Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Now that we had agreed to give our spare embryos to Jenny and Erin, what next? As the recipients admitted "we're list-makers!" so the four of us took on the tasks needed to make the donation official.

Erin called the fertility clinic to get the first possible in-take/assessment appointment. At our popular clinic with the best frozen cycle success rates in the country, the next available appointment was almost six weeks away.

Jenny and Erin needed to use that time to transfer their medical records to our clinic, complete necessary testing and plan their trip North.

Six weeks gave me time for my task, working out a contract with the lawyer for the recipients to approve. The four of us had already sketched out the contract terms but we did not know if they were all legal, enforceable or even practicable.

Then there was the issue of the lawyer's reading of embryo donation law. Would there be aspects of her standard contract that we disagreed with? Was it even possible for residents of the recipients' Southern state to become parties to embryo donation?

Jenny and Erin had already contacted the lawyer's office before we even agreed to donate to them or mentioned the lawyer's name to them. As I had maintained with the first couple who contacted us, the good-enough couple we agreed to give our embryos to without really thinking it through, our lawyer is a pioneer in reproductive law. That first couple had balked at the cost of the contract and went back on every other term we had agreed to. By contrast, Jenny and Erin had discovered on their own, independent of our preferences, that our lawyer was the best woman for this job.

But another of my jobs was to straighten out the discrepancy between what the lawyer had told us and the fee they quoted to Jenny and Erin. A few months before, her office quoted me a flat rate of $1000 to prepare the contract.

Now they were asking Jenny and Erin for $350 to start and a balance of at least $1000. It is standard for recipients to pay the legal fees associated with an embryo donation. But I could not, in good conscience, subject the recipients to legal costs that could spiral out of control.

Before we could finish negotiations with our recipients we would have to negotiate with the lawyer...