Couple sues fertility clinic after sperm mix-up
Posted On September 13th, 2019
I used to reassure worried intended parents that gamete mix-ups and losses were exceedingly rare and not something to be stressed over [there are so many more common disruptions with assisted reproduction cases to be more legitimately on guard about]. But we have seen, much to my and many other people’s dismay and shock, more than just one isolated instance recently of an IVF lab making a critical mistake in labeling and/or transfer of eggs/sperm/embryos, along with several large-scale cases of embryos being destroyed due to technological failure. These devastating situations are deserving of further scrutiny and evaluation of safeguards and protocols to determine what measures need to be implemented in order to eradicate them from happening.
Interesting to note that racial disparity is often the cause for suspicion with intended parents in a sperm, egg or embryo mix-up case. I am concerned about Caucasian gametes which may be inadvertently substituted for other Caucasian gametes, with less of a visual indicator as a result. Lab policies and redundancies are strict and careful across the board – these catastrophic results should just not be happening with this level of frequency.
What are the Risks and Complications with Egg Donation?
Posted On September 10th, 2019
Don’t be scared by crazy internet stories! Egg donation is safe if done properly: there are tens of thousands of these types of procedures (not only for egg donors but for women who do IVF to have children using their own eggs) done in the US every year. Here i explain the most common complication, called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which has been less common as protocols have evolved.
Why Was My Egg Donor Application Rejected?
Posted On September 5th, 2019
If you applied to be an egg donor but got no response, Kathy Benardo from the Northeast Assisted Fertility Group can tell you why.
What Are Recipients Looking for in Their Egg Donors?
Posted On August 27th, 2019
In this video I describe what most recipients are looking for in their egg donors, as well as some unusual requests.
Can I Trust My Egg Donor?
Posted On August 19th, 2019
How do you trust a person you will never meet to contribute half the genetics of your child? Kathy Benardo explains how donors are evaluated and what motivates them to be compliant.
Same-sex couple sues State Department for denying daughter’s citizenship
Posted On July 28th, 2019
The anti-gay discrimination which Jonathan Gregg and James Derek Mize are ensnared in is an awful predicament which no new parent should have to endure. By refusing to confer US citizenship on their daughter who has a court-ordered birth certificate listing both fathers as parents (their daughter Simone was born in the UK to a surrogate mother who has no genetic link to the child – an anonymous egg donor and sperm from Gregg created the embryo), the State Department is trying to impose its view of morality via a tortured interpretation of federal immigration statutes. For other same-sex couples contemplating having a baby with the assistance of a surrogate mother (and unwilling to wait out the end of this Administration and its crackdown on human rights), it would be a good idea to focus on finding a carrier within an acceptable US state. The baby would be a US citizen at birth and the Trump Administration would stay out of your family’s business.
Fresh vs. Frozen Donor Eggs: How to Choose
Posted On July 27th, 2019
Are frozen donor eggs just as good as fresh? I get this question all the time. Actually, there is no right answer: it all depends on your own particular needs and desires.
Before you begin looking for a donor (fresh or frozen), my advice is to prioritize these major factors:
Cost: are your funds very limited, or do you have some flexibility?
Time: are you on a deadline (for insurance, your clinic’s age cut off, or some other reason)?
Selection: are you looking for a particular ethnicity, education level, or some other specific quality?
One of these three factors must be number one, and one must be number three. They cannot all be number one!
First, you should have a general understanding of the difference between fresh and frozen eggs. Think of fresh eggs as a product and frozen eggs as a process.
Frozen egg banks recruit, screen and cycle donors “on speculation,” then freeze the eggs in batches of six or so (two or three batches can result from a single retrieval). Since the screening and cycling is already completed, frozen eggs are the faster option, available to ship to your clinic right away to thaw, fertilize and transfer whenever you want.
Frozen egg banks compensate donors on the lower end of the scale, starting around $5,000. Because the retrieval results are divided and donors are paid less, frozen eggs are less expensive than fresh.
The Sinister Surrogate and other Myths about Surrogacy
Posted On July 12th, 2019
What is your favorite surrogate movie? When the Bough Breaks? The Surrogacy Trap? The Sinister Surrogate?
Although it’s a lot of creepy fun, the surrogate theme has everything to do with horror movie clichés and nothing to do with the reality of surrogacy. A welcomed outsider who eventually threatens or destroys the family is a common horror movie scenario, and the surrogate concept fits nicely.
Unfortunately, most people are more exposed to surrogacy through popular culture than through reality. Here are the top five myths about surrogacy that “give birth” to these “misconceptions”:
ONE: The Surrogate Can “Change Her Mind” and Keep the Baby: the stubborn resonance of the notorious Baby M case from the late ‘80s keeps this myth alive. In that case, the surrogate mother was inseminated with the intended father’s sperm, so it was actually her genetic child. Beforehand the surrogate signed an unlawful contract to award the father and his wife custody of the child: this arrangement was more like an illegal adoption than a modern surrogacy.
With gestational surrogacy, which is what is done today, the surrogate CANNOT keep the baby: the baby has no genetic relationship to her. The embryo is created by the parents’ and / or donor gametes (and then transferred to her uterus). The contract, signed in advance, is legal and binding.
An offshoot of this myth is the fear that the surrogate will go crazy or behave badly: in fact, surrogates are thoroughly psychologically and medically screened.
How to Choose a Fertility Clinic for an Egg Donor Cycle
Posted On July 2nd, 2019
In order to choose an IVF clinic for an egg donation, there are three factors you must prioritize, and be aware of your clinic’s statistics. Kathy Benardo gives some tips.
Nurses Make Extra Money Through Egg Donation and Surrogacy
Posted On June 24th, 2019
Psychologists have observed that the pain and stress of infertility can be more debilitating and overwhelming than a diagnosis of cancer. Infertility affects about 10% of the US population across all socioeconomic levels and ethnic backgrounds. In the United States an estimated 7.3 million people, or 1 in 8 couples, are infertile. Nurses who specialize in reproductive medicine are especially sensitive to the states of mind of their patients as they guide them through their IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycles, which may include rounds of medication, blood tests, sonograms, and retrieval procedures.
Third party reproduction is a special subset of IVF, which involves donor gametes (sperm and/or eggs) or a surrogate (gestational carrier) — a woman who carries the baby (genetically unrelated to her) for another family. And in this specialized aspect of fertility treatment, nurses excel in unexpected ways: nurses (and all other types of health workers) form a large source of egg donors and surrogates for hopeful parents.
Why do nurses make such great egg donors and surrogates? They are compassionate and sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. They have an understanding of the medical processes and are comfortable with medications, blood work, and scans. They are effective communicators with other nurses and physicians. They have a balanced and rational appreciation of the risks. They have patience with anxious parents who worry at every stage of the process.
Furthermore, nurses can donate their eggs or serve as surrogates even if they work full time.