About a year ago (or more?), I noticed there was a new follower of my blog, whose blog name was "The Good Eggs." She made a comment on one of my posts, and I went to visit hers to thank her for her comment.
It turned out that "The Good Eggs" was an egg donor - a young woman who was "donating" (quotations to be explained in a moment) her eggs to be used for couples going through IVF whose eggs were deemed not good enough, too old, or damaged.
I remember being confused at first, wondering why an egg "donor" would be interested in reading my blog - an infertile woman, Catholic no less, who took a pretty strong stance on her beliefs on IVF, surrogacy, donor gametes, etc. I also remember being slightly offended by the blog title, which implied that all infertile women did not have "good enough" eggs. And I began to wonder... what is the untold story of these egg "donors?" While this one young woman chronicled her experiences (which I am no longer able to read because she has since gone private), was it the whole story? And did even SHE understand what it was she was putting herself at risk for? And for what?
Surely there is a selfless component to the motive of egg "donors." They get to feel good that their biological material may help some other couple get to experience pregnancy and/or parenthood.
But there's another side which can't be ignored. The exploitative side.
I recently watched a documentary on this, entitled "Eggsploitation."
I urge every single one of you who is reading this blog post right now to PLEASE watch this documentary. And before you have the chance to think it, let me beat you to the punch and say it is NOT affiliated with, endorsed by, or in collaboration with "the Church." The film is presented by the Center for Bioethics and Culture (of whom I've never even heard before this), and directed by Jennifer Lahl. Nothing in the film is religious in any way, shape, or form. Rather, it is full of facts and research, and a chock full of interviews with women who have been through the process of egg "donation."
Primarily, I am hoping that The Good Eggs, if she still reads my blog, is able to read this and watch the film. I hope that it can help her.
The film shows how these women are treated, from the solicitation process (mostly college campus bulletin boards or college newspaper ads, offering up to $100,000 for these smart, healthy, college-educated women's eggs. In essence, for "The Good Eggs.") to the actual procedure of hyperstimulation, retrieval, and the aftermath. What college student do you know who couldn't benefit from that amount of money?
Horror stories ensued. One of the women going through this process was a medical student, and is now a Dr - she had the foresight to ask about short and long-term risks to her health, and yet she was still put through the assembly line, and suffered the consequences. What occurs in every single hyperstimulation, whether it be as part of an IVF or an egg retrieval for "donation," is that the woman will get an EXTREME surge of estrogen, which will then drastically drop. That intense unopposed estrogen has already been linked to breast cancer. And yes, you guessed it, one of these young women got breast cancer not once, but twice, years after her egg donation process. (She also became infertile, by the way.) Another had a stroke and was paralyzed on her left side. Still another died at age 31.
But there is no research being done on the aftermath of egg "donation" (are the quotations self-explanatory now?) - no one really seems to care, at least, not the infertility industry, what happens to these women after they are put through the process to retrieve their biological material. Once we get what we want from them, it's a moot point, right?
Wrong. These are human beings. Living, breathing women made in the image and likeness of God. (*Those are my words - to reiterate, God is not brought up at all in this film, so please, educate yourself and watch it, and don't refuse on the premise that it is "tied to the Church.") These women are NOT walking egg-machines. You can't put a price on someone's biological material, but that is exactly what the infertility industry is trying to do.
The thing is... egg "donors" are not the only ones going through this process, nor are they the only ones putting themselves at risk for short and long-term health problems. Anyone who does IVF is also put through this process.
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