Eggsploitation Documentary Tells Students of Egg Donation Risks

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 10, 2011   |   5:22PM   |   Washington, DC

Advances in medical technology frequently come with ethical problems and scientific concerns and issues and egg donation, for women, is no different.

Jennifer Lahl of the Center for Bioethics and Culture has been one of the leading advocates for women in terms of highlighting the problems they face with egg donations, which provide scientists for eggs frequently used in cloning and embryonic stem cell research.

Rebecca Hagelin of the Washington Times today profiles Lahl and her documentary Eggspolitation, which is making its way across college campuses, reaching the women who feel economic pressure to sell their eggs but may not realize the medical dangers to them inherent in the procedure.:

Jennifer Lahl is a kind, deeply caring woman. A health care worker for 25 years, she has seen medical care at its best — when it gives fresh hope and renewed health to suffering patients.

These days, Ms. Lahl is a passionate advocate on behalf of young women who’ve experienced medical care at its worst. In the upside-down world of assisted reproduction, too many fertility specialists have dashed the hopes and compromised the health of previously healthy young women — egg donors.

Next month, Ms. Lahl’s award-winning documentary, “Eggsploitation,” will play on college campuses, warning young women about the dangers of egg donation. The film follows several young women who underwent egg donation as a way to pay tuition or dig themselves out of debt — they also welcomed the emotional payoff of helping an infertile couple have a child.

But for these women, donating their eggs triggered serious complications resulting in infertility, disability, and lingering health problems. One woman nearly died.

As infertility climbs, so does assisted reproduction. Most of us know families whose children were created with help from fertility specialists or who owe their existence to egg donors. And nothing I say here intends to minimize the pain of infertility. But the fact remains that young women — my own daughter’s peer group — are being exploited as egg donors.

Our young women need to know the truth.

Wesley J. Smith, the bioethics expert who helped persuade President George W. Bush to not fund new embryonic stem cell research that destroys human lives, also weighs in on the new documentary and egg donation.

The movie deals with the dangers of egg donation, and is now being shown at film festivals.  Jennifer Lahl, the CBC’s head and driving force behind its production, has been promoting the movie. Some media are taking notice.

Human eggs are probably–ounce for ounce–the most valuable commodity on the planet, grasped for by the infertile and bioscientists for use in cloning.   Where great money can be made, industries easily follow.  And that can threaten young women with being turned into commodities.

Eggsploitation is non partisan, by which I mean, it unites Left and Right in joint concern for the health of young women–and the destitute overseas–too easily targeted for harvesting.  I am very pleased that Jennifer’s movie is making waves. It should.