I stumbled across one of those anti-ART blogs recently. It was an accident, I swear. Anyway, it was banging on about donor eggs and how it shouldn't be allowed. Mostly because infertility is not a medical condition deserving of the same treatment as other medical conditions and egg donation is akin to giving up your child and therefore against God's will (didn't get around to her views on God's will in adoption, no), but also because there is a medical risk to donors.

I can only imagine this argument referred specifically to women who feel pressured to donate (eg women from poor socioeconomic backgrounds who are under huge financial pressure), because I can't for the life of me see what business it is of the legislators if I, of my own free will, provide informed consent to undergo such a procedure with its attendant risks. So with that in mind, and because she linked to a personal account of OHSS as "proof" of her argument and I have one such account on my blog, which could potentially be used the same way, I'd like to clear up a few things about OHSS and egg donors.

1. You can see it coming. We chose to proceed with egg colllection (EPU) despite knowing I was at risk. I would never have made this choice if it was someone else's body taking the fall - both out of respect and care for the donor who is prepared to give us such a precious thing, and for the selfish reasons that OHSS creates the risk to me of lower quality or immature eggs together with a donor who doesn't want to do any more cycles.

As soon as you are identified as being at risk for OHSS you can choose to mitigate that risk by cancelling the cycle before pick-up. After waiting for things to settle, your doctor will adjust the protocol for the second try.

2. Pregnancy and/or hCG as luteal phase support is a huge risk factor for OHSS. Neither of these risk factors apply to a donor. Therefore, the risk of moderate or severe OHSS in egg donors is not at all comparable to the risk for the general population of women undergoing IVF (which is already very low - around 1-2%).

3. Newer protocols have been/are being developed which reduce or eliminate the risk of OHSS. I believe in the near future this argument will be a moot point. If you're busy constructing a thesis against egg donation as we speak, you'd be wise not to rely on OHSS to back yourself up.

(Also, point to note, not everyone shares your religious views. See also "separation of church and state", "independence of nations", "mainstream Christianity". Plus, you are wrong about the medical condition thing. And if there's a large body of women in your country who are under real financial pressure to donate eggs, frankly, it's a disgrace to your social welfare system and not a problem with the assisted reproduction industry at all.)


JW said...

Anti-ART blogs? I must be living in a cave coz I didn't know such things existed. Maybe I mustn't even go look for them because I'll just get myself all riled up.

Thanks for all the advice on my blog, I'll definitely take it into account. Sex the night before transfer? Thats something I'm off to google right now... interesting...

Baby Blues said...

A doctor I work with who's family is Opus Dei told me "Just pray. It will come. Just don't resort to ART." Ok, how do I react to that? There are still a lot of conservative Catholics in our society that look down on ART. They just don'e get it. I believe God gave us the knowledge to discover ART so we could use it to help ourselves.
Bumble you're not in a cave, they are.

Aurelia said...

Well, I'm not a fan of egg donation because of money and anonymity issues, (which affect the eventual child) but I certainly have no problem with ART. And I don't see how OHSS has anything to do with it. As you've said, a doctor who is properly monitoring the person's cycle can tell what's happening and adjust the dosages.

The real issue that concerns me with egg donation is that it doesn't have any greater success rates than a person who uses their own eggs, and yet RE's have been promoting it as if it does. With no EBM do back it up.
At the 2005 ASRM meeting there were studies presented showing that analysis of young fertile egg donor embryos showed a rate of aneuploidy just as high as infertile older women.

So if we can scan them for chromosomal problems with PGD then why bother using egg donors?

Anonymous said...

Stay away from the anti-ART blogs, Bea!

Mandy said...

I am a "happy clappy" christian, and I believe that God helps those who help themselves.
If adopting someone else's child is acceptable as a means of parenting, then how is "adopting" and egg any different? As my hubby says, DNA is a small aprt of what goes into parenting.

Lut C. said...

I'd think donating eggs ranks among the donations involving the least risk to the (live) donor. It's not like donating a kidney or a piece of your liver.

It's so easy to be against ART when you haven't had to face it.

Serenity said...

I second Lut's comment - it is so easy to be anti-ART... unless you've experienced infertility yourself.

People like her make it very easy for me to continue to not go to church. What is it about religion makes people so damn judgemental?

beagle said...

I try not to read these things because they get me all riled up!

I don't get why so many people think they have the right to comment on the personal choices of others. Obviously we have to draw the line somewhere, if beating your child or killing people for fun is what you consider a personal choice, then society needs to step in, but when it comes to your own personal healthcare choices I just don't see how it's anybody's business!

I think Lut C summed it up best: "It's so easy to be against ART when you haven't had to face it."

And what gives anyone the right to declare it "God's will" other than God? Can these people ask God directly, how can they be sure it's God's will that some conceive easily and some don't? Maybe it's just random luck.

My biggest puzzle about American culture/politics (I'm an immigrant ya' know) is how and why things like abortion and stem cell research can even be MAJOR political issues. They don't belong in the realm of politics they belong in the realm of science, medicine, and personal choice.

See, I get all riled up. Sorry!

Sunny Jenny said...

Ignorant people really frustrate me! Thanks for pointing out the very obvious scientific facts about OHSS.

And on Christianity and adoption... Christianity is all about adoption...

God adopts us as his children!! DUH!!!

ColourYourWorld said...

Interesting post.

I have read many anti donor blogs in the past and avoid them these days. They just wind me up and frustrate the hell out of me.

Best advice is to stay away !

Ali said...

I do find it so preposterous--this whole thing about women being "pressured" to donate their eggs. Where is this happening? Are there people in alleys scaring young women into donating? I just don't see it.

Unknown said...

There's an opinion for everything, you know? Pro this and anti that and everyone's got their reasons. And why waste time debating the issue when there are soooo many other fertility things more important. Like drug abusers giving birth time and time again to substance exposed newborns. Let's get some birth control going for these women! Some criminal prosecution for harming another human being.
That's my tangent.....

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