31 January 2007

I'd like blue eyes, black hair and no whining

Anyone in the mood for a long one?

A friend recently sent me the following article about a woman in Texas (why is it always Texas?) who opened a clinic offering pre-made embryos. Basically, it sounds like you get to pick your future baby from a catalog.
'Embryo bank': new hope or too far?
A Texas fertility center's methods raise concerns about 'designing'babies. Some say they're not much different from the usual practice.
By Amanda Paulson Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
January 18, 2007

In an era when infertile couples often look to test tubes or surrogate mothers to create children, the notion of egg or sperm donors is hardly novel.

Yet a San Antonio woman's idea to bring the two together – creating complete embryos ready to be implanted into the womb – has drawn a raft of criticism, with bioethicists debating whether this is the commodification of children or just another – perhaps more effective – way to help people become parents.
My friend expressed her concerns about the ethics of this. In addition, she questioned the idea of "leftover" embryos, which is what prompted me to write a way-too long response.

Which I decided to share with you, my peeps. Forthwith, I offer my response. No research, no links, and I absolutely welcome responses - disagree, agree, don't care, I made major errors, you're starting your own clinic, etc.

"Leftover" embryos are a real issue. In most IVF situations, well over 15 eggs can be retrieved at one time, with any number of those being fertilized. If a standard IVF procedure is used, the sperm and the eggs are put together, and "nature" takes its course, which can result in most, all, some or none of the eggs being fertilized. In an ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) procedure, the sperm is cleaned and injected manually directly into the egg. With ICSI, the number of eggs fertilized can be controlled, however, the doctor and patient will usually agree to fertilize as many as possible, allowing for the quality of eggs. The fertilized eggs are then allowed to develop to embryo stage. The more fertilized eggs, the better the chances of getting 2, 3 or 4 high quality embryos.

However, regardless of how many eggs actually fertilize, and then develop on to become high-quality embryos (only embryos of a certain quality will be transferred to uterus), very few actually get transferred. Depending on the woman's age, and number of previous cycles, the maximum number of embryos transferred is usually 4, but more frequently 2 or 3.

That leaves a lot of embryos behind. They will typically be frozen and stored for a future cycle for the patients. Many frozen embryos break down during the thawing process and are not viable. If the patients succeed in getting pregnant, many will save the frozen embryos for a second or third child. Sometimes, patients can only afford one cycle, or choose to only have child, leaving the question of what to do with the remaining embryos.

It's a difficult subject for everyone in the infertility world. Do you destroy them? Do you donate them to someone else who is having difficulty? Do you donate them to science for stem-cell research? (Oh yeah, I forgot - infertile couples can't do that. G-d forbid one should try to do something good from one's pain and suffering.) Destroying them is a crushing question for those who believe that life begins at conception (I don't). But you have to pay to store them. How long do you keep paying?

I disagree with what this woman is doing, but only her method, not her end result. IVF is so extremely expensive. The idea that money might be the only thing preventing someone from having children is devastating. If both parents are infertile, having a place to go where the sperm and egg will be donated and then an embryo is created is a blessing, just like a "normal" infertility clinic. Having them created and stored like shoeboxes in a storage room waiting to chosen by a future client, is, in my opinion, unethical. I also reject the ability to "pick and choose" the genetics of the embryo, however, if a patient where going out on their own to pick sperm and egg donors, they would have the choice of people, so why not be able to choose the sperm and egg donors at a clinic? Before the embryo is created. This woman provides a comparitively inexpensive procedure that allows infertiles to get pregnant and have children.

Also I totally reject the scare tactic implication in this article with the line, "No studies have been done, for instance, on the long-term health effects of in vitro, and tracking such children would be impossible since records aren't kept." That's bullshit. Many, many studies have been done, starting with the very first IVF baby, Louise Brown. She was tracked practically every minute of the day. Every clinic keeps records of results, and nearly every long-standing clinic has done or participated in some sort of study on the effects of IVF on children. IVF babies are not smaller, they are not proven to be less intelligent, they are indistinguishable from every other child on the planet.

I think regulating this industry is walking a fine line. So far, all the attempts at regulation have been from fundamentalists who think infertility treatments are all together wrong, and they try to legislate only one embryo being transferred. Or who can qualify for infertility treatment. Or how many eggs can get fertilized. Etc., etc. I understand the desire to regulate clinics like this one, but we have to be careful about how the industry is regulated. If a law is passed preventing embryos being created to be sold, then what happens when an infertile couple comes along, with a sperm donor and an egg donor. Where do they go? How do they get their child created? Does the fertile world get to decide who can and cannot have children? I agree there are ethical issues here, and the fact that this woman thinks it is okay to make embryos in advance to sell to discerning couples is wrong in my view. What happens if the resulting child doesn't look the way the genetic mapping suggested? Do the parents get a refund? Do they get to return the child?

The vast majority of infertiles just want a child. They don't care if the child is perfect, has Mom's eyes and Dad's nose. They don't care if the child is a genius, or has an affinity for music. They just want a child, and they will give anything for that. That's the most important consideration here.

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29 January 2007

Getting to read me

Hey kids,
I figured out what the problem is with my feed. I don't know why, but I know what.

When you subscribe to my blog with say, bloglines, if you enter my blog URL, Blogger sends back the feed link incorrectly. If you were previously subscribed, please unsubscribe and enter the following:


I don't know how to reach the lovely souls who have me blog rolled and are just assuming I haven't posted in two months. *sigh* Maybe I should just spam comment every blog out there. Nah, that would be rude ;)

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Me first

I'm disappointed in myself today.

Taped to the inside cabinet door in my bathroom, I have Rabbi Zelig Pliskin's list of 10 things to plan your day. I start my day by going over the list, then (usually forget to) end my day reviewing how much I actually accomplished.

Today, for the question, "what acts of kindness can I do today?" I decided I was going to be more patient with other bus passengers, and not worry about getting pushed out of my place in line (for all their politeness, Canadians simply cannot figure out how to queue for a bus).

This morning, the bus was at the stop and I had to do a little jog across a parking lot to get there in time. A woman my age, shape and size ran up behind me, stepped past me, and literally shoved herself in front of me as I was putting my foot on the first step. That immediately got my shackles up, and I quietly spit, "excuse me" between clenched teeth, then shoved myself back in front of her.

She was wrong, yes, but I was wronger*. While she was, no question, extremely rude and pushy, there was no need for me to react the way I did. There was plenty of space on the bus and she and I were the last two people getting on the bus at that stop. There was no way I was not getting on that bus. All I had to do was step aside.

I made my resolution this morning, and within an hour, I blew it. I was tested and I failed. I am so disappointed in myself for letting this woman get to me. What if she had fought back? How embarrassing to be involved in a pissing match over which of us gets to get on the spacious bus first. What if she was having a horrible morning, and honestly didn't notice me there? Perhaps if I had stepped aside and let her go first, she might have noticed me and apologized. And then made her own resolution to be more observant.

Tomorrow's acts of kindness? To be better than I was today.

*It actually is a real word. Honest. It's just not seen in common usage. English is a much more fun language than we let it be.

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26 January 2007

Getting to know me

The two or three of you who are kind enough to check my blog regularly, since apparently my feeds aren't updating anymore. Blargh. Anyone have any ideas? I've checked to make sure all my settings are correct. *sigh*

Anyhoo, this is inspired by an old post of Baleboosteh's (I'm still playing catch-up with all my blogs!). I wasn't tagged, but it looked like fun. It's a little long (okay, a lot long), so I won't be hurt if you don't stick with the whole thing.

Things I have done are in bold:

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink (I might have already had one or two myself...)
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone (maybe, maybe not. That's a little too personal to answer here)
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
(it hugged me back!)
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise

14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa (couldn't walk without wobbling for days!)
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne (oh yeah)
24. Given more than you can afford to charity (this is a misleading question. Since what we're given isn't ours anyway, it's not possible to give more than you can afford. I'll explain further if anyone cares what I mean by this.)
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse (I bet on a losing horse, does that count?)
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can (very therapeutic!)
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse of the moon.
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day (I do this a lot!)
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving (oh, SO want to!)
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs (I'm compulsive, remember?)
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day

60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater

66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert" (does radio count?)
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage

85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone (does Israel during the Intifadah count?)
92. Buried one/both of your parents (b"H)
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror (I once got up and spun the globe)
96. Raised children (I feel like I should delete this one. This is an infertility blog, after all. Sorta.)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery (define "major")
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours (I had mono as a kid)
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat (um, this is an Ossie list, no?)
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed (Wanna do this one, too)
132. Touched a cockroach (oh, so gross)
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions (all but one)
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair

147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident (well, technically, my dog cause me to have a car accident...)
150. Saved someone's life

Made it this far? Yasher koach!


19 January 2007


You know what really irks me? Aside from the fact that since I upgraded to the new blogger, my feeds don't seem to work, so nobody knows I'm posting anything, that is.

What irks me is when people I haven't heard from in ages, who never respond to my "hey, haven't heard from you in awhile, how's it going?" emails, send me spam. Especially those "if you send this to 14 people, you will get good luck. Jane in Boofunk sent it to 20 people, and she won $10 million in the lottery! If you do not forward this within 4 days, bad luck will befall you."

Hate that. If I'm not good enough for you to email a quick, "hey" or to invite me to your tea party, then I am certainly not worthy of being threatened by you via a nonsensical email.

On that note, Shabbat Shalom and have a great weekend!


You may say "shush"

I am so ashamed to admit (or am I? Really?) that this is the funniest thing I've seen or heard in a very long time.

And for the record, I think this is an infertility post. Seriously, what do we all complain about when we're on progesterone? How many times can you hear the words "prune juice"?


18 January 2007


I was going to post something today, but then I thought that might be too much for y'all to handle: two posts in a row! *gasp*

So I decided I wouldn't post today.


This thing called blog

I just can't get a handle on it. *sigh*

I'm not really sure if this is still an infertility blog. I mean, we're still infertile, that ain't gonna change, but I'm not really blogging about infertility. I'm actually kind of still keeping my head in the sand about the whole thing. So the end result is, I wind up not blogging much (well, that, and the fact that I have no time to blog anymore. But seriously, we all know I could make the time if I had anything worth blogging about).

So if it's not an infertility blog, what is it? Infertility more or less defines my whole life. Especially in the observant Jewish world, where everything revolves around the kids. Nobody has holiday celebrations for Married-Without-Children Mid-40somethings. Nobody does special Shabbat dinners for the MWCM40S. Nobody does special, fun get-togethers for the MWCM40S.

Every time I talk to my friends, they're all about their kids. Rightfully so, but conversations get a little stilted when they're happily blabbering away about the toy that little Moshe is completely glued to, or the wonderful Mommy-n-me class that they're taking, or how little Rivka is taking to her swimming lessons like a little fish. And of course, any phone conversation is punctuated with comments to the little ones. I usually don't like talking on the phone to friends with little kids, because inevitably, little kid gets put on the phone. Yeah, it's very cute. For Grandma. Not me.

Anyway, I don't want to sound like I'm whining, because I don't mean to. I'm just not very sure of my place these days. I'm not actively cycling, and I'm not sure if I'm going to be, but I'm not unhappy. I'm just not happy. I'm just kind of going through the motions, I guess.

Maybe that's why I haven't been trying harder to blog. It's no longer, "I blog therefore I am." It's more, "I am therefore I am." But I miss it. Blogging. I guess I just need to do it - try harder. Be present. Get reading again. Get back into the community. Maybe I'll give it a try this week. I'll let you know how it goes.

10 January 2007


Amanda's induction is today. Please join me in sending prayers and good thoughts her way.

If you aren't familiar with Amanda's story, read her blog and catch up. It is nothing short of a miracle that she is where she is today. The bigger miracle will, please G-d, be arriving shortly.

04 January 2007

Tertia told me to

Tertia said for me to do one, too, so here it is (okay, she said "you" meaning ALL her readers, but whatever).

Basically, we have discovered that I am wishy-washy. I could have told you that without taking a quiz.

(Omigosh, as I'm typing this, I just looked outside to see the most beautiful rainbow! And me without a prayerbook - gotta go look up the blessing for a rainbow.)

Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Extraversion |||||||||||||||| 63%
Stability |||||||||||| 46%
Orderliness |||||||||||||||| 70%
Accommodation |||||||||||||||| 63%
Interdependence |||||||||||||||| 70%
Intellectual |||||||||| 36%
Mystical |||||||||| 36%
Artistic |||||||||||| 50%
Religious |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Hedonism |||||||||||||| 56%
Materialism |||||||||| 36%
Narcissism |||||||||||| 43%
Adventurousness |||||||||||| 50%
Work ethic |||||| 30%
Self absorbed |||||||||||| 43%
Conflict seeking |||||| 30%
Need to dominate |||||||||| 36%
Romantic |||||||||||||| 56%
Avoidant |||||||||||||||| 63%
Anti-authority |||||| 30%
Wealth |||||||||||| 43%
Dependency |||||||||||||| 56%
Change averse |||||||||||||| 56%
Cautiousness |||||||||||||| 56%
Individuality |||||||||||||||| 63%
Sexuality |||||||||| 36%
Peter pan complex |||||||||||| 43%
Physical security |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Physical Fitness |||| 17%
Histrionic |||||||||| 36%
Paranoia |||||||||||||| 56%
Vanity |||||| 23%
Hypersensitivity |||||||||||||||| 70%
Female cliche |||||| 30%
Take Free Advanced Global Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Stability results were medium which suggests you are moderately relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.

Orderliness results were high which suggests you are overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense too often of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.

Extraversion results were moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.

Trait snapshot:

clean, self revealing, open, organized, outgoing, social, enjoys leadership and managing others, dominant, makes friends easily, does not like to be alone, assertive, hard working, finisher, optimistic, positive, likes to stand out, likes large parties, respects authority, practical, high self esteem, perfectionist, dislikes chaos, busy, not familiar with the dark side of life, controlling, high self control, traditional, tough, likes to fit in, conforming, brutally honest, takes precautions.

Oh, and Happy New Year. I know I've been invisible for a while, but I've been really sick, in addition to other things. I'll try to be better, I promise.