The Truths Behind the News

by Kallie Fell, CBC Research Associate on May 23, 2019

Hello friends!

Does anyone else feel overwhelmed or confused by keeping up with today’s news? We live in an equally exciting and challenging time where new revelations are surfacing faster than we can process them. News stories and blog posts are numerous and the ways to access these stories countless. I found this especially tiring and troublesome over the last couple of weeks, which is why I am here writing to you. One of our goals at the Center for Bioethics and Culture is to inform the public about bioethical issues that most profoundly affect our world. Did you know that the CBC has produced seven original documentary films? These films are relevant to the news stories you’re exposed to everyday. Let me show you…

Surrogacy is fast becoming one of the major issues of the 21st century—celebrities and everyday people are increasingly using surrogates to build their families. In Cambodia, eleven women were recruited and exploited to be surrogate mothers. These eleven women were arrested and imprisoned under human trafficking charges. We’ve been following this Cambodia surrogacy story for quite some time and are happy to see that this week the surrogate mothers have been released from prison and will not be prosecuted, as long as they don’t sell the children. This story raises some very important ethical concerns. We highlight these concerns in our film Breeders: A Subclass of Women? In the film, we share numerous stories of American surrogate mothers, each revealing how few rights these women have, the horrendous way in which they are treated as paid breeders. The women in Cambodia are no different. Is surrogacy a beautiful, loving act or does it simply degrade pregnancy to a service and a baby to a product?

A recent article entitled “How Does the Egg Donation Process Work” shows how few women considering “donating” their eggs are properly informed of the real and serious medical risks. Young women all over the world are solicited by ads—via college campus bulletin boards, social media, online classifieds—offering up to $100,000 for their “donated” eggs, to “help make someone’s dream come true.” But who is this egg donor? Is she treated justly? What are the short- and long-term risks to her health? The answers to these questions will disturb you. Our film Eggsploitation hits hard at the breeches in informed consent and shows when women are seriously harmed, no one is there to help them. We especially encourage young women heading off to college to view this film.

Our short film (22 minutes) Maggie’s Story follows one woman’s journey of egg donation: learning about “helping” others have a child they desperately want, what she discovered in becoming an egg donor, and the consequences that followed. Maggie was told how special she was, but she was never informed of the risks egg donation posed to her own health and well-being. She was used repeatedly for others’ gain, but when things turned bad, she was left on her own to navigate tests, treatments, surgeries, and an unknown prognosis.

This month the 15th season of The Bachelorette kicked off and one of the suitors (or contestants) has claimed to father over 100 children as a sperm donor. Does anyone else think that’s gross? Certainly not the way to get to my heart, but I digress. Unfortunately, this guy is not alone. It is not uncommon for a single sperm donor to produce 50 or more children! I wonder, what is it like to grow up not knowing who your biological father is or if you have any siblings? What is it like to find out that the man you thought was your dad is not your biological father, that your true biological father donated his sperm and is known only by a number? How does it impact your self-perception, the choices you make, and your view of life and the world? Our film Anonymous Father’s Day gives a voice to the adult children conceived through sperm donation.

Big Fertility movie poster

Finally, in the last few years, the infertility business has skyrocketed. Even if you don’t struggle with infertility, you can guess that it is a money making industry. In fact, it is a growing multi-billion dollar industry and investors see the money making potential; we like to call it #BigFertility. Recently, our founder and president, Jennifer Lahl, was contacted for a consultation by an investment group looking to invest in the infertility industry. As part of their due diligence, before investing in the third-party assisted reproduction space, a private equity group was very keen to speak to someone who is critical of the practice. Of course, they had no problem speaking with cheerleaders for the industry, but they were happy to hear from those who are more critical of the big business of #BigFertility. Our newest film, #BigFertility: It’s All About the Money, follows Kelly Martinez and her terrifying journey as a victim of #BigFertility. Kelly served as a surrogate mother for three different couples and was threatened with financial ruin after nearly dying during her third surrogacy. Each of her surrogacy journeys had a price to pay. Kelly’s story exemplifies everything that is wrong with the distorted version of fertility medicine that is Big Fertility. It truly is all about the money.

These films are relevant, truthful, and you deserve to see them. News outlets and blog posts can give misguided and confusing information. The Center for Bioethics and Culture is here to help you sort out fact from fiction! It is our privilege and pleasure to create educational and enlightening documentary films on the topics that other sources fail to cover adequately.  It is so important to stay informed on issues that most profoundly affect our humanity, especially issues that arise in the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Please take the time to watch these incredible videos. You can rent all of our films on Amazon.com, and Prime members can view for FREE!

The hyperlinks below will direct you to our films on Amazon:

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