Archive for the ‘I’m Just Another Angry Infertile Woman’ Category

Sentencing of attorneys who plead guilty to baby selling. Is it Enough?

January 27, 2012 | By:

I have been following the cases against my former colleagues Theresa Erickson and Hilary Neiman for some time.  I had known for awhile about the investigation but was still stunned when the plea agreements became available to the public and I began discussing the details with colleagues and officials in the Justice Department.  I know stuff like this probably happens more often than any of us care to admit.  It always has and it always will.  What is that expression about there always being thieves and crooks among us??

But my blog today — which is very different than that which I typically post — has more to do with whether the penalty fit the crime than whether what transpired under the direction of TE and with the assistance of HN was right or wrong, or for that matter my level of shock and horror at all of it.  I had at one point read something on the internet that suggested that HN had been sentenced, or was going to be sentenced to 13 years in prison.  I remember discussing the article I read with the women in my office.  I asked them whether they thought 13 years were too few or too many.  It turns out there was no factual basis to the article I was reading, as HN will be serving less than a year in a federal penitentiary and additional time under house arrest.  That is quite a difference from 13 years wouldn’t you say?

I had never made a decision myself about whether 13 years was “just” punishment for the crimes alleged and to which she plead guilty.  Some part of me felt that it wasn’t enough time and some part of me felt it was too much time.  So I let it go, as I was more intrigued by the fact that there were still matters under investigation.

But I have no doubt when I say that less than a year in “Club Fed” is not enough time.  As the Judge Battaglia pointed out (for more see an article in the ), HN doesn’t even appear to understand that what she has done was wrong.  Under the circumstances, then doesn’t it make sense to give someone slightly harsher a penalty to help them internalize that which they have done?  Club Fed is rumored not to be such a bad place.  If I recall, Martha Stewart enjoyed learning how to knit while she served her time.  Given that we are talking about the intentional creation and sale of human life, do we really want to send a message to society that less than a year in jail is sufficient punishment for such atrocious conduct?  I recognize that Judge Battaglia was restricted by sentencing guidelines, but even so, he still had the ability to provide for a more severe consequence for this crime.  House arrest is pretty much of a joke isn’t it?  There are days that actually sounds like a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.  I suppose taking the option out of it may make it different.  It is one thing to imagine what its like and another thing to actually live with an ankle bracelet every day.  Query, if you have a pool in your backyard, are you allowed to sunbathe next to it?  Or is that a violation of house arrest? Let’s be clear, however, we can make brownies, watch TV, read books, surf Face Book, and shop on the internet while under house arrest, things we cannot do at Club Fed.

I am not sure, and will most certainly be giving this more thought, but my gut reaction is that I really think this punishment didn’t fit the crime.  As we await the sentencing of the co-conspirators, I am really curious to see if this notion of minimum and maximum sentences, house arrest, and the reality that people like me (albeit me 11 years ago) — desperate to have a child, unknowing (even as an attorney) of the true bounds of the law with respect to things like surrogacy and egg donation — were intentionally preyed upon.  Babies were intentionally created to be sold to people like me.  It’s gross and inhuman.  And I object to the fact that the people who perpetrated these acts get to make brownies in the comfort of their own home, surf Face Book, and shop on Amazon, and perhaps even luxuriate by the pool in their backyard (seriously, is that okay with the ankle bracelet?  Martha was allowed to garden wasn’t she??).  Isn’t house arrest pretty much the same thing as sending your child to their room for a “time out”?

So I am going to make a pledge to devote more of my time to educating people so they don’t fall prey to schemes like these.  And while I do so, I hope that somewhere a fair justice system will prevail in what remains of these cases.


These are the personal thoughts and opinions of this author.

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More media coverage that doesn’t get it! What’s up with Self Magazine?

February 10, 2011 | By:

There is an article in a recent issue of Self magazine that addresses fertility and fertility preservation from a What You Need to Know at What Age perspective.  It really pissed me off.  The statistics were wrong, and the entire article seemed to ignore the fact that infertility is a serious illness affecting millions of Americans.  Among the many things that irritated me was a statistic that made it sound like its really easy to get pregnant after 40.  The only thing that they got right in my opinion was to point out that your risk of miscarriage increases to 50% per pregnancy over the age of 40.  Anyway, RESOLVE was a bit irritated by the article too, as were many other industry professionals.  I don’t know if you saw it and what you thought but if you had a reaction similar to mine, you might want to Take The Pledge.  I am tired of people not knowing what their risks are and not being educated so that if they choose to wait to parent until later in life they at least know that the NOvary™ may be waiting!

Find out more at or watch this:

Take the Pledge!

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Is the movie Eggsploitation, exploiting itself?

January 14, 2011 | By:

I know I haven’t been blogging very much and I know I keep promising that I will.  Honestly, I have been trying to determine what type of “voice” I want my blog to have.  Do I want to be a voice of comfort, reassurance and peace of mind, do I want to discuss topics that are highly relevant and even personal to me with respect to infertility as I am an infertility warrior, or do I want to speak as an expert in my field and educate people.  I suppose I could find a way to do all three and I haven’t yet found the right “pitch” (just continuing the voice metaphor here folks) to launch some knew blogs.  And I think I found it.

I try and stay out of highly controversial discussions in my industry and to avoid taking sides unless I feel passionately about the issue.  Sometimes blogging backfires (ala Sarah Palin’s recent “hit list” and the resulting death of 15 people).  But I have come across another of those issues that MUST be discussed, so I am hereby entering into the foray and it’s along the lines of my “what was Brooke Shields thinking” blogs.

Let’s get real for a moment and turn to a movie reel about egg donation.

I today learned that the “documentary” Eggsploitation was announced to have been nominated as best documentary.  When I read this on FaceBook this morning I almost vomitted.  For those of you who haven’t seen it . . . and please don’t see it if you are considering either becoming an egg donor or using an egg donor to build a family . . . it is highly inaccurate and inflammatory.  Please understand that I am trying to be nice.

The movie is an attempt by right wing, pro-life. Christian conservatives to reveal the “real world of egg donation”.  And Honey, it doesn’t.  It serves one purpose only, to promote an anti-IVF anti-egg donation agenda.  And in my mind it isn’t a documentary unless you are basing your documentary on something with a substantial amount of truth or accuracy.  A documentary by one definition is the “creative treatment of actuality”.  I will agree to the creative part with respect to this film, but not the actuality part (with one caveat, I will agree that egg donation exists as a means to build a family).  Another definition says that a documentary presents the facts with little or no additions.  Isn’t it a failure to present the facts if you only present one side, or one statistically insignificant, rare and otherwise atypical aspect of something, i.e. ONE fact when there are many facts to be discussed?

This film is based on untruths, inaccuracies, mythical stories, and an agenda. It veils itself as a documentary in order to lend some false sense of “truth” to the movie’s topic, the exploitation of egg donors and recipient families all to the benefit of the massive money generating industry of reproductive medicine.

The reproductive industry has responded many times in opposition to the film, as have many of my colleagues (for example, here is another blog on the topic ).  I think it’s pretty much a universal sentiment in my world, both professional and personal, that this movie has nothing to do with reality and is serving to mislead the general public about a viable and very successful means of family building, egg donation.

I really think it has gotten to the point that the movie is now exploiting itself for its own financial benefit.   They are now twisting all the negative media attention into an argument that if they weren’t so “right” about the industry that there wouldn’t be so many defensive and anti-Eggsploitation blogs/articles/reviews.  It’s kind of like the old saying “you know you’ve done something right if they’re shooting at you!”  And they are using that to drive more people into movie theaters.

Well I don’t think they’ve done anything right, I am disgusted by the MOVIE, and I am disgusted that anyone would think it was worthy of the title “best” in anything.  I haven’t spoken out before because I didn’t want to further publicize this movie and thus encourage people to watch it — even if it is to see how wrong it is.

And for the love of all that is sacred about the word FAMILY, I respectfully request that the movie industry get a grip and get real.  Don’t endorse this movie.  Many a Hollywood family has been created through the gift of egg donation.  Do you really want to slap your egg donor in the face like that?  By promoting, endorsing, and casting something that she did to help you have a baby and a family, in such a negative, illicit and patronizing light?

I’m not saying the world of reproductive medicine is perfect.  I have some bones to pick with things that happen in the world in which work.  And I will cut the producers of this movie and Hollywood some slack and say that if you are going to focus on the very creative aspects of the use of truth to create a dialog (albeit the wrong dialog) then okay maybe this is a documentary.  But it’s a documentary that I refuse to endorse on any level.

Someone can, and should, do a better job at looking at the gifts that third party assisted reproduction are giving to infertile families.

Blech Blech Blech.

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