The 13th Carnival of the Radical Feminists

April 21, 2008

The Thirteenth Carnival of the Radical Feminists is up and Anji has done a fantastic job.

I personally have to register my concern that an article advocating stem cell research was included in this month’s carnival, as I know that many (most?) radical feminists are opposed to the harvesting of eggs from women’s bodies which is necessary for stem cell research. Women have died from the egg extraction proceedure and there are real concerns that in the future women will be paid to sell their bodies out as egg factories in order to satiate man’s desire to control life, death and reproduction. For more information about this issue go to the Hands Off Our Ovaries website and sign the manifesto. Because women’s lives are not playthings for masculinist scientists.

Although I have problems with this one blog post, I take no issue with this edition of carnival or with Anji. I think she has done a wonderful job and I am amazed that she has been able to produce it on time despite having a young child and various other things going on in her life. Kudos to you sister.


  1. Thanks! I forwarded your comment to Cru, as I don’t know a huge amount about any of it. The concern you raise is a valid and worrying one indeed. :/

  2. I don’t know a huge amount about any of it.

    I think this is really the problem. The debate is seen as one between religious fundimentalists and rational scientists and feminists get totally ignored. As I said on your blog, I have supported science over religion in the past re. RU486 little knowing that feminists were opposed to the abortion drug as it had serious, serious effects on women’s health. In reality, neither scientists nor religious types have women’s interests at heart and they both use us as pawns in their little power games. 😦

  3. How interesting. I really thought stem cell research was very cool/interesting. I always had this notion that the women giving the cells were treated well, and that it was their free choice but now that you bring it up like that, it seems obvious that there’d be messy, sticky, painful issues there.

    N’if it did become a thing where women got paid for it, which women would do it? In the vast majority of cases it would be the economically disadvantaged.


  4. How many stem cells for research is from eggs donated specifically for the purpose? (not stirring, I don’t know). Some, at least, are sourced from embryos that would otherwise be discarded; and new techniques are being developed to make somatic cells into stem cells.

    Cruella’s article specifically identifies the problem with egg donation, and talks about a technique using bovine egg cells (again, controversial, but in a different way).

    There has recently been some interest in stem cells in breastmilk – and nowhere near enough attention has been paid in the feminist community to the issues with commercial breastmilk mining and patenting. I’ve written a little about it, in relation to the biotech firm Prolacta (which is pretending to be a milk bank and charitable organisation); Valerie McClain’s blog is a rich source of information on current attempts to assert ownership over women’s milk.

  5. There was a scheme running in the UK last year where women going for IVF were being offered half-price treatment if they agreed to some of their eggs being used for this stem-sell research. Which is basically pay the women for their eggs, which as I understand it, is actually illegal in the UK. I blogged about it at the time, but the blog it was on is now deleted.

    When you start to think about it, this whole issue very quickly gets very complicated and it’s easy to find yourself out of your depth as a lot of the debates use jargon/scientific language etc. – which also acts as a barrier to proper debate among us ‘lesser mortals’.

    The case where women are offered cut-price IVF if they ‘donate’ some of their eggs to research is extremely exploitative of desperate women. I know from experience that by the time you come to consider IVF, you have tried every other possible avenue, and usually endured years and years of infertility, along with the stress, depression etc which that brings. We had just been referred for IVF treatment when, by some miracle, I became pregnant naturally, and thus no longer needed it, but if we had been offered half-price treatment, we would have had virtually no choice but to take it, as IVF is very expensive and in the UK at the moment you are only entitled to 1 free cycle on the NHS (success rate for the 1st cyle is around 15%) – Therefore I would have become one of those women who was so cynically exploited by the researchers, but I wouldn’t have cared because the possibility of having a baby out-weighs all other considerations:- something which the researchers are all too aware off, which is how it is so easy for them to exploit women in that situation.

    Sorry, I’m going on a bit – I may have to blog about this again! x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: