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Friday, February 4, 2011

Eggsploitation 2.4.11 and Why I Went

Heres why I went.I wanted to present our interests and be able to open the door for others to speak as well.I asked more questions rather than coming out for our side as I did not think being confrontational was the right approach for my first time at an event like this but rather I could reinforce to you all that we need more of our voices to be heard on this.
I'm passionate about the topic of third party reproduction and reproductive rights in general butthis goes deeper for me. It really is about my kids and maybe yours too if you're on here. 
Of course I believe in the good in the profession, good doctors, other caring practitioners, etc...but this is also how I feel about just seeing the trailer for the film online.
How about the subtitle- egg donation a dirty little secret. As a parent, perhaps as a former donor yourself or infertility patient, about the activities of the religious right and what they say about us (Shark Tank girl for one, see my Twiblings article comments as well).Do you want yourkids conception, do you want you kids to think of their conception, as a dirty little secret? 
I don't believe this will go away if we don't fan it. Naral and NOW have been pretty quiet these last several yrs and where are we now? Huff post article that the 1st piece of legislation to beaddressed after the healthcare bill in the new congress is to pass a bill refining RAPE. Just myopinion.
Here's an informal review. This is all off the top of my head, notes elsewhere, more later.
I attended the 2 screenings in NYC yesterday,Fordham daytime, Columbia evening. 
One de mom friend joined me at each, and a film friend of mine joined me at Fordham, and DrNancy Carroll-Freeman,de mom of twins who ison the education committee of ASRM came toColumbia. Saw no one else I knew from our circles, small turnout at each. 20-30 ppl, 1 personbesides Lahl made up the panel,her side of the argument.
I was there yesterday in NYC for both screenings and there was a representative from NOW on the Columbia panelists and she was more an advocate of the film and Jennifer Lahl than I personally would have hoped. Kathleen Sloan,also on the board of Center for Responsible Genetics. Perhaps you already knew about the NOW person. has spoken to this as a human rights issue to the UN.BTW-Shark Tank Girl was there with a picket sign for her website and her mission as clearly stated at the screenings as “ending ALL art and reuniting children with their real (donor) parents as they go on their spiritual journey of ….” Jennifer Lahl said that is her next film project.They became fast friends right then and there.
I will be looking at the legitimacy of the film award, not known by a film friend. I was civil andlevel, as neutral as I could be in my questioning until Shark tank girl-well ,I only took one little pot shot,couldn't help it. I asked is there a model by which ART is practiced elsewhere
that they think is done according to their standards and that they would consider acceptable and I got an answer that made no sense-it might have,but it was just blah blah blah, nothing substantive. Which was when Shark Tank girl chimed in on how in other countries there is a homestudy done just like they do for adoption, to see if it’s a home and family fit to be parents. Mypot shot was-maybe they also do a better job of screening donors too (this girl supposedly passed throughand donated twice herself). I reminded the Panel that I was asking about all ART and not just Donors and that in adoption there are different risks & liabilities for placing anexisting child compared to who is entitled by law to have children through any form of reproduction.
Lahl said she is not trying to end all ivf,just mistreatment of donors, but then also says to end all art until they figure out the effects from all of it on women and-ready for this-the environment, and then in turn on all of us. 
No one from the business was there. My RE said he would have but had theater tickets for that night (it wasn’t much notice when I asked him).
The additional piece in NYC that was brought up both times was that NY State is the first to pass a bill compensating donors for stem cell research (and hence taking advantage of the poorer populations of women who would be enticed by the $). 
Lahl insists that she is not a Trojan horse for the religious right and was very upset that she was mis-quoted by the journalist, as journalists are known to do. She said she hears from women all the time so saying 3 people in the film does not represent the whole industry or that there are many more is not accurate. 
There was a medical writer there that had mentioned this and I spoke with her after the film, Marion Dreyfus, who writes about the women's global health issues, has a friend that paid a lotof money for his wife to get a donor and that's how she came to this. 
I spoke to the woman from NOW at Columbia and Marion the medical writer at Fordham, about the myth that the compensation is as high as the inflammatory numbers (and that recipients are all rich snobs) and language around designer babies and elite donors,that that's not the norm or the average. Lahl said ASRM guidelines don't mean anything when they recommend no more than $8-10,000, if I still have that correct. Anything I said about ASRM was poo-pooedas being part of the $6.5B industry that has their interest in keeping the dirty secret going.
For the 3 women in the film,how many more have to lose their ability to have children. Lahl admitted the screening venues are college campuses where donor recruiting is done.
The phrases used over and over were these:
Informed consent-either not given it or too young to understand it.
Longitudinal studies on (horrendous, life-threatening) health risks.
Taking advantage of women-the definition of eggsploitation a classic-if its on the website (let'sjust pick it apart for what it is and why shouldn't the medical community defend itself?)
Off label use of lupron. I did not get to ask how many drugs out there are also used regularly as off-label.
Regulation-I’m in favor of more openness as well as a registry of some kind if it can ever be done properly. They kept saying the donor is USED AND THEN FORGOTTEN. That really upset me.
And of course, the good ole-we’re the wild west of reproductive medicine, egg brokers, selling eggs. I have more notes and one other donor mom that I know attended each screening as did my film friend so I hope to have more to share.
One man who came late and left after his statement in which he said he was the chief of medicine at columbia (I will google and see if I can catch a photo to verify),said that anytime money is involved between a doctor and 2 parties there is a conflict of interest. Columbia had more attendance, more interest from audience and seemed on the left and because they were in a law school setting they were asking questions about malpractice insurance ratios globally as well asactual liability and responsibility-like medical mistakes happen and doctors don't want to mess up for many reasons, not just $.
Please write
to me off line if you would like
to chime in on this and let me know if you are interested in having it posted.

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