Human Exceptionalism

Dying for Cloning?

The poignant letter reproduced below is from the mother of a woman who died donating eggs (for IVF). The death of Jacqueline belies the smug assertions being made by would-be human cloners and their advocates that women who donate eggs for biotechnology will face little danger.

It is, of course, true that most women would not die or become infertile from donating eggs for bioetech research. But some would. And since one egg is needed for each attempt at cloning, the potential numbers of egg donors that would be required to push the cloning agenda could be staggering. If only 5% face serious complications, that’s an awful lot of suffering for enduring a non therapeutic (to the woman) medical procedure.

The letter that is being handed out in Washington D.C. for a planned Congressional briefing on the issue: “My name is Angela Hickey. I come from Dublin, Ireland and am a mother and grandmother and have been married to Fintan for nearly 42 years.

“My daughter Jacqueline died at 32 years of age from Severe [Ovarian] Hyperstimulation Syndrome as a direct result of IVF treatment. She went on to develop Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome which took her life on the 14th of January 2003. So that her death is not in vain, I would advise all women who are going for IVF to try and have a baby, which Jacqui longed for or women who wish to donate their eggs, to be very careful and to watch the course of their treatment. They should be informed and vigilant of their levels. How stimulated their ovaries are and of the projected amount of eggs before getting the hCg injection. I don’t want any other family to go through what we’re going through. We’ve been to the medical council in Ireland to no avail, also we’ve had to pull out of a civil action due to astronomical costs. There is no justice for ordinary people. IVF should be

regulated. Laws should be laid down worldwide and not just guidelines and they should be adhered to. IVF is only a procedure and not a life saving intervention.”

Indeed, and what applies to IVF should apply squared to egg procurement for human cloning. Until and unless eggs can be procured ethically and without endangering women, human cloning should just have to wait.

For more information, see Hands Off Our Ovaries, a coalition of pro-choice and pro-life women who have come together to make sure that no woman dies, becomes infertile, or is harmed from biotechnological researchers wanting their eggs.

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