Seeking Your Input: Survey on Egg Retrieval

Posted by Gina Maranto, <i>Biopolitical Times</i> guest contributor April 22, 2015
Biopolitical Times
pencil next to a series of boxes, some of them checked

Egg harvesting is a medical procedure that has been used since the late 1970s in infertility clinics worldwide. The number of egg harvesting procedures has risen steeply in the last decade due to increased prevalence of in vitro fertilization (IVF) with so-called “donor eggs” rather than the birth mother’s own eggs, as well as to growing demand for human eggs from scientists investigating stem cells. Within the last two or three years, infertility specialists have also begun promoting egg harvesting and freezing as supposed means for otherwise healthy young women to ensure their future ability to have children.

Short-term risks of the type of egg harvesting that is accompanied by hormone treatment are well known.  Yet despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of women have undergone egg harvesting, few long-term studies of potential risks have been done, and those have yielded contradictory results (e.g., Ness, 2002, Althius, et al., 2005; Brinton, et al., 2005). 

The practice of soliciting young women’s participation in what has become a global market for eggs thus raises critical ethical issues concerning informed consent (Beeson and Lippmann, 2006).  Our team at the University of Miami and CGS is surveying young women’s knowledge and attitudes toward egg harvesting and its risks. Such information will yield critical insights into how best to frame health information intended to enable women to make informed choices about this procedure.

If you’ve ever donated your eggs, or if you’re interested in taking a survey about egg donation and are a woman 18-40 with U.S. citizenship, we’d like to hear from you. 

This survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete and will help us understand how much American women in this age group know about egg harvesting; how many women have had their eggs harvested and for what reasons; and how women understand and think about the long- and short-term risks of the procedure.

If you are willing to take the survey, the link is here.

This is an anonymous survey; your answers will not be connected to you in any way.  We will not be connecting your name, although we will ask for some geographical information if you have had your eggs harvested or have donated eggs in the past.

After you complete the survey, you will also be given information for contacting the principal investigator, Gina Maranto, at the University of Miami in case you would like to participate in a followup interview (which is entirely optional). 

Sources:

Althuis, M.D., Moghissi, K.S., Westhoff, C.L. et al. 2005. Uterine cancer after use of clomiphene citrate to induce ovulation. American Journal of Epidemiology 161, 607–615.

Beeson, D. & Lippmann, A. 2006. Egg harvesting for stem cell research. Reproductive BioMedicine Online 13, 573-579.

Brinton, L.A., Kamran, S., Moghissi, M.D. et al. 2005. Ovulation induction and cancer risk. Fertility and Sterility 83, 261–274.

Ness, R.B., Cramer, D.W., Goodman, M.T. 2002. Infertility, fertility drugs, and ovarian cancer: a pooled analysis of case–control studies. American Journal of Epidemiology 155, 217–224.

*****

 

Gina Maranto is Director of Ecosystem Science and Policy and coordinator of the Environmental Science and Policy program at the University of Miami's Leonard and Jayne Abess Center. She is also a Fellow at the Center for Genetics and Society. She is the author of Quest for Perfection: The Drive to Breed Better Human Beings (1996).

Previously on Biopolitical Times: