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 wanted to add a couple more notes about the Florida opinion I wrote about a couple of days ago. And while I’m doing that, there’s a Nevada opinion from just a little while back (October 3) that I wanted to tie in here. It’s virtually a mirror image of the FL case.
First, two more points about the FL case–what I think of as the good and the bad, really. And these are taking a step away to get a little bit of a longer view.
The good: From what I can tell (and I do not have any access to the facts) the court decided this case in a way that I think reflects the reality of the family life that gave rise to it. There are many indications that both women functioned as parents to this child during the first two years of the child’s life. Continue reading
I’m interrupting myself (though I really want to get back to “social infertility” and what to think about it) because there is an interesting and important new case out of Florida. You can read the opinion (though it is long) and I’m sure in time there will be press, too. (I wrote about this case when it was decided by the lower court and you might want to read that, too. )
I want to offer some initial thoughts here, though think it quite possible I will find that I need to revise them as I think further. The case covers a lot of ground and might have some broad implications–or at least suggest some broader arguments.
The facts are pretty simple. DMT and TMH were lesbians in a long-term committed relationship. They wanted to raise a child together. TMH provided an egg. It was fertilized in vitro and the resulting pre-embryo was transferred to DMT’s uterus, which means DMT was pregnant with/gave birth to the child. Continue reading
Someone (ki sarita, in fact) raised an excellent question in an early comment on the last post: Why would you call Monica Schissel a surrogate when she is a pregnant woman and she is genetically related to the fetus she carries? There is some discussion of this in the last post, but I’ve been thinking about it more generally. This leads me to some observations that might be useful or, failing that, at least interesting.
It seems to me you can think about pregnant women as falling into one of four categories. Here they are:
A: Intending to be parent and genetically related to embryo
B Intending to be parent and NOT genetically related to embryo
C NOT intending to parent and genetically related to embryo
D. NOT intending to parent and NOT genetically related to embryo. Continue reading
I cannot tell you why it is so difficult to make time for the blog this fall, but it must be obvious to you all that it is. I figure the best I can do is press on, trying as I can. So here I am with what is, I am afraid, both a late and a disconnected post.
Over the summer the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an important opinion on surrogacy. The case began when David and Marcia Rosecky, a married couple, made an agreement with Monica and Cory Schissel, also a married couple, that Monica would serve as a surrogate for David and Marcia.
Marcia and Monica had been good friends for many years. When Marcia required treatment for leukemia (treatment which was fortunately successful), Monica offered to be a surrogate. She offered twice–in 2004 and 2008. Continue reading
The last of my really sporadic posts concerned a new story about Liam Burke, a child born a little under a year ago. His mother–and here I mean the woman who gave birth to him who is also his legal mother and his social mother–is Kelly Burke. The embryo that became Liam was transferred to Kelly’s uterus after it had spent 19 years cryogenically preserved. (You can just go read the post, if you like.)
Anyway, the story has surfaced again and this time a couple of other things struck me. In fact, I found echoes of the issues raised by the more recent post about the underground market for children.
Here’s the thing. The embryo in question was given to Kelly Burke by a couple who had created these embryos 19 years earlier when they were having children. Continue reading
There was an interesting op-ed in the NYT yesterday. It’s about the commercialization of infertility treatment, but I think it makes points that can be understood more broadly. And, somewhat like the adoption story I blogged about yesterday, it makes me think about the importance of trying to put a bigger frame around the problem.
The authors–Miram Zoll and Pamela Tsigdinos–are women who pursued/endured “increasingly invasive and often experimental interventions, many of whose long-term health risks are still largely unknown.” The treatments were unsuccessful and eventually Zoll and Tsigndinos decided to stop. This is a decision the women are (now) happy with:
Ending our treatments was one of the bravest decisions we ever made, Continue reading
I know I’ve been a very bad blog host, and I hope you all understand why–see the last post if you must. It’s just a busy time. But since it makes me fret when I don’t post I thought I’d put something quick up this evening before the second-to-last leg of the family event marathon. (This is son-to-college. Next (and last) is daughter-starts-high-school.)
Anyway, this story caught my eye today. Liam James Burke was born sometime earlier this year. An ordinary baby save for one thing: He was born after an embryo created 19 years ago was transferred to Kelly Burke’s uterus. That’s a remarkably long time for a frozen embryo to be preserved and then successfully transferred. Then again, perhaps we don’t really know how long they might remain viable.
The embryos had originally been created for an Oregon couple. Continue reading