According to the Council for Responsible Genetics, an estimated 60,000 woman have been sterilized by oocyte extraction. The US FDA currently has on file more than 6,000 complaints regarding a hormone used for egg extraction, including 25 reported deaths. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has since dismissed evidence of increased risk for breast, endometrial, colon and reproductive cancers found in studies concerning oocyte extraction. However, the IOM acknowledges concern with regard to uterine cancer. Short-term side affects include: ovary explosion, ovarian overstimulation, stoke, seizure and even death.
Where great money can be made, industries follow. The biotechnology industry has coupled with fertility clinics in hopes of acquiring human eggs. Embryos cannot be used for steam cell or cloning research due to abortion bans. Therefore, the egg harvesting industry has been operating underground and without adequate regulation. Appeals are made to altruistic and financially strapped young women, often in college newspaper ads, who want to help another woman who cannot reproduce with their own eggs. And the race for eggs is expanding beyond college campuses and into the poorest communities of the world where financial inducements are even more irresistible.
Integrity must be increased beyond the current empty ritual of “informed consent” by which this expanding trade is being justified. Despite grave health risks for women, this form of hormone abuse will continue until an independent national registry for women undergoing the procedure is established and maintained as an oversight.
“What Are the Dangers of Egg Donation?” Michelle Kulas, LiveStrong.com, March 28, 2011, http://www.livestrong.com/article/18852-dangers-egg-donation
“Eggsploitation Documentary Tells Students of Egg Donation Risks” Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com, January 10, 2011, http://www.lifenews.com/2011/01/10/eggsploitation-documentary-tells-students-of-egg-donation-risks
“Egg Harvesting for Stem Cell Research: Medical Risks and Ethical Problems”, Diane Beeson & Abby Lippman, Alliance for Humane Biotechnology, http://www.humanebiotech.com/home.html
Student Researcher: Laura Kelly, San Francisco State University
Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University
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