I got the truth when I was 16: My mother hadn’t gotten pregnant by an ex-boyfriend. I was, rather, the product of a completely intentional transaction. My father was an anonymous sperm donor.
My mom conceived me on her own at a time when it wasn’t in vogue to do so, and she didn’t tell her siblings or parents what she’d done. The revelation hit me deeply. An introverted, introspective teen, I internalized her decision to hide the truth as my own shame — shame I still feel today.
The high cost of assisted reproductive treatment in North America is forcing many US citizens to look to other countries for high-quality medical care at a lower cost.
In 2016, nearly 1.4 million Americans travelled outside the U.S. in search of medical treatment, compared to 750,000 in 2008. Currently, medical tourism, or cross border reproductive care as the media have labelled it, is rising by 25% per year.
The primary reasons for these trips, according to a study conducted by the Task Force on Ethics and Law from the ESHRE, and published in the scientific journal Human Reproduction (Shenfield et al. 2010), is the difficulty in accessing certain treatments due to legal restrictions, long waiting lists, and thirdly, the search for high-quality reproductive treatment.
The main countries hosting these medical tourists in Europe are Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Switzerland, Slovenia and Spain. The fact that the latter has the most permissive legislation in terms of assisted reproduction, together with the European regulations on mobilisation of biological samples, and high medical and technical quality make Spain the top destination. It is also the country with the most egg donations.
She hit menopause several years ago but did not give up on her dream of motherhood.
A Vietnamese woman has given birth to a healthy child at the age of 60, making her the oldest woman in the country to become a mother.
The woman, named only as Ngan, hit menopause several years ago after struggling for a long time to have a baby. She and her husband eventually decided to resort to IVF, using donated eggs and her husband’s sperm.
The baby was born in mid-February via C-section and weighing 2.6 kilograms, and has been given extra formula milk as Ngan cannot produce enough.
The dramatic growth of the databases is raising ethical challenges for the donor conception community. It has been recognised for some time that donor anonymity can no longer be guaranteed but this hypothetical threat is now very much a reality.
Donor conceived individuals are using genetic genealogy databases to match with genetic relatives and identify their biological parents, and there have been many success stories. There are now also a number of cases where people have accidentally discovered that they were donor conceived after taking a commercial DNA test. Some families who have used the services of a fertility clinic have learnt through DNA testing that the clinic owner substituted his own sperm for that of the father (see BioNews 931).
Traditional methods aren’t typically available for queer people to grow their families, and growing families non-traditionally can be expensive. What are the options and costs for queer couples and individuals to consider when family planning?
3 Questions Queer People Should Ask Before Growing Our Families – photo by Shutterstock
The cost to raise a child from birth to 18 years old, not including family planning or college, is estimated by the USDA to be about $245,340. For many LGBT families, this is the minimum cost. This is why lack of financial planning when family planning could put queer families at financial risk.
Where did your son get those beautiful, inky-black eyes?” asked my new friend Janet, a mom from my son’s preschool class.
“I don’t know, actually,” I said with practiced nonchalance. “We don’t share any genes. I used an egg donor.”
Janet looked away from me, gazing at the ground as she absorbed this information, before stammering, “Oh, I didn’t realize that.”
In the awkward silence that followed, I could practically hear the questions spinning in her brain. This has happened countless times since my son’s birth four years ago. People teetering on the brink, wondering if it’s okay to ask questions or if they should pretend I hadn’t just revealed a deep personal truth: I’m infertile; I used an egg donor.
Lauren is a 29-year-old virgin. Oh, and she’s pregnant.
Lauren decided to skip sex and use sperm from a donor to have her first child and it worked. She is expecting her baby, who will likely be named after a character in Game of Thrones, in June. “People know I’m single and having a kid by myself,” Lauren said in an interview with VICE. “But they don’t necessarily know the virgin part of it.”
Lauren is very comfortable with her “virgin” label and doesn’t seem to want to change that anytime soon, maybe never. Part of the reason she’s not in any rush to get laid is due to the gland disorder she has had all her life. “I was born with hypopituitarism, which means my pituitary gland is not formed properly,” Lauren explained to VICE. “It doesn’t send the right hormonal messages to the other glands in the body, like the adrenaline gland or the ovaries.”
GREENWICH — When Wear Culvahouse, a Greenwich obstetrician-gynecologist, delivered a baby for the first male same-sex parents at Greenwich Hospital in 2004, he saw doors opening for himself as well.
The team assembled to to help the male couple included personnel from labor and delivery, the nursery and administration. They set up two rooms at Greenwich Hospital: One for the new fathers to learn how to bathe, feed and change their baby, and one for their surrogate to recover.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has granted permission for doctors to create the UK’s first ‘three-person’ children by mitochondrial donation. Doctors at Newcastle Fertility Centre successfully applied to treat two women and are now allowed to create embryos by combining fertilised eggs created through IVF with mitochondria from a female donor. The resulting embryos will be implanted in the two women.
If you were looking for a financial escape hatch to pay off student loans or mortgages by donating something that your body discards monthly, you should know something first. Men fake orgasms too – here’s why and how You have better chances of making money by finding one of Cadbury’s elusive white chocolate Creme Egg than you do donating your own. Read more
Medics plan to use the method on two women who risk passing on genetic diseases to their kids. The unnamed pair have a mutation that leads to myoclonic epilepsy. The ailment hits one in 100,000 people, causing spasms that see lost muscle control, weakness, deafness, dementia and often death. In the treatment, once the mum’s egg is fertilised, the cell nucleus with the bulk of her and the dad’s genetic material is removed. The mutation is left behind, as it only occurs in the mitochondrial DNA which is not present in the nucleus.
Imagine having 22 biological children – it’s okay if you just ran away screaming, I did a little bit. Now imagine that you don’t have to actually take care of any of them – yeah, that’s better. Egg donors aren’t technically parents, meaning they don’t carry, birth, or raise the kids they help create. But their contributions make so many dreams come true.
For some people having a big family is a dream, but some simply can’t have children. That is where the Van Der Worp sisters come in. They are some pretty incredible egg donors. Between the two sisters, they have 22 biological kids. Samara has her own son, but other than that, she has 9 other children that are only hers through DNA. Her sister Sarah has 12 – with one more on the way. The two have given the ultimate gift to families who are struggling with infertility.
My friend’s daughter Emma looks a lot like my daughter Alice (both pseudonyms): the same blue eyes, the same “I’m about to start some trouble” grin. At their house, the other day, Alice pointed to a framed picture of Emma and said her own name.