Eggsploitation

I just stumbled upon this article and movie about the fertility industry which is encouraging young women to sell their eggs for tens of thousands of dollars. I luckily dodged a bullet with this one as I actually tried to sell my eggs years ago. The first time I tried to do it was right after culinary school when I was so desperate for money to pay back my school loans, at that time I wasn’t really very serious about it and didn’t pursue it very far.

The second time was actually in 2004, fortunately I was already over the age that they prefer for egg donors, or my SAT scores weren’t high enough or my grandfather died from the wrong disease or something…but I went through the whole application process which was very extensive, you had to give any medical history of you and your family. Plus any type of academic honors, lots of photos, dental records you name it.

I know a lot of women do this to pay for college, when I did it I was struggling to pay back debts and had just adopted two kids from Burma, so they could get their college education in New Zealand. I was pretty desperate….

So I have a personal interest in this information. I haven’t seen the whole film yet, just the trailer, but it is no surprise to me that this medical treatment is dangerous and often make the young women who donate the eggs unable to have their own children.

A question we need to ask ourselves when thinking about health care is do we want a world where our system of healing creates a market for human organs, human eggs and genes? Surely we can create a better world than this for our children if we really put our resources into it.

Please join me in signing this Human Egg Extraction petition which says:

Women undergoing egg extraction are not able to make informed choices about the risks involved, in part because long-term risks have not yet been adequately studied, especially for women providing eggs to be used by others. We urge the creation of a widely-publicized, privacy-ensured national registry to facilitate long-term tracking and long-term studies to better understand the risks of egg extraction, particularly with respect to the impact of drugs used for both suppression and stimulation of the ovaries. We also urge that advertisements and notices seeking women to supply eggs be required to state that long-term health risks of egg harvesting procedures are unknown.

Please check out more information about the film Eggspoitation, including testimonials from women who have donated eggs. Review of the film here.

More information about this crazy and dangerous egg harvesting can be found in this article by Diane Beeson.

Historically, manipulation of women’s bodies by others for profit has taken many forms. One such practice with a long and tragic history is the overzealous prescribing of synthetic hormones. Defined as treatments, rather than experiments, the first synthetic hormone, diethylstilbestrol (DES), and post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy were prescribed to women for decades before their deadly side effects were documented and their use finally curtailed. A current form of hormone abuse encourages financially strapped college students to “donate” their eggs by offering thousands of dollars and skillful appeals to their altruism. Now, biotech entrepreneurs are partnering with fertility clinics in hopes of acquiring eggs for research cloning, making oocytes an even more highly coveted natural resource. Are we repeating a historical pattern in which the casualties from medical misuse of hormones must reach epidemic proportions before the damage they cause is officially acknowledged?

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