikely until 2008, when the three-year
period during which Proposition 71 mandates an extraordinarily high
barrier to legislative modification will end.
on Medical Risks of Egg Procurement
A public workshop
called "Assessing the Medical Risks of Human Oocyte Donation
for Stem Cell Research" will be held on September 28 in San
Francisco. The workshop is being organized by the Institute of Medicine
and the National Research Council, which at the request of the California
Institute for Regenerative Medicine appointed a committee to assess
the current state of knowledge of the medical risks of egg procurement
for stem cell research.
topics include ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome; surgical and anesthetic
risks; psychological risks; cancer risks; future fertility; similarities
and differences in the process of egg procurement for clinical treatment
vs research; and a synthesis and review of current knowledge, gaps,
how to avoid risks, and future considerations. Register
for the workshop.
agree that data on the risks of egg retrieval, and follow-up studies
on women who have undergone the procedures, are grossly inadequate.
To the extent that the workshop begins to fill these research gaps
it is a welcome step.