The British government has approved a plan to allow women to donate eggs for stem cell and cloning research and to be compensated for it - an action that scientists hope will improve the supply of eggs.
Women getting costly fertility treatments will receive a discount if they donate eggs for research, authorities said. Others will receive up to 250 pounds - about $500 - for each fertilization cycle to cover costs such as travel or lost work time.
The eggs would be used to create cloned embryos, with the hope of extracting stem cells.
Because stem cells have the potential to become any cell in the body, scientists think they ultimately may help treat numerous ailments, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases and spinal cord injuries.
The United States and some other countries already allow human egg donations for research.
The U.S. has no national policy on payment, but some states limit it to reimbursing women for costs.
Human eggs for stem cell research are in short supply, and some researchers believe payment would improve that situation. They argue that patients often are paid for other medical experiments.