By admin on April 30, 2015
There is a huge discrepancy between the numbers that the reproductive medicine industry reports for the health of egg donors following donation. This is important information sometimes given to donors before they donate, to reassure them that the process is safe.
For example UCSF Medical Center offers this information to potential egg donors:
“There is a small risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) developing during an egg donation cycle.”   http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/common_questions_for_egg_donors/
Another website, Angel Egg Donation says this, “In findings reported to the ASRM, OHSS is associated with approximately 1% of Assisted Reproduction cycles.”  https://www.angeleggdonation.com/Donor/DonorRisks
However, our research paints a different picture. In our first study of 155 egg donors (http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/24/12/3144.full ), we found that 30.3% reported Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) and 9.6% reported infertility issues.
In our second survey of 176 egg donors in 2014, we found that 32.4% of egg donor reported complications such as OHSS and infection.  We asked about infertility problems after donating and 13% said yes, 49% hadn’t yet tried to get pregnant and 38% said they haven’t had any problems.
Well, here is one possible explanation for the discrepancy in tracking complications with egg donors. This is from an email I received from a former egg donor yesterday:
“I woke up during one retrieval. What I recall is that the doctor was roughly, rapidly, and aggressively plucking my eggs. I could see the image of my grossly inflated ovary on the screen. I protested in some way–called out in pain or said “hey!”. His reaction was angry–I felt hostility directed at me; it’s possible that the nurse was actually the intended recipient of this anger. Perhaps she hadn’t knocked me out sufficiently.
I subsequently had symptoms of OHSS (“warnings” or information about this had been extremely light and dismissive). My calls to the clinic went unanswered. I drove down there instead. They quickly got me out of the waiting room full of hopeful parents, looked at each other, and told me, “well, go to the ER then. I don’t know what you want us to do.” Keep in mind that they knew ahead of this cycle that I would no longer be donating. There was never any follow up from the clinic.
Interestingly, the records I recently requested and received (after intervention from my doctor) don’t include anything about that cycle other than a few blood tests, whereas the records for the previous donations include detailed sonogram monitoring of the progress of the eggs, information about the meds (names and dosages), and the date and time of the trigger.”
Another discrepancy: the industry (ASRM and SART) do admit that there is no accurate tracking of sperm donation births, but they continue to insist that they have accurate records of babies born through egg donation.  In our research we found that 42% of parents of egg donors children were never asked to report their births. So having accurate records is therefore just not possible.  https://www.donorsiblingregistry.com/sites/default/files/files/Oocye%20paper.pdf

 


By admin on April 02, 2015

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children.
One is roots; the other wings.”

This Hodding Carter quote has been the tagline on my emails for many years now. This week I spoke with an egg donor mom who questioned me about it, asking if I interpreted the quote as meaning that donor conceived children’s “roots” are from the genetic parent(s) and the parents that actually raise the child supply the “wings”, saying that she felt like she was both to her adult son.

To me, the quote means that we parents owe our children both: roots and wings. It’s not just one or the other.  Parents who raise donor children do provide both roots and wings in the form of family, security, and instilling our children with the confidence and the tools to fly on their own one day. Also though, we do need to acknowledge the “other” significant part of the roots that we might not be able to supply and that might be very important to our children.

So sure, parents who raise children certainly do provide both.  But, there is another person who also contributed to our children’s roots: ½ their ancestry, DNA, and medical history do come from the other biological parent.

Once again, we hit upon the notion that some parents like to think that the donor is just a “piece of genetic material” or only a “donated cell”. But in fact for many donor-conceived people, it’s much more than that.  They have an unknown person who contributed half their DNA, their ancestry and their medical background: three very important pieces that contribute significantly to who a person is.

Just like in adoption, some kids are not very curious, and some are extremely curious to know about the donor. And as in adoption, families need to be supportive with whichever type of child they get. Or you might end up with resentful offspring; angered that keeping the secret was more important than their right to the truth. Or fearful offspring protecting the parents that haven’t yet healed from the pain/shame of infertility.  That’s not their burden to carry. It’s not their shame to carry on. Too many offspring come to the DSR in secrecy, behind their parent’s backs, afraid of hurting or angering them.

Secrecy does imply that there is something shameful about the methodology of conception. Donor conception can be talked about openly and honestly between loving parents and their donor children. Telling is just the beginning though. And having a curious child in no way lessons your importance or significance as a parent. It is an innate human desire to want to know where we come from.