The Corner

The Shame of Egg-Donation Doctors

Doctors are performing operations on healthy young women to harvest their eggs for the benefit of another patient — with apparently very little data on how it affects the donor’s health.

Jennifer Lahl has a terrific story up on Public Discourse which is about how the fertility industry treats the young women it does not care about in order to serve the paying clients who want a baby (an understandable human desire, but not one that licenses recklessness about another’s well-being):

The harms and dangers of egg donation are slowly emerging. Much of my work over the past several years has been gathering and telling the stories of women harmed. Young women, struggling financially, see an ad asking them to “be an angel,” “make a difference,” or to “help make dreams come true.” As one egg donor asked, “Who doesn’t want to see themselves like this?” Sadly, she went on to suffer a torsioned ovary a few days after her eggs were harvested. Losing an ovary compromised her fertility. A few years later, she developed breast cancer in both breasts, as a young woman with no previous medical history of cancer. All for a few thousand dollars to help another.

My work with egg donors has brought me face to face with the recklessness of the fertility industry, its work to suppress the risks and dangers of egg donation, and its refusal to do any research that might not support its claims that egg donation is safe. The truth is, egg donation is risky, and in some rare cases can even lead to death. . . .

A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association devotes space to a new study on egg donation, but it is in the editorial where the truth is found: “data regarding outcomes on oocyte donation cycles have an important limitation — no data on health outcome in donors.

The first rule is: Do no harm.

And this is just the tip of that iceberg, as Lahl’s work makes clear.

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