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The Parents Via Egg Donation Organization: Hey Arizona? Please Don’t Control My Reproductive Options, Thanks.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hey Arizona? Please Don’t Control My Reproductive Options, Thanks.

Today I am worried – I am worried about those who for various reasons have turned to creating or adding to their family via egg donation and now might have that option threatened --especially if they live in Arizona.

The Arizona legislature is attempting to push through two bills that are coming up in the Arizona legislature for a vote - SB 1306 / HB 2651 (both bills referred to hereinafter together as “SB 1306”).

If these laws are passed they would impose oodles of restrictions on those who choose to use egg donation as treatment for their infertility. And the reason I am worried is that for many couples – especially those who live in Arizona this is going to strip these poor people of their last remaining hope to try and have a child via egg donation.

SB 1306 is going to outlaw donor egg compensation that is provided to those who donate eggs to infertile individuals who are attempting to have children via egg donation. This bill is going deny egg donors appropriate compensation and under-compensate our egg donors and discourage them from helping anyone who chooses to have a baby. And I am sorry – but that’s just wrong.

Egg donation’s been around for a very long time – 20+ years to be exact. Egg donation treatment isn’t just for those who are in their 40’s and beyond. Egg donation treatment is also for young women who have undergone cancer treatment, who have lost their ovaries to ovarian cancer, or who have lost their eggs due to chemotherapy. And what about those who have been diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, or those who have a genetic disorder that they don’t want to pass down to their future children.

What kind of message is the Arizona legislature delivering by telling a cancer survivor that instead of being able to seek treatment in her state now she has to travel elsewhere for treatment because there are no egg donors in Arizona who can offer her eggs that will help her achieve her dream of becoming a mother?

You know the UK went this route in 2004. They made compensation for both sperm and egg donation illegal. Guess what? The number of egg and sperm donors dropped horribly. The people of the UK who want to have children and are faced with waiting years and years for an egg donor who will donate completely for free aren’t doing that. Guess what they are doing? They are going overseas – to the United States, the Ukraine, Spain, and the Czech Republic to attempt to create their family. And the people of Arizona they are going to be forced to do the same thing travel to another state for treatment. That is if they can afford the expense and the time. If they can’t – Game Over.

Is that fair for them? No it’s not.

If that’s not enough – this bill (SB 1306) was created to discourage doctors from providing egg donor treatment in the first place requiring more informed contests, more red tape along with a boat load of incredibly tough penalties. One being the loss of their medical license, if the physician doesn’t follow the new imposed rules exactly as spelled out in the law. And if you read the informed consent rules – they contain inaccurate and scary scary language that is put there purposely to be scary.

Now if you were an egg donor and had the crap scared out of you – would you donate your eggs? I bet not, and I don’t blame them.

What the legislatures of Arizona don’t get is that our amazing egg donors who choose by their own volition to donate their eggs do so because they want to. They genuinely want to donate their eggs to another woman so she can have that opportunity to become pregnant, have a baby and become a mother. In fact, lots of egg donors become egg donors because they have watched someone in their family or have friends who have been directly impacted by infertility and they want to somehow help.

ASRM has created guidelines for egg donation with the intent that all clinics follow. These guidelines include how to carefully screen egg donors, how to treat egg donors, care for egg donors, how many times an egg donor should cycle, and what we should compensate our egg donors. And who provides these egg donors with the exceptional care they receive. The very same doctors who treat the parent to be who so desperately wants to become a mother that’s who.

Clinics already provide the egg donor AND the recipient with informed consent. They don’t allow any patient to go through an egg donor cycle uninformed. In fact, by the time both recipient and egg donor have completed an egg donor cycle they know more about their own bodies, and Reproductive Endocrinology than I think they might like!

God Bless RESOLVE – RESOLVE brought this issue to my attention and RESOLVE also joins ASRM in opposing two other bills, SB 1307/ HB 2652, as they will place burdens on physicians in their labs that will undermine their clinical care of patients and interfere with the best practices in medicine that doctors practicing reproductive endocrinology and infertility medicine provide to every single patient.

How can you help? If you live in Arizona: send a letter to members of the House Health and Human Services Committee, click here.

To send a letter to members of the Senate Public Safety and Human Services Committee, click here.

To read the bills, click here and search on the bill numbers.

Right from the RESOLVE WEBSITE:

“On behalf of the more than 100,000 women and men in Arizona who are contending with infertility, RESOLVE opposes SB 1306 / HB 2651 because they will burden and perhaps eliminate an effective medical treatment that has been used all across this country for decades. It is women and men who are trying to build families who will suffer if these bills become law.”
If these bills are voted on and become law what’s going to stop legislatures from other states within the United States to follow suit? Please don’t say “Oh don’t worry it will never happen” – The United Kingdom said that and we saw clearly what happened there.
Don’t allow lawmakers who don’t get it make arbitrary laws for us because they think they know better.

Marna Gatlin is the Founder of Parents Via Egg Donation and a guest contributor to The AFA Blog.

4 Comments:

Blogger Mark Lyndon said...

This is my comment on the original post:

There are real issues with payment of gamete donors. It's not just about what the clinics and would-be parents want, but also about possible exploitation of the donors, and also what the donor-conceived people think about it. They have to live with the consequences longer than anyone else, and many of them are not happy that one of their genetic parents became that because of a commercial transaction.

"You know the UK went this route in 2004. They made compensation for both sperm and egg donation illegal. Guess what? The number of egg and sperm donors dropped horribly."

Donor compensation (except for expenses) has been illegal in the UK for a lot longer than that. The change in 2004 was the ending of donor anonymity.

According to HFEA figures, the numbers of sperm donors have gone *up* four years in a row since 2004, thus reversing a three year decline. The 384 donors in 2008 was the highest figure since 1996. There are also more egg donors than in 2004.

February 18, 2010 at 5:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who pays the donor for her eggs now?

March 5, 2010 at 9:56 AM  
Blogger PVED said...

Nobody would. And I can't blame egg donors for not wanting to be compensated for time and trouble.

March 5, 2010 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I believe the compensation for the donor is reasonable. The donor must change her schedule for the numerous weekly (and even daily) doctor appointments and be very strict with her diet and lifestyle during the cycle, and often a month or so before (no drinking alcohol or caffeine, no sex, adherence to strict protocol of a myriad of drug injections, etc.), and these are usually college-aged young women in their 20s. The egg retrieval process is not easy, and they have to take that day off, possibly the following day as well. That means missing classes and work (losing potential income).

The compensation is not enough to make a living doing this. I see it as an incentive for young women to follow through with their heart's desire to help an infertile couple achieve their dream of children, without sacrificing losing their own income from lost days at work, etc.

I am a donor egg recipient. I was happy to pay the fees. All in all, as far as fertility treatments go, the cost was really not that much! I am eternally thankful to my donor, and I hope and pray that Arizona will not try to legislate on this any further. Thanks.

March 11, 2010 at 6:31 AM  

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