This manifesto is issued on the initiative of the Asturian Feminist Association (Spain) Rapiegas
CIAMS supports this action.
The link for the signature of this Manifesto is accessible at the end of the document.
WE ARE NOT COMMODITIES FOR THE REPRODUCTIVE INDUSTRY, WE ARE PEOPLE!
STOP THE RECRUITMENT OF “DONORS” FOR THE REPRODUCTIVE INDUSTRY AT UNIVERSITIES
Advertisements seeking gamete “donors” – eggs and sperm – in universities are becoming increasingly common, and this is unacceptable for the following reasons:
- We university students are the target of a biomarket of raw materials for a very lucrative industry that moves more than 600 million euros a year in Spain, the world’s second most popular destination for reproductive tourism, only behind United States
- The lax legislation provides for compensation for gamete donation – between 800 and 1000 euros – to compensate for travel expenses, inconvenience and possible job losses, but, in reality, this compensation masks a purchase and the amount fluctuates according to supply and This amount decreases the more adverse the socio- economic situation is; in other words, this business profits from the precariousness and vulnerability of people, especially young women.
- But not only that; according to Law 14/2006 on Assisted Human Reproduction Techniques:
“The donation shall never be of a lucrative or commercial nature. The financial compensation that may be fixed may only compensate strictly for the physical inconvenience and the travel and work expenses that may arise from the donation and may not constitute an economic incentive for the donation.
Any advertising or promotional activity by authorised establishments that encourages the donation of human tissues and cells must respect the altruistic nature of the donation and may not, under any circumstances, encourage donation by offering compensation or financial benefits”.
According to the same law, they qualify as serious misconduct:
- Financial remuneration for the donation of gametes and pre-embryos or their financial compensation contrary to the provisions of Articles 5(3) and 11(6).
- Advertising or promotion that encourages the donation of human tissues and cells by authorised establishments by offering compensation or financial benefits contrary to the provisions of Article 5(3).
- When it comes to egg donation, advertisements appeal to our generosity and altruism. They resort to emotional blackmail with the sole purpose of marketing our reproductive capacity, appealing to empathy with women who cannot conceive spontaneously. “Give the gift of motherhood”, as the advertising says. But what the infertility industry calls “donation to help fulfil a dream” is nothing more than bio- marketing and reproductive exploitation.
- Unemployment, job insecurity, the probability of not finding work or of being fired for being mothers, and the exhaustive dedication to a professional career (if we are lucky enough to have one) force women to delay motherhood to an age when it is difficult or impossible to achieve it. This not only turns both egg donors and recipients into victims of a neoliberal, capitalist and patriarchal system, but also into coveted prey for the reproductive industry whose advertising seeks to make both of us feel guilty: “Hundreds of eggs are wasted every year, many women need them”.
- Sperm donor recruitment is not about altruism or frustration, but rather the process is presented as something playful to make some money. Although the interested market puts sperm and egg donation on the same level, the differences between these biomaterials and their treatment are abysmal.
- Women are born with a finite number of eggs, estimated at around 400 for our entire reproductive life; tit means, the biomaterial they want to trade is limited. his makes it a highly prized commodity in international markets, be it
for assisted reproduction, research or therapeutic cloning. For this reason, this business targets the most vulnerable women, such as students, with more precarious economic power and with access to lower-paid jobs that they must combine with classes.
- We are selected or discarded on the basis of our physical characteristics (“race”, weight, height, eye and hair colour…), a covert eugenics, and we are lied to by being told that ovodonation is a harmless procedure, which is totally false. What happens is that we are not properly informed of the associated risks because (surprise!) in thirty years of reproductive business there is no exhaustive study – in any country in the world – on the effects of ovodonation on our health in the medium and long term: donors cease to exist for the clinics as soon as they achieve their goal.
- In the process of ovodonation, we are hypermedicalised with hormones whose effect has not been tested in the long run – we are their guinea pigs – in order to stimulate long-term effect – we are their guinea pigs – in order to stimulate the production of 10 to 20 eggs per cycle. The transvaginal ovarian puncture, with which eggs are extracted, is a minor surgery, but it is still an operation that involves risks and pain before, during and after its procedure.
- The short, medium and long-term effects and risks to our health include the following: ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, bladder and bowel perforations, kidney failure, intrauterine polyps, ovarian cysts, thromboembolism, acute respiratory distress, ovarian rupture haemorrhage, early menopause (with associated effects such as premature ageing and osteoporosis) and infertility. Cases of cancer have also been reported in very young girls with no family history and no risk factors, but with a single common factor: having been an egg “donor”.
- Contrary to what happens in other types of tissue, organ, fluid and cell donation, there is no health monitoring of donors, neither by the Ministry of Health nor by the SEF (Spanish Fertility Society), and although there is a register of egg donors, regulated by Law 14/2006 article 21, there is no report or study on this issue, so there are young women who, out of economic necessity, resort to this form of obtaining money on successive occasions.
- The anonymity of gamete donation in Spain and the lack of information provided by the clinics that are profiting from the growing demand for assisted reproduction techniques using donated gametes mean that we do not know to whom the industry sells this biomaterial, with the consequent ethical implications. And we should not forget that this material is used in the practice of surrogacy, the ultimate expression of the reproductive exploitation of women.
- This industry uses us as raw material, taking advantage of the fact that neither society nor the labour market allows us to exercise our freedom to become mothers if we wish to do so when we are fertile; it privatises our reproductive health and favours a few to make money at our expense. First as a product and then as clients.
We therefore DEMAND that all spanish university rectorates, both public and private, BAN all advertising of this kind in all their spaces.
FIRST: by obligatory compliance with current legislation in spain, as Law 14/2006 expressly prohibits encouraging donation through economic incentives, as well as advertising or promotion that encourages donation.
SECOND: on ethical grounds, because it is misleading advertising that deliberately conceals the health risks of the “donors” and because it targets the most vulnerable sector of the student body, i.e. female students with the least economic resources.
They are telling us that there is no risk to our health and it is NOT TRUE.
They are telling us of derisory percentages of incidences and it is NOT TRUE.
We cannot allow them to continue to capture us with misleading, illegal and manipulative advertising to supply AN INDUSTRY THAT PRACTICES THE EXTRACTIVISM OF OUR BODIES AND OUR REPRODUCTIVE CAPACITY FOR BUSINESS…
…AND THEN DISCARDS US, UNTIL WE OURSELVES BECOME THE CLIENTS OF THAT INDUSTRY BECAUSE THE SYSTEM PREVENTED US FROM EXERCISING THE FREEDOM TO BE MOTHERS WHEN WE WANTED TO.
The link to sign this Manifesto is here