Volume 20

Donations for Sale - Rhetorical Methods in the Service of Compensated Egg Recruitment in Israel

by Sharon Bassan

Until 2010, egg donations in Israel could only be recruited from women under-going fertility treatments for themselves. Donations did not meet the national demand for eggs. Until the policy changed in 2010 and allowed donations from healthy women undergoing egg retrieval process for the sole purpose of donation, there had been years of legislative efforts to increase the pool of eggs for childless people. This article tells the story of this change. It examines the change through the discourse involved in two governmental committees charged with discussing this issue in two distinguished generations of discourse concerning reproductive technologies. The discourse analysis exposes legal and ethical dilemmas that reflect a constant conflict between two constitutive narratives in Israeli society: “The procreation narrative” and the narrative regarding “the unique value of the human body.” Aside from telling the story, the article offers a typology of the rhetorical methods that served policy-makers settling this conflict. It shows how these methods shaped the nature of the debate and allowed a change in policy.

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