I’m at the midyear conference of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys/American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys just now. It’s a program devoted to the world of ART and there are lawyers from around the country and the world–a really terrific and interesting group. It’s very busy but I wanted to take a minute out to post this.
This morning there was a great speaker who focused on psychological issues around egg donation. Her name is Dr. Andrea Braverman and she teaches at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. One particular point she made was both simple and provocative: The way parents talk to donor-conceived children can profoundly shape how the children react.
Perhaps this was and is obvious. After all, think about what you call the man who provides sperm? Donor? Father? Daddy-donor? [Your choice here?] 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
I’m still thinking about yesterday’s post–the whole story of the blond Roma children. I’m inclined to agree with Kisrita when she says “the fact that a kid looks different should never be a cause for authorities to get involved unless you have clear evidence of wrongdoing” (that’s in the comments from yesterday) but I’m afraid there’s some distance between should and is. What I mean is that it does happen, even though I think it shouldn’t.
There are at least two different things I think about here–or maybe two different levels on which I think about the same thing. First, there’s the mere fact that different looking adult/child dyad can raise eyebrows or attract attention. Second, there are the specific ways in which this plays out depending on the specific differences we observe. I’m going to consider these in reverse order–second one first.
The second thing is very much about race. Continue reading
I feel badly that I have been so absent here. (And so many of you have carried on so nicely without me.) There–better to just start with that. But why haven’t I been here? Life intervenes? Not in any dramatic way, and not in a bad way (thanks for those concerns) but just in the mass of little things that pile up.
I’m tired, too, of dashing over to this, apologizing, putting up one meager post, and then failing to find the time to build momentum. But you know, being tired of it doesn’t mean I don’t stop trying. It just makes it harder to try. So here I am–I will try again to get myself on more regular footing.
I must have 17 tabs open with things to comment on , none of which seem totally pressing. I think what I will try to do is put together a few things that in some (as yet not totally clear way) seem related to me. The uniting theme–if there is one–is about DNA and inherited characteristics and the cultural stuff around that, I think.
So I’m pretty sure most of you saw the stories about the blond children turning up in Roma families. 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
Have we reached the end of the Baby Veronica story? Last night Dunsten Brown gave up physical custody of Veronica (no longer a baby), allowing the Capobiancos to assume that role. There’s no way of knowing if this is actually the end of the story. Litigation could be continuing, as the article suggests. But surely this is a significant moment. Actual physical custody of the-now-four-year-old child at the center of a very long legal struggle has shifted to her adoptive parents, who presumably have taken (or will take her) back to South Carolina.
I’ve written about this many times before, though most recently not so much about the actual merits as about the nature of the on-going struggle. It is this aspect of the case that continues to trouble me most.
Veronica (and at least all parties seem to agree on her name, unlike some cases where the child is given different names by the competing parties) is four year old. 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
It’s been several months since the Supreme Court decided Adoptive Couple vs. Baby Girl. It’s a case I had written about a number of times over the years, though I have yet to actually discuss the Court’s opinion. (It’s the “lost-it-over-summer” thing.) When the Supreme Court opinion was issued, it probably seemed to many to mark the end of the case, but for some procedural follow-on in the lower courts. But the case was not, in fact, over and indeed, it continues even now.
You can read the facts in almost any of the news stories about continuing proceedings. And they can be very long and convoluted, as the case has a long history. But for my purposes here today, it comes down to this: There is a three year old girl named Veronica. The South Carolina Supreme Court, following the opinion of the US Supreme Court, ruled that a couple from South Carolina (the Capobiancos) could complete their adoption of this child. But she has been living in Oklahoma with her genetic father, Dunsten Brown, who also wants to raise her as his daughter, for roughly half her life. Continue reading
Going for two days in a row with posts here, which is one way of getting back in stride. It does mean, however, that I haven’t had a chance to look at comments. My apologies. I’ll get to them, I promise.
Meantime, this morning my local paper (The Seattle Times) had an advice column Q and A that seemed pertinent. It’s from ”Ask Amy” and I found it on the columnists website.
There has been a lot of discussion here about unmarried fathers and their rights. (You can use the tag “unmarried parent” I think.) A lot of it has been sympathetic to men who are shut out of their genetic children’s lives. And indeed, that sympathy may be perfectly appropriate in a number of instances. It all depends, I think.
The question Amy is asked, however, arises from the “other side of the coin” 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