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UK Doctors Warn IVF Drugs Pose Health Hazard for Mothers 

Surrogate Madness: 5 Would-Be-Parents Vie for Custody of Child

Sperm Banks Near Empty After Donor Anonymity Lifted

UK Doctors Warn IVF Drugs Pose Health Hazard for Mothers. IVF drugs are dangerous for the health of mothers as well as babies, medical experts warned last week, and there is no clear evidence they increase a woman’s chance of conceiving.

Hormone treatment during IVF procedures are intended to help stimulate egg production by the ovaries, to be collected artificially for petri-dish fertilization. The treatment leads to ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome in up to six percent of women, causing nausea, abdominal pain and bloating, and respiration problems [report published by Baby World 9October]. In some cases, death can occur.

Dr. Geeta Nargund, head of reproductive medicine at St. George’s Hospital in London, said more research is needed into the long-term health effects of IVF treatment.

“There are concerns [regarding] stimulating ovaries to produce more eggs. There may be consequences for a woman’s reproductive organs later in life, in particular uterine cancer and we urgently need to fund studies to test these suspicions.”

The report raised the alarm on the unregulated use of IVF drugs by fertility clinics, with one fertility expert saying the existing guidelines are not binding, leaving clinics free to prescribe dangerously high doses of the drugs.

“Women are going around from clinic to clinic and receiving different doses of these drugs but there is no sound scientific evidence to show that it will help improve their chances of conceiving,” said Dr. Nargund. “There is also no evidence to show how these drugs will affect the long-term health of the mother or the baby.

“When we are in the situation where there are a lot of couples out there who are financially, emotionally and physically broke from undergoing repeated IVF, it is our obligation to regulate this.”

Multiple studies have documented the high risk of birth deformity and severe health problems associated with IVF births. A study from Finland in 2005 showed 43 babies out of every thousand conceived using IVF techniques suffered from a variety of abnormalities including genetic deformities, brain disorders, developmental delays and genital malformations.
Read Baby World coverage:
Related: Fertility Drugs used in IVF a Health Hazard for Women
Finnish Study finds IVF Increases Risk of Deformity
[11Oct06, Schultz, LONDON,]  


SURROGATE MADNESS: Five Would-Be-Parents Vie for Custody of Child. An unfortunate toddler is the object of a legal battle with five adults vying for his custody: the homosexual father who paid a surrogate mother $23,000 to impregnate herself with his sperm, the homosexual’s sister, the biological mother, and the boy’s current foster parents.

Baby X, as identified by court documents, is currently in the care of foster parents who want legal custody of the child, after the surrogate mother, Rachel Sullivan, found it too taxing to care for him.

Sullivan was granted custody after the biological father, Canadian Arthuro Nuosci, was arrested for identity theft, mail and bank fraud. He is now serving time in a California prison, but wants his sister in Canada to care for the child until his pending release next year.

The toddler turned two this month. Sullivan is appealing an earlier decision that allowed a married Salt Lake City couple to have physical custody of the child. Despite the adoptive parents' desire to do so, the couple was not allowed to adopt after Judge Bruce Lubeck of Third District Court in Salt Lake City decided there was no basis in law for denying either of the child’s natural parents parental rights.

Nuosci, the biological, imprisoned father, meanwhile, has given his sister Dolores R., who lives north of Toronto, power of attorney, authorizing her to make decisions about the boy in Nuosci’s absence. Rizzi, who is divorced, says she is ready to accept responsibility for the child, who would live with her and her two children.

The Utah Court of Appeal decided not to hear the case this month, deciding rather that it merited deliberation by the state Supreme Court, who will hear the suit September 5. “The Supreme Court will issue a decision and it will be the final say,” said Sullivan’s lawyer, David Wilde. “I think they thought this was a unique case with some important legal issues.”

Wilde summed up the unique complexities of the case, saying "we're kind of in this brave new world of surrogate parents. Up until a few years ago, you just never had them. This is one of the twists that come
into the law." [21Jul06,
Related: Couple Refuses To Recognize Surrogate As Mother
[Vanderheyden LAS VEGAS, July 31, 2006]



SPERM BANKS NEAR EMPTY AFTER DONOR ANONYMITY LIFTED. British clinics treating couples with fertility problems are suffering from a major sperm shortage after the authorities lifted donor anonymity in April last year.

A BBC television investigation said that 50 of the 74 clinics which responded to questioning had either insufficient sperm or none at all. The country as a whole has about 85 such clinics. Donors of frozen sperm, eggs and embryos were stripped of their anonymity in April 2005. Now a child born thanks to a donation is able to discover the identity of the donor once they reach the age of 18.

Previously, donor children were only able to obtain non-identifying information and to verify that they were not genetically related to their partner's family. Donors of fresh sperm will have their anonymity lifted next year.

California has allowed publication of the identities of donors since the early 1980s. In Europe, Sweden lifted anonymity in 1984, followed by Norway, the Netherlands and Iceland. In France, a proposal was submitted in June to create a so-called "double counter": one with identified donors, and one with anonymous ones. Future parents would be able to choose between the two.

In 2000, Britain had 325 donors, compared to just 157 between January and August 2005, according to the latest data acquired by AFP from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the authority that oversees fertility treatment.

According to the BBC investigation, there are only 169 registered donors in the United Kingdom and none in Northern Ireland, one in Scotland and six in Wales. "We've seen a drop in donors but the trend was already there because of the rise of a new fertilisation technique," a spokeswoman for the HFEA told AFP.

The new technique, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), means in-vitro fertilisation for an egg with the sperm of the future father after natural attempts at conception have failed.

Some 15,000 treatments of this type were carried out in 2002-2003 (compared to 10,000 in 1998-1999), along with more than 6,000 inseminations through donors (10,000 in 1998-1999). The British Fertility Society (BFS) says it is "well aware of the difficulties many patients throughout the country are experiencing" and noted that the BBC's investigation "reinforces our own findings that many clinics are now finding it impossible to provide these services".

A group study set up by the society should "shortly" deliver recommendations to the health ministry, said Dr Mark Hamilton, its president.

But the new legislation is not retrospective, so new requests for the identities of today's donors should start appearing only in 2023. According to the HFEA, those who have made donations between 1991 and 2005 can voluntarily relinquish their anonymity. Some clinics have been forced to seek stocks overseas, particularly in Spain.

Since 1991, 16,000 babies have been born through sperm donations. A single donation can be used by up to ten families. The process doesn't come cheap, with HFEA saying IVF costs between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds.

[25Sept06,, AFP, AFP