This Week in Bioethics

by Matthew Eppinette, CBC Executive Director on October 13, 2017

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1. Egg “Donation” and Its Consequences

We were contacted this week by Leah, a young woman who “donated” her eggs this summer. She found us as she researched how to deal with the complications she suffered, and continues to suffer, in the wake of her “donation”. Five days after her egg retrieval, her husband took her to an emergency room.

At the ER they gave me some fluids as I was severely dehydrated. The doctor warned all water would expand my abdomen, which at this point was fully extended. They injected me with three forms of anti-nausea medication. None worked, and they couldn’t release me because I was unable to get up.

We are thankful she was willing to share her story. More people need to be informed of the risks, the harms, and the consequences of egg “donation” in order to help us put a stop to the eggsploitation of women.

2. When Making Life Moves to the Lab…

…Ethical messes can multiply. A man, known only as ARB in court documents, sued an IVF clinic after his ex-partner forged his signature in order to thaw and transfer their embryos into her womb. He wants the IVF clinic to pay for all expenses associated with rearing his “unwanted” daughter. While the judge expressed that “he did have concerns about the way consent was obtained by clinics,” he ruled the IVF clinic was not “negligent” and does not have to pay the expenses for his child. The man plans to appeal.

Take a moment to think about what it will be like when the child finds out and fully realizes what it means that her father called her an “unwanted daughter” in court documents.

3. Euthanasia by any Other Name

The latest figures are out on Canada’s “medically assisted deaths.” More than 2,100 people have died across Canada through this practice. In addition, “The total has been rising faster, with 803 assisted deaths in the first six months after it became legal nationally and 1,179 in the following six months from January to June 2017.” The practice has been legal in Quebec since 2015, and there have been 167 deaths there.

Keep in mind: the practice of medically assisted death in Canada is almost entirely active euthanasia by physician; it is very rarely suicide. “Only five of the reported cases were self-administered deaths.” To be clear, this means that in all but five cases, the physician killed his or her patient.

4. Sperm Bank Court Settlement

Our Anonymous Father’s Day Facebook page reports that Atlanta-bases sperm bank Xytex has settled nearly a dozen lawsuits that were filed over a sperm donor who “had a criminal record and severe mental health problems.”

Judge William Alsup wrote, “If Xytex had screened Donor 9623 as carefully as claimed… he likely would have been rejected. Xytex surely knew that it failed to screen up to the standard it advertised.”

What does this mean for the larger picture over the longer term? Xytex will not have to disclose in court what it did and did not do with respect to screening this donor or any of its donors. It appears from reports–which, bound by confidentiality clauses, are somewhat circumspect–that part of the settlement entails some (undisclosed) changes to Xytex’s internal procedures. However, whatever these changes or reforms are, they do not apply to any other sperm bank facility. And, of course, none of this addresses the many, many deeper issues of anonymous gamete donation or third-party assisted reproduction.

5. Have You Read Our Latest Ebook? It’s FREE!

Kevin contacted us after he watched our film Anonymous Father’s Day (now available FREE on Amazon Prime). We asked if he would be willing to share his story, and this ebook is that story. As you will read, Kevin’s sperm-donation experience has affected him greatly. We are grateful to be able to share his story.

Click here to download I’m a Sperm Donor Father: Here’s My Story.
Sperm Donor Father

Lagniappe

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