Bioethics Blogs

Feminism and Egg Donation

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the troubling lack of informed consent for egg donation. Many women are completely unaware of the risks and side effects of the procedure. But what seems to be the bigger, underlying problem is that there is a lack of regulation for and research about egg donation.

The lack of regulation for egg donation is alarming on multiple levels. On one hand, it runs along a thin line between altruistic endeavor and sale of a human being. Additionally, it allows for the exploitation of women in need. In fact, women in third world  and developing countries are especially susceptible to this kind of exploitation. Much of egg donation has been outsourced to foreign countries where things can be done cheaper, not very different from the trend seen in modern industry. Firstthings.com calls egg harvesting, “the newest form of human trafficking.”

While Europe has responded to these ethical concerns with the “European Parliament Resolution on the Trade in Human Egg Cells”, America is notably lacking any kind of regulation at all. Despite being one of the wealthiest and most well educated countries in the world, the United States has shown a complete disregard for an issue that is an affront to its ethos. As Clark and Lahl write in their article, “Egg Donors and Human Trafficking”,

“Vulnerable young women, trusting the medical establishment with their well-being, are being heavily recruited by means of deceptive advertisements and coerced with large sums of money in relation to their social-economic status. “

How can Americans fight for feminism and equal rights when we don’t hold institutions that exploit women accountable?

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.