The industry that has developed around assisted reproduction is a frequent topic here, often a controversial one. One particular arm of the industry–sperm banks and more generally the use of sperm from sperm banks–has been a frequent focus. There are undoubtedly many points of disagreement here. For instance, some suggest that no one should use third-party gametes. Others suggest that the gamete provider, by virtue of the genetic link that will always exist between provider and offspring, should always be a legal parent.
What this may hide is that there is also a fairly wide area of agreement. I’m going to write about one in particular today. There have been a number of instances–some fictional (books and movies) and some real–where men have produced dozens or scores of offspring. Continue reading
This hooks back to an earlier post about one of two de facto parentage cases decided by the WA Supreme Court just before Thanksgiving. In that earlier post I began to discuss one of the cases (In Re BMH). But there’s an interesting dissent in that case and there’s a second case–In Re AFJ–which also has a dissent. Beyond that, much to my surprise the Seattle Times made the question of de facto parentage the subject of their lead editorial today. All of this makes me return to the topic. And indeed, it may take more than one additional post to get through all this.
I will not rehearse the discussion of the main opinion in BMH as you can just go read the earlier post. And before I consider the dissents–which raise some similar issues in both cases–I want to walk through AFJ. If I have space after that in this post, I’ll get to the Seattle Times editorial. (Looks like that will be in the next post–sorry.)
AFJ has atypical facts. It involves two women, but it’s not a lesbian-couple-who-decide-to-raise-a-child case. Continue reading
This post grows out of an exchange in the comments on an earlier post. Ki Sarita (not sure about how I should capitalize that) and I have been having an exchange about whether I (or perhaps more narrowly, my opinions?) are anti-male. In fairness, I think Ki Sarita’s views here are based on far more than that one posting as she is a long-time reader/commenter here. But I’m going to focus on that post (which is about a case involving a doctrine called “de facto parentage”) in order to make a few points. I realize they may not address the full scope of Ki Sarita’s argument but I want to make what is perhaps a subsidiary point. I’m also going to have to cover some background before getting to my point, so some of you may wish to skim ahead.
The idea in de facto parentage is that the law should recognize and protect existing psychological/social parent/child relationships. De facto parentage is probably most important where a legal parent co-parents with someone who, for whatever reasons, doesn’t gain status as a legal parent in any other way. Continue reading
This piece was in yesterday’s NYT. I’m in no position to comment on the science so, for the moment, I’m going to assume it is sound, though I do know there is plenty of bad science out there. The essay (it was on the op-ed page, so I think of it as an essay rather than as news) is about diet in the very early stages of a child’s life and how it has lifelong effects–at least according to the study the essay is considering.
But the studies aren’t only about the effects of diet after the child is born. Here’s the part that leads me to write here:
Mothers who were fed foods like Froot Loops, Cheetos and Nutella during pregnancy had offspring that showed increased expression of the gene for an opioid receptor, which resulted in a desensitization to sweet and fatty foods. “The best way to think about how having a desensitized reward pathway would affect you is to use the analogy of somebody who is addicted to drugs,” Jessica R. Gugusheff, a Ph.D. candidate at FoodPlus and the lead author of the study, wrote in an email. “When someone is addicted to drugs they become less sensitive to the effects of that drug, so they have to increase the dose to get the same high,” she wrote. “In a similar way, by having a desensitized reward pathway, offspring exposed to junk food before birth have to eat more junk food to get the same good feelings.”
(One thing I think I should clarify first: that passive voice thing at the very beginning– “mothers who were fed….’– I think read carefully in context it is actually about rats in a lab study. Continue reading
There have been three recent stories (of quite different sorts) about sperm donors (which by extension also have something to say about egg donors) that I wanted to highlight and comment on. Before I get to that, though, I wanted offer a reminder about the terminology I choose to use.
The generally used terms (as you can see from the writings I’ll link to shortly) are “sperm donor,” “egg donor” or, more inclusively, “gamete donor.” I’ve highlighted the “donor” part of each term because this is the word I try not to use. In many (but not all) instances, the “donor” receives compensation though typically the compensation is (technically) for time/inconvenience, rather than for the actual gametes. I accept that motivations of the many people who provide gametes aren’t purely commercial–there are altruistic elements as well. But still, the term “donor” for most of us suggests someone who gives something without compensation. I would prefer to reserve it for those who are actually in that category–those who are purely altruistic–and hence, I try to use “sperm provider,” “egg provider” and “gamete provider.”
Now–to the articles. Continue reading
I’m diverging from the ongoing conversation that arose from the Bode Miller custody case (which we can always come back to) to talk about a brand-new (as of this AM) Washington case. And really, I’m happy to have it to talk about because sometimes I get the feeling that some of you think I am generally anti-male/anti-father. Here’s a case that (might) help convince you I’m not.
It’s called In Re BMH and is from the Washington Supreme Court. I’m only going to do a superficial job at the moment (both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving approach), but it’s a start.
Laurie and Michael Holt began a romantic relationship in 1993. In 1995 they had a son, CH. They never married and they separated in 1998. (Just so you’re not in suspense, I think it is quite clear that Michael Hold is a legal parent of CH and that’s not in question here.) Continue reading
I am totally strapped for time this AM but want to put up at least a little bit of a post. (A postette?) I’m continuing the discussion from the last post (which was itself continued from the post before that) and if you’re just joining us, you might want to go back and read those.
First the news: The McKenna Miller custody case was back in court yesterday. According to this account (there are many to choose from), the judge awarded custody to McKenna (the mother) until the next hearing (December 9). No indication of the basis for the award. It’s also the case that after starting in the NY Times the case has become the subject of much wider discussion. As is always the case, some of it is interesting/useful and some (to my mind, anyway) not so much. I liked this essay, which I think makes some broader points.
There are many directions to go with the discussion at this point, but with little time I will just content myself with a couple of observations. Continue reading