TVNZ reports on an infertile couple who had to leave New Zealand to find donor eggs; prohibitions on sale for money led to drying up of the New Zealand supply of willing donors. Those who've made the expensive trips abroad recommend that New Zealand allow donor compensation. But that riles the ethicists:
Professor Gareth Jones, a bioethicist at Otago University of Otago says the situation should be looked at.Organ sales would save many lives and dramatically improve others, allowing those suffering from kidney disease to get off dialysis. But the ethicists would feel bad because a voluntary trade between a willing donor and a willing recipient somehow becomes unethical if money changes hands. And so anything that brings compensation into the transaction has to be banned, as must anything that might lead to it anywhere down the line. So folks needing donor eggs have to be forced to go abroad, or to go childless if they can't afford it.
"The present reality is that commercialisation of any human tissue is prohibited in this country," Jones told Sunday.
But he said to pay donors changes the whole ethical framework.
"Do we want to have markets of buying and selling for not only human tissue but also children, or babies? I think there are issues involved here ethically."
Professor Jones regards paying for eggs as the start of a slippery slope leading to buying and selling live organs such as livers and kidneys.
Perhaps the ethicists ought to start by insisting that the doctors work free, spending their nights begging for alms by the side of the road. If cash is evil, then the first ones that need be spared its taint ought to be the doctors. If the bioethicists can't convince their medical colleagues to work for free, why should we let them legislate that others have to?