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The Parents Via Egg Donation Organization: March 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

PVED is now Wikipedia Worthy!

I am very proud of the fact that Parents Via Egg Donation is now Wikipedia Worthy

You can find us at Parents Via Egg Donation.

This is just wonderful -- While it's a small article, it's a start!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

It's not that cut an dry...

Today I was over at my friend Gail's Blog and read the post from Karen, who is a donor conceived adult. After reading this blog no less than three times I got up and left my computer to reflect about what Karen had to say as I wanted to give her feelings the respect they deserved instead of a knee-jerk reaction.

Basically Karen's post says:

"Personally, I would never donate my eggs. Although I’m ‘pro-choice’ I also strongly believe that we should never intentionally create a child to give away or in most cases, sell. I strongly feel that we have a personal responsibility for our own sperm/egg when combined to create a new (out of the womb) life."

I took exception to this -- to begin with I think it is not that cut and dry. Not every egg or every sperm that is put together results in a child. Depending upon what your belief system is, where you seek treatment, how your body responds to medication, as well as the basics regarding the condition of your uterus has a lot to do if a child is going to result in an egg donation cycle. I for instance do not think our egg donor felt she was giving a "child away".

Egg donors and sperm donors don't donate eggs and sperm to have children vicariously through another set of parents. They don't sign up for this to become parents. They do this because they want to give other people like me to have a child to love, honor, and respect.

Karen also goes on to say:

"More specifically, I know that I’d always wonder about them and worry that their parents might have issues with their personality/disposition/quirks that I could easily identify with and understand. I’d worry that their social/gestational mother might have bonding issues with them because they are of her husband’s and another woman’s dna. Or that the extended family might have bonding issues with the child for that same reason. (kin altruism issues) I’d worry that the child felt out of place at family gatherings. I’d worry that they kept it a secret and the child finds out in a traumatic way. I’d worry that the child might think they were unwanted and given away by me and half of their bio family. I’d worry that my own social/bio children would feel a loss/ feel cheated/confused by their own separation with their half sibling(s) ….etc."

My response is - then if you truly feel like that, then you would not be a good candidate for egg donation.

As a parent via egg donation I can attest 100% that I embrace all of my child, there's nothing weird, or bad about him. So I have to say I scratch my head when I read that parents who have children via sperm or egg donation would have issues with their own child's personality/disposition/quirks? And that the egg donor or sperm donor would could easily identify with and understand whereas we might not? Don't you think that's stretching things a bit far? I can tell you I know lots and lots and lots of "genetic" families where Mom and Dad do not embrace their children's personalities, or their quirks, or their disposition. I myself am a product of a set of parents who loved me but never "got me" or my personality. I have always been an animated and highly spirited person and frankly my parents found me to be a major pain in the rear end, and often didn't know what to do with me. So I think the theory that you can only help, understand, or appreciate a child's personality, quirks or what have you is blown out of the water.

I take exception at being referred to as a gestational mother or a social mother. I am my son's mother. I carried him, I birthed him, he comes to me when he's sick, afraid, proud, angry, happy, upset -- I tend to his every need. I raise him, nurture him, love him, and am responsible for him. I am his mother.

The knee jerk reaction to :

"I’d worry that their social/gestational mother might have bonding issues with them because they are of her husband’s and another woman’s dna."

Is to invite this woman into my home and have her observe me interact with my child. My personal experience is that I love my child so very much I sometimes forget to breathe -- he's the moon and the stars, the sun sets and rises in his eyes, as far as I am concerned. And as far as accepting another woman's DNA? I had a child with my husband, period. And even if we used donor sperm -- guess what? I still made a choice to have a child with my husband, my partner, my life mate, the one I love.

Bottom line -- Our child was wanted very much, and I was and am just so darn grateful to have him.

In regards to other family members not accepting a child via egg or sperm donation into the family -- I can't argue that. I know many many families who think egg donation and sperm donation isn't a big deal. We are one of those families. It didn't matter how we happen to get our son, it matters that he's here for us to love.

I can't say that's the case for some. There are some families who's grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other extended family for whatever reason don't accept children from adoption, egg donation, sperm donation, or step children. And all I can say to that is that it's very sad. And that is one of the reasons there is a shroud of secrecy surrounding this particular kind of ART.

In regards to disclosure I feel it's very important that parent(s) are honest with their children in regards to how they were conceived. A child should always just know about having an egg donor or sperm donor. It should come out in a traumatic big way. A child should be able to look back and just say - "Oh yeah, I have always known that." One of the tricky parts about disclosure is the baggage Mom and Dad carry with them. I have said this thousands of times -- Children aren't born with baggage, they come to us like a fresh canvas, and we the artist begin to paint the foundation of how our child is going to be when he or she grows up. So -- if we aren't weird or or hung up about their conception neither will they.

I think this woman views egg donation much differently than other egg donors. Other egg donors don't donate eggs to have an extended family. If they wanted a family they would have their own -- I know personally of no egg donor who has taken her compensation and put it into a savings account to give to a product of her egg donation when he or she is ready to go to college.

Am I all for open donation. You bet I am -- I am for whatever is agreeable between the recipient parents and the egg or sperm donor.

It takes a special person to be an egg donor -- and my hat's off to them, without them our children wouldn't be here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dear Senator Hudgens:

I am writing to you as an infertility patient, a mother via egg donation, and a woman who loves God with all her heart. My hope is that you will take time to read my letter and think about the harm this bill in particular is going to cause. I understand the worry, concern, outrage, and anger surrounding the Nadya Suleman case. The acts that Nadya Suleman and her doctor took were not only selfish and irresponsible, they were dangerous to both the patient, the eight children she birthed, and the fourteen children she now has to raise.

What I want to encourage you to see is that Nadya is *not* the normal IVF patient. Nadya is sadly a woman with severe emotional issues who with the help of her irresponsible physician made some very poor choices. I also think that her doctor is the exception and does not represent what is happening or the goals of all the other amazing physicians who treat patients in the field of infertility who recognize implanting six embryos in a young woman who has already borne children goes against standards set by the two main U.S. fertility medicine groups.

The majority of women undergoing infertility treatments are not emotionally unbalanced, wanting families of fourteen knowing they cannot care for them. They desire normal sized families, and should have the right to have children like everyone else in the world who isn’t challenge with fertility issues. In this particular case there were several things that happened that shouldn’t have happened – that should have raised flags. One of the first things that all fertility patients undergo is a psychological evaluation – we meet with a therapist who talks about our treatment, if we have any children already in the family, how we are going to care for future children, how many embryos we will transfer back into the uterus, how we feel about carrying multiples (twins or triplets), what our thoughts and views are about selective reduction, and finally what we are doing with any leftover embryos. That’s how it’s suppose to happen. My guess is that Nadya Suleman did not undergo any sort of psychological screening.

While I understand your knee jerk reaction, I really do. I think that deep down you mean well and want to avoid what happened in California. However, you cannot penalize the good people of Georgia because of the action of one person in California.

My hope is that with this letter is to possibly educate you a little bit more about the IVF process so you can understand the limits you propose, and see that they do not make any sense whatsoever.

In looking at section 19-7-66 you state that only creating the amount of embryos equal to the amount to be transferred. This doesn’t make sense. Furthermore, there are several things about this specific piece of legislation that are not only difficult to steer through, they really do not speak to the interest of reducing the risk of complications for both the mother and the transferred in vitro human embryos, including the risk of preterm birth associated with high-order multiples.” Why? Because this item in particular talks about creating embryos before they are even placed back or transferred. The mother doesn’t experience risk before transfer, only after transfer, and certainly not during creation.

Do you even know what takes place during a typical IVF cycle? It might help you understand more why this bill is so greatly inappropriate.

In typical IVF cycle, when the woman goes through what we call the “stimulation phase” of IVF, she takes injectable drugs called “Human Menopausal Gonadotropins”. These drugs are not only expensive, they cause the woman’s body to produce more eggs that she normally would in a regular menstrual cycle. I myself suffer from “Diminished Ovarian Reserve” and “Premature Ovarian Failure” -- and for me every egg that I have ever been able to produce are absolutely prized and dear to me because they were the only chance I had at attempting to create viable healthy embryos in order to try to become a mother. For someone like myself who has this diagnosis, to go through a stimulation process and be told that they are not allowed by law to freeze eggs or embryos for another chance at a pregnancy is insane. These are my eggs and my embryos.

And furthermore, if you are like me – and have egg quality issues, and have had to move on and resort to an egg donor, and are spending upwards of $25,000.00 for a single egg donor cycle you are of course going to want to create more than three embryos for that cycle. You are going to want to create more, so you can freeze more, so you can have another shot if your present cycle doesn’t work, or hopefully have left over embryos to freeze so you may had to your family at a later time.

Do you really know what happens during the fertilization process? Even in the best clinics, with the best eggs, and the healthiest of sperm there isn’t 100% fertilization. Many times, half of what you start with is what you end up with. Let’s say at an egg collection 20 eggs are collected, and 15 of those eggs are mature and healthy. They are then mixed with sperm and 24 hours later they are looked at. Upon viewing the embryologist see’s that 10 have fertilized, and they are put back to into the incubator to grow. On day three they are checked again, and the embryos have now through nature been reduced to six as the other four stopped growing. Because most clinics perform blastocyst transfers which are known as day five transfers there is the risk that more will die – and they often do. So when day five comes, often times there’s three or four blastocyst. Two are transferred back, and two are frozen. And then you hope for the best.

As you can see, if your bill passes you are not limiting the embryos transferred, but rather it limits the number of embryos that are created. No matter how many eggs are produced, you can only fertilize the number you plan to transfer during this cycle. Does this make sense? No I think not. And if you go back and study basic biology you will learn that it’s truly a crap shoot to know which eggs will fertilize and which embryos are going to grow, which is WHY we as patients and our doctors need to have the ability to fertilize more eggs and create more embryos for a successful IVF cycle. Passing this bill in Georgia is going to take away the ability to do this. A patient and their doctor are going to have to pick just one or two eggs. So you tell me Senator who’s going to want to come to the fine state of Georgia and pay for this kind of IVF treatment that isn’t covered by most insurances?

No one that’s who – and all your IVF patients are going to be traveling to other states and spending their dollars in other states where they could be keeping them right in Georgia.

I also don’t understand the need to regulate or legislate the freezing of leftover embryos. Do you realize that 98+% of the clinics in the United States already impose limits on the number of embryos transferred back into a woman’s uterus? Why are you wanting to limit what we freeze? What I see, is that we again, are suffering for the poor choice of one woman who’s mentally unbalanced and her irresponsible doctor. That’s not something I want to pay or lose the opportunity of becoming a mother over.

If you are going to regulate or legislate anything it would be requiring physicians in your state to create a consent form of some sort. When I underwent my IVF cycle my husband and I signed a consent form stating that we were only placing back three day three embryos, as I was over thirty-five. Our clinic was very clear and concise about what they would allow and what they wouldn’t allow. Perhaps a form like this required by all clinics in your state would make doctors accountable and could be enforced with fines or legal action. This would allow for those practices who do not comply to be closed down. But I think if you do your homework you will find that all of your clinics and practices in Georgia who perform IVF procedures already follow those guidelines.

What I am trying to say to you is that as a patient I already felt like I was playing God, I struggled every single day of my life as I grappled with my infertility treatment. I also feel strongly that if God didn’t want me to use this technology it wouldn’t be available for us to use – do we need to be responsible with this technology? You bet we do. We need to be respectful and we need to treat it with great reverence. Which the majority of clinics and it’s physicians already do. But really do we need to regulate and legislate this to the point that it takes away the feasible options and choices for patients like me and the other six million infertile women in the United States who struggle day in and day out with infertility?

Absolutely not.

Please re-evaluate this bill and your actions. This bill as it stands is going to crush and decimate the infertility industry, it’s going to destroy any hope for millions of women like myself who dream about become a mother and creating a family.

The bottom line -- Patients have a right to make decisions about their bodies and their embryos, and I don’t want the government being my doctor. We respectfully ask you to stay out of our uteruses.

Sincerely Yours,

Marna D. Gatlin

Parents Via Egg Donation



Dear Georgia Residents

RESOLVE: the National Infertility Association needs your urgent and immediate action on a bill introduced in the Georgia State Senate. The Bill is SB 169 and would severely impact the ability for a patient to receive treatment for infertility in Georgia.Senate Bill 169 would restrict doctors' ability to perform IVF in accordance with best medical standards. Here are the key provisions:

No more than 2 or 3 eggs could ever be fertilized in a cycle; if a woman produced more eggs, they still could not be used.

Only 2 embryos could ever be transferred to the uterus, unless the woman is age 40 or over (then a max of 3).

No extra embryos could be cryopreserved. If they are created, they have to be transferred.

No financial relief, such as insurance coverage, is proposed to help with the added financial burden of using less effective treatment. Patients will still have to pay out of pocket for less effective treatment.

Bans all financial compensation for donor gametes, such as egg donor, sperm donor, or embryo donation, which would greatly reduce the pool of available donors in Georgia.

The Georgia Senate Health & Human Services Committee will hold a hearing on this bill: SB 169 this Thursday, March 5, at 9:00 AM in Room 450 of the State Capitol. At the hearing, the committee will hear testimony on the bill. RESOLVE will be testifying as will a number of physicians in Georgia. RESOLVE and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) oppose. this bill and consider it bad medicine for infertility patients. The hearing is open to the public and RESOLVE encourages you to attend the hearing and send a letter to the Committee members before Thursday.

To send a letter immediately, click here:https://secure2.convio.net/res/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=219

RESOLVE is asking Georgia residents who care about open access to the best care possible to let the Committee members know before Thursday that you oppose these two bills.

To send a letter or fax to the Committee, simply click https://secure2.convio.net/res/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=219for a letter template that will be automatically sent to each of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee members. You can also call your state Senator even if they are not on the Committee and tell them you oppose these two bills. A full list of the Committee members can be found by clicking on the link below, then clicking on the Senators name for a link to their direct contact information:http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/2009_10/senate/health.phpTo find your senator, please go to:http://www.legis.ga.gov/legis/FindLegislator.htmSincerely yours,Barbara ColluraExecutive Director, RESOLVETo view the full text of the bills please follow the links below:SB 169: http://www.legis.state.ga.us/legis/2009_10/sum/sb169.htm