Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do I really need a lawyer for egg or embryo donation?

Will and I went to a talk about legal issues in third-party reproduction. It was informative, but mostly, I found it frightening. My main focus has been on whether I can choose one of these paths if I need to and have it feel like the right step. Feel at peace with the decision. That's where my energy has been going. I trust the folks we are considering receiving donated embryos from. I know where they are coming from and where they stand; I know they are at peace with the family they have and aren't looking to parent again. And with an egg donor situation, I've focused on how to find an egg donor that felt compatible with us intellectually, physically, and that would result in a baby (most important part is the last one).

I hadn't really thought that I needed a lawyer to do egg donation or embryo donation. But going to this talk made me question myself. It was run by two third-party reproduction lawyers who talked a lot about contracts and statutes and case law. And it made me wonder: do we really need contracts and lawyers to negotiate all the details of the future? (they suggested THREE lawyers for embryo donation - one for genetic father, one for egg donor - who they say should be re-consented, and one for recipients - egads!). If the laws change about how embryos or donated eggs are seen now, would this be something that would negatively affect us? My questions felt so basic that I didn't voice them. I actually found the whole meeting quite anxiety-provoking. Somehow it just rubbed me the wrong way. I guess because what I'm trying to do here is start a family and having lawyers and contracts and what not involved, makes it feel so...business-like.

Those who have done embryo donation or egg donation, have you used a lawyer in the process? What purpose did it serve? Looking back, was it really necessary? Those who didn't use a lawyer, is this something you wish now you had done? Why or why not?


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Grieving miscarriage and looking ahead

We continue to just feel our way through this, try to figure out what path makes the most sense and feels right in our hearts. It's hard. Our history of multiple miscarriages is hard, and the possibility of more loss has sometimes felt unbearable.

Today I saw this article in TIME, which says that even if we succeed - newsflash - grief over a miscarriage doesn't necessarily disappear. And apparently, the number of losses matters, in terms of how hard it is to shake your sadness. Thirteen percent of women who had one miscarriage or stillbirth* before a live birth were depressed nearly three years later. This rises to 19% for those with at least two losses. And rises again to 22% for those with four losses before a healthy birth.

I'm glad this topic is receiving national press attention, and I'm thrilled it's even being studied, since the psychological impact of miscarriage is such an underinvestigated area. I know, because I'm a clinician and a researcher, and I've tried to read up on it as a way to comfort and educate myself. But truly, I find none of these data surprising. Was it expected that loss, and in particular multiple losses, wouldn't have a longer/larger impact?

Reading this, of course, leaves me wondering what the rate of depression is of those who have six losses before a healthy live birth.

And even harder, but on our minds as we consider next steps on our journey, the very real question:

What if you never have a healthy baby? What then?


*and seriously? the researchers combined miscarriage and stillbirth as though they are one and the same and can be collapsed together? Bad researchers!!

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