IVF Donor Egg question

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Grace444
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IVF Donor Egg question

Postby Grace444 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 2:21 pm

Hi there

My husband & I are Christians.

We have been TTC for five years, unsuccessful, despite massive amounts of prayers by us & many loved ones on our behalf.

We are looking to attempt IVF.

I had tests done, results indicated that my egg reserve is too low to have an infant with my own eggs which are pretty much nonexistent unfortunately.

The option is IVF with a donor egg, the doctors have stated.

A donor egg from a woman in the egg bank registry would be mixed with my husbands sperm then the resulting embryo implanted in my womb.

The infant won't have my DNA but my blood & body will give it life.

My husband & I are in the midst of this huge decision.

As Christians, we are uncertain if this route is:
1. Adultery (not my baby/DNA, my husband mixed with a different woman's egg)

2. If it's acceptable for Christians to attempt ivf with a donor egg

I would appreciate honest comments from other Christians please.

Thank you.

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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby txtwindad » Tue Oct 28, 2014 3:26 pm

Go for it. There is no reason for concern about adultery for sure. Some people are concerned about the fertilized embryos that you don't choose to implant.

If this bothers you, there is a pretty cool option. You can put them up for adoption. Or you can adopt another couples fertilized embryos. A couple in our church is in the process of adopting embryos that were left over from another couple's IVF.

We live in a marvelous age where God has blessed couples with problems conceiving with many options. By all means choose the one that fits your beliefs best. But do take advantage of one of them.
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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby poetess » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:41 pm

Well, it definitely is not as straightforward as "go for it" without asking questions about whether this is right or whether it's a good idea.

Several years ago I read a book about the options for infertile couples, critiquing each from a biblical standpoint, and it did make a pretty solid case that donor gametes are a bad idea. There are some legitimate ethical issues (it may not actually be adultery, but it does bring another person into your fertility), but there are also other questions. For example, will one partner be jealous of the other because the child is biologically related to one and not the other? What do you tell the children, and how will that affect how they see the parents? From the donor standpoint, is it really a good idea to sell your fertility for money? Buying an egg isn't the same as buying a prostitute . . . but a couple does still want to ask whether this is the sort of business they want to be involved with. (Would you encourage your own daughter to do so for college expenses, or would it feel like selling your grandchildren?) Cost is another potential issue.

And yes, the question of whether they will fertilize more than one egg is an issue, and whether they will implant all that they fertilize. What will they do with the others, if any, and is that a morally legitimate option?

I think the suggestion to look into embryos that are already created is a good one. (They're called "snowflake babies" if you want a term to research.)

I can't remember the name of the book I read, but I'm sure there are other books out there that look at these issues from a biblical perspective and try to bring some clarity to a complicated, and often heartbreaking, issue.
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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby txtwindad » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:29 pm

poetess wrote: There are some legitimate ethical issues (it may not actually be adultery, but it does bring another person into your fertility), but there are also other questions. For example, will one partner be jealous of the other because the child is biologically related to one and not the other? What do you tell the children, and how will that affect how they see the parents? From the donor standpoint, is it really a good idea to sell your fertility for money? Buying an egg isn't the same as buying a prostitute . . . but a couple does still want to ask whether this is the sort of business they want to be involved with. (Would you encourage your own daughter to do so for college expenses, or would it feel like selling your grandchildren?) Cost is another potential issue.


IMO, This paragraph should be on the bad/dangerous teachings thread. Bringing another person into your fertility?? Comparing donor eggs to prostitution?? What do you tell the children??

Adultery has a definition, this is not even remotely it. I'm not thrilled that we pay for donations, but donor eggs are no more prostitution than giving plasma is. People willing to donate any type of tissue to help others should be praised, not compared to prostitutes. And you tell children that their parents loved them so much they did everything possible to bring them into the world.
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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby happilymarriedkate » Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:52 pm

I think a question needs to be raised about implications of a donor egg. Will the child have access to information about the donor after he/ she turns 18/21? I am of the school of thought that it is the right of every person to know his/ her biological identity. I know that you will believe and treat this child as if he/she is 100% yours, but biologically, the facts are that he/she is not. Those tough questions about access to information ( if even available - non identifying vs identifying and the implications of having/not having one or both) are worth considering.
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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby Cowboy » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:15 pm

As an anesthesiologist, I have participated in many IVF procedures and have worked with donors and receivers. It is a great option for couples who want a child and can't in their own.
Adopting a donor egg is no different to me than adopting a newborn baby except that the woman can actually deliver the donor egg. Which to some women makes it their own.

Adultery? That's ridiculous.
Prostitution? Again, ridiculous. Remember, this isn't something done for fun on a weekend guys trip to Vegas.
Is a donor kidney adultery or prostitution?

Having said that, there are dilemmas with unused fertilized embryos. Those decisions have to be weighed and the choice is really up to the couple. I think allowing adoption of those embryos is an great option. But then there is a child with the husbands DNA out there which could make one uneasy.

Expense is manageable.
Our church helped raise money for a staff member to go through ivf. There are some insurances that will pay all or part of ivf. Expense isn't always an issue.

In the end the decision is really yours and through prayer and playing every scenario in conversation with your spouse, you will know what to do. And it will be the right decision regardless of what anyone else says.

Babies are a blessing however you end up getting one.

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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby poetess » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:14 am

txtwindad,

IMO, This paragraph should be on the bad/dangerous teachings thread. Bringing another person into your fertility?? Comparing donor eggs to prostitution?? What do you tell the children??


Well, obviously I wasn't clear enough, because this isn't a "dangerous teaching" but questions worth considering.

I once knew someone who was infertile, and he and his wife tried donor sperm . . . the sperm of his father. Yes, they used an instrument; the man didn't have sex with his daughter-in-law. But do you think, if the couple had been successful, there would have been any "issues" involved in knowing that this child was biologically the son of your father / father-in-law? I specifically said this is NOT adultery . . . but at the same time, it is the fertility of someone outside the marriage. A couple may be OK with that, morally and spiritually. But it is definitely worth at least thinking about. It would be hard to do it and then later decide one or the other is uncomfortable with it. Think through it now.

And no, selling your eggs is not prostitution, and buying an egg is definitely not paying for prostitution, not in a sexual sense. But it is nonetheless a young woman selling her body, auctioning off her fertility. It's the modern-day Hagar, just with a technological twist. But I do think that in order to think through the full moral implications of something, we have to consider it from all sides. I have a lot of young female relatives about the age of the young women who usually do this (college age), and if one of them told me, "I'm considering selling my eggs to pay for college," I would tell her, "Please don't do that. There have to be better ways to earn money." Is it morally wrong to auction off your fertility for money? I can't say that definitively, but I can say it's at least in the "potentially troublesome" category. (ETA: I was trying to avoid making moral judgments for other people, but I do actually think this is morally wrong.) I think it is every bit as much a life-altering decision as bearing a child and giving up that child for adoption. (That being said, if I knew someone who had already earned money this way or used a donor egg to conceive, I would not tell her she had made a morally problematic decision. This is not a clear one, but it is a "gray area" and worthy of full research.)

The "What do you tell the children?" is a pragmatic question, not a moral one. Couples who adopt have the same issue . . . but it is an issue worth considering. Medically, the children should know they are not biologically related to their birth mother. But I suspect that such knowledge might be trickier than the knowledge that a child was adopted and not biologically related to either parent. It might be a non-issue for the couple; it might be a non-issue for their children. But it is worth "thinking about." Just like it was worth me thinking about whether I could be stepmother to the children born to another woman, but see them fully as my own children not second-rate offspring--could I love the children of my husband and his first wife as my own? The answer is yes. But the question must be asked, because for some women (and some men) the answer is no . . . but some of them have already chosen the marriage / adoption / IVF procedure before realizing that they are not truly prepared to love a child who is not biologically their own.

In other words, I might have one answer to some of these questions and someone else might have a different answer. But they must be considered, whatever the answer. This isn't as straightforward as having sex and conceiving a child, and it isn't even as straightforward as adopting a child who needs a home. There are moral, spiritual, emotional, and biological issues involved.

ETA last sentence and to clarify a past tense in another sentence
Last edited by poetess on Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:17 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby txtwindad » Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:52 am

I'm going to walk away from this one.

To the OP. There is no reason to make this an agonizing decision. It is quite simple. God has provided you a means to have a child that is born of your body. The DNA will be half yours, but the baby will be all yours. Yes, give some consideration to the extra fertilized eggs. Otherwise the decision is very straight forward. Christians are very good at taking a simple decision and making it difficult. There is no adultery or anything even remotely close. There is no moral issue at all (except for the extra fertilized eggs). You will always have a few Christians throwing legalistic nonsense at you.

The decision is yours. Pray about it and make a decision. It will be the right one for you and that's really all that matters. Whether you decide to go this route, adopt an embryo, or whatever else may be available to you, it will be OK. God sees our heart and our intentions. Your intention is to bring a child into this world to love and care for. How can anything about that be wrong?
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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby mamame » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:58 am

I think these are all reasonable things to talk about.

For me personally, I think I would be jealous about it being DNA linked to DH and not me. Intellectually I know that's silly but realistically it would bother me. A snowflake baby would be more appealing to me.
I think what is most important is that you be able to be really honest about your feelings and fears. None of that "I shouldn't feel this way" business.
Start with honesty and work from there.
What are the legal ramifications of the different options?

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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby SquarePants » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:42 pm

My first thought was about the similarities between this and the Levirate system of the Old Testament, where a man was obligated to father children with the wife of his deceased brother. Like with IVF, the offspring would only have the genes of one spouse, but the offspring would have all of the rights and responsibilities as if they were from the original couple.

To me, IVF seems like a perfectly acceptable and beautiful option for your family.

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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby landschooner » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:47 pm

How can anything about that be wrong?

That's an argument used by many to rationalize a lot of things.

This ISNT simple. I wouldn't call this adultery or anything like that but I can see it being considered unethical by some, (including me) though I can't hold a hard line against it because it IS complicated.

In my OPINION, my sperm is for my wife alone. Her eggs are for me alone. Any sexual joining of my sperm or her egg, and there IS a sexual component here despite the science, should be between her and I alone.

What could be wrong? It could offend God. Intentions aren't all that matters. I can think of many examples where intentions are good but God is offended nonetheless.

Is it wrong? I think so but I don't KNOW so. But this is a discussion board so we are discussing it.

Why not adopt? Then there is no issue. I know a couple that has adopted 5 children(2 just a couple months ago) and they are NOT rich by any means.

Anyway, long and short of it, this is just my opinion.

LS


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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby Dgenerous » Wed Oct 29, 2014 2:23 pm

I personally would prefer adoption, but not because of any sexual component or jealousy. More like ethical concerns about me *personally* going through such extreme lengths to have a child when there are children who need families.

But I have always had a strong desire to adopt. I realize it's not for everyone. I don't think I can understand going to extreme lengths like this because I've had no issues with fertility. I acknowledge it would be impossible for me to say what I would do in your circumstances.
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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby poetess » Wed Oct 29, 2014 3:03 pm

The difference between levirate marriage and this is simply that levirate marriage was actually marriage. Even today we allow widowed people to remarry and have children, though the firstborn doesn't become the legal descendant of the deceased first spouse. Still, it was marriage, and even Hagar was taken as a concubine (though taking Hagar was a sign of limited faith in God's promise, not a good example to follow).

I have sympathies with wanting to bear a child in my own body--I watched my fertile years slip away while I was single. I watched people I grew up with give birth to four, five, or six children while I stayed single and childless. The children in my home aren't biologically mine, though we both call them "our" children, and they will be my heirs. I dreamed for decades of birthing my own children, and I can never do that; that loss is real.

Sympathy or no, we still must wrestle with whether this is an acceptable option. Could my husband sell his sperm to someone else and take no further care whether he fathered children outside our marriage? No, he could not. Selling gametes (or giving them away) is not the same as donating blood! There also is the strong likelihood of fertilizing more eggs than are used--and that must be taken very seriously by pro-life Christians.
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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby Grace444 » Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:36 pm

Heartfelt thanks to each person thus far who has taken the time to share your thoughts with us.

We value all responses & are reading them carefully. Excellent thoughts & counsel here, thank you.

It is a major decision, that we need to make soon.

We are praying to God to guide us !

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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby MyWifesMan » Thu Oct 30, 2014 8:01 pm

And yes, the question of whether they will fertilize more than one egg is an issue, and whether they will implant all that they fertilize. What will they do with the others, if any, and is that a morally legitimate option?


Whether one thinks the above is a serious concern or not probably has to do with when they believe life begins. Once an egg is fertilized, that is a human being in-progress. Period! I just don't see how anyone could not make such a decision without weighing this issue.

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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby sunny-dee » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:36 am

txtwindad wrote:
poetess wrote: There are some legitimate ethical issues (it may not actually be adultery, but it does bring another person into your fertility), but there are also other questions. For example, will one partner be jealous of the other because the child is biologically related to one and not the other? What do you tell the children, and how will that affect how they see the parents? From the donor standpoint, is it really a good idea to sell your fertility for money? Buying an egg isn't the same as buying a prostitute . . . but a couple does still want to ask whether this is the sort of business they want to be involved with. (Would you encourage your own daughter to do so for college expenses, or would it feel like selling your grandchildren?) Cost is another potential issue.


IMO, This paragraph should be on the bad/dangerous teachings thread. Bringing another person into your fertility?? Comparing donor eggs to prostitution?? What do you tell the children??

Adultery has a definition, this is not even remotely it. I'm not thrilled that we pay for donations, but donor eggs are no more prostitution than giving plasma is. People willing to donate any type of tissue to help others should be praised, not compared to prostitutes. And you tell children that their parents loved them so much they did everything possible to bring them into the world.


This is very, very belated, but I wanted to emphasize this. I am going to start an IVF med cycle this month; I will (presumably) be able to use my own eggs since all my tests are good and I was able to conceive about 3 years ago (miscarriage). If I decide to donate any leftover embryos, I am not reimbursed AT ALL. I am not paid for that, and I am certainly not going through IVF with the intention of making money. Anyone who receives a donated embryo from me (again, assuming I have leftovers) would be able to carry their child but, aside from that, morally and biologically it is no different than infant adoption. Unless adoption is an evil for "bringing someone else into your fertility" there's nothing wrong with a donated embryo.

Using a donor egg or donor sperm where it is half biologically yours and half not -- I get that that feels weird. But there is no *sexual* moral choice involved here. Like, I have a stepson. How will I explain to my biological children that their older brother isn't mine? Um, pretty simply and easily. My mom was the result of an affair, and yet she still called her non-biological father dad and had siblings.

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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby sunny-dee » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:49 am

Also, re extra embryos: that is definitely something I have considered as someone who is prolife. Just to break it down (and this'll be kind of long, but, whatever -- I've had several consultations with my reproductive endocrinologist lately):

* When they (hyper)stimulate ovulation, they typically get 10-15 eggs (for someone like me, who has good hormones and egg reserves and unexplained infertility).

* Only about half of those will be successfully fertilized, so they're hoping for 6-7 resulting embryos. The other eggs aren't abandoned -- like in natural conception, some eggs just don't get fertilized. They are discarded, but just like my body would do.

* They'll implant 2 eggs at my first embryo transfer. Of those, odds are that 1 will successfully implant -- again, like in the natural world, not all blastocysts actually implant.

* The remaining 4 embryos will be frozen and saved for my next round, either the next month (if the first month failed) *or* for a year after a child is born, to try for child #2.

Assuming everything goes perfectly and I have don't have to do multiple rounds of IVF or more than 2-3 rounds of embryo transfer for each successful pregnancy, I'll have 1-2 embryos "leftover." I would submit those for donation (not destruction or research).

One thing to remember, if you haven't gone through infertility yourself, is that adoption is not as easy or awesome as it sounds. It is extremely expensive (embryo transfer is around $2000, while a domestic adoption is around $30,000 -- international adoption could be double that), and there are as many or more risks with adoption as infertility treatments. Infant adoptions are very difficult to get, and there is a huge risk of a biological family member coming back and taking the child away (this has happened to at least two people on some infertility forums I'm on). If you adopt any older, even toddler, there are MASSIVE issues with emotional and behavioral problems because of previous abuse. It's not a happy Cleaver family story -- you're taking on a huge and separate problem set. (I can name a half dozen people who had issues with older adopted children.) And then there's the "you're not my real parents" thing, which I have seen played out again and again with stepchildren in my extended family.

There is nothing sinful in wanting a healthy, happy family.

I am certainly not a wh*re if I have the ability to offer an embryo to another couple facing the same heartache and barrenness that I have.

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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby neilethere » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:29 pm

Good luck Sunny-Dee. I have shared before my wife suffered Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome and almost died going down the IVF path. The Professor who oversaw our entire procedure was delivering a keynote address at a symposium in Sweden left nd flew straight home when he heard how ill she was. Her grade 4 placenta previa led to our youngest being born 8 weeks early by emergency caesarean. All up a harrowing time.

I have also shared our disagreement on the 12 'snowflakes' we have on ice. This is an ongoing issue and I am glad you have already settled where you stand.

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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby Job29Man » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:34 am

OG Note: TMB is pro-life. Every parent is responsible for, and accountable to God, to provide for and protect every human life that they conceive, and to give him/her a healthy, flourishing childhood in a loving home.
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Re: IVF Donor Egg question

Postby poetess » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:58 am

Sunny-Dee, no, it wouldn't be being sexually promiscuous to offer extra embryos to another family, or even to offer your eggs. You are not offering to have sex with a stranger in either scenario. But offering extra embryos for adoption is not the same as making sure they have a "home." They might never be chosen, and that is your responsibility. Also, do you have any say over the families that do choose them? That too would be something worth considering. If you were dying and needed to find a guardian for your children, would you allow "just anyone" to raise them? If not, then why is it OK to have extra embryos that might be chosen by people with radically anti-Christian life philosophies or lifestyles?

This original question was considering donor eggs, and I weighed in on the issue and got attacked harshly, so I didn't really continue my thought. However, egg donation can be extremely hard on a person's body (as Neil mentioned), and our eggs were given to us so that we could have children with our husbands within a family. Sperm donation is easy, and men produce millions of them, so men sometimes don't even think about the reality that sperm donation is taking responsibility for a human life. Egg donation is very difficult. And paying someone to do that isn't so ridiculously far off from paying someone to sell her body--it is asking her to sell her offspring and to sell a hard, unnatural use of her body. To choose that process to bear one's own children is one thing; to do it for money is something else altogether.

We need to think through issues of our sexuality and fertility, and proper use of our ability to procreate--and other people's.
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