Report: Ethical Use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Ethical Use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies
National Perinatal Association | December 2015

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-3-06-14-pmProfessor Michele Goodwin at the University of Minnesota and Judy Norsigian have described the “raw and debilitating physical, emotional and spiritual challenges created by deeply personal and life-altering procedures” experienced by some women seeking ART and support the need for additional regulation. In addition to the invasive processes involved in conception, the ethical quandary created by a recommendation for fetal reduction and the emotional toll on women and couples may be profound and is incompletely studied. Professor Goodwin asserts there is a “much needed public discourse that could also become the clarion call for regulation of a field of medicine that has thus far unsuccessfully regulated itself.”

This position paper by the National Perinatal Association addresses the ethical use of assisted reproductive technologies. It emphasizes reducing disparities in care provided to mothers and children and makes helpful recommendations, including: single embryo transfers, counseling from a multi-disciplinary team, informed consent prior to treatment, and access to comprehensive obstetric care during and after treatment.

Read the full document >

Article: Do Women Who Donate Their Eggs Run a Health Risk?

Do Women Who Donate Their Eggs Run a Health Risk?
By Sandra G. Boodman | The Washington Post | June 20, 2016

screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-12-16-29-pmA transaction once shrouded in secrecy, the Internet now hosts a thriving and competitive marketplace for donors, largely supplanting leaflets on college bulletin boards and ads in campus newspapers, the traditional methods of recruiting fertile young women. Payment varies, currently starting at about $3,500 per cycle and sometimes exceeding $50,000, depending on the location of the clinic or egg brokerage and the donor’s characteristics. An Ivy League education, Asian descent (there is a paucity of donors), exceptional looks and a previous donation that led to a birth command higher reimbursement.

This article provides a comparison between the experience of an egg provider who did not suffer any complications as a result of the process with another woman who was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer after 10 rounds of egg retrieval.

It includes interviews with noted experts, including Timothy R. B. Johnson, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and Judy Stern, professor of pa­thol­ogy and obstetrics and gynecology at Dartmouth, who oversees a voluntary database called the Infertility Family Research Registry.

Read the full article >

Film: Can We See the Baby Bump Please?

Can We See the Baby Bump Please?
Director: Surabhi Sharma | 2013

Can We See the Baby Bump Please

Can We See the Baby Bump Please?” is a detailed exploration of commercial surrogacy in India. It includes interviews with gestational mothers, providing rare and important glimpses into their lives and the contexts within which they make the decision to enter surrogacy relationships. The film was produced by Sama Resource Group for Women and Health, one of Surrogacy360’s global partners.

From film director Surabhi Sharma’s website:

The global reach of medical tourism and commercial surrogacy spawns a range of clinics and practices across big cities and small towns in India. Anonymous, often with limited choice, woman’s labour is yet again pushed into the background. A whiff of immorality, the absence of regulation and the erasure of the surrogate’s experience collude to produce a climate of callousness. May we see the baby bump please? meets with surrogates, doctors, law firms,agents, and family in an attempt to understand the context of surrogacy in India.

For more information on the film, including a link to purchase, visit Magic Lantern Movies.

Plus: Following a screening of “Can We See the Baby Bump Please?” at Harvard University in 2015, Judy Norsigian, co-founder and former executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves, and I. Glenn Cohen, faculty director of the Petrie-Flom Center and a professor at Harvard Law School, discussed the legal and human rights issues surrounding surrogacy and egg donation in a global context:

Article: A Call for Protecting the Health of Women Who Donate Their Eggs

A Call for Protecting the Health of Women Who Donate Their Eggs
By Judy Norsigian and Timothy R.B. Johnson, M.D | WBUR Boston | March 28, 2016

CommonHealthThis opinion piece, published on WBUR’s CommonHealth Blog, outlines the authors’ key concerns related to egg retrieval, both for infertility treatment and research.

It includes a call for action – to gather better data on the risks – and provides additional resources for readers interested in learning about the issues and joining the efforts of organizations working on behalf of egg providers. This includes the Dartmouth, N.H.-based Infertility Family Research Registry, which is a voluntary registry set up to understand the health and well being of individuals and families created by ARTs and We Are Egg Donors, which provides a space for egg providers to talk about – and build community around – their experiences with egg retrieval.

Read the full commentary >

Timothy R.B. Johnson, M.D., is chair of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Judy Norsigian is co-founder and past executive director of Our Bodies Ourselves.

Book: Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies

Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies
By Miriam Zoll | Interlink Publishing Group | 2013
Buy at Amazon >

Foreword by Judy Norsigian, co-founder and former executive director, Our Bodies Ourselves, and Michele Goodwin, director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy

Cracked Open by Miriam ZollFrom the book description:

Cracked Open is Miriam Zoll’s eye-opening account of growing into womanhood with the simultaneous opportunities offered by the women’s movement and new discoveries in reproductive technologies. Influenced by pervasive media and cultural messages suggesting that science had finally eclipsed Mother Nature, Zoll –– like millions of women –– delays motherhood until the age of 40.

When things don’t progress as she had hoped, she and her husband enter a science-fiction world of medical seduction, capitalist conception and bioethical quagmires. Desperate to conceive, they turn to unproven treatments and procedures only to learn that the odds of becoming parents through reproductive medicine are far less than they and their generation had been led to believe.

Visit Miriam Zoll’s website to learn more >

Watch Miriam Zoll talk about her experience with infertility, IVF, and the search for an egg provider in an excerpt from The Cycle Forum.

Organization: Our Bodies Ourselves

Our Bodies Ourselves
United States

Our Bodies Ourselves logoOur Bodies Ourselves (OBOS) is a nonprofit organization based in Massachusetts that develops and promotes evidence-based information on girls’ and women’s reproductive health and sexuality.

OBOS addresses the social, economic, and political conditions that affect health care access and quality of care. This contextual information has inspired readers to learn more about and to change laws and policies that affect their own and their family’s well-being.

The OBOS Global Initiative works with women’s organizations around the world that have translated and adapted “Our Bodies, Ourselves” to their country’s unique cultural needs. Many of these groups are addressing assisted reproductive technologies via their own work and in collaboration with OBOS (visit Global Collaborations for more information).

Surrogacy360 is one example of the Global Initiative’s work toward greater transparency and awareness concerning international commercial surrogacy.

Read recent blogs by the organization on the issue and the broader implications of assisted reproductive technologies, including:

Learn more and visit the website >