Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Women Becoming Egg Donors!

More Women Donating Eggs
Some Women Say They Donate For Money

POSTED: 9:16 pm PDT July 30, 2008
UPDATED: 8:11 am PDT July 31, 2008

LAS VEGAS -- Now more than ever, women are donating their eggs to make ends meet.

So, who's doing it, and how easy is the process?

Melissa, who declined to give her last name, admitted the main reason she's donating eggs is because she's struggling financially.

"My husband has had me stay home for the last five years. I stayed home for my children, so the money definitely benefited my family," she said.

At the Center For Egg Options in Illinois, the number of women donating has increased significantly since April.

"There's no reason to think that suddenly there's 30 percent more people who have suddenly had this inner feeling to help out people and what's changed, it’s the economy," said fertility specialist Ed Marut.

Across the country, fertility centers have also seen a surge in repeat donors and surrogates.

A woman who passes the health and psychological screenings can get thousands of dollars in return for her donation.

"The donors will make in the area of $7,000, and the surrogates will make anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000 plus," said Nancy Block, founder of the Center For Egg Options.

In the Valley, Dr. Bruce Shapiro at the Fertility Center of Las Vegas said compensation is closer to $3,000 to $5,000.

But he said he hopes the economy is not the main reason more women are donating.

“We really try to have people who donate for altruistic reasons. That's the best of all worlds. Sometimes you can't be absolutely certain. You can only be certain of what a person tells you,” Shapiro said.

He said it is a fairly simple process that takes about three weeks.

“It's more invasive than donating sperm, but still, it's painless, and there's more time involved, but we try to make it as smooth a process as possible,” Shapiro said.

He said the side effects of donation usually include some aches and cramps, similar to those of a woman's period.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Surrogacy Laws in Australia

Surrogacy Update- Australia

The Western Australian Government's surrogacy legislation has received overwhelming support in the Upper House where members were allowed a conscience vote.

Five members voted against the Bill, which will allow couples unable to have a child, to have a baby through a surrogate mother.

The Bill was supported by 27 MPs.

Earlier this week, the Upper House amended the Bill to ensure the birth mother is aged 25 or older, and already has a child of her own.

Liberal MP Barbara Scott was among those who voted against the legislation.

"It is my view that every child has the right, an inherent right to know its origins, to know where it came from," she said.

"This Bill delivering us today in the third reading denies that to many children who'll be the result of a surrogacy arrangement."

The Health Minister, Jim McGinty, says there is no need for the Legislative Assembly to reconvene early, because the Government will immediately begin preliminary work on the legislation.

"I'm delighted that the surrogacy bill has now been passed," he said.

"It means that we can immediately get on with drawing up the protocols, getting the regulations in place so that we can start from today implementing the new law."

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Babies from Frozen Embryos

Babies from frozen embryos are just as healthy
IVF doesn't raise risk of mental, physical problems in children, study says

BARCELONA, Spain - More evidence is emerging that babies conceived in test tubes might be just as healthy as those conceived naturally, researchers said Tuesday.

Two studies presented at a meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology found that in-vitro fertilization and the freezing of embryos did not significantly increase the babies' chances of medical problems.

"These procedures are relatively safe and patients shouldn't be overly concerned," said Dr. Christopher Barratt, a professor of reproductive medicine at the University of Dundee in Britain.

Barratt, who was not connected to the research, said the studies were encouraging but more information was still needed.

About one percent of babies born in developed countries are conceived using techniques like in-vitro fertilization. Yet Dutch experts studying children born after in-vitro fertilization concluded that the invasive procedure is not dangerous for babies' early physical and neurological development.

"This is important in reassuring people worried about the risks of these techniques," said Dr. Sue Avery, director of The Assisted Conception Unit at Birmingham Women's Hospital in Britain. "There's naturally a fear when you start doing things like sticking needles into eggs." She was also not connected to the Dutch study.

Previous studies have shown that babies produced from artificial reproduction techniques are more likely to have major birth defects and to be underweight at birth. That is thought to be linked to factors in the parents, like the older age of mothers having infertility treatment, lifestyle or genetic factors.

Doctors have also worried that low birth weight of babies born following in-vitro fertilization could lead to disorders like cerebral palsy.

Dr. Karin Middelburg, of the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands and colleagues examined more than 120 babies born after in-vitro fertilization. Those children were compared to 90 babies born to parents with fertility problems who spontaneously conceived while waiting for fertility treatment and to 450 babies conceived naturally.

Middelburg and colleagues assessed the babies' brain development when they were several months old by observing how they waved their hands, made a fist, or kicked their feet.

"When a child is wired right in the brain, he is able to show a wide range of different movements," Middelburg said.

They found that the test-tube babies moved as well as babies spontaneously born to parents waiting for infertility treatment. That showed that artificial reproduction techniques are not to blame for any early developmental problems, Middelburg said.

When those babies were compared to babies naturally conceived in the general population, researchers did not find a difference in abnormal movements.

Babies from frozen embryos weighed more
Another study presented Tuesday concluded that children born from frozen embryos weighed more at birth than those born after a fresh embryo transfer.

Embryos are sometimes kept at minus 196 degrees Celsius for up to five years before being thawed and implanted into women. Doctors are increasingly freezing embryos across Europe as a standard part of fertility treatment, and some have wondered if the procedure might be riskier than using a fresh embryo.

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"With this study, we can be very encouraged that the data seem to point to the conclusion that these techniques are very safe," Barratt said.

Experts said one reason why frozen embryos resulted in heavier and healthier babies could be that women who produced enough eggs to freeze were probably healthier than women who only had enough embryos for a fresh transfer.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Surrogacy laws in France

Surrogacy Laws in France

The French Senate revealed Wednesday the contents of a closed-door hearing to propose guidelines pertaining to the legality of surrogate mothers, a practice that was banned in France in 1994. The talks are a precursor to a revision in bioethical law, slated for 2009.

Under the proposed reforms, the birth mother would retain “the right of repentance,” or the right to change her mind for up to three days after giving birth. On the other hand, the adoptive parents would not be permitted to “return” the baby on the grounds of its deformity or handicap.

Presiding over the Senate working committee charged with presenting the argument, Michèle André, a Socialist Party member and women’s rights activist, stressed the need to address the issue. This, she said, was necessary “to avoid merchandising women’s bodies,” and to avoid “procreative tourism” on the part of French would-be mothers who find surrogates in countries where the practice is legal, such as the USA, Canada, the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium.

Issues to be ironed out included the question of whether gay couples would be authorised to use surrogate mothers, and whether providing financial remuneration for the biological mother was legal.

The decision will come as good news to women such as Florence, a 24-year-old woman suffering from a type of haemophilia that prevents her from undergoing a pregnancy.

The activist for Maia, a pro-surrogacy group, has been on an adoption waiting list for 9 months, and sees the use of a surrogate as her best option.

In an interview with FRANCE 24, she said, “I have no shame in using a surrogate mother.” But, she added, she could not bear the idea of finding one abroad. Florence said she would rather wait until the practice was legalised in France because it is “safer" and "sounder".

The debate over surrogate motherhood resurfaced in October 2007, when a French court made a landmark decision allowing a French woman who used a surrogate in the US to register the children as her own in France. The case involved twin girls.

Under normal circumstances, French law would not recognise legal custody for a mother who had gone around the system and found a surrogate. The court stopped short of making a larger statement about the validity of surrogate motherhood, but the case nonetheless started a dialogue culminating in Wednesday’s Senate hearing.

Questioned about the Senate committee’s report, the adoptive mother in the Oct. 2007 case said she was heartened by the report. “I’m moved,” she told the AFP news service. “It’s a huge step forward.”

André concurred, saying the overall positive feedback would “open the gateway to debate.”