For those of you who may wonder about my absence this week, it is because my wife had an operation yesterday. We went down on Tuesday for the pre-op, and had hoped to be able to come back today. Unfortunately there were some complications and it did not go as smoothly as we had hoped, so we are hoping to go home on Sunday. Although there are lots of places around the valley where I can get online, I don't anticipate any other postings to Deep Thought or any other blogs until next week.
Here is something to chew on though:
Our legislature passed a bill the other day banning the sale of unfertilized eggs. An attractive young woman with a high IQ can earn as much as $30,000 by donating some eggs to an infertile couple.
I wrote a letter to the governor the other day suggesting that she veto it for four reasons:
1. This is a brand new societal issue. There is no societal consensus on this, neither moral nor legal, and it isn't up to the Arizona legislature to try and create one.
2. A woman owns her body. Other than the physicians involved, no one else should be in a position to advise her on this.
3. The technology allowing this has allowed previously infertile couples to bear children (the egg is fertilized with the biological father's sperm and then implanted into the previously infertile mother, or a surrogate. Why does the Arizona legislature want to rip this option away from them?
4. Insofar as the most common egg donors are young women in college who are trying to pay their way through school, the Arizona legislature has contributed to the circumstances that have caused this to proliferate here. By failing to fund higher education, they have forced our universities to raise their tuition by up to 30% over the past four years. For them to criminalize an innovative solution that these women have found to obtain funding from a private source is at best hypocritical.
Now, I realize there are other issues involved here.
For example, we do ban sale of body parts that might otherwise be done in a way in which rich people might exploit desparate poor people, such as the sale of kidneys; but then the loss of a kidney puts additional strain on the remaining kidney and substantially increases the risk to a person of serious health consequences or an earlier death. A better analogy might be the sale of blood. It used to be that blood services would pay people to donate blood. They don't now, but that was a consequence of the fact that with the need to screen the blood supply for AIDS and other diseases, and the known fact that IV drug users had in the past been frequent blood donors when they were paying for it, they were better able to control the supply when they quit paying for it. But egg donation, like blood donation, doesn't significantly endanger a person and any health consequences are likely to be temporary and minor.
Another issue involved is that egg donation is certainly by its nature discriminatory. For example (and we already have institutions of higher learning where the student body is over 60% female), men obviously can't donate. They can go to sperm banks, but the pay there is very limited in comparison. Also, there are certain characteristics that women can get paid better for. High intelligence is at the top of the list. However, beyond that, white, blue eyed, tall, athletic blond women get paid the most, followed by other white women, asian women, hispanic women and with black women and Native American women at the bottom of the scale. This is all based on the market of what egg buyers are looking for.
Nevertheless, I don't believe that it is right to ban the sale of unfertilized eggs.
I will be back next week.
UPDATE (April 18):
According to Enviro Hanky, the Governor did indeed veto this bill today. I will be sure to thank her.