Saturday, September 26, 2009

Journey into the Bubble

A new blog from a UK donor conceived woman, Alison Davenport, called Journey into the Bubble, chronicles Alison's late-discovery of being donor conceived after learning she has "odd DNA" when she needed a bone marrow transplant.  

Her story is both heartbreaking and intriguing as she speaks out for the cause of identifying donors, and of the danger of genetic disease and how it can be even more difficult for those of unknown parentage.  

I meant to point her blog out several months ago (and maybe I did, I honestly cannot remember at this point!!) but even if I did I want to reiterate Journey into the Bubble as a highly recommended read for ANYONE thinking of using a donor, for recipient parents, and for donor conceived adults.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Embryo mixup woman gives birth

On my CNN reader this evening an article (Woman in embryo mix-up gives birth to baby boy) about the family from Sylvania, Ohio that had an IVF mixup and the wrong embryo was implanted into Carolyn Savage gave birth to a healthy baby boy today.  This baby has absolutely no genetic condition to either Carolyn or her husband.  Carolyn was, due to negligence of the clinic, an involuntary gestational surrogate!  While I'm sure they could have aborted the baby that was not theirs, they chose to carry him to term and relinquish him to his biological parents.

I think what this couple did was an amazing act of generosity, receiving none of the benefits that surrogates receive, and going into the procedure expecting to have a new baby of their own in 9 months (they already had 3 children).  I can only imagine what a painful experience this must have been, for both the Savages, the biological parents, but also for this poor little boy, who became attached to a woman while in the womb and is now tore away from her, even if he is going to his biological mother.

It makes me think of the legal ramifications of this mixup, and the subsequent outcome.  First of all, US law states that the legal parents of a child are determined by who gives birth -- the LEGAL mother is the gestational mother as she gave birth to him, and her husband is the legal father because he is married to her.  This is the beauty of donor conception - the "parents" are on the birth certificate as the legal and biological parents because the legal system allows them to deceive.  

However, nowhere in the article does it state that the Savages were listed as the biological parents on the boy's birth certificate, or that his biological parents had to legally adopt him.  The article says relinquish, but that does not mean that legally the child was not theirs at first.  I would think that if the average American learned that the couple that was this baby's biological parents had to ADOPT him, they would be outraged!!  Sure, it seems like it's such a perfect little system when we're dealing with embryos who were supposed to be put in another person's body, but all of the sudden when it's a boo-boo on a clinic's part, it's this terrible situation!

The interesting part is that there was no possibility for the Savages to even keep the little baby, even though according to US law they ARE the parents!!  This story definitely turns the whole legal aspect of ART on its side.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Long lost siblings reunite with missing sister

I saw this on the TODAY show and now I hear that they did in fact find the second half-sister!!  This adoption reunion story is just too amazing to not post here.  Brothers worked together for several months before realizing they were brothers.  Their half-sister's fiance sees them on a local station in Maine, tells his fiancee that he saw her brothers and she goes to the furniture store they worked at and they reunite.  And now.....while the three were on the TODAY Show their other half-sister in Florida saw them and all four are now reunited!  It turned out that the two girls actually went to school with each other, and the one was told not to tell the other they were sisters.  Now they are all reunited as family.  A beautiful story, but at the same time heartbreaking that these four lost their childhoods and early adulthoods knowing and growing up with each other.

September 23rd

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lots of updates in the DC community

Hello everyone!!  I'm terribly sorry for being so absent the past few months.  Life has been really hectic around last semester of graduate school is underway, I'm still nannying for my lil boy, and I have 3 other regular babysitting jobs (one on Wednesday evenings for 15 kids!!!!).  I've also been doing my practicum at CWRU's Cleveland Health Sciences Library, which has been going well and I'm learning a lot!!  

Needless to say, I've been somewhat negligent on my postings here.  I will try to post several times a month, but as always I can't promise it for sure!

So.......lots has been happening in the world of donor conception!!  I only have time to touch on a few things here.

Mainly, a law professor named Julie Shapiro has had a lot to say about donor conceived persons fight against anonymity, and in particular the term "donor".  She does not understand how such a term is offensive to DC adults.  Please see her blog here.  The post Anonymous Donors And What To Do About Them has sparked an incredible debate and discussion, and she has followed up with several other posts with regards to this first one.  Adoptees and DC adults PLEASE voice your opinions!!!  This is probably the most important comment Julie makes:
What I don't quite understand is why it follows that the label "donor" is unacceptable.  But accepting that it is, would "progenitor" or "forebear" (if that's how you spell it) be better?  I would be content with either of those.
If neither of those work does it have to include the word "father" and if so, why?
This begins an entire debate on the legal versus social definitions in donor conception, and how these definitions, whether we like it or not, are what is keeping us from our goals.  What is the definition of a parent, of marriage, of father and mother.  And it's not only the literal definitions, but how these definitions are defined and refined by different interests.

This is all I have time to update on right now, but please go to Julie Shapiro's blog and post comments!!