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Assisted Reproduction

Human Egg Harvesting Ring Cracked

This is very disturbing:

Police in Attica on Saturday arrested five suspects, one of them a Greek doctor, in connection with a cross-border ring believed to have been exploiting immigrant women by harvesting eggs from their ovaries to give to Greek women interested in in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Two Bulgarian men, a Bulgarian woman and two Romanian men were detained as suspected members of the gang, according to Greek police who said they were assisted by their counterparts in Romania and Bulgaria.

The 47-year-old doctor was arrested at an Athens fertility clinic late on Friday as he was about to remove eggs from the ovaries of a 20-year-old Romanian woman, police said. Most of the women alleged to have been exploited by the gang had been brought to Greece, ostensibly for legitimate jobs, before being sold into prostitution and then being forced to agree to the removal of their eggs. One of the Romanian suspects, a 37-year-old woman, allegedly underwent the same procedure herself several times before bringing six of her compatriots into contact with the gang, police said.

The suspects face long jail terms if convicted.

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. As long as legal regulations and oversight continue to lag behind the rapidly evolving technology, human exploitation like this will continue unabated. In addition to the victimization of these immigrant women, there are untold numbers of Parents and their children who now will have to deal with the ramifications of this egg trafficking ring. Under the best of circumstances, one of the most difficult decisions any Recipient Parent has to make is what and when to tell their child about their genetic origins. How anguishing that decision and disclosure has now become for those parents who received eggs from this Greek physician.

Moreover, how does a child process the revelation that their genetic contributor was forced against her will to relinquish her eggs? While in no way am I comparing the two, this resulting situation is somewhat analogous to the rape victim who is impregnated and then chooses to raise the child. Do you tell or not? I do not believe their is any simple or “right” answer to this question as each family will have to make an informed decision based upon what is best for them. I can only hope all the victims are given access to mental health professionals to help them work through these issues.


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