The Zenaide Project


Women have died in in vitro fertilization (IVF) programs.  Few know this. While physicians--I call them "technodocs"-- organized press conferences to announce IVF births, they have not announced IVF deaths to the press. 

Beginning in 1989, I investigated some of these deaths--in Brazil, Germany, Spain, Israel, Martinique--and detailed parts of the investigation in speeches and in the introduction to an anthology. 

The investigation was named The Zenaide Project in honor of the first woman whose death I had learned of through the fine work of the feminist physician Ana Regina Gomes dos Reis of Brazil. 

The deaths of these women still haunt me. The work feels incomplete since the information was never assembled in one book.

I do not want the women to remain unknown, nameless, mourned by few.

In the process of investigating the women’s deaths, I had many terrifying near-death experiences in which it was clear to me that in the next moment my life could end. I experienced in some of these situations what the women had in their IVF deaths: indifference; non-caring; not being seen as having value; being nameless and unknown to those who surrounded me.  

It has occurred to me that I could, in a series of videos, use the stories of my own near-deaths as a structure to tell the stories of the women whose deaths I had been investigating.  

I will begin making these videos and putting them up here once I complete work on my current book, Table in the Clearing: Stories of Sacred Jailbreaks. Please check in from time to time to view them. 

If you have information on the death of a woman in an IVF program, please share it with me.  Technodocs have not kept a registry of these deaths. We could start one.