Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Assuming that embryo recipients want to have their own families without much contact with the donor really limited the things I felt I could ask for in an embryo donation contract. I looked on-line at other contracts from completed donations. It seemed that the basics were this: donor is absolved of any responsibility for genetic problems or failure for the embryos to become children. Recipients pay all embryo storage and legal fees associated with the donation. Recipients pay for their own embryo transfer and other medical treatments.

The thing that worries me most about donating my embryos is the possibility that I will contribute to a child's physical or emotional pain if I do not pick the right parents. In an attempt to prevent the worst abuse commonly embraced by embryo recipients, I decided to try to build honesty into any contract I created. I would insist that recipients tell their children the truth about their conception and genetic heritage.

When my wife donated eggs to infertile friends, the medication caused her to over-stimulate and produce 22 viable eggs. Her friends gave half the eggs to anonymous recipients. I am not genetically related to any of the children who may have come from this donation. But I love my wife, I think she is gorgeous and very talented, and I wonder what she passed on to the unknown recipient's kids. The IVF clinic's nurse very subtly let it slip that a pregnancy did result from the anonymous donation. How many kids were born? What do they look like? Did the recipient lie to them about their conception? We will probably never know. And since we do know two other children from this donation who live in the same area, it would be a very good idea if we did know. Inadvertently dating one's half-sibling is not a good idea.

Since I knew it would drive me nuts not to know if children resulted from our embryo donation, we decided to put it into the contract that we had to be notified if it worked. We also included a yearly photo and developmental update on our wish list. And all the parents involved would be negligent if we did not agree to share any medical problems that arose.

Beyond this, I was flexible. However, since my clinic has the best frozen embryo transfer rate in the country, a donor willing to do the procedure there would be at the top of our candidate list, particularly since shipping the embryos could mean non-viable embryos if there was a weather delay, misrouting, poor handling or a host of other problems. And I wanted to limit the number of embryos transferred if possible, since I knew that twins or triplets would be much more likely to be sick or injured.

When I finally got to the point of negotiating a contract, the real fun began...