This month’s legal update contains a hodgepodge of news related to reproductive law both in the U.S. and abroad.
NY Courts Rule against Parents’ Legal Rights to Deceased Son’s Sperm
On March 3, 2009, the First Department Appellate Division of the courts of the State of New York issued a decision holding that the parents of a man who died of cancer cannot obtain legal rights to their son’s donated sperm. The roots of this case date back to mid-1997 when Mark Speranza, then 23 years old, deposited his sperm at Repro Lab, Inc., a tissue bank licensed by the State of New York. Mr. Speranza was an aspiring police officer who was about to undergo treatment for cancer and he was concerned about being able to conceive a child afterward. Mr. Speranza signed an agreement with Repro Lab, Inc. in which he was given several options for how to dispose of the deposited sperm in the event of his death. Mr. Speranza elected, in the event of his death, to have Repro Lab, Inc. destroy all of his deposited sperm.
To be of help through this column, I want to write about the things a woman might want to know if she’s contemplating using donor egg. The best I can offer in that regard is to remember the questions I had before I met my daughter (who was conceived with donor egg), and to compare those questions to the answers found in the reality of living with her. So, these are the things I wish I could have known when I was deciding if I could handle being a donor egg mother, and the reality today.
It seems we’re in the midst of a baby boom. If you look at birth rate statistics, there has been a steady increase each year since 1997. Every single day someone is telling someone else that she is pregnant. As an older-than-average-aged child bearing couple (we're both 37), we have watched as most of our friends and family add new members to their broods. Getting news about someone else’s pregnancy can be a sobering and downright depressing experience. Just as every single relationship is unique, so are our responses.
As IVF/ICSI #1 fast approaches, my jaw drops to think this is our first time ever really trying to get pregnant. This is our first shot. I mean, we didn’t have a fighting chance even once during our au naturale attempts over the last 18 months. Just knowing that for the first time it is really going to be possible for baby-making to become fruitful has brought back bittersweet memories of hope from what feels like another life . . .
What the “fertile” world fails to truly appreciate is the superhuman effort it takes not to get all pissy about mommy and baby talk – especially when an infertile is feeling the effects of her condition in a visceral way. Let me point out a few of the seemingly innocuous gestures and comments that could whip up a black ire in no time flat if we let our anger get the better of us:
For more than 70 percent of families struggling to have a baby, fertility-related expenses must be paid completely out-of-pocket. How can this be, when almost one in six couples are in this situation? Why won’t more insurance companies foot the bill for at least some of these expenses? It just doesn’t make sense.
Advice on managing the costs of infertility treatment.
First built in the mid-1970’s, this property has never been lived in, not even on a temporary basis! It has been actively marketed for 2 years and despite numerous viewings by keen sperms and infrequent visits by eggs, it has yet to find suitable tenants. It is currently undergoing a thorough clean out with the Coil cleaning company – a six month procedure - and is expected to be back on the market and available to rent from July 2009.
Last month our (then) all-female team launched FertilityAuthority – a web portal we’ve tagged “your most trusted source for everything fertility.” Now some would say that starting a business in the current economic environment is crazy (and you know what, they'd be right!), but reproductive medicine is a $3 billion industry and we see an opportunity to be profitable and make a difference in people’s lives.