Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Ask Dr. Helen

My column at PJM is up:

Are societal pressures preventing adults from getting what they want?

PJM advice columnist Dr. Helen Smith approaches the question from two directions when she confronts the issues of a couple’s desire to pass on IVF eggs to a worthy recipient, and a man afraid to walk next to his wife for fear of getting in someone’s way.

Take a look.


Blogger mean aunt said...

I see you have recommended The Dangerous Book for Boys in your column.

I must say that book is truly dangerous. My nephew stubbed his toe on it and bruised his foot so bad he was limping. :)

10:23 AM, August 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife and I have a 4 year old daughter, and she’s 8 months pregnant with a donor egg IVF.

Four years old is a little young to start having babies, isn't it?

(Sorry - I had to.)

11:56 AM, August 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But seriously folks...

Interesting situation in the first email. I'm not sure I understood it, in fact. They got the eggs from a donor, now they're going to pass them on to someone else. I can understand them wanting the eggs to go to a good recipient family, but I'm not sure why they feel the need to stay in touch with the family and their offspring. Seems like that would be the original donor's prerogative, not theirs. Am I missing something about the relationship between IVF recipients and donor eggs? Do they really get that attached?

Good advice to the second guy. Sounds like confidence problems have him falling back on childhood default behaviors or something. Is that the same as being afraid of conflict? In some families, conflict is either not tolerated or leads to disastrous emotional scenes. Maybe he's afraid of repeating experiences like that.

12:08 PM, August 14, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


The donor gave up the eggs just as one would give up a baby for adoption. The eggs were given to the recipient family who has the legal right to decide where they go or if they go anywhere. The IVF recipients are interested in the children born from the donor eggs because those children are their children's biological half siblings. The parents probably feel it is important for their children to know their siblings, just as adoptive siblings might want to know each other, or at least have the opportunity.

12:34 PM, August 14, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

Thanks for the clarification on the biological mother because I was wondering the same thing. I think it is good that they want to attempt to save the potential babies, because I've heard that a lot are wasted. I think it is neat when adopted people meet biological relatives, but there is the small chance of Genetic Sexual Attraction. Although if these kids are seeing their half-sibling once per year, maybe that isn't a risk.

2:28 PM, August 14, 2007  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

The parents probably feel it is important for their children to know their siblings, just as adoptive siblings might want to know each other, or at least have the opportunity.

And someday, those children will also want to know their biological mother, I predict.

When we open a Pandora's box with "creating" families for those who are incapable because of their own biological shortcomings, we have to recognize that the children do indeed derive their genetics and DNA from the woman who supplied the egg.

Just as you see their children interested in their fathers who donated sperm, you cannot cut or deny the connection to the woman who provided the egg.

That's why when you do see domestic adoptions these days -- much much less rare than in days of old -- you often see open adoptions, or children later seeking to find the answers as to who they are, what history their biology holds, and who the two people are who created her.

Biology is a very strong link like that, whether we want to deny it or not.

5:04 PM, August 16, 2007  
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