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The Parents Via Egg Donation Organization: August 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Support For Mothers, Fathers And Parents To Be

We have lots of support to offer to our parents and parents-to-be who are creating or adding to their families via egg donation.

The Mothers and Parents Via Egg Donation Yahoo group is a support forum only open to women, men, and/or their partners who have been, or are attempting to become, mothers through egg donation. Because this is a private support group, members can feel safe in what they is said here stays here. This is not a public group.

The email forum and Online Support Group has been established to foster support, information sharing, and discussion among those who have or are attempting to become parents with the help of donated eggs. This list is also open to people who are interested in pursuing this option now or in the future.

It's NOT for agencies to advertise, psychologists or social workers to advertise, nurses, physicians, or any other kind of health care professional who are not attempting to become mothers through egg donation.

It's NOT a list for egg donors.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Why Psychological Counseling is so Critical

By Jan Elman Stout, Psy.D.

When it comes to egg donation and gestational surrogacy, whether as an intended parent, donor or surrogate, consulting with a mental health professional who specializes in infertility counseling is critical.

Prospective parents may worry that such a referral prior to pursuing medical treatment is to assess their sanity, to decide if they should become parents. Not at all! The main focus of this type of consultation is to better educate future parents about their chosen family-building method.

This path leads prospective parents to many choices along the way; a mental health professional helps prepare them to make informed choices that are consistent with their personal needs and interests.

Some of the questions a mental health professional may address with you, to assist you in making the best possible choices, include:

Do you know how to select a medical program that is right for you?
Do you know how to choose a donor or gestational carrier agency to help recruit an appropriate candidate for you?
Do you know what’s important in choosing an egg donor or gestational carrier?
Are you planning to inform your children about how you became a family?
Are you planning on sharing your family story with others?

At the end of the day, the overriding goal in the counseling process is to facilitate the creation of happy parents, children, and donors and surrogates. Keep this in mind when you feel hesitant to pick up the phone to call the mental health professional for an appointment. Their primary aim is to help, not hinder your efforts to meet your life goals.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

IVF wife sues over delays that made her use donor eggs

Why do some parents feel like they can only love through the bonds of their DNA? Do they not know that loving a child has no bounds? And that being a parents is not about DNA, or genetics? It's about loving and honoring a child and wanting to raise that child to be the best he or she can be?

Articles like these make me very sad for many many reasons.

So Greta - If you decide you don't want your child, you can always contact me and I will take him, love him, honor him, and would be thrilled to add another child to our home.

DNA be damned. - Marna

Article Below:

A pregnant woman is suing her health trust after she was forced to conceive using a donated egg because of delays in treating her.

Greta Mason, 42, claims a barrage of unnecessary fertility tests followed by a six-year wait for treatment meant her eggs were too old to be used and she could only conceive using a donor.

She is upset that she will now give birth to a baby to which she is not genetically related, and claims earlier tests showed it was her husband who had the fertility problem.

Mrs Mason, from Worthing, West Sussex, claims that when she was finally given a clean bill of health, she and her husband Chris were kept on an NHS waiting list for four years before they even got an appointment for IVF.

Then when they had treatment after a further two years, doctors discovered that Mrs Mason's eggs were too old to be used and she could only conceive using an egg donor.
Mrs Mason, who expects her baby next week, said: 'Whilst I am sure I will love this baby when it arrives, I am absolutely devastated that it is not genetically mine.

'I had always dreamed of having my own flesh and blood child who will inherit my genes so it was an absolutely shattering blow.'

'But the hospital failed to monitor my hormone levels and did not notice that my ovaries were getting too old to undergo fertility treatment.

'I always wanted a baby with my husband but the truth is that this baby is genetically another woman's, and at times during my pregnancy, because the baby is not related to me, I have simply felt like an incubator.

'It is so upsetting to think had we not had to wait four years just to get an appointment, we could have had our own genetic child by now.

'Chris and I know we are having a baby boy and are very much looking forward to having him but I also feel terribly sad because I will never look at my son and think, "He's just like me".'

Mrs Mason and her husband, a 43-year-old bus driver, married in 1993 and started trying for a baby in 1995, when Mrs Mason was 29.

After two years without success, they began fertility investigations.
It was soon discovered that Mr Mason had a problem, but doctors insisted that Mrs Mason should also have a range of tests, even though she had become pregnant in an earlier relationship, and miscarried.

'Unsurprisingly, all the tests came back showing my uterus was healthy and my eggs were normal,' she said.

At last, the couple were put on an NHS waiting list for IVF treatment. But after six years, when the treatment started, Mrs Mason was given the shattering news that her ovaries were too old.

'We have since discovered that whilst I was on the waiting list my hormone levels should have been checked twice a year to ensure I was not nearing the menopause,' she said.

'If this had been done, the doctors would have had an early warning that my eggs were getting too old to be used for IVF and they could have brought us in for treatment earlier.'

Having been told their only hope was an egg donor, the couple found there were virtually none in the UK and were forced to seek private IVF treatment in Spain, where donors are guaranteed anonymity and are more plentiful.

Mrs Mason said: 'Because fairhaired donors are rarer in Spain, guaranteeing a baby with blue eyes like me would have meant a wait of another year in Spain, so we opted for the next available donor.

'This means our baby might well have brown eyes and will not have any of my fairer characteristics. But I couldn't deny Chris his chance of having a baby.
'Whilst we were thrilled to be having a baby at last, I couldn't help feeling how unfair it was that although I did not have any fertility problems, I was the one who ended up without a genetically related baby. It has put a huge strain on our marriage.'

The couple have been forced to remortgage their house to pay for their Spanish treatment, which cost £15,000.

A spokesman for Oliver Swain and Co solicitors confirmed that they have taken instructions from Mr and Mrs Mason to sue Worthing and Southlands PCT.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Should Your Reproductive Endocrinologist Be Required To Have A Good Beside Manner?

I receive lots of emails daily from women all over the world either singing praises or shaking their heads at their Reproductive Endocrinologists. For every negative email I receive about poor patient care I receive two emails that say nice, encouraging and all around positive things about their RE and clinic.

Which leads me to the title of this post -- Should Your Reproductive Endocrinologist Be Required To Have A Good Beside Manner?

Let’s face it, by the time you find yourself sitting in an RE’s office most women are feeling hopeless, defective, out of sorts and simply overwhelmed. They want what millions of other women in the world have – a baby. When we as patients are sitting across a big desk from our RE’s we realize they have all the power. We are going to be paying them thousands of dollars and literally putting our reproductive lives in their hands in the hope that we have a child. Gone is any bit of control we might have had – from the time we meet our RE, are thrust into an intimate relationship (don’t kid yourselves, you might not think this is intimate, but by the time you are finished your RE there will be no secrets about your health, or your parts – it’s just the way it is.). The testing has begun, the blood is being taken, the drugs are commencing. Our lives revolve around appointments, blood draws, drugs and calendars.

The hoop jumping is utterly amazing.

So what’s the expectation from our Reproductive Endocrinologists? In a perfect world we would forge a relationship with our RE’s – perhaps even a bond. This man or woman is going to hopefully place a child in our arms if everything goes as planned. Our physician we hope is going to listen to our concerns, be sensitive to our needs, and more importantly partner with us through this process supporting us along the way.

In a perfect world maybe. In the real world – that’s not how it always works.

To be fair – I have met a lot of RE’s who are wonderful. They do listen, they do care, the outcome in important to them – and not just for statistical purposes. They really do want you to have a shot at being a parent and at the end of the day they want what’s best for you. Their staff is kind, patient, and informative. They make the experience half way endurable.

But there are those RE’s who plainly lack tact. Their staff needs lessons in politeness 101, and what HIPAA really means. And herein lies the question – should our physicians be required to be nice? Technically they are service providers. Expensive ones -- but service providers none the less. Many of us are cleaning out our life savings, cashing in our 401K’s, borrowing from friends, family, the bank, putting a second or third mortgage on our home. All for the sake of having a child – something we should be able to do naturally – but for one reason or the other we can’t. Our money pays their staff, their mortgages, car payments, vacations to the exotic places, nice bottles of wine, and perhaps even their own children’s college educations.

We turn not only our money over to these folks but our control, and our livelihood, and in return even if the process doesn’t work we’d like to be treated with respect and concern. We don’t want to be looked at as crazy because we bring up something that bothers us or makes us uncomfortable. We don’t want to be made to feel stupid or inept because we ask for clarification regarding information we don’t understand. We certainly don’t want to be known as the crazy patient or the difficult patient because we request that our needs be met. And for those of us that miscarry after going through all of the above we’d like our physician to at least say “I am so sorry let’s make an appointment soon to talk about your cycle, what happened, and where we can go from here.” We don’t want to hear our physicians sigh at us, interrupt us, cut us off mid-sentence, we want for them to listen to what we are saying to them. We don’t want to hear them roll their eyes at us as we try to explain how we are feeling. We’d like to be comforted in some small way.

Above all we want respect. The same respect we give to them.

Is that too much to ask?

What do you all think?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

PVED Has Added The Following

PVED's Recommended Reading List (if there is a book you'd like to see listed please leave a comment) http://parentsviaeggdonation.org/readinglist.html

The Donor Egg Process (Step by Step)

How To Select An Infertility Clinic

How To Select An Egg Donor

How To Select An Egg Donor Agency

All About Eye Color

Embryo Donation

We are working on a section about disclosure -- telling and not telling.

Anything else specifically related to egg donation we are missing?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Women who give birth to donor egg babies are the biological moms

An excerpt from a booklet published by Freedom Drugs.

"Perhaps the greatest myth surrounds pregnancy. Many believe the uterus is simply an incubator. Nothing could be further from the truth. The most important aspect of all
pregnancies- including egg donation pregnancies- is that as the fetus grows, every cell in the developing body is built out of the pregnant mother's body. Tissue from her uterine lining will contribute to the formation of the placenta, which will link her and her child.

The fetus will use her body's protein, then she will replace it. The fetus uses her sugars, calcium, nitrates, and fluids, and she will replace them. So, if you think of your dream child as your dream house, the genes provide merely a basic blueprint, the biological mother takes care of all the materials and construction, from the foundation right on up to the light fixtures. So, although her husband's aunt Sara or the donor's grandfather may have genetically programmed the shape of the new baby's earlobe, the earlobe itself is the pregnant woman's "flesh and blood." That means the earlobe, along with the baby herself, grew from the recipient's body.

That is why she is the child's biological mother. That is why this child is her biological child."

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Dim economy drives women to donate eggs for profit

By Stephanie Smith

NEW YORK (CNN) -- With a full load of classes, two young children, and her bills piling up, Michelle decided to face her economic straits in a pretty unorthodox way.

She is donating her eggs to an infertile couple.

"The cost of living is crazy right now, with two kids, gas prices, and rent...I'm living paycheck to paycheck" said the 24-year-old, who did not give her last name to protect her identity. "I just really need the money to finish school."

Michelle is not alone. As the nation's economy is slumping, some fertility clinics say interest in donating has surged.

"We are seeing an increase in inquiries but we're not sure if it's due to the economy or increased awareness," said Dr. Susan Willman, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area. Last July, the Reproductive Science Center received 120 calls inquiring about egg donation. This year that number jumped to 158 calls.

"We are so inundated right now," Robin von Halle, president of Alternative Reproductive Resources, told CNN.

Von Halle said 30 to 50 inquiries a day from potential donors come in to her Chicago, Illinois, agency, which connects would-be parents with donors and surrogates. A year ago, it would have been 10 to 30, she said.

Talking to other people in the field has convinced von Halle that applications from potential donors are up "across the board."

The increase in inquiries correlates with tough economic times, von Halle said. "I know that's why they call us, for that financial remuneration, she said. "They don't like to openly admit that, but some people are saying that."

"I think there is a spike more for financial reasons," said Mahshid Albrecht, manager of Donor Services at the Reproductive Science Center. "But is that the only reason? Probably not."

An egg donor is typically compensated between $5,000 and $10,000. Experts say that while most women donate out of desire to help infertile couples, the financial allure is real.

"It's important to understand that if a young woman walks into a clinic and says she wants to be an egg donor, the clinic doesn't just sit down and say 'Sure' and hand them money," said Dr. Mark Hornstein, president of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology. "There are national guidelines. It's a tightly orchestrated, stringent process."

And it's not an easy process.

Before a single egg is cultivated, a donor must undergo a battery of psychological and physical exams. That vetting process can last from 30 to 40 days, and 90 percent of women are eliminated before a single egg is culled.

Once a donor is selected, she is injected with powerful hormones for up to three weeks to promote egg production. There are also blood tests and up to 10 visits to the fertility center for ultrasound monitoring.

"It is such a long, agonizing process," Michelle said. "It's six to eight weeks of poking and probing and blood work."

Then there are the risks. The most dangerous is a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, when ovaries become enlarged. While most short-term risks are mild -- bloating, weight gain, and abdominal pain -- less is known about long-term risks.

Women who smoke, have a body mass index above 30, or who have a history of gynecologic problems are ineligible to donate.

Despite the intensive screening, ethical questions still linger about fertility for financial gain.

"In an ideal world it would be nice to not have to give financial compensation," said Dr. Weller. "But I work for a living trying to help people and I get paid for it. Is that OK? Yeah, I think that's OK.

"These women have something no one else can give," she adds.

Michelle says that while her finances drove her to donate, she's also motivated by wanting to help others.

"The best thing I've ever been in my life is a mom and to help someone else is a cool opportunity," said Michelle. "Knowing that it works is much better than the money."

28-year-old in Chicago, Melissa, who has donated her eggs four times, told the Chicago Sun Times much the same thing.

"I have two children of my own, and I definitely wanted other families to be able to have that opportunity," she told the Sun Times. "For my family, [the money] wasn't a necessity, but it was a nice nest egg if things should get worse. My husband is in construction and ... that's not doing so well right now