Ministry increases sum paid to women for donating ova

After only seven Israeli women donated their eggs, Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee raises sum for compensation.

July 16, 2013 01:43
2 minute read.
Pregnant woman does yoga in New York [file]

Pregnant woman does yoga in New York 370 (R). (photo credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)

After only seven Israeli women donated their eggs to help infertile women conceive in the last year – when a law was passed allowing them NIS 9,000 in compensation – the Knesset Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee on Monday raised the sum to NIS 20,000.

The committee said it increased the amount because it thought more women would donate ova with increased compensation. The procedure is complicated and painful, involving the taking of hormones and undergoing surgery under general anesthetic to remove extra eggs.

The egg recipient will continue to make a NIS 9,000 payment to the donor, while the Health Ministry will, for the first time, round out the payment from its own budget. The hike will go into effect retroactively back to May 2013.

Committee chairman MK Haim Katz (Likud) said his committee would study the results of the increased payment to see if it is effective and if the health of donors and their rights are being protected.

MK Orly Levy-Abecassis (Yisrael Beytenu) worried that women would endanger their bodies to pocket the money.

Ofra Balaban of the Chen Lapuryon organization opposed the change, saying that the number of ova donations would grow, causing a “logjam in the ministry, which wouldn’t transfer the money in time. Only two of the 27 IVF units in the country bother to carry out the egg donation law today.”

Prof. Gad Potashnik, fertility adviser to Clalit Health Services, said that “fertility physicians today are not paid fairly for their involvement so it was no surprise that the egg donation program is not being carried out.”

The law is “immoral,” charged Dr.

Ya’acov Segal, who is in charge of obstetrics on Maccabi Health Services.

“It is organ trafficking. You take a young woman and fill her up with [hormones that cause] side effects just to earn money,” he said.

Health Ministry director-general Prof. Ronni Gamzu said that “many women who want babies lack a solution and the state cannot send them abroad to look for eggs. Unlike other countries, we have established a law to regulate the process. It’s hard to forbid private companies abroad run by Israeli doctors. As for payment to the health funds, fertility treatments are included in the basket of health services provided by the state. In addition, we are looking into the possibility of creating a bank of donated ova [from women undergoing fertility treatment] and freeze them.”

However, some have suggested that while non-Jewish women abroad are willing to “sell their eggs,” Jewish women have a different culture and don’t like the idea of children from their ova wandering around the world and not knowing who they are.

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