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A call for "truth in egg-donor advertising"

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky on November 21st, 2008

A columnist for Princeton University's campus newspaper asks, "Did early feminists fight to keep the government out of their ovaries just so the free market could invade?"

Michael Collins reports:

Unfortunately, donors are sometimes misled about the health risks. Doctors working at fertility clinics have a conflict of interest because they are paid by infertile couples but give medical advice to donors. As a result of this conflict of interest, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has received complaints from donors that they were promised coverage for egg-donation-related medical costs only to find that the coverage was extremely limited or came with high deductibles.

Collins asserts the need for federal regulation to "remedy the lack of available knowledge and limit the influence of a market system." His specific suggestions: establish a national register of egg donors and authorized fertility clinics, set a ceiling on compensation, and require that fertility clinics fully disclose their medical coverage plans. He also calls for college newspapers to "exert greater care in soliciting advertisements" from egg brokers and fertility clinics.

He ends by applying to the egg retrieval situation the lessons recently learned from the Wall Street fiasco:

With a lack of governmental regulation, the current system of free-market driven egg donation is prone to the same neglect and extravagances of Wall Street. The recent economic meltdown should stand as a reminder to the dangers of an unregulated market.

Previously on Biopolitical Times:

Reproductive health journal examines new technologies

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky on November 19th, 2008

The current issue of Contraception, published by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP), includes an article co-authored by Emily Galpern, project director at CGS's sister organization Generations Ahead. Her co-authors are Jessica Arons of the Center for American Progress, Lee Shulman of Northwestern University, and Jennifer Aulwes and Wayne Shields of ARHP.

"An Evolving Landscape: Reproductive Genetics, New Technologies and Health Care Over the Next Decade" recognizes that reproductive health, rights and justice have "become more complicated and dynamic than ever with the advent of new reproductive technologies." From its conclusion:

Those working within the progressive advocacy landscape are increasingly challenged to develop a nuanced understanding of the benefits and risks of reproductive genetics, and they will have the opportunity over the next several years to advocate for policies that promote reproductive well-being for all individuals and communities.

Moreno to lead bioethics during presidential transition

Posted by Jesse Reynolds on November 18th, 2008

Jonathan Moreno

Jonathan Moreno has been appointed to the transition team of US President-elect Obama. Moreno, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a visiting Professor at the University of Virginia, will lead the review of the President's Council on Bioethics. At the Center for American Progress, he has been a Senior Fellow, directed the Bioethics program, and been the editor of the Center's Science Progress website and magazine. Moreno serves on the East Coast Advisory Board of the Women's Bioethics Project, and in 2004 to 2005, he co-chaired a committee of the National Academies that drew up guidelines for human embryonic stem cell research [PDF].

Previously on Biopolitical Times:

Bipartisan inquiry into California’s stem cell agency to hear from Jesse Reynolds

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky on November 18th, 2008

Jesse Reynolds - CGS policy analyst, Biopolitical Times contributor, and one of the most knowledgeable and astute independent observers of California's stem cell program - will testify this Thursday to the Little Hoover Commission, a "bipartisan, independent state body that promotes efficiency and effectiveness in state programs."

The hearing is the first public session of the Commission's study of the state's $3 billion stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine [CIRM]. According to the Commission's executive director, Stuart Drown, the inquiry will "deal with issues of governance, transparency, accountability and the use of state bond funds."

The Little Hoover Commission decided to launch the study of CIRM following legislation authored by Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), who heads the state Senate Health Committee. The bill - which requested Little Hoover to study the CIRM - was passed overwhelmingly by the California legislature, but vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In addition to CGS's Reynolds, one other speaker, John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog, represents a public interest organization. Also testifying Thursday [PDF] are CIRM Chair Robert Klein and President Alan Trounson, two representatives of institutions that have received CIRM grants (one of whom is also a member of the CIRM board of directors), and two law professors.

CIRM Chair Bob Klein has made it clear that he is unhappy about the Little Hoover Commission study. In September he told the San Diego Tribune that the Commission should "recognize the exhaustive reviews we've already been through." Responding to that remark, the California Stem Cell Report's David Jensen - the de facto journalistic monitor of the CIRM - penned a piece titled "Poppycock and CIRM" that opened, "The California stem cell agency generates a certain amount of nonsense from time to time."

Update (Nov. 21): Reynolds's prepared testimony is now online.

Previously on Biopolitical Times:

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