All over the world young women are solicited by a multi-billion dollar industry to help infertile couples have a baby. They are promised large sums of money and are assured of the safety and nobility of the cause. However, egg donors are not tracked and monitored for short and long term risks that are associated with the surgical procedures and the powerful drugs taken to boost ovulation for harvesting multiple follicles (eggs).
Girls who donate eggs, after they’re done with her; there are no numbers, there is nobody asking – How many of those girls have gone on to have complications or problems? – She is nameless, she doesn’t appear anywhere. She doesn’t appear in the medical literature, she doesn’t appear in any kind of tracking or oversight. She is gone. This is not a procedure that is not without risks, and one of those risks unfortunately is death. (Suzanne Parisian, MD: Former Chief Medical Officer, FDA)
The Harvest is a place for us to hear the moving stories recounted by young female donors. It is also a memorial wall for the stories that may never be heard.
Listen to an excerpt from a story by a donor, from Eggsploitation
The imagery used in this piece refers to the iconography of 16th century religious paintings, such as Tintoretto’s The Massacre of the Innocents. The work is exhibited as a sound/projection installation: there is nothing tangible within the installation space itself. Once the projectors and the sound installation are turned off, all the evidence disappears, a gesture that aims to reinforce the point that there is no evidence of how egg donors are tracked or monitored for short- or long-term health risks.
Tintoretto, The Massacre of the Innocents, 1582-87, public domain, Web Gallery of Art
The artist would like to thank The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network for granting her permission to use excerpts from the Eggsploitation documentary in her installation and in this publication.
Sharon Mutch is a British photographic artist and educator. A graduate of Manchester Metropolitan University (BA Fine Art) and MA Photographic Studies (University of Westminster), she has exhibited her work at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, Viridian Artists in New York and Les Rencontres D’Arles. Her practice responds to the stories of individuals whom she discovers through the Internet. She interprets their recollections and creates photographic installations in the form of stage sets, thus enabling those original stories to be retold to new audiences.