Nobel Prize Winner for IVF???

06 Oct
The doctor who made IVF a reality won a Nobel Prize.  Generally I enjoy reading about great minds and great accomplishments but this one, not so much.  According to the press release approximately 4 million children have been born as a result of IVF.  When babies are born who are related genetically to both parents I have no concerns.  I will leave that up to the great minds to determine if there are consequences that have not been identified although some concerns have already been raised, so I expect more to follow.
My problem stems from the use of so-called “donor” eggs or “donor” sperm.  Far too many individuals have no idea that they are not their parents genetic offspring do to matching the physical traits in selection.  Far too many individuals who know, have absolutely no option of ever meeting their mother or father because the “donors” were anonymous.  Compounded on the anonymity is there is no court documents as a last resort to gain knowledge in an emergency.  Records are kept by clinics and I highly doubt they keep very good records or they will conveniently get lost, shredded, or burned in a fire.  There is no recourse to know where you came from.  That is inhumane.  That is wrong.  The UK has enacted laws outlawing anonymous “donation”, other countries probably have as well.  The USA has done nothing, it is a free for all.  Canada is not much better. 
The most basic problem is no family health history or ability to get current history.  I do understand they obtain a better history than they do with adoption but family health history does not end at the time of the “donation”, more events unfold in the family.  Siblings are born.  Parents age and their history changes.  Family members die.  Health history is never static and it is all relevant and becoming more so with new knowledge on hereditary diseases.  Insurance does not pay for genetic tests without a family history or the disease and what if that history wasn’t available the “donation” was made.  What if the disease wasn’t known to be hereditary then?  And consider all the individuals who were never told who are providing completely inaccurate family health history that is supposed to guide your doctor to what could be the matter with you.  As you can tell family health history is a particularly sore spot to me as I desperately needed history and because I had none, I was misdiagnosed and that almost cost me my life and changed my life forever that night. 
The impact of not knowing where you came from is incredibly hard for some.  Even getting a chance to meet your half siblings through the donor sibling registry cannot overcome the fundamental right to know your origins.  And the population at large just cannot comprehend this – because they know where they came from so it is “not a big deal”.  It is a big deal and unless you don’t know you cannot fully understand. 
And the thought of dating or marrying a sibling without knowing it…
I keep thinking about how the public does not understand and even some of the parents don’t understand.  I imagine many refuse to understand how individuals could be upset about it, and most likely tell them to get over it and get on with life.  To be happy they are alive at all.  That they should be grateful.  I imagine they are given the same advice adoptees are given every single day.  But instead of the “you could have been aborted” they are  most likely told “they may have never been born”.  Which is just as ludicrous as the abortion statement to adoptees. 
I am not trying to be cruel but for people who choose anonymous donation and did not require known donors – why?  Was your happiness more important than the potential for health issues due to not having current history, or if your children needed to know where they came from and because of your decisions are forever denied? 
Adoptees need to speak up more about this…the medical community needs to speak up more about this…

Posted by on October 6, 2010 in Ethics, Uncategorized


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3 responses to “Nobel Prize Winner for IVF???

  1. shadowtheadoptee

    October 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    How people can have so little respect for the creation of a human life, or life in general, amazes me, especially when that life was created from their own flesh and blood. I just don’t get it. If you are willing to be a part in the creation of another human being, why hide your identity from him/her?


  2. The adopted ones

    October 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I think the “donors” are most likely too young to grasp the reality of what they are doing because of their maturity levels. Too easily swayed by words like “making dreams come true” or simply needing the “money” the “donors” recieve in some instances, college education costs alot.

    It bothers me that people cannot look past their own desires and wants to see the impact on the babies they so desperately wanted. It boggles the mind that their needs come at such a price and then the ones impacted are told to get over it. Why not tell the parents to get over their needs if they aren’t willing to go into this with best interests for all and refuse anonymous donations.


  3. Jackie

    October 4, 2013 at 4:59 am

    It is my personal experience that the IVF industry collectively is extremely skilled at not only withholding the many potential risks and complications arising from their procedures, be they physical, emotional or practical, but also at actively diminishing genuine concerns.

    If you want to reach woman who are currently making choices about the births of their children without being adequately informed about the long-term effects, you might join as many IVF discussion forums as possible. When you start to carefully communicate your message in this environment, chosen by women who need support during periods of extreme stress, you might consider that some of the drugs involved in IVF have a profound effect on their cognitive functioning, whilst other drugs will act on their emotions, chemically amplifying the inert human drive to have a child. These combined effects usually impact on women’s judgment and decision making processes over the long term, as many negative trials before success, if any are the norm, and may lead to accepting options that were not previously contemplated or sufficiently scrutinised, that is, whilst rational and considered reasoning was still an option.

    Keep an eye open for skypers, industry participants with a vested interest in stopping information flow on threads that reveal potentially negative outcomes and gain too much agreement amongst members. It won’t take you long to ID them, and this is where I see rational and carefully considered objections really shine:
    “Yes (skyper), it is true that xyz may only be of minor concern and perhaps not even relevant at all, considering how happy and grateful to be alive the child will be. However, I agree with the original Q posed and concerns raised, because …..”
    It is by (re-) validating concerns women have already raised and debunking misleading alternative explanations that your message will be heard and effectively stop behaviour that you know will lead to harmful outcomes.

    The public is willing to participate in this debate, so long as the opportunity presents itself, but unfortunately remains excluded and grossly mislead as are sperm- and egg donors and recipients alike: any political party as cohesive and highly organised as the IVF lobby group would win every election to the end of time. You see where I’m going, if you think you might have the energy and drive to change any laws. But you can generate change at the consumer end, by speaking directly to the customers, and comments once made stay in the public domain indefinitely, retrievable from inside or outside the forum.

    Dr. Edwards, as far as I know, has repeatedly and publically criticized many of the current techniques and tactics applied in what IVF became long after he and Dr. Steptoe originally developed the concept and achieved the first birth of its kind. However, he appeared somewhat less vocal after receiving his Nobel Prize. …



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