The European Parliament has singled out Britain in a stinging condemnation of a growing trade in human eggs. It has also called for an explanation of why investigators from the HFEA, the UK fertility authority, recently found no evidence of exploitation at an IVF centre in Bucharest, the GlobalArt Clinic, even though Romanian authorities recently closed it. GlobalArt has been supplying eggs from young Romanian women to markets in the UK, Israel and the US. The EP resolution also pointed out that the HFEA has published a consultation paper proposing that women be paid ?1,000 for eggs — which would represent a small fortune for most Romanian women.
The EP says that the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights forbids trafficking in human body parts and stresses that selling eggs pushes women into the organised crime networks. Although the HFEA found that GlobalArt was only reimbursing women for their expenses, the clinic’s American website openly declares that “a high percentage are college graduates or college students who are supplementing their incomes”.
Because of Britain’s central regulation of fertility issues, cross- border trading in human embryos has received more attention in the UK than in the US or Israel, which appear to have been the main markets for GlobalArt. Between 30 and 50 British couples have received Romanian eggs at the Bridge Centre in London. Its director, Professor Gedis Grudzinskas, said that he was surprised to learn that the Romanian police were investigating the clinic.
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