Thursday, December 28, 2006


The lesbian couple to whom we agreed to donate one of our left-over embryos was giving us a hard time. I wrote to them saying we were still committed to giving them one embryo if they wanted to take a chance that they could have a child with just one shot. We explained that we continued to have concerns about their clinic, about shipping the embryos and about contributing to birth defects by allowing them to put in all three embryos at once. We were getting a weird vibe from them about their reliability. There were many inconsistencies in their communications.

The contradictions continued in their rude reply. They wrote back denying what they had already said in their emails: the fact that their doctor was not affiliated with their clinic and allowed to use the facilities only when the regular clinic physicians did not need them was not homophobia on the clinic's part. We had their email telling us it was because their clinic refused to treat lesbians or single heterosexuals.

Though they only wanted one additional child they still asked to implant multiple embryos. If pregnant with twins or triplets they would simply reduce to one embryo through selective abortion. Their final email detailed this and claimed that twins are "normal" in IVF. Twins are always at a disadvantage over a single pregnancy, even after selective reduction. These women didn't even want twins, they just wanted as many embryos as we would give them since they already had so many failed IVF attempts under their belts.

To bolster their case they made the bizarre claim that all embryo donation contracts specify that "the embryos should be shipped to 'the recipients clinic of choice' and 'let them do with them how
they choose.'" I doubt a legal contract has such a poor level of grammar and composition. Besides that, their claim was utter nonsense. Open embryo donation contracts can specify any condition that the donor and recipient couples both like.

Based on her embryo contract "research" the recipient candidate told me: "I just want you to know that you are totally out of the norm in how you think/feel this situation should be handled." She claimed I was "still attached to the embryos" and "totally in denial about it".

Though I appreciated the free psychoanalysis I wasn't sure it had much validity coming from a repair technician. I mostly felt great relief that she was out of my hair. Not because of my "attachment" to frozen fertilized eggs, but rather because she showed us she was as mean and deceitful as we had guessed.

In closing, she sarcastically wished us "Good luck in finding someone who will agree to all of your stipulations or in keeping them for your 'what if' scenario". Here she referred to our concerns about multiple pregnancy. It is not just a "what if" (I guess she did not know the word "hypothetical") scenario. It is a fact of IVF that putting in multiple embryos causes multiple births. Multiple births cause medical professionals like me to get new patients who have cognitive disability, visions problems, learning delays, cerebral palsy and so on.

We had learned a lot from these first negitiations, primarily about what to avoid when selecting recipients. In the mean time, we had already received half a dozen more requests for the embryos from other couples. It was time to seriously review them.