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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dr Oz, Eggsploitation, and What I Wore

I stand by everything I said about the film Eggsploitation, almost a year since I saw the film at Fordham and Columbia U Law Schools. I have not seen Anonymous Fathers Day, and I will probably not when it screens on January 29, 2012 in NYC at a Digital Art Gallery. 

I was, however, asked to be part of a special section of 40 people to attend the taping of The Dr Oz Show this past Friday, 12-9-11. The Topic: HOW OLD IS TOO OLD TO HAVE A BABY? I never saw the Dr Oz Show until I attended this taping. I was prepped on the phone and in person the day of the taping on what the questions would be, about being a 50  yr old mom of 7 yr old twins. The producer I spoke to asked for passionate participation and said there would be people on the other side of the argument, but that she never heard of Jennifer Lahl, Eggsploitation, Shark Tank Girl, Family Scholars or Elizabeth Marquardt. Something told me otherwise (maybe the little birdie I tell my kids about, the one that comes to talk to you when you are a mom). 

I was ushered in to the studio after passing several security check points starting at 8:15am, signing the release form, getting the bracelet to wear so I could give up my belongings for 3 hrs to sit without a bathroom break or even to stretch my legs. No water bottles allowed under your seat, they reflect on camera, it was to go until about 12noon.

During the taping, I raised my hand a few times to speak but was never called upon for a direct question or to add to the discussions. I had no book or film to promote, no organization to do PR or cultivate a relationship or free press for, but I did take a vacation day from work for this and I could use my show ticket to receive a 10% discount on merchandise sold at the Studio Store on the main floor of 30 Rock. 

Those that did speak on camera had good sound bytes to share, good points to make about older parenting and even egg donation, for and against, and I enjoyed the discussion from both sides. It was difficult to hear so I did not catch the 2 doctors names that were on the panel of experts, one woman OBGYN who said that women of advanced maternal age, even with the use of Donor Egg, can sometimes present other medical issues and that she would not allow to move ahead with a pregnancy plan or any fertility treatments. The male doctor on the panel, a Reproductive Endocrinologist, explained quite a bit about how a healthy woman in her 40's, most of what he sees in his medical practice, can carry a child to term with donor egg with greater success rates than with her own eggs. The mom in the audience, Kate, who conceived via DE in her 50's confirmed that no matter what the others are called in her family-building journey, these are her kids and she is the mom.

Many times the word "biological" child was used when I believe the distinction of  "genetic" offspring should have been made. For example, one of the first things Jennifer Lahl said about infertility is that she understands the heartbreak and the desire for a biological child of one's own but that basically giving birth via donor conception was NOT your biological child, it was another woman's child. In addition to that, according to Jennifer Lahl, "Not everyone has a right to have a baby." I hope this is not edited out from the taping. She even repeated herself, just to be clear.
Maybe she thinks it isn't anyone's right to have a baby at any age or by any means of medical intervention by any one at all. As you may know by now, she is looking to end all ivf procedures, not just donor. But surely she didn't mean "Not everyone has a right to have a baby." Did she?

Shark Tank Girl stood up to say that she is 5 months PG, that she has been an Egg Donor and is a Donor Offspring herself, here at The Dr Oz Show to say that Anonymous Donor Conception is wrong because it strips the child of their rightful PARENTAL connection to, you guessed it, the Donor. A parent and a donor are not the same thing.

So, WHY is it, that if a Donor wants to be a parent they have to have their own family with a different mate to actually live as a family, but Shark Tank Girl still insists that the donor is part of MY family. Why do other people get to decide what my family wants or needs? Why do people who are actually parents who conceive at the time through a real relationshoip to the child, get to walk in and out of a kids life and are still the parents, even though everyone else might agree that they are not? I do know families like this and that is exactly the point. People get to decide what they want to be a part of or not and no one can force them one way or another. 

If my kids grow up and decide they want another Mother, it will be IN ADDITION to me, not INSTEAD of me, if that other person wants to and not if they don't.

The kids will have to decide for themselves if they love me or not, still want me as their mom or not, if they want to seek out their donor and then accept them as another Mother or not, and so on. We will always be a family of choice, but I would appreciate it very much if you didn't call me/us other names and use language like "The Violent Act of Buying and Selling a Child" with regard to sperm and egg donation, or that donors are "Used And Then Forgotten'', over and over. If you really care about families then why don't you leave alone the ones that exist just fine (and thriving in the same ways and at the same rate as other families in the general population) without you?  

PS-I wore a blue dress and figure that all you'll see of me when the show airs in January is the back of my head, which I really do hope they edit even that part of my participation out of the show. And if you happen to speak to Dr Oz, please tell him that I want my vacation day back! I am just a working mom, after all.

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