Lancaster EPrints

Paid to share: IVF patients, eggs and stem cell research

Roberts, Celia and Throsby, Karen (2008) Paid to share: IVF patients, eggs and stem cell research. Social Science and Medicine, 66 (1). pp. 159-169. ISSN 0277-9536

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Abstract

Following a recent decision by the human fertilisation and embryology authority (HFEA), British women undergoing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment can be ‘paid to share’ their eggs with stem cell researchers. The HFEA and the clinic proposing the scheme present this as a ‘win–win’ arrangement benefiting both infertile women and couples and British science. It is also represented as concurrently both ‘business as usual’ and an exceptional case. Constituting a significant departure from the previous policy and practice of altruistic donation, the scheme has raised significant concerns among clinicians and activists. Here, we ask what questions feminists can bring to these debates without resorting to a position of either refusal or affirmation. Drawing on diverse materials from public debates, as well as social scientific literature on gamete and embryo donation, we undertake a close analysis of the discursive framing and justification of the proposal. We argue that these discourses are characterised by three linked areas of elision and distinction: treatment and research; eggs and embryos; and donation and selling. Our analysis highlights the need for innovative social, ethical and political consideration of egg sharing for stem cell research.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Social Science and Medicine
Uncontrolled Keywords: UK ; gamete donation ; IVF ; stem cell research ; feminism ; human eggs
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
ID Code: 54203
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 18 May 2012 15:23
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 20:23
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/54203

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