A: There is no contradiction. Depending on its use, HCG can enable, or thwart, pregnancy
In a Twitter exchange yesterday over the Vatican’s explosive charge that UNICEF and the World Health Organization are sterilizing Kenyan girls and women by lacing the tetanus vaccine with HCG, Genna Buck, Maclean’s Magazine’s health reporter, asked me for references that would explain the science.
Specifically, Genna asked why HCG, a hormone used in infertility treatments, would also act to sterilize women if delivered via the tetanus vaccine.
Here’s why. HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) performs several functions, including triggering ovulation and, after conception, enabling the human embryo to be implanted in the womb. Women who need help in their pregnancies sometimes benefit from injections of HCG, which the body recognizes as a beneficial hormone.
In contrast, when the body receives HCG via a vaccine, it acts as an antigen, stimulating the production of antibodies to HCG. Those antibodies cause the woman’s body to reject embryos, effectively sterilizing her. HCG’s effectiveness in preventing pregnancies, which has been long known, has led it to be used in the development of vaccines that would act as contraceptives. As described in a 1993 article entitled “A birth control vaccine is on the horizon for family planning” in the Annals of Medicine, “A number of birth control vaccines are at different stages of development, the most advanced being a vaccine inducing antibodies against human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG).”
Have UNICEF, WHO and the Kenyan government been secretly using HCG-laced tetanus vaccines as a population control measure, as the Vatican and its Kenyan bishops maintain? The bishops sent vials of the tetanus vaccines from the batch reserved for females of reproductive age to four unrelated laboratories inside and outside Kenya. All four showed that the tetanus vaccines were laced with HCG. In contrast, tests performed on 50 vials of tetanus vaccines for general use in the population showed all 50 to be clear of HCG.
How does UNICEF explain the presence of HCG in the batch of vials reserved for girls and women of reproductive age? In an email to the Washington Post last year, UNICEF deemed it an “extremely rare contamination.” How does the Kenya Ministry of Health explain the presence of HCG? It doesn’t. Last year, it agreed to participate in a Kenyan Parliamentary Committee on Health joint expert committee, made up of experts chosen by both sides in this dispute specifically to settle the controversy. The Ministry of Health then inexplicably refused to cooperate with the parliamentary committee, and refused to accept the findings of the joint experts, who also found HCG in the batch of vials meant for the girls and women aged 14-49.
One other departure from normal practice also begs an explanation. According to Dr. Muhame Ngare of the Mercy Medical Centre in Nairobi, the government’s tetanus program worryingly involves five shots of the tetanus vaccine.
“Usually we give a series three shots over two to three years, we give it anyone who comes into the clinic with an open wound, men, women or children.” said Dr. Ngare. “The only time tetanus vaccine has been given in five doses is when it is used as a carrier in fertility regulating vaccines laced with the pregnancy hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) developed by WHO in 1992.”
Abuses in sterilization programs have an ugly history in Third World countries, perhaps explaining both why the Vatican is suspicious of the government and why the government, on a high horse, refuses to cooperate with its own parliamentary investigation. The answer, says Kevin Donovan, director of the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University, is for the Kenyan government and WHO to be forthright and respond to the Vatican’s accusations. “The way you prove that’s not the case is by not being arrogant, but responding to it and being transparent.”