Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Bioethicists...what a crock...

Oooo...this article has me pissed off. I know it is kind of old (last November), but I just found it today and I am SEETHING. What a total jerk, this so-called "bio-ethicist" is. I am wondering how many mothers of children conceived via donor eggs/children of older parents/IVF patients over age 40 he has spoken with. He must have done else does he feel qualified to speak on this subject? He cites no studies on these subjects. Are these just his opinions?

"If you talk to children of older parents (did you talk to any? where are your statistics? where is this study?), most will tell you that they worried quite a bit about whether their parents would live to see them graduate from high school. Others will tell you that as much as they loved their parents they missed having someone who could do all the physically demanding things that younger parents can do."

As a child of older parents, I can truthfully say, we never even thought about it. I never questioned whether my parents would be around to 'see me graduate from high school.' I never had any 'physically demanding' things that I wanted to do (with my parents) that they weren't able to participate in. Now it could be that I was not that athletic (which I wasn't), but I seriously don't know what I could possibly have wanted to do that my parents couldn't support (I am really clueless here...can someone fill me in??? What kinds of things did you do with your parents that were so physically demanding???).

"Putting aside the proven risks to babies and mothers when women over 40 attempt childbirth, ..."

Believe me, REs don't blithely just do IVF on women over 40 (or 45) without doing tests. Sheesh, I had treadmill tests, blood tests, EKGs, the best physical I had ever had in my life before my RE would do an IVF cycle for me. In Dr. Caplan's defense, I did find a later article he wrote in which he quoted Dr. Zev Rosenwaks, director of Weill Cornell University and New York Presbyterian’s fertility services who said that some 50-year olds may be in better shape than some 40-year olds. I guess that he (Dr. Caplan) just didn't know that clinics already require that older women (over 45) have to have additional tests (at least the clinics I am aware of) before they will do IVF with them. Maybe he ought to do some research before he writes his articles.

"St. James said that it is never too late to have a child. And the miracles of reproductive technology do appear to support her statement. The parade of fifty-something celebrity moms who proclaim their pregnancies on the morning talk shows could give any young woman the impression that there is no rush to reproduce because medical technology can bail them out if need be."

I agree that young women (and men as well) need to be educated. Young women need to be aware at how ones fertility declines after age 35 and then plummets like a stone after age 40. They need to know that IVF is expensive and painful and invasive; that most of these celebrities having children after age 45 are probably using donor eggs; that IVF really is not that effective using old eggs (over 45 or so).

"...St. James had to use donor sperm and an egg, which was "donated" but more accurately bought from an anonymous stranger."

Oh, so sperm is "donated", yet eggs are "bought"? Gee, I thought sperm donors received compensation for their donations. Egg donors receive more compensation because the donation is so much more difficult than sperm donation. Considering what egg donors go through (the shots, the bloating, the drugs, the invasive procedures), I don't think the compensation is out of line.

"Keep in mind, too, that when donor sperm and eggs are used a potential legal minefield is created. If either the source of the sperm or the eggs decides to assert parental rights over St. James’ twins they will likely be successful. A court in Erie, Pa., has just ruled that a woman hired by a single man as a surrogate mother has just such a right."

Now Dr. Caplan, this situation that you cite is so much more complex than you hint at in this article. This is really not indicative of a typical donor egg/donor sperm cycle. The intended parents of these triplets did not go to visit their children for 6 days after they were born. The surrogate mother (not the egg donor) felt they had been abandoned and took them home with her. This is a case of a gestational surrogate (no genetic relationship with the child), not an egg donor. Egg donation is only secondary to this story (the egg donor was a different woman). Are you saying gestational surrogacy should be outlawed?

"At any time in the lives of the children the person who supplied the sperm may try to enter into St. James life. And despite the anonymity of the person who supplied the egg, she might be able to litigate her way to an answer should she ever decide to find out who has "her" baby. "

Oh, come on now. This would not ever happen. It would be the same as a woman who had given up her child for adoption who, after the adoption was final, perhaps years later, tried to reclaim the child. What judge in his right mind would rule against the adoptive (donor egg/donor sperm) parents? What were you thinking when you wrote this? Do you not realize that legal contracts are signed to protect the prospective parents? This is ludicrous in the extreme.

I am not impressed by you, Dr. Caplan.

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