I was on my campus in Texas the first time I saw an advertisement for egg donation. A flyer featured a smiling woman next to the prominent headline, “Looking for Very Special Women.” They offered $10,000 for eggs and the assurance that my “special contribution” would be making someone’s dream come true.
For a brief moment, the thought crossed my mind; I could sure use $10,000, and it’s only an egg. Only an egg. Just a piece of my body that contains all the DNA necessary to create human life. Nothin’ to look at here, folks.
What were the people behind the flyer really asking me to do? Would they be giving my egg to a woman who couldn’t conceive a child? And if so, how would I feel being the biological mother of a child I would never know? Or would my egg go to stem cell research? Cloning? Would it lie frozen in a petrie dish?
As naïve as those questions sounded in my head, I couldn’t disregard them. I re-read the paragraph, and no concrete details were provided to resolve my uncertainties. Just more smiles. More dollar signs.
I stood frozen in disgust at the flyer’s manipulative message. It appealed to my desire to be a good person while tempting me – your average broke college student – with money, without giving any medical details or explanation about risks. As a woman following Jesus, I felt offended that someone had so flippantly requested to be entrusted with the body God made me responsible for.
Earlier this week, I sat down with others on the CAP team and watched a film called Eggsploitation. Not only did the film confirm my innate uneasiness, it uncovered a practice so riskridden that it far surpasses all my previous suspicions. In this industry, women are treated as a means to an end. After donating, they are often discarded, left alone to deal with the medical consequences resulting from this abusive manipulation of their bodies. Records of their ‘contribution’ are at times thrown away, destroying a trail of genetic data that may one day be sought out by her biological child, a child she may not even know exists.
Women deserve to be educated about the risks involved with egg donation, and the industry has not proved itself eager to protect donors, only to provide results to their clients. As a young woman, I want to protect my reproductive health, not endanger it. And I don’t want to give away my genes to be used at some else’s discretion.
I’ll keep my eggs, thank you.
CAP is holding a free screening of Eggsploitation at Arizona Christian University on Monday, June 13 at 7 p.m. If you’re a college student or a young woman or know someone who is, I hope you’ll join us to see this important movie. The film’s executive producer and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture Jennifer Lahl will be there for a panel discussion following the film. Space is limited, so RSVP by clicking here.