Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Big money offered for human eggs

Thailand (THE NATION) The ads in a local Englishlanguage newspaper and the Internet are aimed at young women, and say:
You could get Bt1 million (S$42,000) as a reward - if you are Caucasian or Chinese, aged below 30, your height is above 160 centimetres, and you have a high IQ. The words are an invitation to females interested in being paid egg donors.
"Do you have an IQ of over 140?" a woman with a Chinese accent asked in her first question to a potential client before continuing to give details about the human egg donation in a phone interview.

Female donors were required to undergo health checks and send a report to the interviewer for consideration before getting an answer if they were qualified for consideration for the Bt1 million fee, she said.
" We will take care of and send your eggs to an in vitro fertilisation lab in China for a Chinese man who wants kids," the same woman said before finishing the conversation.
The advertisements for female egg donations for money are now being spread across the Internet. Most human eggs are wanted for in vitro fertilisation and surrogate parenthood.
According to the Medical Council of Thailand regulation, female donation for in vitro fertilisation and surrogate parenting is not allowed for commercial purposes.
" The council has allowed doctors to help women donate their eggs to relatives only for medical purposes, not for commercial use," said Dr Somsak Lohlekha, a council committee member.
" A doctor who helps a woman donate her eggs for pay would violate the council's ethical regulations," he added.
To date, there is no penalty for people who conduct the commercial egg donations and the medical council can control only the practice of physicians.
Dr Somboon Kunathikom, head of the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said his agency had drafted the law to protect children born from surrogacy.
The law is now waiting for the House of Representative's consideration and endorsement.
Under this new law, people who advertise female egg donations for pay - as well as commercial egg donor agencies - can face criminal and civil punishment.
At present, women are allowed to keep their eggs in the freezer or egg bank only for their own medical treatment and not for commercial purposes.
" Human eggs cannot be sold," Somboon said.
However, human eggs can be used not only for IVF but also for stem cell treatment, Somsak added.
He said some physicians might join eggs with sperm and create embryonic stem cells which could be used for several medical purposes. In Thailand, there is no regulation permitting physicians to use embryonic stem cells for medical treatment. Only adult stem cells from blood are allowed for use in treating patients with blood diseases.
To date, there was no report that physicians had used human eggs to create embryonic stem cells, Somsak said.

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