Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Good Eggs

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.

For more information, please visit:

www.eggsploitation.com

24 comments:

Kerry said...

wow. thank you for this information. My husband and I would like to see this documentary.
I'm going to order it, it looks like info everyone should know about.

A Martha trying to be Mary said...

TCIE: thanks for sharing this.

Just yesterday I was asked why at 39 and nearing 40 I do not buy new eggs.... as if it were just buying jeans.

I was completly taken by surprise and was left speechless, but with this I can direct people to a non Catholic reason why not.

God Alone Suffices said...

Wow, I had no idea the PHYSICAL impacts of IVF were so horrible! Thank you so much for posting this-now I have an answer to give to my family when they ask why it's wrong (a non-religious answer, I should say).

Megan said...

Thanks for calling attention to this! I saw the documentary, and it is horrifying and heartbreaking all at the same time. Pope Paul VI predicted that our bodies would be used as machines... unfortunately, these women are being treated as egg producing machines. :(

K said...

Oh my goodness. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I am going to watch it and spread the word, big time.

prayerfuljourney said...

Wow...makes me think women are being treated like chickens..just making eggs. WTHeck? How would I go about seeing that documentary? You mentioned another intersting one a few months back..I watched the trailer..but have not found (or even tried) to see the doc. Are they avail on the we.b? Just curious.

Lauren @ Magnify the Lord with Me said...

I'm so glad you're calling this to everyone's attention! I heard about this on Catholic Answers Live and was horrified.

Avenging Angel said...

No, I don't agree with selling your eggs. But you're posting wrong information about the link between cancer and fertility drugs, which are used for egg extractions (for IVF or to sell or any other reason). There is NO link between the two.

http://www.havingbabies.com/infertility-education/fertility-drugs/fertility-drugs-and-cancer/

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

I think you would benefit from watching the video, Avenging Angel, and hearing first-hand from the women who suffered these consequences.
Since there have been NO medical research/studies done on the short or long-term health risks for egg donors, there can only be first-hand accounts. This is what the industry doesn't want you to hear...

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

(and if you go back and read what I wrote, I said that unopposed high estrogen has been linked to cancer. I did not say fertility drugs have been linked... yet.)

Leila @ Little Catholic Bubble said...

This is SUCH an important topic. It's just so disturbing. Thank you for making this known.

Danya @ He Adopted Me First said...

I took some classes at a local community college a few years ago and was shocked to see an ad for egg-donors in the campus paper. So stinkin' sad. What has this world come to????

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

Bodies being used as machines-I can't understand how people don't recognize how seriously disturbed that is. Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Designer eggs, huh? Are they likewise advertising on the streets, where many more women would be willing to sell their genetic legacy for that kind of money? Or are college eggs preferable, since we now have that choice n' all.... Why scoop from the bottom of the barrel? Don't we deserve the best kids we can create?
In fact, how about society paying the undesirables to destroy their eggs, so the more desirable lives being carefully created won't have to coexist or possibly even mix up with them genetically down the line, backtracking on all the progress we've made in reproduction.

This is a very slippery slope. Society can't take just one step down it... From the very 1st step, it's a degradation of the dignity of life.

I'll read that book. I'm interested.
-big sis

I am Roni said...

So glad to found your blog and thank you for sharing this information. It is quite scary hope she has read your blog.

The Comeaus said...

Something that troubles me so much is that most women today just do NOT have any idea how their bodies function and have no idea how disastrous it is to have estrogen levels go unchecked. I suffer from estrogen dominance, and let me tell you, it is no picnic and I know what great risks there are for me, which is why I work so hard at having the healthiest lifestyle I can. I believe environmental factors caused this in me, as well as a diet totally devoid of vegetables almost my whole life, but most women today are bombarded by estrogen through hormonal contraception and have no idea what this is doing to their bodies.

So, THANK YOU for bringing to light not only the ugly truth about egg "donation," but also the fact that estrogen dominance leads to cancer. I wish every woman could know this and have made it a personal duty to spread the message. It angers me that they do not know.

Sew said...

This was a fabulos post....The documentary is almost scary to me...It's true that women do not know anything about their bodies.

This post rocked my socks off! I love it, love how informative it was too...Now I understand what you were talking about on the phone...

So sad...Great post! It's sad that we can just go buy eggs....Errrrr Everything is becoming blurred...

JellyBelly said...

So interesting!!!! I'm also wondering why an egg donor would be reading you (then again I recently offended a single mother by choice, totally not my audience, or so
I thought!).

I'll definitely be looking into this documentary! Thanks for the tip!!!

St. Rita's Roses said...

Thank you so much for this info- it is so important!!!

Little JoAnn said...

Whenver I get an idea, hey that looks neat I should look into it, lo and behold TCIE looks into it and posts about it!

I saw this on the Internet too and SO want to order it!

You summed it up great.

I JUST KNEW there is/was loads of evil in this industry and still have a hunch that there is even more to it than this documentary is even showing. We need folks to be able to penetrate and go behind the "enemy" lines.

There is a connection/link between egg donation and cloning and stem cell abuse! Horrible, just horrible.

I am going to ask for this for Christmas!

Maria H said...

This is the first time I have ever been offended by reading your posts TCIE. I am not Catholic, but I understand your (and your religion's) decision to avoid ART. I enjoy reading your posts as I am Christian and I have experienced IF. I also enjoy your insights into other aspects of your life. Basically I enjoy reading you. But this seems to be the first time you have been very judgemental of those who do choose to use medical assistance with their fertility. I have read The Good Eggs blog, before it went private, and she is completely aware of what she is doing to her body, she posted once about whether her helping other women would be detrimental to her own fertility. But she feels, and the woman who received her eggs felt (as expressed in a Thank You card she received) that she is making a difference in someone else's life. Not all women who do choose to donate are naive or ignorant. Not all women who have to resort to donor eggs are so selfish to not think/care about the woman who made her dreams come true. You may not have said those words exactly but it seems that this is how you feel. And yes, this is your blog and you can say what you want. But you left it open to comments and I thought I would let you know my feelings.

This_Cross_I_Embrace said...

I apologize if you felt offended, Maria. My intent with this post was to bring to light a side of egg donation that is rarely discussed, even in the medical community (due to lack of studies). I feel that the word "donation" is an odd one to use in this circumstance because of the monetary compensation involved, hence my use of quotations. However I could see where my use of quotations was misleading, as to imply that I felt these women were only motivated by money. On the contrary, the film shows that the majority of women ARE being pulled in to this by the altruistic aspect of giving to those who have not. (And this is where the exploitation comes in.) The women in the film were all VERY intelligent and asked all of the questions they could think of before going through the process, yet they were still faced with very dire consequences.

I am very pro-woman, and feel that women need to be empowered with as much information as possible. Please, watch the film, and come back to share your thoughts afterwards. I would be open to hearing how I may have better represented the film and the information within it.

Sarah said...

This is an issue that is not discussed enough. I will definitely check this documentary out!

Stacia said...

TCIE, I completely agree with your concerns with this issue. As a person who cares for children with cancer, I can tell you that I myself have had concerns for quite some time with the potential relation between all of the things we unwittingly expose ourselves to and the increase in cancer diagnoses (i.e. hormones & steroids in the meats & dairy we eat, second-hand smoke exposure, etc). A whole different discussion obviously, however the basis is the same: we expose our bodies to so many things & research the consequences later. The correlation between exposures & cancer (for one of your risk factor examples) is grossly under-researched. And it does sadden me how many people are so misinformed at just how risky undergoing an ER can be! While going through my own (thankfully brief) journey with IF, I was shocked at how many people said, "why don't you just do IVF?" Like it was like ordering a pizza. Fellow nurses even!!

I completely agree that although the women are probably going into the process with the best of intentions (helping a fellow woman conceive) and with asking all the questions they can to make, what they believe is, an informed decision, there are some shady folks in this industry who aren't giving these women *all* of the information they need & some are suffering dire consequences. Thank you for bringing it to light!
Love ya girl! ;) Think of you often! <3