No, You Don’t Actually Want Every Fetus to be Born

The hypocrisy of enforcing pregnancy in a country where many people don’t even qualify to be egg donors.

Kristen Pizzo


Pro-choice activists protesting anti-abortion laws.
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

You don’t actually want every embryo or fetus to have a chance at life.

Just look at the requirements we set for egg donors.

The standards for which bundles of cells will become “acceptable” babies are extremely biased. Now, of course parents who conceive in a traditional way aren’t governed by these standards, but it still sends a strong message about which lives we value.

If someone with ovaries wants to donate their eggs, there’s a long list of attributes that will disqualify them. These standards are set by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the FDA and the CDC:

  • being a weight that is too low or too high (as defined by the medically irrelevant BMI)
  • having had someone in their immediate family die by suicide
  • experiencing irregular (non-monthly) periods
  • being over 30 years old (in some cases)
  • relying on Medicaid, food stamps, or other financial assistance
  • having recent smoking or drug history (including cannabis use)
  • being “unhealthy” (which is not easy to define without discrimination and stigma)

Additionally, the egg donor requirements specify that donors must be “well-educated,” have a supportive partner, family, or friend, must be able to access to family medical history up until their grandparents, (which is sometimes a privilege in itself) and must possess the maturity and preparedness needed to engage in the process of helping people conceive.

And that’s not for pregnancy — that’s just for donating an unfertilized egg.

A pregnant person stands on a median in a street.
Photo by Jordan Bauer on Unsplash

It starts to sound a bit like eugenics. Many people who already have biological children would certainly not pass an egg donor screening.



Kristen Pizzo

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