Archive for October, 2008
October 29, 2008 | By: Liz | Filed under: Uncategorized
As I am trying to move people over from our old blog to our new blog home, I discovered someone had posted a comment on donor compensation this week on the old site (I’ll move the post over soon, I promise). She was troubled at how expensive this all is. I hear you sister! It is all too expensive.
My office is trying to help (and I blogged about it somewhere) that we’re offering free legal services to people who are strapped and we’re offering discounts to people who get a postcard from our office from their doctor, clinic, psychologist or just from a huge mailing we’re doing . . . I’m trying to help. I’m trying to get people to give me a list of creative financing too. I want to hear how people are coming up with the money. Sharing information is the best way to help isn’t it? Angie Best Boss and Evelina Wideman are about to publish a book on Budgeting for Infertility. It’s a great resource. But there needs to be more.
And so I also am going to start a discussion about the Federal Adoption Tax Credit. I still don’t get how people don’t know about this huge resource for helping you afford adoption expenses. And I am going to keep a running list of tips and ideas that people share here.
But I do need everyone’s help. Whether it’s venting about your own financial situation or giving me a tip I can share with people who visit the site, I want to know how everyone is swinging this stuff. Cuz I know we’re all not trying to have babies to fill our new VW minivan.
October 21, 2008 | By: Liz | Filed under: I'm Just Another Angry Infertile Woman
I recently served on a panel of experts in reproductive law discussing how relevant ART law is to family law practitioners. My presence on the committee was necessary (I soon discovered) not just because of my expertise in reproductive law but because I am a former infertility patient. Indeed, I was presented to my colleagues as the prototypical infertility patient. We will leave out some of the more mysognistic and offensive attributes I was accredited with. Suffice it to say that my in-depth understanding of my menstrual cycle and my hormone levels, follicle count, etc. during a cycle of ART made me (and those among us who share an interest in following our IVF cycles closely) somehow “special” and not so much in a good way. I left feeling somehow humiliated and proud at the same time. It was a very odd mix of feelings and I have spent the better part of several days trying to come to terms with how it made me feel to suddenly be having flashbacks to (and indeed nightmares about) IVF cycles long since passed.
Shortly after this incident, and all that it brought up inside my head (and let’s face it, I do think things through rather thoroughly, although not to the same “obsessive” degree as the angry infertile were somehow accused of during that conference), a woman posted a comment to my blog about Brooke Shields’s VW ad. She commented that she was relieved to see she wasn’t the only person who had an adverse reaction to the ad. She was relieved to discover that she wasn’t the only angry infertile person out there. No my friend, you aren’t, there are plenty of us out there.
Cut to me trying to squeeze in a quick-read of a People Magazine article about that family with 8 kids that has a t.v. show on TLC. I had really admired them and the fact that they were keeping their marriage together, their lives organized, all the while parenting twins AND sextuplets. (People Magazine Octoer 15th, 2008). At the end of the article they talk about wanting more kids and adopting. Now I am really pysched. Here they are parenting all these kids and they want to adopt, and adopt internationally to boot! WOOHOO. And then my blood turned cold. “Kate confesses, ‘We still want to know what ‘one’ is like.” I stopped dead in my tracks. The past few weeks of re-living my infertility, feeling the pain of a stranger who was (like me) deeply offended by an insensitive advertisement . . . they just want to know what “ONE” is like. Can I swear here? Is that allowed? This is my blog right? Okay, I’ll keep it censored (for now). But seriously, how many of my clients and my friends would KILL to have just “ONE” . . . who spend their life savings and switch jobs for better insurance coverage, who take second mortgages all in the desire to have just “ONE” . . . these people who are blessed with eight children, who got freaking lucky with their IUI cycles and NEVER had to try IVF want to see what having just one child is like.
Yeah, I am just another angry infertile woman. And so I have created this column on my blog where I am going to vent and rant and OUT every insensitive, uninformed, moronic remark, advertisement whatever . . . I am not going to take it any longer. I am proud to be another angry infertile woman. We’re tough. I bet Kate is pretty tough too. My best friend has triplets, I know how hard multiples are . . . but seriously girl . . . APOLOGIZE NOW. That was a hurtful, insensitive remark.
Yes Ma’am, I am proud to be just another angry infertile woman. And I am not about to shut up about it either. If you hear or see anything in the media that is offensive or hurtful, lemme know. This is where we get our payback. I don’t care if its politically correct or not. It’s time to band together, to unite for the cause.
Treat us with dignity or suffer the consequences in this blog.
My official thumbs down go to VW and Kate, mother of 8, who wants to know what its like to just have “one.”
October 17, 2008 | By: Liz | Filed under: Current Affairs
I know Mel from Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters (http://stirrup-queens.blogspot.com/) asked me this question ages ago (sorry Mel, I should have gotten to it sooner, but I knew I was going to write this article and if I waited I could give you a better answer . . . hopefully this is the better answer!):
Why aren’t there more frozen embryos available for donation/adoption and why are the majority of those people with frozen embryos not able to donate them when they want to??
The answer is two-fold.
First: The biggest stumbling block to making embryos eligible for donation has to do with FDA regulations regarding screening for infectious diseases. Many, many of the cryopreserved embryos in storage today are not eligible for donation because at the time the embryo was created, the genetic parents of that embryo (either one or both of them) were not screened for certain infectious diseases, tests which are now required to be performed in order to make that embryo eligible for donation. At the time many of these frozen embryos were created, the FDA did not require the infectious disease screening and thus the embryos are now not eligible for donation because NOW the FDA requires the screening before an embryo can be donated. Did that make sense? If not, leave a comment and I will try and clarify.
Next problem: The FDA regulations and the implications of the testing are so misundersttod that even today, when the screening is MANDATED, the people undergoing the IVF are NOT always informed by the medical personnel at the clinic where they are being treated that, should they ever want to donate any embryos for purposes of a third-party’s conception that both genetic parents MUST be tested for these infectious diseases. Let me use an example to help understand the distinction about how the testing might have a greater impact on you than someone else: when the embryo will be created using donor eggs the egg donor is automatically screened by your clinic pursuant to the FDA regs.; otherwise she cannot donate the eggs to the recipient(s). If the recipient(s) want to donate one of the embryos created using the donor’s eggs, the male gamete provider (sometimes known as a husband) also has to have the infectious disease screening. I cannot tell you how many times my clients go to their clinic and have to ASK to have the husband tested in addition to the donor. I believe the FDA regs require both gamete providers to be tested now, but it would appear from my clients’ experiences that on more than one occasion the clinic or the person at the clinic with whom they are speaking (and I am trying to be fair, it is possible that my clients were talking to the wrong people who didn’t know about the FDA issues I am blogging about) indicated that the husband would not otherwise have been tested unless they had specifically requested it!
SO . . . Let’s say that tomorrow you are going in for egg retrieval and you and your partner want the right to donate any embryos you don’t use, did your clinic tell you that both you and your partner have to be tested? Did they test you both, twice? Did they even ask you whether you might want to donate? I bet not.
So, Mel. To answer your question. It all comes down to when the embryos were created in relation to the FDA regs and whether both gamete providers were appropriately screened when the embryos were created.
October 17, 2008 | By: Liz | Filed under: Current Affairs
I am writing a law review article (that was literally due yesterday) on embryo donation/adoption and why you can’t adopt an embryo. I am reading anything and everything I can get my hands on about embryo donation and I was surprised to discover that according to a lot of different research, most people won’t donate embryos. The theory is that most genetic parents hesitate to donate their embryos because their children would then have full genetic siblings being raised by someone else. However, I have four problems with this.
(1) almost any attorney, clinic, or agency that is helping people donate embryos will discuss whether the donating “parent(s)” would want any degree of openness or contact to exist between the families; this would enable the children/siblings to meet each other at a later point in time or from day one depending on familial preference.
(2) most of my clients who are now negotiating agreements with egg donors are REQUESTING that their donor agree to permit them to donate any unusued cryopreserved embryos for purposes of another infertile family’s conception. In this case there clearly isn’t a full genetic link but when I discuss the issue with my client, the decision to donate doesn’t revolve around whether or not the children have full or half siblings, it’s based on a need or desire to HELP other families.
(3) There are numerous adoptions conducted in this Country where a baby is placed for adoption when the parents are raising that baby’s full siblings. The birth mothers who choose to make an adoption plan in this situation are already pregnant and BONDING (whether they want to or not) with the baby they are carrying. If they can make an adoption plan under these circumstances — which in my opinion are much harder circumstances than considering donating embryos that may not implant and result in a pregnancy or live birth — than why should it be different for families with frozen embryos?
(4) I have helped people donate embryos that are full siblings to the children they created during the IVF cycle that produced the frozen embryos. These parents had no problems with donating the embryos even though the siblings would be genetically related.
As I sit hear reading this I realize that my article is probably going to fall on deaf ears because of the fewer than 2% of the estimated 400,000 embryos in frozen storage which are even eligible for donation (and this has to be another blog topic–why so few embryos are available for donation), most of those families won’t consent to donation.
So why aren’t people agreeing to donate embryos? Would you donate your frozen embryos?
October 9, 2008 | By: Liz | Filed under: Check This Out
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