P.D. Eastman’s classic children’s book, “Are you my mother?” has always been one of my favorites stories. This poor little baby bird falls out of his nest, while his mother is away catching worms, and goes on a search for her. Each page this cute bird stops and asks other animals, “are you my mother?”. At one point, the bird even sees a bulldozer, and wonders, “are you my mother?” Today’s NYTs ran a piece, “Are you my sperm donor?” raising the same kinds of questions. Children in search of their identity, roots, their origin. Who’s your daddy kind of stuff. Fertility clinics, largely unregulated in the U.S. have always worked with the assumption that anonymity is a good thing for donors of eggs, sperm and the couples using donor gametes. Of course, that does not recognize this ever growing population of children, created in IVF clinics, who are now coming of age and seeking out their biological parents. Unfortunately, the lack of regulation in the U.S. fertility clinics makes it hard to get good data. The U.K. which has very liberal laws surrounding the use of reproductive technologies (you can use IVF for sex-selection!), does have some interesting stats.
- Jennifer Lahl, MA, BSN, RN, is founder and president of The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network. Lahl couples her 25 years of experience as a pediatric critical care nurse, a hospital administrator, and a senior-level nursing manager with a deep passion to speak for those who have no voice. Lahl’s writings have appeared in various publications including Cambridge University Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, and the American Journal of Bioethics. As a field expert, she is routinely interviewed on radio and television including ABC, CBS, PBS, and NPR. She is also called upon to speak alongside lawmakers and members of the scientific community, even being invited to speak to members of the European Parliament in Brussels to address issues of egg trafficking; she has three times addressed the United Nations during the Commission on the Status of Women on egg and womb trafficking.
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