Informed Consent for Egg Donation

This week in my small group/Bible study, one of my friends (who is a college professor at a major public university) was talking about her students. She mentioned that one of her students would be missing some class because she’s donating an egg. I could feel the tension mounting in my body as I thought about this student.

I tried to briefly explain to my friends why I was so concerned about this girl and her decision to donate an egg. I told them how dangerous it is and that there are serious side effects, which can include infertility. People have even died from complications of these procedures. I tried to explain how devastating the hormone treatments can be to the body and difficult it is to ensure informed consent within this kind of procedure, since it pays a lot of money and appeals to (if not targets) young, vulnerable women.

I found myself struggling to mask my anger at the way these procedures are treated flippantly and my hurt for the women who, often unknowingly, place themselves in serious risk for something that seems so safe and noble. I pleaded with my friends to encourage people they know to educate themselves about this topic and to pass it along so that maybe someone can be spared the physical and emotional traumas that often accompany egg donation.

Our society is making a push toward empowering women in the workforce, but it should also take steps to educate women on this issue (and others like it) so that they can make informed decisions.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.