2005) that position was based in part on the recognition that payments to oocyte donors raise concerns that might undermine public confidence in the responsible management of hES cell research. The report also noted that the recommendation was intended to ensure consistency between procurement practices in the United States and in other countries that have major hES cell research programs and with the limitations enacted in specific states, facilitating collaboration among investigators in the United States and abroad. Since that time, however, California has provided a useful model in its finalized regulations (Title 17 CA Code of Regulations, Section 100020) that allows reimbursement of oocyte donors for “permissible expenses,” which are clearly defined to include “actual lost wages.” The state of Massachusetts has a similar policy. Although the original National Academies’ Guidelines did not specifically mention lost wages as a reimbursable category of direct expenses, institutions and states that perform or support hES cell research should view the National Academies’ Guidelines as open to the interpretation that “lost wages” is a legitimate category of reimbursable expenses. To make that explicit, the wording of Section 3.4(b) is modified as follows (new wording underlined):
3.4(b) Women who undergo hormonal induction to generate oocytes specifically for research purposes (such as for NT) should be reimbursed only for direct expenses incurred as a result of the procedure, as determined by an IRB. Direct expenses may include costs associated with travel, housing, child care, medical care, health insurance, and actual lost wages. No payments beyond reimbursements, cash or in-kind, should be provided for donating oocytes for research purposes. Similarly, no payments beyond reimbursements should be made for donations of sperm for research purposes or of somatic cells for use in NT.
The committee does not find persuasive the argument that this change has the effect of assigning differing values to the oocytes of different women based on their relative salaries. Reimbursement for lost wages is not a “price” being paid for oocytes. The intent is to leave all donors no better off, but also no worse off.