Dear Members of the NYSTEM Ethics Board:
We are supporters of embryonic stem cell research who wish to express our deep concerns about your upcoming consideration of permitting payments to women to provide eggs for stem cell research. Multiple egg extraction poses risks to women's health without a clear and demonstrable scientific rationale, and allowing payments for eggs is contrary to the guidelines set by the National Academies of Science.
The extraction of eggs poses nontrivial health risks for the women. The drug most often used to shut down the ovaries, Lupron, can cause side effects, including severe joint pain, difficulty breathing, chest pain, depression, amnesia, hypertension, and asthma. The drugs used to hyperstimulate the ovaries can lead to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, which in the most severe cases can lead to hospitalization and, rarely, death. The Institute of Medicine report, Assessing the Medical Risks of Human Oocyte Donation for Stem Cell Research, makes clear how little is known about the full risks of multiple egg extraction. In fact, the limited research has been done on infertile women, and therefore virtually...