This is a triumph for the Center for Bioethics and Culture (for which I am a compensated special consultant) generally, and its director, the indomitable Jennifer Lahl, specifically. Eggsploitation–which warns against the health dangers of egg donation–was just named Best Documentary of the Year at the California Independent Film Festival. From the CBC’s press release:
San Ramon, CA, January 31, 2011 — Eggsploitation has been named Best Documentary in the 2011 California Independent Film Festival Slate Awards. The award was announced as part of the Gala Slate Awards Luncheon held on January 30 in Walnut Creek, CA. The 13th annual California Independent Film Festival runs from January 28 to February 3 at The New Rheem Theatre in Moraga, CA. Eggsploitation will be shown Tuesday, February 1 at 6:15 pm in the Zemrak Theatre.
Jennifer Lahl, President of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network and writer, director, and producer of Eggsploitation said, “We are thrilled to have been named Best Documentary by the California Independent Film Festival. California has been referred to as the ‘reproductive tourism capital of the world’ so it’s fitting that a film drawing attention to the issue of egg donation and the health risks to young women would be so honored.”
Eggsploitation profiles three highly educated young women—Calla, Alexandra, and Sindy—who suffered extreme health consequences related to their egg “donation.” Dangerous health complications can occur during the egg donation process as a result of taking high doses of fertility drugs, during the egg retrieval surgery, or both. Their disturbing testimonies about their experience with egg donation are a wake-up call regarding a highly unregulated, multi-billion-dollar industry that jeopardizes the health of young women.
Given the speed in which the fertility and biotechnology industries are advancing, protecting women here and abroad from “eggsploitation” has become a matter of urgent concern. Medical studies are needed to identify donors and examine the breadth and scope of long-term risk from egg extraction. Hearings need to be held to begin the important job of placing rigorous regulations over the field, including, perhaps, the requirement that solicitations for eggs contain health warnings such as those now legally required in cigarette advertisements. Perhaps it should be made illegal to sell eggs in the same manner as it is against the law to sell kidneys. International protocols need to be negotiated to protect poor women from being biologically colonized.
Eggsploitation is a splendid start to this important conversation. The CBC—for which I am a compensated consultant—has done a tremendous service to women everywhere by producing this important and informative documentary.
Of course, the real reason for the Best Documentary award is that I have one line in the film. But don’t tell Jennifer I said that.