Monday, August 25, 2008

Donor Egg: DNA Transfer

The following question was recently posed to us from Heather on Thursday, August 21, 2008:

Does anyone out there know anything about DNA transfer into a donor egg. i.e. I have read about oocyte use as a vehicle to carry DNA by withdrawing the donor's DNA and injecting the receiver's DNA. Any thoughts? Has anyone heard a doctor who does the relatively new procedure of DNA transfer through the use of a donor's egg? For example, withdrawing the donor's DNA and injecting the receiver's DNA so that the baby has the same DNA as it's parents-to-be.

We now have an answer to her question from a very prominent scientific researcher in the field of IVF, Dr. Jacques Cohen, Director of Reprogenetics and Tyho Galileo Research Laboratories.

The question is semantically describing a procedure that appears a substitute of cloning. The US government has curtailed such research and experimental work in a letter to all IVF clinics in 2001 which was publicized widely and accepted by the clinical community There is currently no evidence that the approach would be a good or safe alternative to standard IVF with gamete donation. Based on numerous publications from the animal science literature the offspring from such experiments may have a greater likelihood of anomalies compared to standard reproductive technology. Based on our understanding of the processes involved and the outcomes of animal experimentation, it is currently not recommended to pursue this avenue.

I hope this helps.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Guest Blogger: WonderWomb

Fertility SOURCE Companies is pleased to announce the newest addition to The SOURCE Forum blog, WonderWomb.

A three-time surrogate mother herself, WonderWomb is a highly dedicated and compassionate individual whose combined personal and professional experience uniquely qualify her to respond to your surrogacy questions and comments. With over twelve years of experience, she has assisted over two-hundred families realize their dreams of parenthood.

Please join us in welcoming WonderWomb to The SOURCE Forum family!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Surrogate Baby at Center of Legal Tussle

Written by Steve Masler, CEO of Fertility SOURCE Companies

Oprah may be willing to dedicate an entire one hour TV show to surrogacy in India and to actually give it at least her tacit blessing, but lets be realistic, how much money has to be saved by Intended Parents to make it worth the potential complications?

A Japanese couple got divorced in the midst of a surrogacy process in India. The genetic mother rejected the child. So, you think that the father got the child? Think again. According to Indian law, the father has to legally adopt the child. But, that process takes a long time. The child's grandmother (the father's mother) has temporary custody but her travel visa expires in three months and after that the child's future is uncertain. The story may ultimately have a happy ending, but even if it does, the stress and cost for the family must be enormous. The child's father is an Orthopedic Surgeon. Was he really making a wise move pursuing the surrogacy process in India?

In fact, the rise in the number of foreigners arriving in India to search for surrogate mothers has prompted the Indian authorities to consider strict regulations to protect the rights of surrogate mothers and children born to them.

As often is the case, buyer beware, but the potential morass would be Intended Parents are facing with Indian surrogacy cases may be beyond the pale.

Click on the link below to see the recap of this article:
Surrogate baby at centre of legal tussle

Friday, August 8, 2008

Baby Business Boom

Written by Steve Masler, CEO of Fertility SOURCE Companies

The following article takes a view that desire of young women to donate eggs is related to economic conditions. Baby Business Boom

The article is one of a genre that jumps on a recurrent theme about egg donation, i.e. the subject of incentives provided to young women to encourage them to donate eggs in return for fees for the donors' time, effort and suffering. No doubt, compensation is some degree of incentive for women to donate eggs. Further, the women who donate are undoubtedly young. However, the media bias appears to be towards painting the motivations as strictly monetary and toward suggesting that it is college age women who are doing the donating. The first assumption about the motivation being strictly monetary is far from accurate; the second assumption that donors are generally college aged is inaccurate.

Women who donate repeatedly indicate that though they appreciate the compensation, they would not be donating their eggs were it not for the additional satisfaction of helping someone create a life. Surely no professional is criticized for earning money while carrying out an occupation that they find rewarding and one that provides benefits to recipients. For example, what about physicians themselves, who are generally considered to be well rewarded economically and who usually get much satisfaction out of helping others in addition to enjoying the monetary benefits of their work?

Would-be moralists join the battle with the assumption that egg donors are ill informed regarding risks and concerns about egg donation. Nothing could be further from the truth. Anyone writing a media article on the subject should go through the egg donation process with its multiple disclosures and consents provided to prospective egg donors. Additionally, prospective donors are exposed to countless relevant articles on the web. The assumption that donors are college age, naive young women is also groundless. College age women under the age of 21 are not acceptable as egg donors. Egg donors are generally between 21 and 29 years old and highly educated. Further, a large percentage of egg donations are by donors who have donated previously. It surely can't be said that repeat donors are not informed about egg donation.

There may be no political capital in saying good things about egg donation, but writers should try to write a balanced piece on the subject. 22,000 Intended Parents and egg donors in 2007 thought it was a good idea to give the process a try and if there are any horror stories emerging from those 22,000 cycles, I for one have not heard them.

Monday, August 4, 2008

American Attitudes Towards Surrogacy

Written by Steve Masler, CEO of Fertility SOURCE Companies

I recently read an article on surrogacy that discussed international attitudes toward the subject, particularly from the standpoint of the British, as viewed by Americans. The British, as it may be well known, are opposed to surrogacy, as are many other countries of the world. In the United States, attitudes are mixed, with some states effectively broadly permitting it and other states limiting it or outright prohibiting it. The article that I read expressed surprise that the British are almost schizophrenic in that they are so progressive toward reproductive research, yet against something as seemingly basic as surrogacy. Britain of course was the home of the first IVF baby, Louise K. Brown.

In looking at the British attitude toward surrogacy and even at those of the states in the US who are opposed, it would seem that the overriding theme is one of tradition, i.e. she who carries is called mother (mum in Britain). However, even to traditionalists, it seems to be backward thinking that says that she who can't carry a child to term must not therefore be able to develop an offspring of her own. It is pushing the point to an extreme to block a very traditional husband and wife from having children of their own.

Ironically enough, the foreign attitudes about surrogacy have not stopped the process among nationals of the various countries. Those individuals have simply bought themselves tickets for the United States, with its devalued dollar, and found fertility clinics and surrogates who are more than glad to help them become proud parents.