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The Parents Via Egg Donation Organization: January 2010

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Expectations From Your Clinic - Tell Me Yours!

Part of what I do for recipient parents other than provide support, and education is listen.

I listen to them tell me what their clinic does and what they don't do. I listen to them when they share something great, sad or when they have to vent.

In some cases when am asked by the recipient I will be their liaison, advocate, or voice when they feel they aren't being listened or validated by their clinic.

Most importantly I remind the patient that they their clinics are service providers and should be their partners in having a baby.

What are your expectations from your clinic?

I know mine are pretty simple --

When I register with a clinic I expect them to send for my medical records not me. Switching care providers is never an easy thing and leaving may be uncomfortable. I don't feel like I have to give my former clinic a laundry list of reasons why I am switching clinics -- especially if my experience with them hasn't been positive.

I expect my clinic to stay on time unless there is some sort of emergency. If my clinic is going to bill me $185.00 for a late or missed appointment then I think I should have the right to bill my clinic my hourly rate when they make me wait due to poor scheduling.

I expect my physician to listen to me when I talk and answer my questions appropriately. I expect my doctor to partner with me. I don't expect him to rush in, spend all of 10 minutes with me, five of those minutes with my legs in stirrups looking at my uterus on an ultrasound, and then rushing out the door.

I expect my clinic and their schedulers to be smart enough not to schedule my baseline scan the same time as my egg donors. We are under enough stress, I am sure so are our egg donors. The last thing I need is to be in a waiting room and seeing my egg donor on the other side of the room. Awkward!!!

I expect my clinic to find a local monitoring clinic in my area, especially if I am traveling out of state. Please don't tell me you don't have enough time or there isn't enough staff. I haven't paid you 30+k to hear that. It's the least you can do.

I expect my clinic's nursing staff to be kind, courteous, and relay my messages to my doctor in a timely manner. AND -- please don't answer for my doctor. Let him or her make a decision.

If I need to talk to my doctor I expect him to return my telephone calls within 24 hours. My time is just as valuable as his. That means if I have to call the on call doctor after hours that my call be taken seriously.

If I need to speak to my nurse or the egg donor coordinator about a question or concern I expect again to have my telephone calls returned within 24 hours.

I also expect the billing department to do it's job, provide me with detailed billing statements and be polite when I call and ask for clarification. I also expect consistency in charges. It shouldn't cost me 400 dollars one time for a baseline ultrasound and 500 dollars the next time without a clear explanation.

In return, I will arrive on time for my appointments. I will be mindful that my doctor has other patients to see during the day besides myself -- and in doing so I will make sure my questions are brief and to the point. I will follow my treatment to the letter. I will not self medicate, nor will I change or manipulate my treatment to suit myself. I will not call the clinic 20 times a day and behave as though every call is life or death and an emergency when clearly it's not. I also will not call the on call doctor in the middle of the night 10 times because I am spotting. I will have listened to my doctor when he shared with me that spotting does sometimes happen and it's something that can wait until the morning to call about. I will not inundate the clinic staff with 10 emails a day inquiring as to my donors status or if she has remembered to take her daily stim medication.

If there is anything I don't understand I will as the clinic for clarification -- I won't run to the Internet and pretend to be a doctor, nurse, or embryologist. I will recognize that while the Internet is a great tool my doctor knows my body and my medical situation better than Dr. Google ever will.

I will pay my bill on time, and not have the attitude "I have my baby, I don't have to pay my bill, what are they doing to do come take my child from me?"

Tell me what are your expectations of your clinic? What do you like about your clinic? Or what would like to see happen differently?

Marna Gatlin

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Are These Embryos Really Mine?

Over the past month the topic of egg donation contracts continues to come across my desk. As of late I have been asked by at least a dozen recipients if I thought it odd that egg donors are stipulating in their contracts that the recipients not donate their left over embryos to other couples but either keep them frozen, use them, or destroy them. And finally did I think that odd or would that be a deal breaker for me?

For me it would clearly be a deal breaker. Once my egg donor’s eggs were retrieved and then fertilized with my partners sperm and became embryos they were mine.

Mine, Mine, Mine.

Mine to do what I saw fit. If I wanted to transfer them back into my womb then I would. If I wanted to share them with my sister, I would. If I wanted to donate them to science I would. If I wanted to destroy them I would. If I wanted to pay storage for them for the rest of my natural life and then bury them with me when I die then I would.

The bottom line -- they are mine. Mine. Mine.

As I talked to these women and read their letters my first thoughts were -- "Who raised this concern with the egg donor? Their lawyer? The clinic? The agency? Their family? Themselves?"

It seemed to me like such an arbitrary request to make.

Egg donors are educated from the start what egg donation is all about. They also understand for their time, trouble, pain and suffering they will receive compensation in the form of money for a complete egg donation cycle and in turn the eggs retrieved become the recipient’s part and parcel. No questions asked.

I also wondered why these egg donors who make these requests weren't screened out by Psych when they underwent their evaluation. Why would an egg donor claim ownership to eggs after retrieval to another couple.

What I do know about egg donors is that they don't agree to be egg donors to become parents. If they want to become a parent they have children themselves when the time is right for them. And so when I read questions about egg donors not wanting couples to donate left over embryos to other couples I am left scratching my head.

Are they worried there will be too many of their genetics running around?

Is it a control issue?

I am very vocal in my thought process when asked about this issue in particular and my feelings are always the same - The eggs donated to you from your egg donor that become embryos are yours to do with as you see fit. Your egg donor is not entitled ever to make provisions about how you dispense with those embryos -- and if presented with those stipulations just say no -- or find yourself a new donor.

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