It’s time to resurrect the Hands Off Our Ovaries campaign we launched back in 2006. It was a bipartisan effort that brought together a diverse group of people to counter the push for women to “donate” their eggs for research purposes.
Hands Off Our Ovaries (or HOOO as we lovingly called it) was launched during the height of the embryonic stem cell and human cloning debates in the U.S. and beyond. The founding members were concerned that no long-term safety studies had been done on young women who have donated or sold their eggs. (And this is still the case!) In addition, there is no tracking or other follow up with these women.
The demand for eggs is back due to the development of three-parent embryo technology. If you don’t have a copy of Eggsploitation, please purchase a DVD (or rent it on iTunes, Amazon Instant, Google Play, or Xbox) and organize a screening.
Our data shows that before people watch the film, they are generally not well informed on the issues surrounding egg donation.
But after they watch the film, they overwhelmingly reject risking the health and the lives of young women!
We’ve pulled out some important clips from Eggsploitation, which specifically address the fact that it asks healthy women to donate their eggs for research, the known and unknown risks, the lack of studies and follow up, and the coercive role that money can play in medical decision making.
Dr. Suzanne Parisian, M.D., former chief medical officer at the FDA:
Dr. Donald Landry, M.D., Ph.D., Samuel Bard Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Department of Medicine, Columbia University:
Sindy, an egg donor featured in Eggsploitation:
Also, consider signing this petition, which was started in Europe and which calls for a stop to the creation of three-parent embryos and to the germline genetic modification of human embryos.
I have seen again and again in this work that all roads—from the married infertile couple, from the older menopausal woman, from the male same-sex couple, from the scientific researcher—all these roads seem to lead back to the human egg. Or more pointedly, to the young, healthy woman who is needed to provide this precious resource.
Now is the time, once again, to stand up and remind people: Hands Off Our Ovaries!
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.