State representatives voted Monday to make it illegal for a woman to sell her eggs but refused to impose similar restrictions on men selling their sperm.
On a voice vote, the House of Representatives said that a woman who sells her eggs could be sent to prison for up to a year and fined up to $150,000. HB2142 would apply the same penalty to any doctor or organization who made the purchase.
Lawmakers also gave preliminary approval to HB2681 to require that even when women just donate their eggs they be informed of medical risks. But here, too, legislators refused to warn men of the potential legal and ethical risks of donating sperm, including the possibility that a child born from the donation could seek them out and demand support.
Rep. Bob Stump, R-Peoria, said both measures are necessary to protect the health of women. But several women legislators reacted angrily, saying this is really a question of whether lawmakers are going to treat men and women the same.
“I don’t understand why a man could go out and sell part of his reproductive body . . . that a man can go and make money, but I as a woman cannot do it,’’ complained Rep. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, about HB2142, which criminalizes the sale of human eggs.
Now, women can make a fair amount of money selling their eggs: One classified ad in a Valley publication offered up to $24,000.
But Rep. Bob Stump, RPeoria, said the disparate treatment is justified. And, he said, it has “nothing to do with gender politics.’’
He said there is a medical risk from the procedure of donating eggs — from the hormones injected into women to produce multiple mature eggs and the harvesting procedure.
“I would wager there’s not one recording instance of someone dying from donating or selling sperm,’’ Stump said during the House floor debate. “In fact, it’s more dangerous for a man to cross the street than to donate sperm.’’
Stump conceded under questioning, though, the medical risk remains the same, whether the eggs are donated or sold. And nothing in his legislation makes donation illegal.
But Stump said there is one difference: Human eggs can be used not only for in vitro fertilization to help a childless couple conceive — like sperm — but also can be used “for the express purpose of destroying cloned human embryos’’ for medical research.
And Stump in his two years at the Capitol has waged a campaign to create legal impediments to cloning. Last year he pushed through a ban on the use of state funds or facilities for cloning.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, said there is no reason to have one set of laws for men and another for women.
Lopez, who raised the issue of “informed consent’’ for sperm donors, did not argue that there are medical risks from the procedure. But she said there are other potential risks to men, including potential financial risk if a court were to determine that the biological father — if he could be traced — has some financial obligation to the child.
Final roll-call votes on both issues will send them to the Senate.