Jennifer Lahl Statement on Egg Donation

by Jennifer Lahl, CBC President on October 4, 2013

Dear Delegates at the PACE Hearing, 2nd October, 2013:

Having worked with Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) for more than a decade on several collaborative efforts in both Europe and the United States, I write today to express my serious concerns for the health and well-being of otherwise healthy women who are being targeted for their eggs for scientific research.

Having worked with Comment on Reproductive Ethics (CORE) for more than a decade on several collaborative efforts in Europe as well as the United States, I write today to express my serious concerns for the health and well being of otherwise healthy women who are being targeted for their eggs for scientific research.

Unfortunately, my work has brought me face-to-face with women who made the decision to sell their eggs and who will forever regret their decision. I have interviewed women who have lost their fertility or had their fertility negatively impacted so that they required IVF in order to conceive years later. Several have suffered strokes or torsioned ovaries due to severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). I have spoken with mothers who have lost their daughters, and women who felt they had been treated like a product only to be used and discarded once their eggs were harvested. Many of these women are featured in my documentary film, Eggsploitation, and as more stories surface, many are documented on the film’s website.

In my home state of California, we recently won a great victory for women’s health when Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have allowed scientific researchers to pay women for eggs for research. Governor Brown cited the lack of studies done on the safety of this practice, the real risks to women’s health along with the largely unknown risks, and his concern for poor women who would risk their health because of financial need. His veto letter began, “Not everything in life is for sale, nor should it be.”

It would be unethical to proceed with this research, jeopardizing the health, future fertility, and possibly the lives of young women.

With Urgency,

Jennifer Lahl
President, The Center for Bioethics and Culture
Writer and Producer of the award winning documentary, Eggsploitation

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