Facing the Fallout of Artificial Reproductive Technologies | Carrie Gress | CWR
An interview with Jennifer Lahl, founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture
“Egg or sperm donors don’t help other people have children, they help other people have their children,” says Jennifer Lahl, founder and president of the Center for Bioethics and Culture.
Lahl spoke with Catholic World Report about her work to assist the most defenseless affected by the rapidly changing and largely unregulated world of biotechnology.
The CBC has produced three original, award-winning documentary films: Anonymous Father’s Day (2011), about children of sperm donors who long to know more about their biological fathers; Eggsploitation (2010), which uncovers the serious risks associated with human egg donation; and Lines That Divide (2009), focusing upon the stem-cell research debate.
CWR: Your work at the Center for Bioethics and Culture tries to help the most vulnerable affected by biotechnology. Other than, say, “spare embryos” from IVF, who else are you looking to assist?
Lahl: Our work focuses on end-of-life issues, like euthanasia, and “making life” issues via assisted reproductive technologies. The most vulnerable we seek to give a voice to are those facing terminal illness, disabilities, [the] suffering (those society says have a life not worth living), and also the stakeholders in assisted reproductive technology (ART), e.g., egg donors, surrogate mothers, and the children created by these technologies.
Of course, we do advocate against sperm donation too, and it may be a stretch to say a sperm donor is vulnerable, but we seek to educate them on the realities of donor conception. I often say to egg donors (and it could be said of sperm donation), you didn’t help a woman (or a couple or man) have a baby, you helped her have your baby.
CWR: The intense emotional desire to be a parent is the main motivation behind surrogacy and technologies like IVF. Your work, however, especially your films, focuses on different sets of emotions beyond those of potential parents. Tell us about those.