In Japan First, Woman Gives Birth Using Egg From Anonymous Donor
By Mizuho Aoki | Japan Times | March 22, 2017
Japan has witnessed the birth of its first baby using anonymous donor eggs. As the country prepares for others, important questions about legal parentage and the status of birth mothers are also being raised.
According to this article, a 2007 ruling by the Japanese Supreme Court currently grants legal status to the woman who gives birth. While there is no precedent or specification in the civil code for when a child is born as a result of donated eggs, a draft bill granting legal status to the birth mother in third-party reproduction could be in the pipeline.
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Why You Should Know About IVF’s Potentially Fatal Side Effects
By Ila Ananya | The Wire | March 21, 2017
This article follows the story of Arathi Krishnan Chhetri, a 34-year-old woman who sought help from a well-known IVF clinic in the Indian state of Bangalore. It provides painstaking details on her interaction with clinic providers, highlighting the lack of transparency and inept or lackadaisical care that have come to define fertility treatment in many situations. Through Chhetri’s experience with Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, which landed her in the Intensive Care Unit, the author guides readers through possible symptoms and cautions on current practices in IVF.
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Modern Families: Stories of Extraordinary Journeys to Kinship
By Joshua Gamson | NYU Press | 2015
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From the publisher’s website:
From adoption and assisted reproduction, to gay and straight parents, coupled and single, and multi-parent families, the stories in Modern Families explain how individuals make unconventional families by accessing a broad range of technological, medical and legal choices that expand our definitions of parenting and kinship. Joshua Gamson introduces us to a child with two mothers, made with one mother’s egg and the sperm of a man none of them has ever met; another born in Ethiopia, delivered by his natural grandmother to an orphanage after both his parents died in close succession, and then to the arms of his mother, who is raising him solo.
These tales are deeply personal and political. The process of forming these families involved jumping tremendous hurdles—social conventions, legal and medical institutions—with heightened intention and inventiveness, within and across multiple inequities and privileges. Yet each of these families, however they came to be, shares the same universal joys that all families share.
From the book’s foreword by Melissa Harris-Perry, Maya Angelou Presidential Chair and Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University and, formerly, host of MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry:
These family making journeys raise hard questions, but offer no formulaic answers. These are stories of choices made consciously and sometimes uncomfortably to create and combine lives amidst the messy human realities of desire, commerce, science, faith, community and family. This collection is not a roadmap; it is a companion for all those who choose to navigate the world of modern kinship.
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome – It’s Time to Reverse the Trend
By Dr. Geeta Nargund | BioNews | Dec. 5, 2016
In this commentary, Dr. Geeta Nargund at CREATE Fertility, discusses the increase in ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) reported by fertility clinics in the United Kingdom.
In the author’s opinion, a report published by the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA) “obfuscates” real data – a 40 percent rise in hospital admissions with severe OHSS. She suggests the HFEA prioritize this “alarming statistic” and focus on reversing the trend, offering the following recommendations: a reduced dose of stimulation followed by GnRH agonist to trigger ovulation, with an option of cryopreservation of all embryos; and abandoning the use of the “long downregulation” protocol, employed in many IVF treatment cycles, and a switch to antagonist cycles.
In line with others in the field, Nargund also emphasizes the need for informed consent – placing the responsibility for this on providers – and rigorous documentation of the effects of stimulation protocols (including the drugs and dosages used).
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Assisted Reproductive Technology National Summary Report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | October 2016
The data for this report come from the 458 U.S. fertility clinics in operation in 2014. It is organized into the following sections.
- Section 1: Information on the different types of ART cycles performed in 2014.
- Section 2: Information on ART cycles that used only fresh non-donor eggs or embryos.
- Section 3: Information on the ART cycles that used only frozen non-donor embryos.
- Section 4: Information on the ART cycles that used only donated eggs or embryos.
- Section 5: Information on trends in the number of ART procedures and measures of success over the past 10 years, from 2005 through 2014.
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Ethical Use of Assisted Reproductive Technologies
National Perinatal Association | December 2015
Professor Michele Goodwin at the University of Minnesota and Judy Norsigian have described the “raw and debilitating physical, emotional and spiritual challenges created by deeply personal and life-altering procedures” experienced by some women seeking ART and support the need for additional regulation. In addition to the invasive processes involved in conception, the ethical quandary created by a recommendation for fetal reduction and the emotional toll on women and couples may be profound and is incompletely studied. Professor Goodwin asserts there is a “much needed public discourse that could also become the clarion call for regulation of a field of medicine that has thus far unsuccessfully regulated itself.”
This position paper by the National Perinatal Association addresses the ethical use of assisted reproductive technologies. It emphasizes reducing disparities in care provided to mothers and children and makes helpful recommendations, including: single embryo transfers, counseling from a multi-disciplinary team, informed consent prior to treatment, and access to comprehensive obstetric care during and after treatment.
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We Are Egg Donors was founded by three egg providers. The platform enables egg providers from more than 12 countries to connect with one another, share their experiences, and access evidence-based research on egg retrieval. We Are Egg Donors operates a Facebook group for approved members and an informative blog.
By sharing our stories, we create a meaningful conversation and advocate for causes that matter to egg donors.
With organizations like Our Bodies Ourselves, We Are Egg Donors is actively calling for long-term studies on the health effects of egg retrieval. Co-founder Raquel Cool has written extensively about her experience for OBOS’s blog.
Others members of the 1000+ strong We Are Egg Donors network have also shared their stories. In a candid photo essay, Christine, a first time egg donor, walks us through every step of her egg retrieval journey. In an interview describing efforts to access her medical records from the clinic, Rae cautions that egg providers may not be protected by HIPAA (the United States legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information). Lauren shares their experience of stigma, as a queer egg provider navigating a heteronormative medical space, while Carter shares her own as an egg provider within and for someone in her family.
We Are Egg Donors invites other egg providers to share their stories and welcomes them into the network.
Do Women Who Donate Their Eggs Run a Health Risk?
By Sandra G. Boodman | The Washington Post | June 20, 2016
A transaction once shrouded in secrecy, the Internet now hosts a thriving and competitive marketplace for donors, largely supplanting leaflets on college bulletin boards and ads in campus newspapers, the traditional methods of recruiting fertile young women. Payment varies, currently starting at about $3,500 per cycle and sometimes exceeding $50,000, depending on the location of the clinic or egg brokerage and the donor’s characteristics. An Ivy League education, Asian descent (there is a paucity of donors), exceptional looks and a previous donation that led to a birth command higher reimbursement.
This article provides a comparison between the experience of an egg provider who did not suffer any complications as a result of the process with another woman who was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer after 10 rounds of egg retrieval.
It includes interviews with noted experts, including Timothy R. B. Johnson, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine, and Judy Stern, professor of pathology and obstetrics and gynecology at Dartmouth, who oversees a voluntary database called the Infertility Family Research Registry.
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Perinatal Risks Associated with Assisted Reproductive Technology
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists | Committee Opinion Number 671 | September 2016
Perinatal risks that may be associated with assisted reproductive technology (ART) and ovulation induction include multifetal gestations, prematurity, low birth weight, small for gestational age, perinatal mortality, cesarean delivery, placenta previa, abruptio placentae, preeclampsia, and birth defects. Although these risks are much higher in multifetal gestations, even singletons achieved with ART and ovulation induction may be at higher risk than singletons from naturally occurring pregnancies.
ACOG’s report recognizes the importance of ARTs for infertile couples but, in the spirit of informed consent, it provides a comprehensive outline of related perinatal risks.
To promote optimal outcomes, ACOG suggests that patients receive counseling and a thorough medical evaluation; and that obstetrician–gynecologists and other health care providers address maternal health problems or health conditions before initiating treatment and, when proceeding, make every appropriate effort to achieve a singleton gestation.
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More ART than Science
Reproductive Health Technologies Project | 2016
This report provides an overview of recent scientific literature on the long-term health effects of ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval, a specific component of ART used during in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg donation, and egg freezing. It is not a complete literature review but, as described, “an overall assessment of what is and what is not currently known, followed by recommendations for how to improve the information available about this aspect of reproductive health care.”
This paper builds on work the Reproductive Health Technologies Project began in 2003, when the organization convened leaders from reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations and women’s health advocacy organizations to consider issues related to ARTs and emerging technologies.
Shortly after that convening, RHTP produced a white paper about ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. This report provides an update to reflect the additional knowledge gained from the research that has taken place since RHTP’s earlier exploration of the field.
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