The following comes from a Dec. 3 posting on the Public Discourse.
In 2000, a California nurse named Jennifer Lahl founded a nonprofit in the East Bay called The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. CBCN is dedicated to educating the public about the troubling bioethical issues unfolding in the modern medical field.
Although she had no previous experience in filmmaking, Lahl managed to raise some money and set out to create a documentary. The resulting film, Lines That Divide, explored the stem-cell research debate, highlighting its terrifying connection to human cloning, and revealing how it required vast quantities of human eggs in order for the research to progress. As she began to write and speak publicly about egg donation and its risks, Lahl started to receive emails from women who had been harmed by selling their eggs.
Concerned for her three daughters, and for all young women, she began work on her second documentary Eggsploitation, which was originally released in 2010. Eggsploitation captured the attention of women’s advocacy groups around the country, including the National Organization for Women. It was the first film to shine light on the predatory nature of the fertility industry and its exploitation of college-aged women. It gave a voice to women who were lured by money and ended up sacrificing their health, fertility, and—in some cases—their very lives.
The original film had a low budget and was clearly the product of a nurse on a mission, not an experienced filmmaker. But, like a Bob Dylan song, the film’s powerful content broke through any aesthetic weaknesses, and it won Best Documentary in the 2011 California Independent Film Festival. So far, it has sold over 6,000 copies worldwide, with translations in Italian, French, and Japanese. Lahl has become an effective public advocate, making a huge impact and appearing on national TV shows such as Dr. Oz.
In the last three years, young women have poured out their stories, affirming Eggsploitation’s thesis that egg donation harms healthy young women. If you visit the film’s website you can read interviews with women like Y, who became infertile at 28 and suspects that her early menopause was caused by her egg harvesting, or Americus Dotter, who shares her frightening experience with postpartum psychosis.
In fact, so many more women came forward with their stories and concerns that Lahl felt she had to compile a second cut of Eggsploitation. The expanded film features new stories and updated facts and footage that show the unadvertised power dynamics and big money involved in this industry. The production value of the new Eggsploitation has dramatically improved. The cast is comprised of both familiar and new interviewees. The audience gets a helpful history of IVF, including its startling failure rate (70 percent) and price tags ($12,000+ per cycle).
The human stories are the heart of the documentary, and the egg donors in the film are given the compassion and generosity they deserve. Yet respect for scientific research and medical facts is equally central. It is this combination, undoubtedly a byproduct of Lahl’s decades of experience as both a nurse and a mom, that makes the documentary so extraordinarily compelling.
“Egg donors are not sick, yet they assume all the risk in order to help someone else.” –Jennifer Lahl
Kylee and Calla, two egg donors interviewed in the documentary, suffered strokes as a direct result of their egg harvesting. Alexandra lost an ovary and eventually developed breast cancer (a condition which does not run in her family). Sindy almost bled to death. Linda and Latoya were hospitalized with Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. And Jessica was diagnosed with colon cancer at age 29, then died at 34.
One of the primary drugs used in egg harvesting is Lupron–which has never been approved by the FDA for fertility use. And in the thirty years the human egg trade has existed, there has never been one peer-reviewed study confirming that egg harvesting is safe long-term.
“Economic desperation causes healthy women to accept risks that are against their own health interests.” –Jennifer Lahl
The elite and wealthy who hope to further science or become parents may assume that these women undergo such invasive treatments altruistically, because $8,000 is an inconsequential sum to them. But a few thousand dollars can mean the world to a broke and ambitious young woman. It’s a needle-length journey into a whole new class—through a college degree, the “right” address, or travel experience.
The exchange of money is problematic because the commissioning parents may feel entitled to mistreat and use the egg donor as just another service-provider. And it is problematic to the donor, in particular, because she risks her health in exchange for money. But money can’t buy back her health once it’s gone. This is why we don’t sell organs. It threatens human thriving….
To read the original story, click here.
I feel so sorry for couples that cannot conceive their own child, only to run into the exploitation of the egg donors. Even so, if married couples use in vitro fertility treatment, then can then have a better than average chance of the normal, healthy baby that they have always wanted. Couples who can’t conceive are another subgroup that our Church shrugs its shoulders at and won’t provide any support to, believing being barren is God’s will rather than a medical condition that can respond to modern therapies to produce new life.
As a former sufferer of prolonged infertility, I have to disagree with your assertion, Good Cause, that the Church shrugs its shoulders at barren couples. In truth, accepting the will of God, that is ‘letting go’ and accepting ‘barrenness’ is precisely what led me to get pregnant. The same is true for many infertile couples – though not all, it is true.
The sound scientific studies that had me formerly pursuing fertility treatments were turned on their ear when subsequent sound scientific studies unpended the method of treatment I was receiving. Specifically, the approach science had advocated led me to repetitively miscarry again and again for years.
I applaud Holy Mother Church in sticking to that which is right and good instead of leaving countless of her children to be fleeced by those who dangle parenthood in a most carrot-like fashion at the price of 12K+. But what a potent and natural lure it is. Hence a BOOMING industry, especially when one considers the push for putting girls on chemical birth control only adds to the growing pool.
Thank you Ann for your witness and sharing. I also, without discounting your other points, I appreciate what you pointed out on how this society is putting their girls on Chemical birth control. It is a sad reality. I didn’t know how bad it was until I saw it growing up but back then I didn’t think much about it because I was young and immature, but praise God I saved myself for marriage and didn’t use birth control either. But today, I was surprised to hear other mums tell me that they gave their daughters birth control, just in case. I was surprised that they didn’t make a strong emphases on chastity but instead, they just said don’t get pregnant. I thought I was not alone in my values but when other parents just listen to you as if they agreed with the message of Chastity but yet they secretly gave their daughters and sons condoms as well. Its disgusting. Especially when their kid are friends with your kids, then those kids secretly tell your kids and the wrong keeps growing.
I am greatly disappointed in many adults today….they are pimping their kids.
good cause, What is your real name? Response: My name is Legion
“Since satan has finally figured out that he cannot get at God, he goes for His children here on earth – us. It’s no different than the mafia knowing that it can hurt you worse if it kills your kids. However, lucky for us that Jesus established a Church here on earth that regularly dispenses sanctifying grace to us, which is the only way we can defeat satan. Trying to defeat satan on our own without the grace of God would be like a wheelchair bound 95 year old invalid trying to outpunch the heavyweight champion of the world. Sanctifying Grace – Don’t leave home without it !” – Catholic Bible 101
God the Father ALWAYS knows best!
Fugitive in UCI fertility clinic scandal held in Mexico
U.S. attorney’s office is seeking extradition of Ricardo Asch, who is charged with mail fraud and tax evasion related to illegal billings from the clinic where human embryos were switched.
December 28, 2010|By Catherine Saillant, Los Angeles Times
A physician who rocked a UC Irvine fertility clinic 15 years ago, when he and a partner switched the frozen embryos of dozens of unsuspecting women, is being held in Mexico City as U.S. officials race a deadline to extradite him to face criminal charges.
Ricardo Asch, one of two fertility doctors who fled prosecution as the scandal in Orange County unfolded, was arrested in Mexico City on Nov. 3, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles. He remains in custody as U.S. prosecutors seek to extradite him to Southern California to face federal mail fraud and tax evasion charges.
“Couples who can’t conceive are another subgroup that our Church shrugs its shoulders at and won’t provide any support to…” What nonsense. The Church has, at least until recently, sponsored or worked with adoption agencies. It is not her fault that the homosexual juggernaut has forced the Church to relinquish some of her work in this field.
Good cause comments….” Even so, if married couples use in vitro fertility treatment, then can then have a better than average chance of the normal, healthy baby that they have always wanted”…
And how many children, human embryos, must die for one normal, healthy child? What of the imperfect ones who get thrown in the garbage? Not to mention all those ‘frozen embryos’ which languish in limbo..In-vitro is not the answer. The ends never justify the means….
AND it just might be God’s will. He never promised us a rose garden -without thorns!
We are here to bring our SOULS to wherever we want. Will we endure our own “crucifixtion” as He showed us on His cross? Or do we want at any cost, a beautiful, early adventure? headed for hell?
PLEASE GOD ENLIGHTEN YOUR “SHEEP”!
This culture is so lost, I am pretty sure that I will live to see a day when a large number of people have no clue as to where babies come from. If I was to mention anything about a man and a woman, people would start looking at me like I am weird.
goodcause, I am afraid that you are once again being deceived by your emotions. Being your own little “god” is a dangerous and lonely place to be.
No, so called “goodcause” is being deceived by SATAN and his minions!
He or she has never answered my challenge to state just exactly what the so called good cause is!
May God have mercy on an amoral Amerika!
Viva Cristo Rey!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher, Founding Director
Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Inc.
Dear good cause,
You did say one thing correct and that is we need to address that facts/medical reason why some of us are infertile. There are good catholic doctors that can help you and I believe there is a john paul II gynecology medical research in which they figure out what is the cause of the fertility and offer natural treatments. This is a healthy and a clear concsience way to go. I myself cured my infertility through self research. There herbs that truelly are much more powerful in fertility treatment then pharmacutacals without the big cancer risk. Please look to other solutions because I understand your desires and with God he can make a way.