Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Egg "donation" and the Trafficking of Women

I can't see any way around it. The more I read on the subject, the more I am convinced that this new phenomenon is just the same old sex trade.

Whether you call it "Egg Donation", "Body Shopping", "Sex Trafficking" or the thoroughly odious, "Reproductive Tourism" we are, with a few exceptions, talking about the rental, sale, use of one woman's body (usually relatively disadvantaged) for the pleasure of another person (relatively advantaged). The exceptions are two - first, the healthy, intelligent, tall, beautiful and blond college co-eds who are marketed to specifically to make their eggs available for some "deserving" couple who wants a baby - but only a certain kind of baby. The second exception is when these co-eds finance their Ivy League educations by selling their eggs to some research firm. Either way, they are selling their future fertility and health for the sake of something (their college education) which is what may end up keeping them warm at night.

Otherwise the trade is largely accomplished by exploiting poor women from Eastern Europe and India for the benefit of wealthy westerners - heterosexual and homosexual. Nothing new about that, is there? Bulgarian girls are recruited to clinics in places like Cyprus where they are paid a tenth of what a young woman would be paid in this country then they prostitute themselves in other ways until they can undergo the donation routine again. Indian women rent their wombs in order to buy a house for their families. One clinic in Texas offers not only sperm and eggs listed by characteristics of donors - but also tiny frozen babies (known in scientific jargon as embryos) you can pick with the likely hair color of your choice.

It's not pretty. Over the next weeks and months, you will begin to see more and more of the ugly, immoral, sinfulness of it all. The first half-dozen or so posts are in the works and will be appearing over the next few weeks. They are:

  • A review of the UN Protocol on Trafficking in Persons
  • Reproductive Tourism
  • A review of, Body Shopping by Donna Dickenson
  • The health risks to egg donors
  • The economics of trafficking
  • The commodification of babies

Stick with the series and I hope to include further reading suggestions or actions that can be taken to combat the trade at the end of each post.

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