Russell and Duenes

Where are the “investigative” journalists?

with 3 comments

One of the realities of In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) is that, in many cases, it requires young women to sell their eggs so that infertile women wanting to have a babies of their own can buy them. This egg “donation” (some ads for eggs offer women up to $100,000) carries with it great risks, but you wouldn’t know it based on the “investigative” journalism we get served up these days. Falsehood abounds. To wit,

One article claims, “Donors do not have to be mothers themselves and donating eggs does not affect the donor’s own possibilities of having children.” False! See the video below or catch the film Lines That Divide.

Dr. Eli Reshef writes, “I have been personally supervising egg donation since 1994 without a single incident of severe injury or death. This is also the experience of the few other providers of this valuable service in our state. There is no scientific evidence for an increased risk to one’s fertility or health from donating eggs. Worldwide, more than 32 years of experience with in vitro fertilization have shown no long-term adverse effect from ovarian stimulation or egg retrieval.” False! While Dr. Reshef may not personally know of anyone who has suffered “severe injury or death” from egg “donation,” that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. In fact, how would the good doctor know that “there is no scientific evidence,” since there is no egg donor registry or follow up on any of these women. Once they donate their eggs and are compensated, they may as well not exist. But they’re starting to come out of the woodwork. Lest you think this is just bald assertion, read this story. The bald assertions are coming from those who say there’s no evidence of long-term effects. There may not be (though what should we make of these women who are coming forward?), but shouldn’t we do the follow-up studies to make sure?

In an article from Arizona, “Sen. Rebecca Rios, D-Apache Junction, said there is no evidence that women [who donate their eggs] are not told the risks of the procedure. She said the Legislature should butt out.” False! They can’t be told the risks because the long-term risks have never been studied, as Jennifer Schneider, a Tucson physician, correctly notes in the same article. The objection is usually raised that no studies have ever shown a link between the hormones women take to hyper-stimulate their ovaries and a higher incidence of cancer. True enough, but the proper long-term studies on women who have taken the hormone Lupron have not been conducted such that women could be reassured that there is not a link.

Jennifer Lahl, National Director of The Center for Bioethics and Culture says it well, Egg donation is risky business. But unlike other high-risk jobs that offer appropriate compensation for the dangers (e.g., skyscraper window washing), the egg donation process is inherently risky, from beginning to end. What are those risks? Stroke, organ failure, infection, cancer, loss of future fertility, and in rare instances, even death. Sadly, longer-term risks remain a mystery, let alone properly understood, because of the lack of any long-term medical research or follow-ups on egg donors.

Where’s are the journalists on this? Where are the feminists? And forget about IVF. If we’re going to ramp up on embryonic stem cell research and “therapeutic” cloning, as it looks like we’re set to do, we’re going to need a whole pile more eggs than we currently have. Where are we going to get them? And how much money is going to change hands?


Written by Michael Duenes

March 14, 2010 at 4:15 am

Posted in Bioethics, Duenes

3 Responses

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  1. Thank you for this very relevant article – the lack of journalistic investigation related to the harm lupron has caused (for all indications) is appalling and perplexing. It took me 6 years to get the Boston Globe to do their 1st story on the risks of IVF and lupron (8/4/96), and I could write a book on my dogged attempts since the early 90’s to bring this issue to the attention of the media and Congress, to name a few – with little effect.

    Your article did not address the fact that there are TENS of THOUSANDS of lupron victims who have essentially been ignored, nor did you address the fact that lupron is a “hazardous drug” according to NIH and OSHA. These are critical facts that need to be exposed.

    That I, a harmed lupron victim, have been personally responsible for so many stories on the risks of lupron and IVF (i.e., Boston Globe, Boston TAB, West Roxbury (MA) Transcript, Nicholas Regush Lupron series, FOX TV News investigations) speaks to the sorry state of journalistic investigatory initiative. No victim should have to do what I have had to do to ‘get the word out’. And now there are plenty of lupron victims who are bombarding the media and Congress with pleas of an investigation. So … where is the investigation?

    Please see my website,, for further information, and specifically the ‘Media’ page for reference/links to the above mentioned stories on the risks of lupron and ART. Note the horrific experiences relayed in the ‘Petition2Congress’ asking for an investigation into the risks of lupron (link on my homepage). Read the medical expert testimony on the risks of lupron (homepage). And for additional citations of the risks inherent with lupron and IVF/egg donation, please see my ‘3/27/03 Congressional testimony’ (‘Documents’ page).

    Lynne Millican

    March 14, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    • Thank you so very much for your helpful and insightful comment. I do some work as an educational liaison for The Center for Bioethics and Culture, and this is a very important issue for us. I don’t know if you’ve seen our film, Lines That Divide, but I would commend it to you. I appreciate the website you’ve linked here, and I will be reading the pieces you’ve suggested and more. Thank you for helping to inform me better. I’m just beginning to “ramp up” on this issue, and appreciate all the help I can get. I’m glad to be making common cause with you on this, and I hope that as we shine a light on it, positive changes can be made to save women’s health and lives. If there’s any more material that you feel would be helpful for me to know, please pass it along.



      March 14, 2010 at 4:42 pm

  2. Thanks for your interest – it is much appreciated and sorely needed. And yes, I have seen all but the last 10 minutes of ‘Lines that Divide’ – again, very much appreciated and timely.

    For further reading on my website, I would suggest looking at ‘LupronSUQS’ (Serious Unanswered QuestionS) and ‘USA[ttorney] Draft Document’, which address the risks of lupron and the questionable science and FDA approval.

    Thanks again,

    Lynne Millican

    March 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

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