Let's talk embryos.
On this side, we have Jennalee Ryan. She's in the news because she has become the proprietor of the world's first frozen embryo bank. She recruits women to provide donated eggs; she recruits men for sperm; she puts the two together, and hey, presto! Embryos. Lots of them.
On the other side, we have hordes of infertile women who desperately want children. And there we have the embryos, no fuss, no muss, no bother, just plunk down
$2,500 $5,000 for a pair of embryos, have 'em shipped to your RE, prepare your body for an embryo transfer, and gestate happily for eight months.
Of course, it's not quite as simple as that, but still, pretty painless compared to shopping for an egg donor, paying for her cycle and your cycle, and offering a "gratuity" for the ability to use those precious, precious eggs.
Jennalee has applied the Henry Ford principle to the whole process--do it in bulk, divide up the costs amongst multiple customers, amortize those egg donors' costs, and give happy, deserving infertile couples the boon of their lives, a child.
I am in the middle, gaping in horror. And thinking about my objections to this whole enterprise has solidified a few beliefs in my muddled brain.
What's wrong with buying ready-made embryos? asks Julie, over at A Little Pregnant. I sat there staring at the blog entry, trying to figure out what I wanted to say. And thinking. And thinking. Finally, I closed the browser window, continued on with our weekend plans, and kept thinking.
What is wrong with it? Why do I feel much less compunction in a couple doing it all on their own, using advertising and recruitment tactics to find a suitable donor, checking the sperm banks for donor sperm, getting their RE to do the work, than I do in this situation?
Well, for one thing, it's the attitude of the businesswoman in question. She's upset that infertile couples have to "prove they will be good enough" to adopt or to accept a donor embryo from another infertile family who happens to have some leftover. You can "avoid the discomfort of involving the biological parents". You don't have to "sell yourself" to or "kiss the butt" of interested birthparents.
Oh, those messy biological parents. Oh, those messy biological ties. *Poof*, wave a magic technological wand, and whoosh, away on the wind they blow.
So I thought and thought and thought, and realized...it's not about the infertile couples. Sorry, folks, I know it's a helluva bitch when you're in the midst of the IF struggle, but...y'know what? It's not about you. This is about the chiiiillldruuun.
This woman's business is codifying anonymous donation to the max. She's marketing the whole concept of free-and-clear, no bio parents to worry about.
No bio parents for the infertile couple to worry about, that is.
Not a single mention of the kids.
In thinking about this, I realized just how very much anonymous donation bothers me. Donation of any type--sperm, eggs, embryos. Because, while it's oh-so-comforting to the people who are going to raise these kids, amazingly enough, the result of all this anonymous manipulation is...a human being.
Gasp! Yes! A real, live human being. Someone with thoughts, dreams, emotions, desires, a personality all their very own.
I'm having visions of teens, filled with normal adolescent angst, finding out through old family files (you didn't go through old family files when you were a teen? I did.) that their parents had bought them from a baby bank. Shades of late-discovery adoptees!
How very easy it would be. Just plunk down
$2,500 $5,000--hey, you can put it on a Visa card, y'know! It's so very tempting. Really, truly tempting. (Of course, there's that newborn thang to deal with--I really liked having an almost-toddler much better than I think I'd like having a newborn. Sue me. I'm weird.)
But...what if I were a psychotic creep, or OmegaDad was, or we both were? Hopefully, those pesky homestudies mentioned above would weed us out early on. Where's the oversight here? These are real, live human beings we're talking about. Would you hand your darling child off to a total stranger with absolutely no idea of what they're like?
Just because you're IF doesn't make you a Good Person. Just because you're IF doesn't mean you have a right to a baby. This is entitlement to the max.
I am so close to starting to lobby for a state law requiring all egg and sperm donations be info-release-required.
(Edited to fix a link because I'm so fumble-fingered. Duh. Edited again, because I can't read. Duh.)
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