I thought that the shocking American documentary Eggsploitation had the last word on the exploitation of young women for their eggs. It showed that all over the world they are being promised lucrative sums “to make someone’s dream come true”. Some were racked by regret, some worried about cancer, some had suffered potentially fatal ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS).
But when I heard the words “young woman”, I never, ever, thought of a 15-year-old. That’s how old a slum girl in Mumbai, Sushma Pandey, was when she first donated eggs for US$450. She did it three times. A year and a half later she was dead, presumably of OHSS. No one knows where the money went.
The clinic which retrieved her eggs boasts that it is a world leader and a specialist in gay surrogacy. It appears to have been targeted by a criminal gang which somehow dragooned young Sushma into donating. But the shocking thing about this case is that although it happened in 2010, the news has only emerged now. How many other 15-year-old girls in India (and other countries) are being ruthlessly exploited in this way? There could be thousands of them. Are some of them 14? 13? No one knows. No one cares. The important thing is to make sure that dreams come true: the dreams of IVF clinics for money and of Westerners for children.
What is really going on in the Netherlands?
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