Tuesday, May 14. 2013
A new bill introduced into the California legislature would lift the ban on paying women for their eggs
AB 926, the Reproductive Health and Research Bill, says that to encourage reproductive health and research in the state, women need to be compensated for “donating” their eggs, a hot commodity in the embryonic stem cell research and infertility arenas....
So why would California want more women to go through such a process just for research purposes? AB 926 gives a list of research that would benefit from having more human eggs, which includes reducing the high volume of multiple pregnancies in IVF. But there is some very disturbing verbiage in AB 926 including the assertion that research will benefit from the intentional creation of excess embryos.
Continue reading at LifeNews >>
Tuesday, January 11. 2011
Tuesday, October 27. 2009
Dr. Hwang Woo-suk, the disgraced cloning researcher who claimed he cloned human embryos and extracted stem cells, was convicted this week of embezzlement and was given a two-year suspended sentence. In my estimation, Dr. Hwang's major crime was not his fraudulent paper, or his misappropriation of funds. It was his exploitation of female researchers in his lab for their eggs. Cloning takes eggs, lots of them. Donating eggs is not easy and has resulted in infertility and even death. Whether female researchers in his lab were pressured to donate eggs or not, this was a huge breach of ethics.
Dr. Hwang's return to the spotlight reminded me that cutting edge biotechnology, especially in the reproductive arena, is a woman's issue. Embryonic stem cell research and research cloning cannot continue without the precious eggs that reside in our ovaries. In the future, reproductive cloning and genetic engineering of children cannot go anywhere without our wombs to gestate scientists' latest creations. All of these come with significant risks for the woman whose biology is so essential.
Some would say that compensation is sufficient to insure that woman are not exploited by the biotechnology machine. I disagree. I call compensation for surrogacy and egg donation high-tech prostitution that preys on low income women. Too many scientists view women as banks of harvestable biological material that they regrettably have to pay for.
Recently, Dr. Sam Wood of Stemagen Corp. said he wants to pay women to harvest their eggs. He cries that he can't get them any other way. Forget about the health risks to young women, Dr. Wood wants the eggs to continue to pursue therapeutic cloning.
"Give us the eggs. If we don't succeed, then be critical," said Wood. "You have to give people the tools that are required to determine whether the methodology will work."
Once again the ends justify the means, the only problem is that he is talking about young women putting their fertility and health at risk to supply him with raw material for his cloning experiments.
I think some men just do not get that donating eggs is NOT like donating sperm. I will go one further and say that if they required the harvesting of sperm cells directly from the testicles with hormone injections and needles, embryonic stem cell research and cloning would still be science fiction. Guaranteed.
"If the primary moral objection to reproductive cloning is that it will likely result in genetic error in reprogramming, then of course we want research to prevent that kind of problem. But how do we do that? The best way is to see how cloned embryos develop and to study them, gestating them in female chimpanzees, artificial wombs, or human volunteers, then aborting them to see which are normal and which are not, then experimenting to see how to create only normally developing embryos/fetuses."
Dr. Pence those "human volunteers" are real women who would be putting their own fertility and mental and physical health at risk by not only carrying a cloned fetus, but also going through an elective abortion in the name of science.
Even pro-lifers are not above falling into the women as "harvestable biological material" trap. Remember Dr. William Hurlbut from Stanford who proposed Altered Nuclear Transfer with Oocyte Assisted Reprogramming (ANT-OAR) as an alternative to cloning for generating patient specific embryonic stem cells? Thirty five heavyweight pro-life academics, including Fr. Thomas Berg and Fr. Tad Pacholczyk signed a statement endorsing ANT-OAR. The problem? The oocyte part. Oocyte means egg and ANT-OAR would require human eggs just like cloning. ANT-OAR would have required the same number, if not more, women to donate eggs to satisfy this technique's need for eggs.
It is exactly the egg and embryo problem that has caused some stem cell researchers to abandon embryonic stem cell research and cloning altogether and work with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) instead. IPS cells require no embryos or eggs and still behave like embryonic stem cells. These iPS cells would also be a genetic match to the patient so there would be no need for cloning.
This is why should women care about biotechnology. Because it is their bodies that will be exploited to make some of the visions of scientists come to fruition. If we do not provide the raw materials, embryonic stem cell research and cloning cannot proceed and more alternatives like iPS cells will be found. Women need to stand up and say, "Find another way." Some have already. Hand Off Our Ovaries, of which I am a member, is a group of pro-choice and pro-life women and men who realize how advances in biotechnology will exploit vulnerable women.
Do your daughters a favor. Teach them about biotechnology, the good and the bad. Make sure they understand how valuable their bodies are. Teach them how egg donation and surrogacy work and the risks involved. Make sure they understand how not to fall victim to exploitation in the Brave New World.
Wednesday, August 19. 2009
From the UK's Daily Mail. A reporter advertises that she is looking for egg donors for IVF and she gets some pretty interesting responses:
All of this reproductive technology does not turn women in commodities at all does it? Case in point look at these the responses:
Unfortunately, Davina you will be putting your fertility at risk:
And not surprising the women who offer to sell their eggs are ignoring the ultimate consequences of donating their sex cells, the resulting children:
After a week of dealing with various potential donors, an alarming reality hit me: not one of those women had shown the slightest interest in what might happen once a baby was born.
Wednesday, August 6. 2008
I read this article and it absolutely enraged me. Dr. Sam Wood of Stemagen Corp. wants to pay women to harvest their eggs. He cries that he can't get them any other way. Forget about the health risks to young women, Dr. Wood wants the eggs to continue to pursue therapeutic cloning. It is all about the money. From CNNMoney.com:
Well, sign me up! If Dr. Wood is so convinced that my eggs can change the world. But wait, let us ask ourselves why Dr. Wood is so adamant that therapeutic cloning is the answer even though there is no data to support his claim. The California agency that doles out the 3 billion dollars in taxpayer money for stem cell research has denied all requests for funding of therapeutic cloning:
So Dr. Wood can't get taxpayer money without an abundant supply of eggs, but he can't get that without paying young women to put their health, their fertility and possibly their lives at risk. Therapeutic cloning to obtain human stem cells is barely a reality and Dr. Wood wants thousands of women to donate to the cause.
Dare I say it: The unmitigated arrogance of some people! Talk about treating women as objects. I think Dr. Wood may out-objectify the porn industry. I will leave you with Dr. Wood's most illuminating last words:
"Give us the eggs. If we don't succeed, then be critical," said Wood. "You have to give people the tools that are required to determine whether the methodology will work."
Tuesday, May 1. 2007
The following are the conclusions of Thomas J Papadimos and Alexa T Papadimos's "The student and the ovum: The lack of autonomy and informed consent in trading genes for tuition" published in the Journal of Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology regarding egg donation by college women:
Did they say "manufacturing" in regard to human procreation? Yes, I believe they did!
Thanks to Hands Off Our Ovaries.
Monday, April 16. 2007
To keep the wheels of the cloning and embryonic stem cell research turning, researchers need eggs, lots of human eggs. Many young women do not realize the risks of donating or selling their eggs. These risks include loss of fertility and in rare cases death. This video gives a face to the reality of the demand for human eggs and the dangers to healthy young women.
Please spread the word about egg donation. An advertisement in my area calls egg donation "child's play." It is anything but.
Hat Tip: Wesley J. Smith
Tuesday, November 7. 2006
I have heard lots of horror stories about what happens to women who go through egg donation. Here is another. From a second timer:
Make no mistake. This is a serious process that can have devastating consequences. Young women are at huge risk of being exploited by researchers who are desperate for human eggs to conduct their therapeutic cloning experiments.
Hat Tip: Flash Point
Wednesday, October 25. 2006
Saturday, September 30. 2006
Hands Off Our Ovaries is taking the quest worldwide:
The opposition to cloning makes strange bed fellows. Hands Off Our Ovaries is a mix of pro-choice and pro-life women and men, all concerned for the health of women worldwide. It is an alliance that I think we should all be grateful for.
Monday, March 20. 2006
How I missed this I do not know, possibly PETBS (post-evil-test-brain syndrome). A new coalition of pro-choice and pro-life women are joining forces to prevent the exploitation of women for their parts by the booming biotech industry.
Clearly this is a brand spanking new website, but I have joined and hope that many others who are concerned about the welfare of women will do the same!
Saturday, March 18. 2006
So how big is the fertility industry?:
So why is egg donation a problem?:
And it is only going to get worse:
I have an thought. Maybe if we weren't aborting 1 million babies per year, couples could adopt instead of going through IVF. Then there wouldn't be such a need for young women to put their fertility and health at risk for their eggs. Stop creating and destroying embryos for research and there, problem solved!
Monday, February 20. 2006
Continued from The Incredible Egg: Part 2
So why am I going on about the egg? It isn't just because of the science surrounding the egg. I think it is a symbol of much more.
I have been avoiding this entry because it will be difficult. The Good Lord knows that I am no theologian, and I have prayed for Him to help me out with this part. Forgive me if I fall short, which I am sure I will. Here goes...
Clearly, the egg is very powerful. We women should be proud of what we hold in our bodies and men should respect it. But, more and more the egg is in demand and the demand cannot be filled. More and more women's fertility will be put at risk to get to those eggs. More and more scientists will turn a blind eye to the abuses of women as long as they get their "golden eggs." With egg demand on the rise, and if SCNT in humans is successful, I believe women will become even more marginalized, and more like commodities, not less.
Which brings me to the Church. Critics of the Catholic Church have said that it marginalizes women and does not respect the "sacred feminine." (Sorry, couldn't resist the chance to slam Dan Brown.) In my experience, they could not be more wrong.
The Church has great respect for women evidenced by (but not limited to) its reverence for the procreative power that women hold. The Church says that it is not O.K. to only "acknowledge" some parts of the female reproductive system and leave others. It is not O.K. to ask women to distort or change their fertility so that men can have what they want without consequence. It is not O.K. to make women, or their wombs, or their eggs commodities to be bought and sold.
In short, I believe that because of the respect the Church grants to women, and to sex in general, the Church acknowledges the power of the egg. It is not O.K. to put a women's fertility or life at risk to obtain the incredible egg for research or therapeutic purposes.
This is where the Church and feminists everywhere have common ground. Crazy huh?
I am just waiting for science to stand up and say, "Can we do this without the egg? Can we make pluripotent stem cells without making women commodities? We should try!"
Saturday, February 18. 2006
Contunued from The Incredile Egg: Part 1
Every cell in your body has the DNA that makes you uniquely you. Every gene that is need for every cell is in all of them, regardless of the kind of cell. So what makes heart cells differ from neurons? Not all cells express the same genes. So, while a heart cell has the genes to make it function like a neuron, it expresses the genes that make it a heart cell.
Which brings us to some stem cell terminology. Each stem cell has different genes expressed that make them fall in one of these categories:
So, in theory, any cell could become a pluripotent stem cell, if we could figure out which genes need to be expressed.
So what does this have to do with an egg? Well, the egg has the magic formula.
In SCNT, the egg takes DNA from a fully differentiated skin cell and turns on and off the right genes to make it pluripotent again. Actually, in SCNT the egg makes a totipotent cell (able to make all cell types including a placenta) which means it makes a zygote, a one-celled embryo. After a weeks growth, the zygote becomes a blastocyst with about 200 cells. The inner cells mass is then pluripotent and researchers break open the embryo to get to the pluripotent cells inside.
So, as of now, the only way to reprogram one of your unipotent cells back to pluripotency, whether through SCNT or ANT, is to use an egg. Unfortunately, in doing so, SCNT creates a cloned human embryo in the process.
Women, you feeling at all special yet?
More on the ethical and theological implications of the incredible egg later...
Friday, February 17. 2006
Many of you may not realize the power of the human oocyte, better known as the egg. There is a reason eggs are in high demand. Like the women who carry them, they hold great power.
So what is it about the egg that makes researchers clamour for them? I first learned about the egg from Dr. Michael West's book The Immortal Cell. (Once again, I highly recommend this book even though it is pro-cloning. West's reasoning is as fascinating as it is scary.)
Very simply, as DNA ages the ends of the chromosomes called telomeres also "age". The telomere has a set number of DNA sequence base repeats. With each cell division the telomere gets shorter, until the lack of repeat sequence signals the cell that it is done dividing. The egg has a unique little enzyme called a telomerase, that resets the telomeres. It puts back the repeats. So inserting 46 year-old DNA into an egg that has had its nucleus removed, makes the 46 year-old DNA "new" again.
West is obsessed with the egg. West explains that he sees eggs very differently than most of us. He writes that most people think:
Confused? Let me put it in terms that maybe be easier to understand. Let's take the analogy to humans. We see the human egg as a human's way to make another human. West sees a human being as an egg's way of making another egg. (You may need to read that a few times before the implications settle in.)
No wonder that many, including myself, are concerned about women being exploited for their eggs, if a cloning scientist admits he thinks a woman is an egg's way of making more eggs.
More on the incredible egg later...
Thursday, February 2. 2006
Peter Aldhous wrote a great piece for New Scientist on the selective outrage over the Dr. Hwang cloning scandal. Unfortunately, the commentary is by subscription only, but I will relate the pertinent points. Aldhous writes about when the scandal over Hwang's unethical procurement of eggs broke:
The lack of concern over the exploitation of women continues, Aldous writes:
Normally, I am not one for male-bashing or playing the "gender-card". On the whole, I think men are great. Here comes the but...
But, I find that many men really don't understand that donating eggs is not like donating sperm. One is invasive and potentially painful with serious side effects and the other is well...not. Add in the fact that while men have an endless supply of gametes, we women have a limited number, and you have the reality that donating eggs is a serious endeavor.
Unfortunately, it isn't just the pro-cloning side that ignores the egg issue. I understand that proponents of altered nuclear transfer (ANT) are well intentioned, but in their zeal for an alternative to cloning to create custom embryonic stem cells, they often fail to mention that ANT still needs eggs like somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or "garden-variety" cloning. Read this commentary by Dolores Meehan from www.MaryMeetsDolly.com.
Which brings me to my question: is science still a "good ol' boys" network? If other researchers were more concerned about the veracity of Hwang's results than the well-being of fellow women scientists in his lab, then the answer maybe "Yes."
Aldhous finishes his article with this:
Wednesday, December 21. 2005
I found another article on the scandal facing Dr. Hwang and his South Korean cloning research. I thought this one was interesting because it adds a new wrinkle. Hwang claimed that he developed a technique that does not need as many human eggs to produce clones as other labs. Less eggs makes therapeutic cloning more marketable to those who only care about the exploitation of women for their eggs and not about the creation and destruction of innocent human life. (Of course, we know better!) It turns out that not only did Hwang lie about the source of his eggs, but the amount that it took to get his supposed results. From the Boston Globe:
I also noticed the comment from Dr. Robert Lanza, which means Advanced Cell Technologies is still in the fight. This scandal will not deter their efforts to clone humans. I am sure it has re-energized them and they are working even harder to be the "first" to clone a human and harvest embryonic stem cells.
(Page 1 of 1, totaling 17 entries)
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