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Tuesday, July 26, 2011


To those who think egg donors are making tons of $ in the wild west of unregulated reproductive medicine (which it is), think again....This young woman thinks the ASRM guidelines is what prevents them from making more. And that doesn't sound like coercion or exploitation to me either.

The Faculty Lounge: ASRM Seeks Dismissal of Egg Donor Suit

Monday, July 25, 2011

Egg Donation: One of Hollywood’s Dirty Little Secrets? -- Blogger --

Thanks to Marna Gatlin of PVED.ORG, we might someday have a celebrity spokesperson.

DI Mom Tamar Abrams: Offspring of Egg and Sperm Donors to Benefit From New Law

From the UK-BioNews - Improve donor recruitment: listen to donors

While I'm not looking to sugar coat the issue (but looking to usurp the accusations coming in my direction anyway;) I would also look at how patient satisfaction differs across various sectors to see how this compares. Its all relative as they say.
Compensated or not, I expect all medical patients to be treated with kindness, respect and good care. I would be devastated beyond consoling to ever find that someone was harmed due to negligence or out of fierce profit motives on my behalf. The world is not perfect, regulation of the fertility industry may or may not ever happen.
People usually come to any life-cycle decision, such as whether to donate or receive, with a fair amount of thought behind them and expectations going in. Our medical system leaves a lot to be desired by any patient/consumer. To paint a picture and have phrases constantly out there (but just to be clear, NOT in this article from Bio News UK, but in the previous donor article linked to on this blog from the NYTimes Motherlode blog) such as "used and forgotten", does not help anyone. It really doesn't. Least of all, my kids.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 22, 2011 An Egg Donor Writes to the Motherlode Blog About Her Experience

Donor Conceived Blogger

When Is Love Not Enough? | Psychology Today

Interview on Transracial Parenting and Single Parenting via Donor Conception:mamacandtheboys.....

Mama C and the Boys - Third Party Parenting, Transracial Parenting and Single Parenting

Where Do (Some) Babies Come From? In Washington, a New Law Bans Anonymous Sperm and Egg Donors TIME Healthland - TIME Healthland -

Morning Feeding: New Law In Washington Bans Anonymous Sperm and Egg Donors | Mommyish

There are still loopholes.

WSJ 7.23.11 An excerpt from "The Baby Chase: An Adventure in Fertility" by Holly Finn.  

Good stuff. Just didn't like when she said this about considering using donated eggs, "I know that it's not just genes that you pass down to a child; it's also your spirit and what you believe. Still, I resist having someone else's baby."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RESOLVE's Telephone Series:Talking to Friends and Family about Third Party Reproduction August 18th.

The National Infertility Association

RESOLVE of the Bay State

RESOLVE of New England's Annual Fertility Treatment, Donor Choices, and Adoption Conference, November 5, 2011
If you are new to infertility or in the midst of treatment, the amount of information and the range of feelings and options you must sort through can be overwhelming. This annual conference provides the information you need in a compassionate context, with people who know what it's like to want a baby more than anything. The conference will help you feel supported and become informed about the best possible choices for building your much-wanted family. Click here to read about the conference.

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

New York Support Groups RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association

Check out this adoption website.

Wouldn't it be great if we had a resource and support network like this.
Shows you just how long we have to go.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Workshop info:Crossing the Bridge from Infertility to Adoption or Third Party Reproductive Options

IAC Center Workshop and Support Groups
Infertility Support Groups - We have found that regular attendance is difficult for infertility patients to commit to. We continue to take names and try to build groups.  
We offer Infertility and Family Building Options Counseling in our Pennington, Montclair, Monmouth County NJ and NYC offices. Contact: or call 609-737-8750. _______________________________________________________________________
Hope to see you soon,
IAC Center Director
There is simply no reason to go it alone

Counseling offers a non-biased overview of family building options to facilitate individuals and couples in making timely decisions that are mindful of long term implications. Using a life-long short-term counseling model, counseling is available throughout the adoption life cycle for all adoption triad members.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


On July 6th Elizabeth Marquardt asked me to make a statement regarding the facebook article

I posted on June 21st, a quote she says was erroneously attributed to her.

"Hi, this is Elizabeth Marquardt. That Facebook page incorrectly attributes a
quote to me. The quote it features is actually by lesbian mom Mary Bowers
writing in the Windy City Times."

Here is her new article in National Review. While I strongly disagree with her
agenda, I understand some of the points she is trying to make and her sincerity
in what she believes in. At least she writes without being cruel and
nasty to parents like me (on and off line), like some of her followers are known

to do (ironically,unfortunately,the rules on her blog don't apply her staff
bloggers so I will not link to it here).

There are already a few well spoken replies posted there and it should generate
some substantial conversations. As long as everyone can remain civil and with
the emotional well being of children in mind,both before and after conception
and birth,which includes how you treat their parents...well, I can hope.


Jul 10, 2011 8:58 PM
IVF lotto lady Camille Strachan: 'I'll launch games for cancer drugs and care
Mail Online
The following paragraphs are directly quoted from the article. It seems that the
idea or painting a picture with a broad brush stroke that egg donors are
exploited has taken on a general truthiness.
I assume that the term "units" means clinics and that by "campaigners" they mean
people who are against ivf,or advocates within the fertility system in the
UK,something to that effect.

"Foreign IVF units are not subject to the same rigorous regulation as those
based in the UK and campaigners say women who donate eggs are often exploited.
Clinics abroad also have more relaxed rules that allow single women and those
aged up to 50 to seek treatment.
In the UK, women over 45 are generally turned away by clinics because of poor
success rates. Single people must demonstrate they can provide ‘supportive
But Ms Strachan said: ‘I don’t want to be judgemental. Some women just really
want a child and they’ve been driven crazy by careers or they haven’t met the
right man. I hope to give opportunities to people who would be turned down in
the UK for whatever reason.’"

Who’s on the Family Tree? Now It’s Complicated

Jul 5, 2011 Some great discussion points in this article. Still,they did not cover egg
donation. For me, an egg donor is a leaf on our family tree. For my children,she
may be something else,more or less, up to them, it will be their family tree
(and as twins they will likely fight it out;). But I do I think that's the point
that the mother at the end of the article has not yet acknowledged.

Books for Donor Offspring, by Librarian Patricia Sarles

This is a lovely website.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's Really Not Any Of Your Business How I Created My Child -- Is It? BY MARNA GATLIN, FOUNDER OF PVED.ORG


I was at the lab waiting to get my blood drawn  (you know the yearly lipid panel, thyroid, sugar screen.) and sitting across from  me was a woman obviously pregnant who was clearly in her mid to late 40's, and next to  her another woman (who I will fondly refer to as Ms. Nosey Pants or NP for short) about the same age -- all of us waiting to have our blood drawn. We all smiled at one another  making the usual and customary small talk about the weather, how long we are going to have to wait, would summer ever get here, blah blah blah.
A few minutes passed and Ms. NP  pipes up and says "IVF?"  And the pregnant woman shuffled her feet, shifted uncomfortably in her chair,  made eye contact with me and then looked at her seat neighbor and said "Yep, we needed some help."  NP woman nodded and for a second I thought maybe she was going to smile and high five this mom to be and say congratulations, or right on, or something positive.  But no, she narrowed her eyes and said:
"Your egg? or donor egg?"
This poor pregnant mom to be visibly blanched.  And me being me, (well those of you who know me, I just speak my mind and say what I feel) I naturally spoke up and I leaned forward and I said:
"Really?  Why do you ask?"
The look of relief on the pregnant mom's face said it all, and just in the nick of time her name was called and she was up out of that chair faster than you could say Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm InjectionThis left me of course to contend  with Ms. Nosey Pants.
Now if this had been any other subject I probably would have left well enough alone after all, "NP" has stuck her nose abruptly into the nearest Readers Digest and was clearly not comfortable herself and doing her best to ignore me. Not being one to leave well enough alone I said "May I talk to you?"  And NP lowered her Readers Digest and said "Are you talking to me?"  As if she'd never seen me before.  And I smiled ever so sweetly and I nodded my head emphatically and said "Yep, I wanted to know if I may talk to you."  The Readers Digest went down upon her lap, she crossed her arms and said "Sure if you'd like what's on your mind?"  And so I smiled and stood up and walked over and took the chair next to hers.  And realizing this made NP even more uncomfortable I said "Really, it's okay, I don't bite."  And smiled again.
I had in mind what I wanted to say which was "Listen, mind your own business and stop going around making others uncomfortable because you are nosey parker."  But I didn't -- I really wanted to know the psychology behind why people ask personal questions. So I just said benignly, "Why did you ask that mother to be if she used her own eggs or donor eggs?"  NP blinked for a few seconds and then said "I was just curious I guess, she looked a little old to be having a baby."  I replied with "Do you have children?"  And she shook her head no, and went on to say that she never wanted children. I nodded and said "I understand that."  She asked me if I had children and I said "Yes, I have one child that I had through egg donation."  This woman turned white and then red, and began to stammer about not thinking before speaking and she was sorry. I told her it was okay, she shouldn't feel weird and that everyone is on their own path in regards to their family building choices.  And so we started this conversation that began sort of in a stilted way -- she asked many questions about egg donation, and why people would choose this way to create their families.  She went on to tell me that when she sees older women and they are pregnant she almost always assumes they used an egg donor and to her that just seemed to weird.  We ended the conversation with me telling her that perhaps because she has no maternal desire to become a mother that any way of family building would be foreign  to her and she agreed.  Her name was then called and she shook my hand, I handed her my card, and off she went.
Shortly after, the pregnant woman walked out of the lab area and past me and she paused and all of the sudden her worlds just came tumbling out --  "Thank you so much, we did do IVF, and I am older and this is donor egg but I am actually a gestational surrogate for my sister.  I have had three kids, and my sister lost her uterus to cancer so I am carrying her egg for her and I didn't feel like launching into the whole explanation with a stranger, it's her story to tell I am just helping her because I love her."  By the time she finished her explanation her eyes were wet.  I immediately stood up and hugged and said to her that she was doing one of the most gracious and giving things ever and she didn't owe anyone an explanation about anything.  We exchanged names and she went on her way.  By now it was my turn to be poked by the lab vampires.
While I sat in the lab I got the same tech I always get.  She's phlebotomist who's studying to become a midwife -- lovely lady who's 40 and really good at what she does.  After we exchanged pleasantries and I commented on how big her kids were getting from the photo on her wall I blurted out "In your travels with drawing blood from pregnant women do you often wonder if the older pregnant women who sit in your chair are using donor egg?"  And my tech shrugged and said "No, not really, and even if I did, I'd never ask because it's non of my beeswax"  I nodded and smiled and shook my head and said "Of course." And she didn't ask me why I asked the question she just continued to draw blood -- before I knew it I was finished and on my way.
Driving home the conversation between the pregnant mother, NP, and myself continued to play over and over in my head -- it was bothersome to me so much so I continued to think about it for several days.  If I met someone who was bald, especially a woman would I ask her if she had Cancer on the premise that most bald women who don't wear scarves probably are bald due to chemotherapy?
Um no.
How about a woman who's face was bruised -- would I ask her if she was a victim of domestic violence?
Um no.
What about someone who was in a wheel chair, or someone who was clearly disabled?  Would I say "Are you paralyzed?" or "Is your child mentally retarded?"
No, no and no.
We don't ask each other how much money we make.  The last person who asked me who I voted for in the presidential election got an "thanks but I don't discuss politics with anyone outside my family". And we certainly don't discuss who got on top, or anything else connected with sex with complete strangers do we?
So why is it okay for complete strangers to ask  "Your egg or donor egg?"
It's not -- because at the end of the day it's really none of your business how I created my child regardless of how grey my hair is, or how old I may appear to you.
Are we clear?
Thank you

An Open (and reasonable) Letter to the ASRM from a Donor Conceived Adult

I appreciate the honesty with which Ms Kane has written about her experience as a donor conceived adult and that she isn't attacking parents (or calling us ''violent criminals'' on a par with forced prostitution, forced pregnancy and baby selling, for having conceived our kids this way, as in a letter that I recently received). 

With permission, letter from Susan Kane, author of the letter.

"Certainly, donor families are under some stress already and I don't want anyone to feel "harassed" but I assume that you know your audience.  If you think people will find it interesting and worthwhile, good with me. "

An open letter to the ASRM from Susan Kane, a donor conceived person, in response to Todd Essig’s commentary (Balancing the Rights of Donor Offspring With Those of Donors: But What About Parents? Forbes. June 30/11, which was a response to the commentary that Naomi Cahn and Wendy Kramer of the DSR placed in BioNews last week (The Birth of Donor Offspring Rights in the USA?,
As a donor-conceived adult, I appreciate Todd Essig’s observation that “law is a blunt instrument” for managing the gap between technology and social norms governing its use.  (Forbes, see above link)
And yet, law is exactly where we turn when people and industries fail to regulate themselves.  And, despite Essig’s feeling that gamete donation — with us for over 100 years — is “new”, we have decades of evidence that the current norms and regulations governing gamete donation in the United States are failing everyone.
Following are three quotes from donor conceived adults from this week’s article published in Human Reproduction entitled: “Offspring searching for their sperm donors: how family type shapes the process”
“It makes me angry that I am denied the basic right of knowing who my father was and what ethnicity I am.”
“I am curious as to what my biological father is like, do I have any siblings, what were his parents like.”
“The man who raised me is still my dad, but I’m pissed off . . . I’m missing half of my genetic medical history.”

It’s curious to me that masturbating into a cup or donating eggs seems to Essig an entirely different thing than the more commonly known way of conceiving a baby but not raising it, namely, adoption.
Which part is so confusing?  Is it the cup?  The presence of doctors? The fact that this is an intentional act on all sides?  Does the payment make it confusing?  Is it all that pretty, shiny, technology?
Let me ask you for a favor.  Stop looking at the cup.  It doesn’t have the answers we need.  Look me in the eye instead.  As it turns out, I’m just like every other human.  So, pull our your Psych 101 text and keep it handy while we chat.  It applies to me too.
As anyone in the mental health field should know, decades and decades of adoption research has taught us that secrecy in families causes damage. It has taught us that learning that your parents are not your parents late in life wreaks havoc on your basic sense of trust.  Most of all, adoption has taught us that genes matter.
They don’t matter more than love.  I never said they did.  But I challenge you to find an adoption professional in North America today who would tell you that genetics is irrelevant in family creation.  Genes matter — today more than ever.
Genes matter to donor families.  These families have specifically pursued infertility treatment rather than adoption.  The fertility industry *exists* because genes matter.  Allowing people to pass on their genetic material is what fertility treatment *does*.  It amazes me that genes can matter to the families and doctors you serve and yet both you and Allison Rosen can’t believe that they also matter to *me*.
Who exactly gets to decide whether donor anonymity — being cut off from part of your genetic heritage — matters?  Is it the parents of donor children?  Is it the donors, kind people that they are?  Doctors? Forbes’ columnists?  Mental health professionals?
The answer, Mr. Essig, is that we do.  We get to decide whether it matters to us.  And the answer is:  it does.
I’m sorry that your professional group chose not to learn anything from adoption research, but I’m here to tell you that the kids are all grown up.  We’re not children under our parents’ care — we are teenagers, we are college students, we are the grown parents of our own children. We’ve thought about this system that you so carefully constructed and we’ve decided that it sucks.  I’m sorry.
I know that you’re worried about the families and donors you counsel.  I appreciate your concern.  But I want you — the expert — to look ahead on their behalf, to help them think about the teenager, the college student, the parent.  Your job is to advocate *not* for the family sitting before you, but for the family they are about to become — the one that includes a donor child, to whom genes matter.
And if the ASRM had done this, there would be no need for a law in Washington State — because donor anonymity would no longer exist.  But you failed to advocate for us.  You chose convenience over conscience. You chose the present tense over the lessons of history.  And so we have stepped in to do your job — to advocate for the long-term mental health of donor families.  We plan to create a new system that does not pit the needs of children against their parents or their donors.  And there will, unfortunately, be conflict between us — until you start listening to everyone you are supposed to serve.
Listen, Mr. Essig.  I’m not an angry teenager.  I’m a 43 year old woman with two children of my own, also conceived by DI.  And what I and other DC adults are telling you, and other members of the ASRM, is that you are *wrong*.  You are totally, entirely, and dangerously wrong.
Your policies are wrong, your thinking is wrong, and most importantly, you are on the wrong side of history.  I’m very sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  Everyone did the best they could, but the system is terribly flawed and we all hate it.  We’re telling you to change it now, before we sue.
There aren’t many “older” adults like me.  We’re everywhere, of course, but you can’t organize a group of people who are dreaming.  But there’s an entire *army* of DC adults coming of age, right now, as we speak.  Do you really want to fight the very children you helped create — in court?
It’s your choice.  Future generations of textbook writers will judge your actions.  When social norms fall behind technology, we need to create them, not wring our hands and wonder what will happen.  I’ll see you on the battlefield of history.  May the best ideas, the best practices, the best path forward — win.
Susan Kane
Boston, MA
July 1, 2011

Subject: Balancing the Rights of Donor Offspring With Those of Donors: But What About Parents? - Todd Essig - Managing Mental Wealth - Forbes

An interesting article by Todd Essig,PHD.

Patricia Sarles Blogspot about books for donor offspring

Here is a note I received from Patricia Sarles. The website is lovely so please check it out!

Hi Ms. Axel,
I see from that you ran a discussion group on books for donor offspring this past February.
If this would be of any interest or help to you in the future, I maintain a blog about books for donor offspring here:
I've just added some new ones in French but 99% of them are American.
Best wishes,
Patricia Sarles, MA, MLS 
Jerome Parker Campus Library 
100 Essex Drive 
Staten Island, NY 10314 
voice: 718 370-6950 x1321 
fax: 718 370-6960