Hands Off Our Clones!

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I don't pitch for the Cardinals or play Ray Romano's wife on TV, and I haven't even seen Passion of the Christ, so I really have no business commenting on the Missouri cloning kerfuffle. But I did just sell some eggs, so I'm going to go ahead and take issue with Patricia Heaton's Handmaid's Tale-esque take on egg retrieval:

Amendment 2 actually makes it a constitutional right for fertility clinics to pay women for eggs. Low-income women will be seduced by big checks and extracting donor eggs is an extremely complicated, dangerous, and painful procedure.

I don't recall being seduced into doing anything (though that sounds kind of fun), but I guess it's those "low-income" ladies who lose all autonomy at the sight of easy cash. It's helpful to remember that this is the same routine procedure tens of thousands of women go through every year in fertility clinics. (Most will have their own eggs reimplanted.) It takes twenty minutes. You can offer up some ova in the morning and go to work in the afternoon. As for dangerous, all procedures involving general anaesthesia present a degree of risk, but no one has ever dropped dead from an egg harvest. And painful? I guess it would be pretty damn painful if they forgot to put you under.

Hands Off Our Ovaries, praised to high heaven by National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez here, is calling for a moratorium on egg extraction for research purposes "because losing even one woman's life is too high a price to pay." (You could say the same about permitting women to leave their kitchens—it's dangerous out there.) But if egg retrieval is so perilous and coercive—if the procedure is the problem—it makes no sense to ban extraction specifically for scientific purposes. Are they opposed to the harvest or the research?

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53 responses to “Hands Off Our Clones!

  1. They are your eggs, why shouldn’t you be able to sell them? Jesus, the poor women will be exploited shtick is right out of the lefty playbook. I don’t like it when liberals pull that bullshit and I don’t like it now. If the procedure is dangerous and painful, then I guess you won’t be selling any eggs unless you really need the money. Regardless, that is your business not mine or anyone else’s.

  2. Since income is correlated with intelligence, who would pay for poor women’s ova? Wouldn’t Kerrys’ be preferable?

  3. Perhaps someone should present the dilemma of those po’folks to Kathryn Jean Lopez as such: selling eggs or selling bodies. No, really. I’m very interested in which one she’d choose.

    But at $10,000 a pop for a few hours of minimal discomfort, I’d think plenty of non-po’folks might be interested, too. My distinctly middle class ears perk up at that sum.

  4. Curious,

    Kerry’s eggs would just command a better price than the desparate teenage mom’s down the street. She would probably fork over a few for the right price. The market in action.

  5. Plastic surgery is potentially a “complicated, dangerous, and painful procedure” as well, but Heaton isn’t “low income,” so she was equipped to elect a procedure or two.

  6. Luke – hahah, nice one!

    Hell, if I was a female, I’d have already sold and egg or two. And I’m not exactly “low-income.” More like “bad with money.”

  7. “Low income women will be seduced by big checks…” Why don’t these compassionate soft bigots say what they mean. e.g. Ignorant minority women will be seduced by big checks…
    I guess all bigots aren’t out of the closet yet.

  8. I imagine many low income women will react to this by saying “Wait a minute, I can get a big check by doing what?”

    Btw, intelligence is a factor in egg donation, but skin color, health and a big smile are probably better selling points. That was my experience anyway when my wife did it.

  9. And, my oh my, they were delicious eggs. I have no guilt or shame, though I guess organically harvested eggs would have gotten me in better with the Mangu-Ward crowd.

  10. $10,000! Kinda makes me wonder what my “boys” are worth…

    Are eggs so valuable because they are so hard to extract?

    I’m thinking my boys probably aren’t worth much, but they are more fun to extract.

  11. Lamar

    I believe “organically harvested eggs” normally take 9 months to deliver in useable form. Jonathan Swift once had a “Modest Proposal” concerning them. 😉

  12. The GOP will be able to snowball this into a midterm victory, and the dems will look like idiots trying to defend themselves against it.
    Every time the dems use a controversial issue for a campaign ad, their first salvo is dead on, and the rest miss by a mile.

  13. BTW If “income is correlated with intelligence”, please explain Mike Tyson to me. He must have been very smart in the past.

  14. I don’t think there’s really much demand for the eggs of low income women — most of the ads I’ve seen are targeted at young college graduates and students. Ivy Leaguers get about $20,000-$30,000 based on the ads I see in the Yale Daily News. More if you fit certain ethnic profiles, such as being Jewish.

    Low income women might be in demand as surrogates, but I’ve read recently heard that Indian women will do it cheaper.

  15. This is the same gobbledygook that is used to argue against private organ donation: “Better to be poor than undignified.”

    Utter nonsense.

  16. “Are eggs so valuable because they are so hard to extract?”

    Also consider that sperm are continuously produced, while a woman has a limited number of eggs.

  17. is calling for a moratorium on egg extraction for research purposes “because losing even one woman’s life is too high a price to pay.”

    This is utterly ridiculous. More women have died in childbirth than will ever die donating eggs.

    Wha-? What’s that?…Pro-life, you say?

    Any excuse to control women will do.

  18. Shame on you ed, every sperm is sacred.

  19. Also consider that sperm are continuously produced, while a woman has a limited number of eggs.

    Oh, right…
    Damn you, law of supply and demand!

  20. This is all bullshit. Amendment 2 actually makes Aramaic the official language of the United States, it has nothing to do with stem cells.

  21. Kerry,

    While it is technically true that you do not pitch for the Cardinals, I believe you are attempting to contrast yourself to Kurt Warner, quarterback for the football Cardinals. And quarterbacks don’t really “pitch” so much. As joe could attest, a more accurate thing to say would be “I don’t throw three fucking interceptions a game for the Cardinals”.

  22. The eggs are limited theory might not be true.
    http://www.ivf.net/content/page-o279.html

  23. Gimme Back My Dog,
    As a New Yorker who watched him shut down the Mets, I know that she is talking about Jeff Suppan.

  24. Lamar,

    You’re right. I only heard about Warner, Heaton and Jesus on the ad.

  25. We should ban clonning what we dont need is for them to create another BILL CLINTON or AL GORE

  26. Gimme Back My Dog,

    I was referring to Jeff Suppan, pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, who appears in the ad.

  27. My wife and I have seriously talked about donating some of her eggs. It’s a pretty tough decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly and as such, should be left to individuals.

    The benefits are money, helping others, and passing along her fantastic genes. The downsides are the risks of an elective procedure and the “weird feelings” that would arise knowing that you have a child out there somewhere..

    This is not comparible to the risks childbirth, because one is an entirely elective operation and the other is not.

    Also, in the ad they mention poor women because these eggs are to be harvested for research, not for the goal of producing offspring, so genetic “quality” doesn’t matter.

    How much, really, I wonder could we get for my wife’s eggs? She’s 5’9″, looks pretty much exactly like Charlize Theron, has an IQ of 160, and works in biostatistics.

  28. Shouldn’t they be called Hand off your Ovaries orHand off their Ovaries?

  29. I got around to reading Ms Howley’s article on egg donation when it was reprinted in the “Controversy” section of the Sunday Sun-Times. Very good article.
    I was pleased to see that it was one of TWO Reason articles in the paper (I think the other one was Sullum). I am happy beyond all heck that Reason writers keep appearing in my local paper.

  30. “You can offer up some ova in the morning and go to work in the afternoon”

    This is not a typical result. It hurts. It requires anesthesia. Not that any of this is relevant, I just suggest you leave it out of future essays on the topic.

    Fertility clinics don’t want the eggs of poor minorities. There’s no market for that.

    The real concern is that poor college students will fall prey, and these might be the daughters of middle class cloning opponents.

  31. Also, in the ad they mention poor women because these eggs are to be harvested for research, not for the goal of producing offspring, so genetic “quality” doesn’t matter.”

    The amendment explicitly bans paying women to extract eggs for research. Research will be limited to embryos that are left-over from other procedures, or embryos that were created by cloning (without paying anyone for the eggs)

    http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2006petitions/ppStemCell.asp

  32. “because losing even one woman’s life is too high a price to pay.”

    This is not comparible to the risks childbirth, because one is an entirely elective operation and the other is not.

    Pregnancy is not elective?

  33. Sorry, the second line was to be italicized as well, as in:
    This is not comparible to the risks childbirth, because one is an entirely elective operation and the other is not.

  34. Sam,

    I think what they meant to say was “errr, it ain’t nayturl! Just like them ho-moes, stickin’ thur junk inna nother man’s poop chute! It jus ain’t nayturl!”

    Of course pregnancy is elective. It’s not like it just happens. You have to make a conscious effort to get sperm in your vaginal cavity. But “lemur”, etc., has an aversion to it because it’s not a “traditional” human act.

  35. “How much, really, I wonder could we get for my wife’s eggs? She’s 5’9″, looks pretty much exactly like Charlize Theron, has an IQ of 160, and works in biostatistics.”

    I think I have a girl-crush on your wife.

  36. I know a lot of poor and near-homeless geniuses. I had the highest SAT in my school and I am poor as hell ( I’m a dude though, so no eggs to sell). I also know plenty of millionaires who are high school dropouts of average/slow intelligence.

  37. This is not comparible to the risks childbirth, because one is an entirely elective operation and the other is not.

    I’m an anesthesiologist. The risks are indeed not comparable, because donating eggs is much safer! The risk of death in an elective general anaesthetic in an otherwise well woman would be in the order of 1:100,000 or less. It’s so unusual that it would be hard to calculate more exactly. The annual risk of dying on the roads for the average driver is ten times as high. And in the developed world the risk of dying in pregnancy or chilbirth is fifty times as high (1 in 2100).

  38. Isn’t the real point of controversy here that some of the eggs donated or sold for research purposes will wind up being fertilized, making them, in the eyes of the orthodox pro-lifers, little sons and daughters of Baby Jesus? That there are fertilized embryos that are never given a chance at being brought to term is the whole crux of the pro-lifers’ discomfort with surrogate parenting, in vitro fertilization in general, and embryonic stem cell research. It’s not as much of a problem for those of us who figure human personhood starts at some time well after the sperm merges with the ovum.

    Kevin

  39. Low income women will be seduced by big checks

    You’d think for a cultural conservative this would be an improvement on the status quo ante of low income women being seduced by big, umm, you know.

  40. I was once seduced by a big Czech.

    2 Big Czechs to be exact:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_Czech

  41. I still want to drill Patricia Heaton.

  42. For the baseball fans in this thread, I went to game 5 last night. My favorite sign:

    CLONE SUPPAN

  43. how is selling your eggs any different from selling your kids?

    or

    How is selling your eggs any different from selling your body?

    Anybody?

  44. frogman302

    I have no problem with those things either.

    Except for the fact that you do not actually own your children in a marketable sense. However I have no problem with a couple paying a woman to be able to adopt her baby.

  45. “Also consider that sperm are continuously produced, while a woman has a limited number of eggs.”

    Proving once again that when compared with men, women are biologically inferior.

  46. “I still want to drill Patricia Heaton”

    I still want to drill the Reverend Horton Heat.

  47. how is selling your eggs any different from selling your platlets?

    fix’d

  48. “how is selling your eggs any different from selling your kids?”

    Yeah, and since we’re on the crazy train, how is menstruation not murder?

    “How is selling your eggs any different from selling your body?”

    You mean, like when I go to work even though I don’t want to, and they pay me? Or do you mean like when chicks with long hair sell it for ridiculous amounts of money?

  49. Lamar: Since the egg is analogous to the sperm, I can’t imagine the moral complications of simply being a man. I mean, I don’t even know the degree of magnitude we’re talking about that get released with each ejaculation–and all but one sperm die in the most ideal circumstance of a typical fertilization. And then there’s the times when the egg isn’t fertilized for various reasons or when the egg doesn’t implant. And, of course, masturabation and non-PIV sex–and selling sperm, at that.

    If sex cells are comparable to human lives, truly, it is a mighty ethical dilemma we face!

  50. madpad,

    As I see it that logical fallacy comes from the people favoring embryonic stem cell research who dismiss opponent’s ethical concerns about said research as “religion” and seem to think that characterization puts such concerns beyond the pale of debate. As most people’s sense of ethics is at least partially informed by their religious beliefs, there’s no clear dividing line between “religion” and “ethics”. My opinion is that tactic uses cheap, substanceless rhetoric to bully your opponents into silence.

    The question remains: should science be unencumbered by any ethical concerns, or just those ethical concerns that you disagree with?

  51. Firstly with platelets, you’re not selling your DNA information.

    Lamar you are selling your DNA data that will become your children. Therefore you are selling your self and your children. It’s not about menestration or what have you.

    And theres a difference between going to work, and using your body as something to which people can use and abuse.

    And selling hair (which is dead skin cells) is irrelevant as well.

  52. I’m posting AGAIN because it didn’t post this the first time apparently…

    Firstly, selling your platelets is not selling your DNA information.

    When you sell your eggs you are selling your DNA to other people to use as they see fit. Your DNA has all of the information that will become your children therefore you are selling your children.

    “Yeah, and since we’re on the crazy train, how is menstruation not murder?”

    Menestration is a natural process, but thanks for trying to smear me with madness by including it. Also, I never mentioned anything about murder.

    “You mean, like when I go to work even though I don’t want to, and they pay me? Or do you mean like when chicks with long hair sell it for ridiculous amounts of money?”

    And going to work is different from selling your body, in which people use and abuse your body as they see fit.

    And selling your hair (which is dead cells) is irrelevant.

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