Rather than plugging holes in a sinking ship, let’s learn to float.

As a subscriber to Wendy Kramer’s Donor Sibling Registry blog (which I really like—I think Wendy does great work), I recently came across her most recent post about major discrepancies in egg donor reporting—describing the egregious way in which egg banks and fertility clinics underreport OHSS (Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome) as well as infertility after egg donation and other serious health consequences resulting from egg harvesting. Agencies report about a 1% risk of OHSS, but the real number appears to be closer to 30% (I myself experienced OHSS when I sold my eggs). And it appears at least 9.6% of donors become infertile after the procedure.

People who are invested in keeping third party reproduction legal often tout regulation as the solution to all of the annoying health and psychological risks/consequences that arise from these procedures. For egg donors it might be we need to lower the dosages. For surrogates they say we need to properly screen them. For sperm donors we just need to limit the number of offspring and make sure we do genetic testing to prevent the spread of inheritable diseases. And so on and so forth.

When a generation emerged and complained about being lied to about their status as donor-conceived, the authorities said we just need to be open and honest with our kids and tell them the truth from the beginning. Then those of us (like me) who were told from the very beginning still grew up and complained loudly that anonymity is despicable—we deserve to know the identities of our biological parents. And so now the authorities are saying OK as long as you choose an open ID donor you’ll be fine. And we are starting to see the complications, the custody battles, legal battles, the pure chaos of those “solutions” now too.

Everyone is trying to find an artificial, legalistic, technological solution to the long list of problems that come along with third party reproduction and alternative families in all their forms. But they are plugging holes on a sinking ship. The ship was our understanding of love and sex as God and nature intended. The bomb that blew up the ship was the Sexual Revolution.

The solution to OHSS and premature infertility from egg harvesting is not more regulation. It is the abolishment of the egg trade and third party reproduction in general. The solution is encouraging women to get married and have kids when they’re 25, and get their PhD’s at 40, rather than the other way around. The solution is to financially incentivize actual cures to infertility rather than allowing a marketplace in pre-born children. The solution is for us all to learn how to cooperate with nature again, rather than try to dominate it.

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3 thoughts on “Rather than plugging holes in a sinking ship, let’s learn to float.

  1. Greg says:

    Being open about a child’s conception goes beyond just honesty. Parents have to create an open environment where the non biological parent(s) isn’t rejecting that child as you were by your mom’s first husband. Parents must work through any insecurities they have prior to becoming a parent.

    Encouraging women to marry and have kids at 25 doesn’t solve anything. It ignores the fact that not everyone meets their love by age 25. It ignores the fact that infertility isn’t just people waiting to have kids. It ignores male infertility. It encourages people to rush into marriages that people may not be ready for leading to more divorces and kids that suffer from divorces.

    There is no one solution. There are multiple solutions including education about everyone’s biological clock. The solutions include environmental reform. They include not outcasting the childless. They include better support rather than shaming infertile couples. They include further research on causes and cures for infertility. Those are solutions.

  2. Leila Miller says:

    Brilliant. Common sense. Truth. Thank you so much for being a courageous voice in a culture where courage is sorely lacking.

  3. marilynn says:

    You had me right up to the sexual revolution part. Not that you are wrong, cause your not. It’s just that I don’t wax nostalgic for the time prior to the sexual revolution which was in many ways very oppressive. So I think people should make up their own minds about whether to get married at 23 and finish their PHD at 40. Live and let live as far as sex and reproduction go – BUT all people with offspring should have identical legal obligations to be named on their birth records as a parent and to care for and support them – no exception for donors. Have them rejoin the rest of the population who has to take that responsibility into consideration when they have kids because we should not be allowing a legal exemption from parental responsibility. It results in unequal rights for their children and it results in worthless vital statistics.

    So everyone should make their plans taking into account that they won’t be able to get a fertility treatment that gives them someone else’s baby off record in a black market adoption. It’s wrong. Freely reproduce married or unmarried but be held accountable for the kids you make. Too bad if “donations” drop off because they won’t want to be held accountable for donated kids. Too bad if nobody wants donated sperm if it means the donor will be a parent with custody. That’s a shame that nobody will abandon their kid for the entertainment of other people.

    So I take just as hard a line I just don’t get into the marriage stuff because, really people are going to do what they do. So long as they take care of the kids they make things should be OK

    Good article

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