Artificial Conception

Sperm Donor Regs Needed / Exploitation Concerns with IVF/ High Dose IVF Hurts Women (update 8/2012)

High Doses of Hormones in IVF Hurting Women and Children

Sperm Donor Children Speak Out

Sperm Donor Fathers More Than 150 Children, Regulations Needed

Pro-Life Concerns About IVF Include Abortion & Exploitation

 

 

High Doses of Hormones in IVF Hurting Women and Children

[Comment: A similar article recently appeared in the NYT. However, it did not include the important info on NaPro contained in this article at the end.
  As I have said before, health conscious people avoid meat with hormones as much as possible but think nothing of women taking powerful birth control hormones and overdoses for emergency contraception. N. Valko RN, 24 July 12]

High Doses of Hormones in IVF Hurting Women and Children

Cattle. Livestock to be pumped with hormones, their health be damned, to produce a valuable product.

I am convinced this is how the fertility industry sees women.

The New York Times has an article on “high-dose IVF” that seems to bolster my opinion. In the United States and in the UK, IVF practitioners flood women with high doses of hormones to get as many eggs as possible. Even though this is not good for the health of the women or the children that result, and there is a low-dose alternative that is cheaper and better for mother and child, these IVF docs cling to the high doses approach because it means higher “success rates.” From the article:

OHSS [ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome] is a little-known complication of fertility treatments that rely on high doses of hormones, which are standard in the United States and the United Kingdom; the syndrome is not the only health problem to be linked to in vitro fertilization.

Fertility clinics in Europe and Japan have turned to a safer, low-dose form of IVF, but clinics here have largely resisted on the grounds that the success rates for low-dose IVF are not as high.

“Pregnancy rates are lower, and more cycles of IVF are necessary” with low-dose IVF, said Dr. Glenn L. Schattman, a fertility doctor at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and president of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.

But some critics are urging the industry to reconsider.

“Mild stimulation is clearly much healthier for women,” said Francine Coeytaux, founder of the Pacific Institute for Women’s Health, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles. “The reason hyper-stimulation happened is because these fertility clinics compete against each other by posting their success rates.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, high-dose stimulation leads to OHSS in 10 percent of IVF patients. The ovaries become swollen and, as in Ms. Demidon’s case, can leak fluid into the chest and abdomen. Symptoms can range from mild to serious; in rare cases, OHSS can be life-threatening.

A recent inquiry into maternal deaths in the United Kingdom found that OHSS following high-dose IVF is now one of the leading causes of maternal mortality in England and Wales.

Read that again. High-dose IVF: a leading cause of maternal mortality. Ten percent get OHSS. Ten percent!!! That is ten out of every 100 women. With millions of women having undergone IVF…well you do the math. What craziness is this?

What a reckless disregard for the health of both infertile women, egg donors and the precious product, the children! But this is par for the course in the fertility industry. See if it works first, then ask questions about the health ramifications later as evidenced by the creation of genetically modified children by IVF a decade ago.

Guinea pigs. That must be what we women look like to fertility docs because it seems they don’t care to look into what these drugs do to us or our children long term:

One recent study suggested that high-dose IVF contributes to lower birth weights, compared with the babies of women who receive minimal doses of hormones. And experts have debated for decades whether IVF contributes to an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer; studies have reached conflicting conclusions.

Lupron, used to suppress the ovaries, has raised concerns as well. The drug is approved to treat prostate cancer; its use in IVF is off-label (meaning it is not FDA-approved for this purpose). Thousands of women have reported adverse reactions, including memory loss, liver disorders, bone loss and severe muscle, joint and bone pain, said Marcy Darnovsky, associate executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, a public interest group in Berkeley, Calif.

“Lots of drugs are used off-label, but is this use appropriate?” said Ms. Darnovsky. “Considering the number of women who’ve taken these drugs over the past 25 years, you’d think much more rigorous studies and analysis would have been done on them.”

You would think. But this is more evidence that the fertility industry is not about women’s health. It is about human manufacturing to specifications.

Let me remind readers that there is an alternative to IVF for infertility. NaPro Technology (Natural Procreative Technology) is the ethical way to treat infertility. Developed by Thomas W. Hilgers, MD, NaPro Technology focuses on a woman’s reproductive health and “provides medical and surgical treatments that cooperate completely with the reproductive system.” Thirty years of studying hormonal changes in a woman’s cycle and the underlying causes of infertility has culminated in an alternative way to treat infertility that does not replace sexual intercourse or create life outside the body.

NaPro Technology has great results as well.

NaProTechnology has been shown to be 3 times more effective than IVF.

Couples that failed with IVF succeeded with NaPro Technology. It is cheaper than IVF, does not require egg retrieval, and since it treats the underlying cause of infertility, it allows for couples to get pregnant again and again. NaPro Technology has also been proven effective in preventing miscarriage and premature births. To find a NaPro Technology provider near you visit The Fertility Care Centers of America — http://www.fertilitycare.org/
[Rebecca Taylor | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 7/20/12, http://www.lifenews.com/2012/07/20/high-doses-of-hormones-in-ivf-hurting-women-and-children/]

 

Sperm Donor Children Speak Out

Alana Stewart is one of an estimated 30,000 – 60,000 children conceived each year in the United States through sperm donation.

December 5, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – There are only four things Alana Stewart knows about her father: he has blonde hair, blue eyes, a college degree, and his assigned number at the sperm bank where he sold half of Alana’s genetic code is 81.

She is one of an estimated 30,000 – 60,000 children co

nceived each year in the United States through sperm donation. A former egg donor herself, Alana is now a vocal critic of the practice, which she calls “the violent act of buying and selling a child.”

Her story, featured in the upcoming documentary Anonymous Father’s Day, is becoming more and more common. Many of the children conceived through sperm donation are now adults, and some of them are speaking out against the practice that brought them into existence.

Their stories are revealing that the experience of being a donor conceived child is not what many proponents of the technology expected it would be.

 Such children were supposed to think of the man married to their mother as their father, and of their biological father as just the man who masturbated at a sperm bank and walked away with a $75 check. But according to Alana, it’s not that simple.

“The biological parent’s absence is impossible to ignore because their presence is impossible to ignore – when you’re living in a version of their body and thinking in a version of their brain,” she told LifeSiteNews. “I do very much feel separated from not only my father, but my entire paternal relatives.”

Jennifer Lahl, the director of Anonymous Father’s Day, says she created the documentary to give a voice to people like Stewart, whose concerns are too often overlooked in a debate that has deep implications for their lives and identities.

“All we’re concerned about predominately is people who want a baby, is how we can help people who want a baby get a baby,” Lahl observed. But, she continued, there is a need for prospective parents and policy makers to think about “the larger implications of reproductive technology.”

For Stewart, those implications have included a sense of abandonment by her biological father and a rocky relationship with the man who raised her.

In Lahl’s film, she recounts what it was like to be raised by her mother and the man she refers to as “my mom’s first husband.” There was a noticeable contrast between his relationship with Alana and his relationship with Alana’s adopted sister.

“He felt purpose in raising [my sister], he felt like her father,” she relates. “With me, my biological relatedness to my mother just emphasized what I didn’t have in common with him.”

When the marriage fell apart, Alana recounts, he fought for custody of his adopted daughter but not of Alana.

Barry Stevens, another of the film’s interviewees, has a similar story to tell. Stevens did not find out that he was conceived through donor sperm until after the man he believed to be his biological father passed away. He says that even prior to the revelation, he and his sister had sensed that something was amiss.

“I had a sense that he didn’t really feel like my father,” Stevens explained. “And my mother later confirmed that. And there was this big secret in the family, and I think that hurt us.”

The identity crisis that this situation created for Stewart and Stevens is reportedly a common problem for donor conceived children.

My Daddy’s Name is Donor, a report released last year by the Commission on Parenthood’s Future, surveyed young adults conceived through sperm donation and compared their responses to those of peers raised by adopted parents and biological parents.

The study found that 43% of donor offspring compared to 15% of adopted children and 6% who were raised by biological parents agreed with the statement: “I feel confused about who is a member of my family and who is not.”

Moreover, 48% of donor offspring compared to only 19% of adopted children agreed: “When I see friends with their biological fathers and mothers, it makes me feel sad.”

According to Lahl, the differences between adopted children and donor conceived children should not be surprising.

“In the case of the adopted child, there was some reason why a parent couldn’t keep them,” she pointed out. “Versus with the donor conceived person where someone just gave away a part of their body, their egg or their sperm, without thinking that was their child.”

Strikingly, the report also found indications of a correlation between sperm donor conception and marriage failure.

27% of donor children parents are divorced compared to only 14% of parents of adopted children. The number of donor child marriages that fail is only slightly higher than the failure rate of a marriage with biological children – 25%. As the study points out, however, the comparison with adoptive parents is more significant because most couples do not consider fertility technology or adoption until later in life, when marriages tend to be more stable.

For Stewart, the finding is consistent with her own experience.  “Mothers can say things like, ‘Well it’s not your kid anyways.’ The father is left constantly insecure about his place and role in the family,” she said.

She added that turning to sperm or egg donation to conceive a child can be evidence of a “materialistic” attitude on the part of the couple.

“They are people that find it difficult to accept not having something and often put their own needs before others (i.e. their need to have a child before their child’s need to have its father/mother), and these personalities often fail in marriage.”

Despite the heartache that many donor-conceived children attribute to the circumstances of their conception, the report found that the majority, 61%, still support the practice.

“I call it the value endowment. It is what lead me to sell my own eggs,” says Stewart “There is a skewed level of support among donor-conceived people in approval of the practice, mainly because they are regurgitating their parent’s values, are afraid of being disowned if they reject those values, and haven’t had the time, space, inspiration to reflect further on it.”

The remaining 40%, however, are becoming increasingly vocal.

Stewart has founded a website, anonymousus.org, which provides a forum where all whose lives have been affected by donor conception can grapple with the issues it raises.

Lahl says she hopes the film will facilitate a similar dialogue, both in the public square and in the legislature.

There is, she says, a need to examine the “policy implications” that these concerns should have, since “right now in the United States pretty much, anything goes. If you have money, you can pay the doctor and the laboratory to do anything you want.”
[Dec 05, 2011,  Christine Dhanagom    http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/the-violent-act-of-buying-and-selling-a-child-sperm-donor-children-speak-ou?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=b00971ab78-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines12_05_2011&utm_medium=email]

 

 

Sperm Donor Fathers More Than 150 Children, Regulations Needed
The New York Times reports that one sperm donor has fathered more than 150 children. The story has prompted concern from experts and activists who believe that regulation of the fertility industry is long overdue:

There is growing concern among par

ents, donors and medical experts about potential negative consequences of having so many children fathered by the same donors, including the possibility that genes for rare diseases could be spread more widely through the population. Some experts are even calling attention to the increased odds of accidental incest between half sisters and half brothers, who often live close to one another.

Critics say that fertility clinics and sperm banks are earning huge profits by allowing too many children to be conceived with sperm from popular donors, and that families should be given more information on the health of donors and the children conceived with their sperm. They are also calling for legal limits on the number of children conceived using the same donor’s sperm and a re-examination of the anonymity that cloaks many donors.

The pro-abortion blog Jezebel agrees:

    Regulation seems like a win-win situation for everyone, except for sperm banks, which currently profit from the ability to sell the same man’s sperm to lots of women.

It’s worth noting that abortion businesses also have a profit motive, yet “reproductive freedom” advocates are mortified by regulations on those.

But I digress. I find myself in full agreement with the Times and with Jezebel on this issue. Regulation of the fertility industry is in the best interest of babies, mothers, and sperm donors.

Ultimately, as long as the fertility industry routinely creates “extra” babies who are then “discarded,” pro-lifers will not embrace assisted reproductive technology (ART).

But placing limits on the number of children who can be conceived by a single donor would be a step in the right direction, towards a vision of reproductive medicine that respects the rights of every human being, including those who can’t speak for themselves.

LifeNews.com Note:  Kelsey Hazzard is the president of Secular Pro-Life, an organization that uses non-religious arguments to promote the pro-life perspective.
[Kelsey Hazzard | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 9/6/11, http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/06/sperm-donor-fathers-more-than-150-children-regulations-needed/]

 

 


Pro-Life Concerns About IVF Include Abortion & Exploitation

In vitro fertilization (IVF) isn’t a topic that often crops up in pro-life circles, but I think it’s important to highlight this as an issue that affects the movement directly and has a profound impact on the way we view the dignity and value of every human life, both in and outside the womb.

The infertility industry in the United States has been a booming industry for decades, including the multi-billion dollar business of egg donation. Young girls are showered with provocative ads promising big checks and the satisfaction of helping others who aren’t able create a family by simply donating her eggs.

But the lesser-publicized side of this seemingly selfless act include the deception behind coercing young donors for their eggs, exposing them to the sometimes lifelong damaging methods of extracting them, hormone overdoses, unsafe medical practices, lack of informing women of health risks attached to donating, and, all to often, no follow-up care at all.

I urge anyone interested in learning more about the risks and hazards of egg donation to check out Eggsploitation, a documentary that exposes the industry’s dirty little secret.

Invitro FertilizationSimilar to egg donation, IVF comes with its own unique set of risks. Many people have replaced the truth about IVF’s damaging and destructive processes with the widely-accepted notion that conceiving via IVF helps couples with fertility problems, promotes the growth and importance of a family unit, and finally allows struggling parents to enjoy the blessing of a child or children.

And it can do all those things.

BUT it doesn’t come without a cost. And I don’t just mean its hefty $5,000 – $25,000 price tag.

Here are some talking points on this controversial issue that tend to slip through the cracks:

   1. 1. IVF promotes the discarding of “extra” human embryos – or developing humans, in layman’s terms.

IVF usually entails the creation of multiple human embryos to ensure a greater chance of successful implantation. These human embryos are then screened for genetic disorders, handicaps and sometimes even a particular gender. The “undesirable” embryos are discarded. Normally, an IVF practitioner transfers around four of the selected embryos into a woman’s uterus. If more than one (or two) successfully implant, a physician will selectively abort (kill) the remaining embryos (Nadya “Octomom” Suleman refused this “embryonic discarding”, resulting in her delivering octuplets). This selective mentality leads to the death of little humans based on their gender, physical and mental handicaps, and how many exist simultaneously.  This segues into the second point:

   1. 2. IVF fosters the idea that we can have whatever we want, whenever we want, however we want it.

A LifeSiteNews.com article from June highlights the life of Anthony Caruso, a former IVF practitioner who was horrified when he realized that his efforts to help women struggling with infertility was actually counter-intuitive to the design of  marriage and the view of children.

Caruso points out that IVF works against the self-sacrificial nature of a marriage and a family, putting an IVF practitioner and, ultimately, a conceiving couple in control of something meant to have a natural design.

This is echoed in a New York Times cover story about a woman named “Jenny” who aborts one of her twins conceived after IVF. “Had the pregnancy occurred naturally, she said, ‘I wouldn’t have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there’s a natural order, then you don’t want to disturb it.’ Nevertheless, ‘The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.’”

Both points illustrate the statistic that:

   1. 3. IVF often results in the conception of multiples, which in turn results in selective abortions after implantation, as well as a dangerous situation for both mother and children when the number of children who implant is unnaturally high.

I referenced the “Octomom” above, who refused to allow her IVF practitioner to discard of “extra” fertilized embryos selectively. Kate Gosselin of Jon and Kate Plus 8 fame had a similar situation, and, thankfully, both mothers refused to kill any of their children, thus bearing octuplets and sextuplets, respectively. Suleman and Gosselin by no means followed the status quo when it came to multiple implantations resulting in IFV. All too often, the unchosen embryos are destroyed, thrown out, or washed down the sink. Additionally, a mother pregnant with multiple children is naturally put in the category of high-risk pregnancy. Therefore, even if a pro-life woman refusing selective abortion carries all IVF-created children, this unnaturally creates a dangerous situation for herself and her babies.

   1. 4. IVF has proven to lead to an array of phy

sical and mental birth defects.

Illinois Right to Life released a story on IVF, noting a study done by the New England Medical Journal which showed evidence that babies conceived by IVF have a 1 in 10 risk of birth defects – twice the rate of babies born naturally – including holes in their hearts, the development of only one kidney, brain abnormalities, and cleft lips and palettes. Studies by researchers at Johns Hopkins and Washington University discovered that children conceived from IVF have a six-fold increase in risk of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, which causes malformations and cancer. This fact alone should cause us to question the morality of IVF.

   1. 5. Prepping for IVF requires significant alterations to hormone levels, which can lead to or increase the risk of health problems.

Many women need to undergo hormone therapy before and during IVF to prepare their bodies to accept the implanted embryo. Estrogen levels are usually boosted during IVF (as well as natural pregnancies) to strengthen the endometrial wall of the uterus. There are a slew of chemical-related side effects that come with a number of the hormone therapies used, but simply altering hormone levels alone can come with consequences. Having high levels of estrogen can cause irregular periods, depression, uterine fibroids, osteoporosis, memory loss, and infections.

With all this in mind, the pro-life movement does not want to stamp out any hope for couples struggling to conceive. As always, all people – born or pre-born – deserve respect, dignity and love.

And this is an issue that hits close to home for me. My oldest son was born with cystic fibrosis and will battle a number of health problems his whole life. 97% of men with CF are infertile, and many of them were born without fully developed reproductive systems… Many people with CF choose IVF to combat low fertility rates and start a family, but it can’t be accepted as a band-aid for the natural design of our lives.

One major breakthrough that exists in monitoring and maintaining women’s reproductive health is NaProTECHNOLOGY (Natural Procreative Technology), a medical and surgical alternative that has been proven effective to treat infertility, ovarian cysts, polycystic ovarian disease, repetitive miscarriage, and hormonal imbalances among other health complications. NaProTECHNOLOGY monitors women’s hormonal events during the menstrual cycle and identifies when gynecological systems operate abnormally, identifying the problems which may be able to be corrected.

State-of-the-art advancements like this along with education and resources will go a long way in maintaining reproductive health in women and protecting the rights of the preborn. And let’s not forgot the beautiful, loving and moral option of adoption.

Both NaProTECHNOLOGY and adoption provide ethical alternatives to the dangers and ethical problems with IVF.


[Kristan Hawkins | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 9/6/11,   http://www.lifenews.com/2011/09/06/pro-life-concerns-about-ivf-include-abortion-exploitation/]