Transforming "Waste" into "Resource"
From Women's Eggs to Economics for Women

by Sarah Sexton

first published 10 September 2005

Researchers around the world are trying to extract from cloned human embryos stem cells that are genetically-matched to a sick patient. A practical difficulty in doing so is a lack of human eggs. Where would they all come come from -- or rather from whom?

This article describes how women's eggs have been obtained to date for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) and for cloning research and the problems encountered. It summarises debates on whether women should be paid to undergo egg extraction or whether they should "gift" their eggs for research, and highlights the growing international trade in women's eggs. The article critiques the concept of informed consent and choice as a way of minimising harm to women, and analyses why public money is pouring into cloning research.

It was first presented at a Reprokult workshop addressing the at "Commodification and Commercialisation of Women's Bodies", held at the Femme Globale Conference, Berlin.