Archive for June, 2009

Egg donation, stem cell research and ethical compensation

Posted on June 19th, 2009 in Egg Donation, Ethics, Noteworthy Decisions | No Comments »

Pay egg donors for contributing to stem cell research?  New York became the first in the United States to say yes:

New York has become the first and only state to opt to pay women for eggs donated for human embryonic stem cell research. The Empire State Stem Cell Board (ESSCB), which oversees New York’s $600 million stem cell research program that was launched last year, came to the decision last week (June 11) following “extensive deliberation” from its ethics committee. (“NY to pay for eggs for research,” TheScientist.com, June 17, 2009)

In an interesting twist, New York – a state that forbids compensated surrogacy – has now determined that it is acceptable (ethically) to compensate women for donating eggs to be used for clinical research.  Perhaps the distinction is that legislators (I’d venture to guess from upstate territories) were behind New York’s statutory prohibition on commercial surrogacy, while more enlightened scientists and other interdisciplinary professionals who make up an ethical review board are behind this latest ruling.  ASRM compensation and procurement guidelines will continue to control.  A pioneering move sure to generate controversy.

Birth mothers: Behind the scenes (Part 1)

Posted on June 17th, 2009 in Adoption | No Comments »

In my private law practice, I represent birth mothers throughout New York State quite often.  Maybe it’s just the diversity we have here in New York, but I’ve found that the birth moms I have been privileged to work with really do come from all walks of life.  A representative sampling – over the years – includes an investment banker, a jewelry designer, the daughter of a banker, a waitress, two Orthodox Jewish women, several unemployed single moms, a woman struggling to get off drugs, and a graduate student in the humanities (throw in a hedge fund trader birth father client, too).

To be sure, there is virtually always an economic disparity between the adoptive parent’s means and those of the birth mother.  But what may surprise many people is that not all birth moms are looking to “back up the truck” and load-up on living expense money to the maximum extent permitted by law.  More than a few – with legitimate financial needs and claims – choose to tough it out because NOT asking for the help actually makes them feel better about themselves and the circumstances surrounding their decision to provide their baby for adoption.