Posts Tagged ‘miscarriage’
When Infertility Professionals Get it Wrong.
September 18, 2012 | By: Liz
You know it’s not that often that I see glaringly offensive comments or information from professionals in the infertility world. Most of us know to be very careful with the language we use so that we don’t inadvertently hurt someone’s feelings. Today I was surfing Facebook and someone to whom I was connected (I am no longer “friends” with her) posted a comment about egg donation, adoption, and infertility. I thought at first she was referring to a blog and was hoping she was quoting someone else. Alas, I was very wrong and the link she posted was to an egg donation agency based outside of the United States (thank goodness for that — didn’t want to be running into her at any upcoming conferences lest I let her have it to her face) and the post was pretty much designed to bring attention to her agency. I am not a big believer in the old adage that any attention is good attention or that negative publicity is still publicity. In this industry, offending people is the kiss of death and well let’s just say I’ve been kissed.
I really don’t like the word “barren”. It’s an ancient reference to women who were unable to conceive and it dates back to a time period when women had no rights and would sometimes be replaced by another woman if she was unable to conceive a child. The Sixteenth Century this is not and I would have hoped that in the Twenty-First Century we would be a little bit more aware of appropriate terminology. I guess not because this FB poster (who shall remain nameless even upon kiss of death) seemed to think that all women who are having difficulty conceiving should be considered BARREN.
I don’t think so. Having difficulty conceiving does not mean we are barren. The word barren actually has many definitions (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barren ) including “lacking inspiration” or “lacking charm”. For the record, I don’t consider any of my infertile clients, and certainly not my own bod, to be lacking in charm. Some of my clients are downright amazingly gorgeous women with incredible resumes and great personalities. In this case they are hardly barren are they? They also usually go on to become mothers which would seem to indicate that they are in fact capable of producing offspring (please note Miriam-Webster dictionary says nothing about those offspring needing to be biological children — at least its editors “get it”). But the word was used nonetheless in this FB post. The fact that the post tried to be “neutral” and present all sides of debates as they pertain to third-party assisted reproduction was totally lost on me by virtue of the selection of this word to describe me. Because that is who she is describing, me. The last time I checked I am still considered to be infertile.
The other problem was that this poster and her choice of words — and barren was by far the least offensive of them — revealed her own underlying belief that women who have difficulty conceiving, women like me who are infertile, are somehow lacking, less than other women, and are desperate. While she notes that “an element of respect” should be offered to these women, in and of itself that remark too is offensive. I am only entitled to “an element of respect”. 7 IVF Cycles, 9+ miscarriages (I stopped counting but there were more), three adoptions, and I am only entitled to “an element of respect”. Seriously?
Additional comments were made about whether decisions to use an egg donor were interfering with the “divine plan” for that woman’s life; and that what transpired to finally bring this barren woman to the point of actually considering using another’s genetic material could only be understood by the woman herself. Here I do agree with the post. However, I would prefer that she had not characterized the decision to choose egg donation as an act of finality, desperation, or somehow jumping off of the cliff of normalcy. Families are built in countless ways and all of them are normal.
Egg donors also were attacked for their decision to share themselves with other people. Let’s be clear that egg donation does not involve any kind of “sharing”. Egg donation agreements are clear that when a woman donates her eggs she relinquishes all rights to the resulting embryos and/or children. Egg donors do not share in the day-to-day life of the intended parents’ pregnancy, or their life as they raise their child. And let’s place the emphasis where it belongs, on “their” child, not the egg donor’s child. If this woman is counseling egg donors — and I fear she may be — then she is sending the wrong message to these selfless and generous women who donate their genetic material, their ova, to an infertile couple. They ain’t sharing those eggs or themselves with anyone.
Let’s not even discuss the offensive descriptions attributed to adoption. I will have a stroke.
I understand that this woman was trying to raise a debate, trying to draw attention to her business and what she does. But the choice of words she used as a professional in this industry was astonishingly rude and clearly revealed her own underlying biases. She is entitled to those biases. But as a professional she had a responsibility to keep them private and not mislead egg donors or intended parents. I also think it was a poor decision to use such inflammatory language if she was trying to promote her business. In all likelihood she sent potential clients running in the opposite direction.
I hope that the other people who read this post are wearing running shoes; they need to run as fast as possible. Most likely the very charming, inspirational women who read this post pulled their flats or sneaks out of their gym bag and took off their Jimmy Choo’s, and headed in the direction of a more sensitive egg donation/surrogacy agency, a therapist (I may need a session), shopping (in which case maybe they should leave on the Jimmy Choo’s), or a glass of wine and some Oreos.
For all those who read that post and felt in any way diminished as a human being because of their infertility, let’s get one thing straight: anyone who can get through this stuff is one tough, rockin’ mama. Emphasis on the word “mama” because that is what you will one day be called.
Filed under: adoption, Current Affairs, Deadly Silence, Egg Donation, Faith and Infertility, I'm Just Another Angry Infertile Woman, In the News, infertility in the media, IVF, Personal Musings, The Journey to Parenthood, Thinking Out Loud, Thoughts on Choosing an Egg Donor, Thoughts on Donor Egg Recruitment
Tags: adoption, Domestic Adoption Planning, Egg Donation, egg donor, IVF, miscarriage, Peace to Parenthood, premature ovarian failure
What you want to know about surrogacy in New York and why you want to know it!
January 25, 2012 | By: Liz
I have been watching all the coverage of the birth of Beyonce’s baby and the rumors she used a surrogate, and I have been fielding questions from clients left and right about whether this is true (I have no idea, please stop asking. This is what I get for engaging in legal debate on FaceBook!). I do have to say, however, that I am somewhat surprised by the lack of knowledge about surrogacy laws in New York. Most people think it is totally illegal under all circumstances; they are wrong. Most people think no one ever uses a surrogate in NY; that also is wrong. Most people think it is impossible to find a surrogate in NY; that is somewhat wrong. Most people that have some understanding about what is permissible regarding surrogacy in New York think that you have to adopt the baby in order to get your name on the birth certificate. This too is wrong.
So what is the deal with surrogacy in New York State anyway? Would you be surprised if I told you that one of the most active aspects of my practice involves surrogacy and it all takes place in the Empire State? Would you be even more surprised to know that it also is one of the more fun things I do and that I love helping people with surrogacy in NY. It happens to be one of the more time intensive aspects of my work but I get to dust off my old litigation garb and go to Court (in fact I am headed to Court this Friday) which always offsets the time spent drafting papers. It is one of the aspects of my work that truly blends all aspects of what I love doing as a lawyer. I get to help people have babies, I get to draft documents, motion papers, and go to Court and talk about esoteric aspects of NY law with judges. Indeed, the law in NY with respect to surrogacy is getting so well-settled thanks to recently decided cases (to the extent that any aspect of ART law is “settled” or established) that half the time the Judge just wants to engage in an intellectual debate about what the law does and does not provide for and why. Half the time I think they just want me to explain third-party assisted reproduction, IVF, Embryo Transfer Procedures, and the definition of an embryo, but far be it from me to (a) miss an opportunity to “argue” with anyone; (2) miss an opportunity to educate anyone about what I do; and (3) do anything that stands in the way of helping someone become a parent. But I digress.
The skinny on making someone else’s belly fat with your baby in the State of New York (and while I mean absolutely no disrespect to gestational carriers/surrogates and am awed by what these women do for infertile women and men, let’s face it, if you can FINALLY have a biological child and can do so without the proverbial bump, this may be a good thing. Trust me, having been pregnant 9+ times, most of us do not get a cute little bump ala Beyonce although I do like “the glo!” And for the record I am not talking about using a surrogate for vanity’s sake. I am talking about long battles with infertility etc). But I digress again . . . is as follows:
Must have some type of legal document prepared before cycle starts evidencing the parties’ intent as to who will be parents. This document is not a legally enforceable contract but is useful for many purposes, not the least of which is avoiding later disagreements over how the pregnancy will be handled and establishing intent for purposes of determining parentage (let your lawyer sweat the language in the Court documents but I do think there is merit to including this document when you are requesting a court order to obtain a birth certificate, although some attorneys may disagree with me on this — I haven’t yet had an issue submitting it).
After confirmed conception, sometime in second trimester, you should begin thinking about getting Court Orders determining parentage. These papers will be filed in Court AFTER the baby is born and depending on who is seeking parental rights it may be Family Court or Supreme Court (but recent case law indicates you could probably file in either Court for either gender parent–I am currently trying for the first time to file the paperwork for both mom and dad in the same court, to date I have always submitted them in different courts. Like I said, new case law is giving me an opportunity to try and streamline the process). There is a lot of paperwork to be prepared so be nice and give your attorney a break and give them a head-start. Please don’t descend upon us the day your baby has been born. Although, depending on our calendars we will probably try to help you anyway.
Make sure to notify the hospital social work department of what is going on so they are not caught off guard and can assist you with proper legal paperwork at time of birth.
After birth the surrogate (and her husband if she has one) will have to relinquish/surrender/terminate (pick your verb) their parental rights. They are both considered the baby’s legal and natural parents under New York law until they terminate parental rights and you get your Court Order. They should execute some additional documents as well, but they exceed the scope of the blog. A good reproductive lawyer will know what else should be signed at or around the time of birth in addition to documents terminating parental rights. Please note that, just because the surrogate and/or husband are taking steps to terminate their parental rights does not mean you are adopting your baby. Nor is there a home study involved in this process as there is in an adoption.
Around this time you get to take your baby home!
Your attorney next files your proceedings in whatever jurisdiction(s) in which s/he has selected for purposes of venue. Not adoption proceedings. I call them Parentage Proceedings or Parentage Orders.
It’s a good idea to try and get these papers moving through the court system as soon as possible after birth (doesn’t always happen as soon as everyone would like) and with as much speed as the court system will provide (there are options for making the process go more quickly, so talk to your reproductive lawyer as most of us feel that time is of the essence).
These papers request that the Court declare you to be the baby’s legal/natural/genetic/biological (pick your verb) parent(s), and that New York State replace the original birth certificate that was issued with the surrogate’s name (this must be issued under NY law until such time as the legislature determines whether it can forego this step). The birth certificate with the intended/biological parent(s) name on it looks identical to the first — no one will know the diff.
You can request to have the first birth certificate with the surrogate’s name on it be sealed. However, many intended parent(s) feel this is unnecessary as they have no problem recognizing the gift that their friend or family member has given them by carrying and delivering the baby — everyone knows already so who cares whether the birth certificate can be obtained without showing cause to have it unsealed. But this is a personal issue to discuss with your attorney.
If all goes well, the Court grants your petition(s) and you get the new birth certificate with your name(s) on it. As noted, the original birth certificate may or may not be sealed.
Depending on where in New York you did all of this will impact how quickly you get the new birth certificate with your name on it. I have had clients get one in 30 days and others have waited months. This truly will come down to red tape and papers not getting lost on people’s desks!
Can you find a friend or family member to carry a baby for you? You would be surprised at how many people do have someone in their lives who would be willing to help you. One thing I have noticed is that the people who have been more open and out-of-the-closet about their infertility often have more people offering to be a compassionate surrogate than those of us who remain silent. They can’t offer to help if you don’t know you need it, right?? For the record, we did have a family member who offered to carry a baby for us and while this wasn’t something we were interested in doing (we chose adoption instead), we were both moved beyond words by the fact that she even considered doing it. You know who you are. Love you!!
This blog is not intended to provide legal advice. It is intended to provide an educational summary and overview of what this attorney believes currently may and can happen in the State of New York with respect to compassionate surrogacy arrangements, and in order to obtain a birth certificate for intended and/or biological parents whose child was carried by a friend or family member. If you are interested in compassionate surrogacy you should speak with an experienced reproductive lawyer or family lawyer with experience with these types of proceedings.
And for the record, I believe Beyonce delivered her baby.
Filed under: Birth Certificates, Birth Orders, In the News, IVF, Parentage Orders, Pre-Birth Orders, Sam Sex Parenting and Reproductive Law, Surrogacy in New York, Third-Party Assisted Reproduction, Uncompensated Surrogacy
Tags: adoption, Birth Family, birth moms, gestational carrier, infertility, intent, miscarriage, Parentage, success
It’s Confirmed: 40 Really is the New 30! Except . . . Wait . . . Watch Out For the NOvary
September 23, 2010 | By: Liz
Most people who know me, know that I am in my mid-early 40’s. Turning 40 wasn’t a big deal for me. I have such a baby face that sometimes I have a hard time getting people to take me seriously. Turning 40 for me was a milestone of maturity I had long waited for. You have to take a woman in her 40’s seriously. If for no other reason than you’ve got the mileage to deserve it. And yes, thanks to amazing strides in modern medicine (not to mention Botox® and Viagra®), people are living longer and are taking the time to enjoy their life; people are doing things later in life and enjoying them with the vigor and spirit of someone fifteen to twenties years younger. No longer are we rushing ala “Mad Men” into marriage and childbearing in our 20’s. Women are taking the time to establish themselves and find the right mate. Forty has thus become to the former Twenty-Somethings, what 30 was to our parents’ generation.
There is a lot more fun to be had and work to be accomplished, praise to be garnished and shopping for hot “Jeggings” (well maybe not for me) to be done in one’s 40’s. The “not your mom’s kind of jeans” have given way to a new look for those of us who are fabulous and 40: long hair and tight jeans are acceptable on a 40 year old woman’s body. No longer are these considered unacceptable for a woman of a “certain age”! No longer does turning 40 qualify you as a “woman of a certain age” and for that matter, neither does turning 50!! As a dear friend of mine recently turned 40 and all her friends gave her a shout-out on Facebook (and yes, someone not yet 40 begged my friend to confirm that 40 is the new 30), it was generally considered among her already 40 friends that turning 40 was a cause for celebration. So yes, my friends, your 40’s are a decade to be embraced and not dreaded.
Except for one small, “eensy weensy” factor of which no woman should ignore and most women to my surprise are unaware of . . . have you met
Who or What is the NOvary? Well, let me fill you in! The NOvary is the any-woman’s ovary who has decided not to cooperate with her plans to become a mother. The NOvary does not care if you’re 30, 35 or 40. She can and does reside in all women of all ages. However, she tends to emerge with more Attitude at or around the time you turn 35. And by the time you turn 40, the NOvary has almost universally decided to take over your reproductive system and your Plan. The NOvary defies what medical science and a good cosmetic dermatologist have allowed us to enjoy — another decade of productivity and passion for all things, most especially those career, clothing or relationship related. Because let’s face it, not every woman is ready to, or wants to have a child, in her 30’s. Indeed, we have been taught to wait and enjoy, and to relish life! And we should!! But then as we turn 40 and we’ve lined all our nice little ducks in a row, or decided we don’t need our ducks to be in a row, and we consider parenting, we come face to face with the not-so-new but seemingly unknown nemesis to pregnancy and motherhood:
The NOvary is the Ovary that says NO to all your carefully defined and created plans. In the world of fertility, or rather infertility, 40 is from the reproductive endocrinologist’s standpoint, the death of your childbearing years. The NOvary has not run a slick social media champagne – in fact it’s quite the opposite – she has been enjoying our ride along with us all the while knowing her little secret, and enjoying her secret power. The NOvary is the Ovary that no longer makes healthy eggs and she is so stealthy and sophisticated that you can actually conceive on your own for a few years as she gains her power and comes into her prime. But even though she hasn’t hit her full capabilities to destroy your dreams (or so you think) her influence over the eggs she releases on your behalf will cause you to miscarry, and miscarry again. Lulled into a false sense of security that your eggs are working because you are getting pregnant, she continues to work her evil spell, pushing you farther and farther into her control.
So powerful is the NOvary that she can continue to elude you into believing that you are still fertile even though you’re 40. So powerful is the NOvary that she can fool even the smartest of reproductive endocrinologists who will look at all your Day-3 data, manage to retrieve some very “healthy” looking eggs from your ovaries, only to find that those fertilized eggs and “beautiful” preembryos don’t turn into the baby you are longing for. The NOvary can place the cleverest of masks on eggs that are on the verge of retiring, and making them look as fabulous as you do in your 40 something glory. But the NOvary knows: your eggs have long since passed their expiration date.
How do I know this? How did I meet the dreaded and feared NOvary? Over hundreds (and I unfortunately mean hundreds) of my clients have battled her, failed to defeat her, and then faced the reality that (whether they are Thirty-Somethings or Forty-Somethings, married, career in place, or otherwise just determined to become a mom), if they want to realize their dreams of becoming pregnant and having a baby that they would need to bypass the NOvary altogether.
Yes, we can defeat the NOvary. You still have options and a powerful weapon to defeat the NOvary; one of those options is donor eggs and your success rate using donor eggs is about 50 to 60 times higher (perhaps more than that) than your chances are of defeating the NOvary. Yes, you read that correctly, success rates for using donor eggs are (at some fertility clinics) close to a 60% live birth rate!
Just as medical science has preserved your beauty and created a body that does not look, act or feel anywhere near 40, it has created a technology that can put the NOvary out of business! But be warned, while 40 is truly the new 30 . . . the NOvary has no intention of catching up with the rest of us, and if you want to have a baby and you haven’t yet decided to TTC or the TTCing isn’t going anywhere, consider the fact that she may be up to her devilish deeds.
Celebrate your age and enjoy your life . . . but please don’t forget she’s out there . . . looming in the shadows and finding new ways to avoid detection by physicians and scientists alike . . . and her name is the NOvary!
p.s. up next, another option for defeating the NOvary . . . stay tuned!
Filed under: Age and Infertility, Egg Donation, IVF, The Journey to Parenthood, Thinking Out Loud, Third-Party Assisted Reproduction, Treatment
Tags: biological clock, Egg Donation, Facebook, IVF, miscarriage, premature ovarian failure