Thursday, February 25, 2010

Egg donation in Israel

It's currently practically impossible to receive an egg donation in Israel. The only women who are allowed to donate are those who are undergoing infertility treatment - exactly the women who need those eggs most. Having been one of those women whose doctor approached her with a form to sign while I was still half under anesthesia, I can tell you how desperate they are for donations (enough to completely con people, seriously). Like in the example of Prof. Zion Ben-Raphael who was convicted of overstimulating women's ovaries in order to produce excess eggs and then steal them from him. (See Jpost article, which also includes details of the new bill)

So this is a real breakthrough for Israel - one that would allow women to donate eggs whether or not they were going through fertility treatments AND to receive some kind of compensation for it.

I hope that this will allow more women who need egg donations to get them and will reduce the pressure on women who don't want to give theirs up.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The arrangement

So, a few posts back I wrote about someone I know of* (I don't actually know her, I'm in close touch with a member of her family) who has chosen to try to conceive using the sperm of one partner of a homosexual couple. They've now tried a natural (unmedicated) IUI cycle and a medicated IUI which were both unsuccessful. Currently the third cycle is underway (also medicated).

It is interesting to hear about the relationship developing between the two families, in preparation for the future child... some members of the extended families have met and the future mother and fathers(?) have actually decided to buy apartments in the same building, so that they will be close to each other. In many ways, their commitment to each other seems even more solid than a marriage - and she never has to worry about him leaving his smelly socks on the floor, while he never has to worry about her spending too much money on make-up... And, perhaps as a single mom, it's really very responsible to think of what will happen to the child should something ever happen to her.

I guess the next step is to actually get pregnant. I'll keep you posted.

*She knows (and doesn't mind that) I am writing about her.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Inheriting infertility via ICSI

I read this article in Times Online today. It states that there is now evidence that fathers of test-tube babies may be passing their infertility on to their sons. Anyone who was trying to conceive back in the mid-90's heard speculation then that ICSI can help couples conceive, but it can't guarantee that if there's a genetic defect causing the man's infertility that it won't be passed on to the child. And why wouldn't it?

So this study goes on to linking ICSI to shorter fingers in boys - a trait they say is known to be associated with infertility. The study compared 211 six-year-olds conceived through ICSI with 195 naturally conceived children of the same age. The boys in the ICSI group had shorter fingers. OK, now let's think about it. ICSI was most frequently used to overcome male infertility. There are other reasons for using ICSI, but that is the reason it was developed and, at least in the past, was its main use - if there were plenty of swimmers, it wasn't really necessary... Then there's this lovely quote from John Manning (and a nearly identical one by Allan Pacey), "This is telling us that we sould only use ICSI when it is absolutely necessary." Um. Maybe what it's really telling us is what we knew all along - genetics are inherited... It isn't the ICSI that's causing the infertility in the next generation, it's the genes the child inherited...

A question to anyone who would contemplate using ICSI on this basis - why, if ICSI can produce a healthy (yet, possibly infertile) child today would you think that in another 25 years or so, when this child wants to become a father, that medical science would not have improved this process and made it even easier to become a father?