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And hello to you too!

Kiss Me: I Could Be Irish
By Lindsay Greenawalt
Posted on March 27, 2011

Earlier this week I was talking to Stephanie Blessing on the phone about the new-found knowledge that her biological father was/is Jewish. For adult offspring like Stephanie, who have absolutely no information, this tiny bit of knowledge gives her not only hope in learning more about him, but also a small sense of self that previously was unknown.
Often donor-conceived adults and adoptees are questioned and wonder about about what ethnic group they supposedly resemble. It becomes a sort of game, matching personal characteristics with those characteristics that are stereotypically associated with certain ethnic/racial groups, and therefore trying to identify some bit of knowledge about our own identity.

Read more at Confessions of a Cryokid.

Kiss Me: I Could Be Irish

By Lindsay Greenawalt

Posted on March 27, 2011

Earlier this week I was talking to Stephanie Blessing on the phone about the new-found knowledge that her biological father was/is Jewish. For adult offspring like Stephanie, who have absolutely no information, this tiny bit of knowledge gives her not only hope in learning more about him, but also a small sense of self that previously was unknown.

Often donor-conceived adults and adoptees are questioned and wonder about about what ethnic group they supposedly resemble. It becomes a sort of game, matching personal characteristics with those characteristics that are stereotypically associated with certain ethnic/racial groups, and therefore trying to identify some bit of knowledge about our own identity.

Read more at Confessions of a Cryokid.

Continuing this conversation … I think this is the same person as two days ago.

You have more than a few readers. Your blog is linked at “Confessions of a Cryokid” so I think more people than you could imagine read your blog but don’t respond. I would converse with you more about the “Wendy” situation but don’t want it to affect my adult child further. I don’t care that she can make a living from the DSR but I do care that she has banned former donors, recipient moms and donor conceived adults from belonging to the DSR for things they do she disagrees with.

I don’t want to say anything more about the “Wendy” situation except to say that I am aware of the control she exerts over this entire movement. She makes the television appearances and magazine interviews, sometimes with her donor-conceived son Ryan, and when a journalist wants to find somebody to interview, such as a donor mom or child, Wendy supplies them with names, as if from an approved editorial list. 
If you (or any other reader) has examples an opinion that cannot be published on her site, you can say it here and I will make it available, or a link to it. 

Continuing this conversation … I think this is the same person as two days ago.

You have more than a few readers. Your blog is linked at “Confessions of a Cryokid” so I think more people than you could imagine read your blog but don’t respond. I would converse with you more about the “Wendy” situation but don’t want it to affect my adult child further. I don’t care that she can make a living from the DSR but I do care that she has banned former donors, recipient moms and donor conceived adults from belonging to the DSR for things they do she disagrees with.

I don’t want to say anything more about the “Wendy” situation except to say that I am aware of the control she exerts over this entire movement. She makes the television appearances and magazine interviews, sometimes with her donor-conceived son Ryan, and when a journalist wants to find somebody to interview, such as a donor mom or child, Wendy supplies them with names, as if from an approved editorial list. 

If you (or any other reader) has examples an opinion that cannot be published on her site, you can say it here and I will make it available, or a link to it. 

Surprise! It seems I have a few readers after all. I received this message:

I read your blog. I’m a recipient mom of an adult donor conceived person and I don’t think you are the biological father. I don’t have any questions to ask (at this time) but I agree with your opinion of Wendy. I don’t know Eric so I will not comment. I am trying not to say too much in case my adult child wants to join the DSR one day when he/she has a credit card. IMO Wendy has always seen the DSR as a way to make a lot of money for herself, not to help. This, of course, is my opinion.

My opinion … It doesn’t bother me that Wendy Kramer makes a living doing what she does. I just looked up the filings of her non-profit corporation, which are a matter of public record. She appears to be making a reasonable but not outlandish living, considering that she has chosen to become a public persona.
What does bother me is that she attaches her name to academic research even though she has a financial interest at stake. The papers she has published, some of them with Eric Blyth, appear to be of very low quality, mostly the analysis of survey results from self-selected samples of her own readers.
I also know that she exercises complete control over what is posted to the semi-public forums she maintains. I can understand the need to prevent trolls and spam, but Wendy exercises control that goes far beyond that level.
That’s why I find it suspect that in a very short period of time, when my little blog here had become almost inactive, that I suddenly receive two messages purportedly from Eric Blyth and Elizabeth Marquardt, asking me to remove what was really just a negative insinuation about Wendy Kramer and the Donor Sibling Registry.
My feeling is that there must be many former gamete donors like myself who feel that the business she runs is a violation of our privacy and of the confidentiality agreements that we all entered into. Didn’t the mothers who dominate Wendy Kramer’s discussion forums agree that they would leave donors and their families alone?
Why should Wendy Kramer make television appearances in behalf of donor children and recipient moms? Shouldn’t the donor children speak for themselves, now that many of them are adults? Why has the media anointed her as the spokesperson for this movement?
You are doing the right thing. It should be the choice of your adult child when to make contact with the donor and what kind of adult relationship to have.
Here is a link to my earlier post about this subject:
http://anonymous-sperm-donor.com/post/8728797066/

Surprise! It seems I have a few readers after all. I received this message:

I read your blog. I’m a recipient mom of an adult donor conceived person and I don’t think you are the biological father. I don’t have any questions to ask (at this time) but I agree with your opinion of Wendy. I don’t know Eric so I will not comment. I am trying not to say too much in case my adult child wants to join the DSR one day when he/she has a credit card. IMO Wendy has always seen the DSR as a way to make a lot of money for herself, not to help. This, of course, is my opinion.

My opinion … It doesn’t bother me that Wendy Kramer makes a living doing what she does. I just looked up the filings of her non-profit corporation, which are a matter of public record. She appears to be making a reasonable but not outlandish living, considering that she has chosen to become a public persona.

What does bother me is that she attaches her name to academic research even though she has a financial interest at stake. The papers she has published, some of them with Eric Blyth, appear to be of very low quality, mostly the analysis of survey results from self-selected samples of her own readers.

I also know that she exercises complete control over what is posted to the semi-public forums she maintains. I can understand the need to prevent trolls and spam, but Wendy exercises control that goes far beyond that level.

That’s why I find it suspect that in a very short period of time, when my little blog here had become almost inactive, that I suddenly receive two messages purportedly from Eric Blyth and Elizabeth Marquardt, asking me to remove what was really just a negative insinuation about Wendy Kramer and the Donor Sibling Registry.

My feeling is that there must be many former gamete donors like myself who feel that the business she runs is a violation of our privacy and of the confidentiality agreements that we all entered into. Didn’t the mothers who dominate Wendy Kramer’s discussion forums agree that they would leave donors and their families alone?

Why should Wendy Kramer make television appearances in behalf of donor children and recipient moms? Shouldn’t the donor children speak for themselves, now that many of them are adults? Why has the media anointed her as the spokesperson for this movement?

You are doing the right thing. It should be the choice of your adult child when to make contact with the donor and what kind of adult relationship to have.

Here is a link to my earlier post about this subject:

http://anonymous-sperm-donor.com/post/8728797066/

A Donor Egg Gives Life — and a Death Sentence
by William Heisel
Published on December 8, 2007 in the Los Angeles Times
http://anonymous-sperm-donor.com/post/14208572848/
Let me comment now on this article I posted three months ago. This news story demonstrates why anonymous gamete donors (like myself and Alexandra Gammelgard, who is mentioned in the article) should be anonymous. Our donations, which were intended to help others have families, are now being treated as a commodity. When the gamete we donated turns out not to be perfect, we are blamed and our privacy and that of our own families is violated. 
There is nothing remarkable that Alexandra Gammelgard carried an autosomal recessive mutation for Tay-Sachs disease. Every human being carries such mutations, and they are consequential only when by chance the other biological parent carries the same or a similar mutation, so that both copies of the gene are disabled. 
Alexandra Gammelgard belonged to no risk groups for Tay-Sachs disease. The biological father, the one whose sperm fertilized Alexandra’s donor egg, did belong to a risk group. He contributed the other bad copy of the gene. If it was important to the biological father and his family to avoid such disease risk, then he should have been tested. According to the original news story in the Los Angeles Times, one of the two gay men who contracted for Ms. Gammelgard’s egg is a religious Catholic, and the two men are now devoting themselves to caring for their Tay-Sachs child.
I don’t think it was the intention of these two men, but it bothers me that the privacy of Alexandra Gammelgard and members of her family is violated. The original story in the Times has now been digested and excerpted around the Internet and other forums. Many commentators blame Alexandra.
I feel so sorry for Alexandra because there is nothing wrong with her eggs. It was up to the two men who received her egg to choose an appropriate level of prenatal testing and genetic counseling based on their own beliefs.
Every living human being harbors thousands of genetic mutations, most of which are neutral, but some of which are deleterious. According to a recent paper in Genetics, about 70 mutations arise de novo in each human generation. If we went to the extreme in screening the genomes of potential donors by doing a complete sequence of all donor DNA (and that will be feasible in a few years) we would simply uncover hundreds of mutations that we would be unable to interpret.

A Donor Egg Gives Life — and a Death Sentence

by William Heisel

Published on December 8, 2007 in the Los Angeles Times

http://anonymous-sperm-donor.com/post/14208572848/

Let me comment now on this article I posted three months ago. This news story demonstrates why anonymous gamete donors (like myself and Alexandra Gammelgard, who is mentioned in the article) should be anonymous. Our donations, which were intended to help others have families, are now being treated as a commodity. When the gamete we donated turns out not to be perfect, we are blamed and our privacy and that of our own families is violated. 

There is nothing remarkable that Alexandra Gammelgard carried an autosomal recessive mutation for Tay-Sachs disease. Every human being carries such mutations, and they are consequential only when by chance the other biological parent carries the same or a similar mutation, so that both copies of the gene are disabled. 

Alexandra Gammelgard belonged to no risk groups for Tay-Sachs disease. The biological father, the one whose sperm fertilized Alexandra’s donor egg, did belong to a risk group. He contributed the other bad copy of the gene. If it was important to the biological father and his family to avoid such disease risk, then he should have been tested. According to the original news story in the Los Angeles Times, one of the two gay men who contracted for Ms. Gammelgard’s egg is a religious Catholic, and the two men are now devoting themselves to caring for their Tay-Sachs child.

I don’t think it was the intention of these two men, but it bothers me that the privacy of Alexandra Gammelgard and members of her family is violated. The original story in the Times has now been digested and excerpted around the Internet and other forums. Many commentators blame Alexandra.

I feel so sorry for Alexandra because there is nothing wrong with her eggs. It was up to the two men who received her egg to choose an appropriate level of prenatal testing and genetic counseling based on their own beliefs.

Every living human being harbors thousands of genetic mutations, most of which are neutral, but some of which are deleterious. According to a recent paper in Genetics, about 70 mutations arise de novo in each human generation. If we went to the extreme in screening the genomes of potential donors by doing a complete sequence of all donor DNA (and that will be feasible in a few years) we would simply uncover hundreds of mutations that we would be unable to interpret.

Just when I thought nobody was actually reading my blog, I receive two messages. They arrived on February 21st within a few hours of each other, which makes me very suspicious. Obviously, I had fallen asleep at the switch … it had been weeks since I had even logged on here. Here are the two messages:

Hi there — I’m Elizabeth Marquardt. I appreciate your support of my work, and would like to ask that you remove the reference to “turd” and Wendy Kramer’s work. She and I don’t agree on all policy matters but her intentions are excellent and she’s doing great work. In any event, language and imagery like that has no place in serious civil conversation and I don’t like my name being mentioned in association with it. My thanks —

And a few hours later:

I note that you hide behind the shield of anonymity and do not permit comprehensive replies to the garbage you put out on ther internet. I have a lot to say about your Turd Award to my friend Wendy Kramer but I guess you are too bigoted to want to hear anything that contradicts your own views. Eric Blyth (University of Huddersfield)

My guess is that neither one of these messages comes from the person who claims to have written it. Both of them say the same thing … that I should remove the “turd” award for Wendy Kramer, and I received them within a few hours of each other on February 21, 2012. Note that I have posted very little in the last three months. After diligently maintaining this digest for several months, finding new material almost daily, it had come to seem as if nobody was reading. I was not doing anything to promote this blog.
Here is a link to the original turd award that I gave to Wendy Kramer. I’m sure nobody noticed it at the time, since I have done next to nothing to promote or publicize this anonymous blog. I will answer both messages here.
To the person who claims to be Eric Blyth … I offer to publish here anything you would like for me to say, as long as you do not pretend that you are Eric Blyth. Garbage as a figure of speech is North American English … people from Yorkshire say rubbish. Since the real Eric Blyth is a so-called professor at a university in England, he has better forums to publish his views.
If you want to send me some evidence that you really are Eric Blyth, then I am willing to let you use that name. However, my own opinion is that you are the same person who wrote the “Elizabeth Marquardt” letter a few hours earlier. Furthermore, it’s possible that you are the only person reading this. But go ahead, send me your rubbish, and I’ll publish it.
So-called Eric the professor accuses me of being “too bigoted to want to hear anything that contradicts your own views.” Note that I have included in this digest a diversity of viewpoints that are not my own, including that of Dr. Jamie Grifo, a leading fertility doctor and a spokesperson for Fox News. At the other extreme, I’ve included articles by Lindsay Greenawalt, who opposes all donor conception, at least in theory. I happily share their work because they represent valid editorial viewpoints and don’t pose behind academic credentials. I disagree with both Jamie and Lindsay, but I have no plans to give them turd awards because they are both speaking from the right end of the digestive tract. 
Now, as to the substance of what you say. Don’t you think I am entitled to anonymity? Many years ago, I donated sperm. I did so with the expectation of privacy, not only for myself but also for other members of my family. Now a woman named Wendy Kramer runs a self-promotional business, complete with phony peer-reviewed research papers that the real Eric Blyth helps her publish. She draws a salary to fly around the USA claiming to represent all donor-conceived children, and she runs forums and databases where the moms (and not the donor conceived children themselves) violate the privacy of both the anonymous donors and of their own children.
Wendy Kramer already runs her own forum where she can control everything that is said about her. I don’t need her stooges telling me what to say on my forum, which seems to have almost no readers as it is.
To the person who claims to be Elizabeth Marquardt … don’t you think it’s suspicious that within hours of your message, another arrives from the person claiming to be Eric Blyth?
To both the person claiming to be Eric and the person claiming to be Elizabeth. Send me your phone number and I will call you and verify that you are who you claim to be.
To the person(s) who might be my own biological child(ren). I have joined the various “home genetics” websites and I have agreed to be contacted by others through family match. When you turn 18 and become an adult, that’s how you can find me. But if you are looking for me through Wendy Kramer’s Donor Sibling Registry, you are wasting your time and money.
If I really do have some readers, perhaps I should become active and start writing again. I see there have been a lot of news articles in the last few months.

Just when I thought nobody was actually reading my blog, I receive two messages. They arrived on February 21st within a few hours of each other, which makes me very suspicious. Obviously, I had fallen asleep at the switch … it had been weeks since I had even logged on here. Here are the two messages:

Hi there — I’m Elizabeth Marquardt. I appreciate your support of my work, and would like to ask that you remove the reference to “turd” and Wendy Kramer’s work. She and I don’t agree on all policy matters but her intentions are excellent and she’s doing great work. In any event, language and imagery like that has no place in serious civil conversation and I don’t like my name being mentioned in association with it. My thanks —

And a few hours later:

I note that you hide behind the shield of anonymity and do not permit comprehensive replies to the garbage you put out on ther internet. I have a lot to say about your Turd Award to my friend Wendy Kramer but I guess you are too bigoted to want to hear anything that contradicts your own views. Eric Blyth (University of Huddersfield)

My guess is that neither one of these messages comes from the person who claims to have written it. Both of them say the same thing … that I should remove the “turd” award for Wendy Kramer, and I received them within a few hours of each other on February 21, 2012. Note that I have posted very little in the last three months. After diligently maintaining this digest for several months, finding new material almost daily, it had come to seem as if nobody was reading. I was not doing anything to promote this blog.

Here is a link to the original turd award that I gave to Wendy Kramer. I’m sure nobody noticed it at the time, since I have done next to nothing to promote or publicize this anonymous blog. I will answer both messages here.

To the person who claims to be Eric Blyth … I offer to publish here anything you would like for me to say, as long as you do not pretend that you are Eric Blyth. Garbage as a figure of speech is North American English … people from Yorkshire say rubbish. Since the real Eric Blyth is a so-called professor at a university in England, he has better forums to publish his views.

If you want to send me some evidence that you really are Eric Blyth, then I am willing to let you use that name. However, my own opinion is that you are the same person who wrote the “Elizabeth Marquardt” letter a few hours earlier. Furthermore, it’s possible that you are the only person reading this. But go ahead, send me your rubbish, and I’ll publish it.

So-called Eric the professor accuses me of being “too bigoted to want to hear anything that contradicts your own views.” Note that I have included in this digest a diversity of viewpoints that are not my own, including that of Dr. Jamie Grifo, a leading fertility doctor and a spokesperson for Fox News. At the other extreme, I’ve included articles by Lindsay Greenawalt, who opposes all donor conception, at least in theory. I happily share their work because they represent valid editorial viewpoints and don’t pose behind academic credentials. I disagree with both Jamie and Lindsay, but I have no plans to give them turd awards because they are both speaking from the right end of the digestive tract.

Now, as to the substance of what you say. Don’t you think I am entitled to anonymity? Many years ago, I donated sperm. I did so with the expectation of privacy, not only for myself but also for other members of my family. Now a woman named Wendy Kramer runs a self-promotional business, complete with phony peer-reviewed research papers that the real Eric Blyth helps her publish. She draws a salary to fly around the USA claiming to represent all donor-conceived children, and she runs forums and databases where the moms (and not the donor conceived children themselves) violate the privacy of both the anonymous donors and of their own children.

Wendy Kramer already runs her own forum where she can control everything that is said about her. I don’t need her stooges telling me what to say on my forum, which seems to have almost no readers as it is.

To the person who claims to be Elizabeth Marquardt … don’t you think it’s suspicious that within hours of your message, another arrives from the person claiming to be Eric Blyth?

To both the person claiming to be Eric and the person claiming to be Elizabeth. Send me your phone number and I will call you and verify that you are who you claim to be.

To the person(s) who might be my own biological child(ren). I have joined the various “home genetics” websites and I have agreed to be contacted by others through family match. When you turn 18 and become an adult, that’s how you can find me. But if you are looking for me through Wendy Kramer’s Donor Sibling Registry, you are wasting your time and money.

If I really do have some readers, perhaps I should become active and start writing again. I see there have been a lot of news articles in the last few months.

The Pillars of Darwinism
By Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb
Published on February 9, 2009

Until recently, biologists’ view of these processes has been very  gene-centered, as exemplified by Richard Dawkins’ idea of the “selfish gene.” Inheritance and reproduction have been seen in terms of DNA and  its replication, and variation in terms of random changes in DNA  sequences.
Yet discoveries made during the latter part of the twentieth century  have shown that there is much more to inheritance than DNA. We now know of several mechanisms that enable cells with identical DNA to have  different characteristics, which are transmitted to daughter cells. This epigenetic inheritance is a crucial part of normal development in multi-cellular animals like us.

Read more in Project Syndicate. This editorial was originally written to marked mark the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s birthday in 2009.

The Pillars of Darwinism

By Eva Jablonka and Marion Lamb

Published on February 9, 2009

Until recently, biologists’ view of these processes has been very gene-centered, as exemplified by Richard Dawkins’ idea of the “selfish gene.” Inheritance and reproduction have been seen in terms of DNA and its replication, and variation in terms of random changes in DNA sequences.

Yet discoveries made during the latter part of the twentieth century have shown that there is much more to inheritance than DNA. We now know of several mechanisms that enable cells with identical DNA to have different characteristics, which are transmitted to daughter cells. This epigenetic inheritance is a crucial part of normal development in multi-cellular animals like us.

Read more in Project Syndicate. This editorial was originally written to marked mark the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s birthday in 2009.

The Rise of the Smart Sperm Shopper
How the Repository for Germinal Choice accidentally revolutionized sperm banking.
Excerpt from a series in Slate, ultimately published as a book, The Genius Factory, by David Plotz.
Posted on April 20, 2001

By most of the standards Robert Graham set for his Repository for Germinal Choice, it failed. Graham’s sperm bank did produce more than 200 children — much to their parents’ delight — but Graham’s grander ambitions crashed. He hoped the sperm bank would restore credibility to eugenics and galvanize Americans into saving their degrading gene pool. Instead, the press mocked and derided the bank as arrogant folly. He thought he would recruit many Nobel Prize winners to supply him with sperm, but most Nobelists laughed at him, and not a single baby was born to a Nobel father. Graham wanted the repository to be the prototype for hundreds of such genius sperm banks across the country. But today there is only one tiny “high-achiever” sperm bank, and it’s struggling. Graham intended to conduct a long-term scientific survey on the repository offspring, proving that these kids were indeed “superbabies.” But parents refused to cooperate, and his study flopped.
Graham had one great success, but it was something he never intended. He  helped revolutionize the sperm-bank business. Graham, an  ultraconservative, inadvertently became a progressive sperm-bank  reformer. Though he believed that elites should control the sorry  masses, he somehow emerged as a great democratizer. He was an accidental father of consumer reproductive choice.

Read more at Slate, 
Background: According to David Plotz, the real story behind the “Nobel Sperm Bank” is that Robert Graham let women (rather than their doctors) choose the donor, and the sperm industry has never been the same. This article was part of an online series, which you can ramble through. To start at the beginning, go to David Plotz’s article in Slate that began it all, “The ‘Genius Babies,’ and How They Grew,” posted on Feb 8, 2001. In an introduction to the project, editor Michael Kinsley called it, “An Experiment in Long-Form Cyberjournalism.” The entire series was compiled into a book, The Genius Factory.

The Rise of the Smart Sperm Shopper

How the Repository for Germinal Choice accidentally revolutionized sperm banking.

Excerpt from a series in Slate, ultimately published as a book, The Genius Factory, by David Plotz.

Posted on April 20, 2001

By most of the standards Robert Graham set for his Repository for Germinal Choice, it failed. Graham’s sperm bank did produce more than 200 children — much to their parents’ delight — but Graham’s grander ambitions crashed. He hoped the sperm bank would restore credibility to eugenics and galvanize Americans into saving their degrading gene pool. Instead, the press mocked and derided the bank as arrogant folly. He thought he would recruit many Nobel Prize winners to supply him with sperm, but most Nobelists laughed at him, and not a single baby was born to a Nobel father. Graham wanted the repository to be the prototype for hundreds of such genius sperm banks across the country. But today there is only one tiny “high-achiever” sperm bank, and it’s struggling. Graham intended to conduct a long-term scientific survey on the repository offspring, proving that these kids were indeed “superbabies.” But parents refused to cooperate, and his study flopped.

Graham had one great success, but it was something he never intended. He helped revolutionize the sperm-bank business. Graham, an ultraconservative, inadvertently became a progressive sperm-bank reformer. Though he believed that elites should control the sorry masses, he somehow emerged as a great democratizer. He was an accidental father of consumer reproductive choice.

Read more at Slate

Background: According to David Plotz, the real story behind the “Nobel Sperm Bank” is that Robert Graham let women (rather than their doctors) choose the donor, and the sperm industry has never been the same. This article was part of an online series, which you can ramble through. To start at the beginning, go to David Plotz’s article in Slate that began it all, “The ‘Genius Babies,’ and How They Grew,” posted on Feb 8, 2001. In an introduction to the project, editor Michael Kinsley called it, “An Experiment in Long-Form Cyberjournalism.” The entire series was compiled into a book, The Genius Factory.

Looking for Sperm, Egg Donor Roots
Broadcast on The Today Show on September 18, 2008
Part of a series on the Fertility Industry

Looking for Sperm, Egg Donor Roots

Broadcast on The Today Show on September 18, 2008

Part of a series on the Fertility Industry

A Donor Egg Gives Life — and a Death Sentence
by William Heisel
Published on December 8, 2007 in the Los Angeles Times
This article have been published in other newspapers, sometimes in abridged versions. This is the original.

The particulars of Alexandra Gammelgard’s egg donations are a bit of a blur to her.
Between the ages 18 and 21, she donated to at least four infertile couples, using two, maybe three, agencies that paid her from $5,000 to $15,000 for each donation. She was trying to pay for her education at UC San Diego and didn’t keep track of the details.
“The college years of your life go by so fast, and you do so many crazy, random things that it’s hard to remember it all,“ Gammelgard, now 23, says.
She believes at least four children were conceived from her eggs, results she was proud of. In recent months, however, she got grim news: One has Tay-Sachs, a neurological disease that usually kills its victims before age 5.
A child can develop the disease only if both parents carry a relatively rare genetic mutation. Gammelgard said she had no clue she was a carrier; she hadn’t been tested because she wasn’t in the groups at highest risk.
She knows now. The couple raising the sick child contacted the agency that arranged Gammelgard’s egg donation. The agency told her.
But neither she nor the agency has made any effort to inform the other families who used Gammelgard as a donor.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

A Donor Egg Gives Life — and a Death Sentence

by William Heisel

Published on December 8, 2007 in the Los Angeles Times

This article have been published in other newspapers, sometimes in abridged versions. This is the original.

The particulars of Alexandra Gammelgard’s egg donations are a bit of a blur to her.

Between the ages 18 and 21, she donated to at least four infertile couples, using two, maybe three, agencies that paid her from $5,000 to $15,000 for each donation. She was trying to pay for her education at UC San Diego and didn’t keep track of the details.

“The college years of your life go by so fast, and you do so many crazy, random things that it’s hard to remember it all,“ Gammelgard, now 23, says.

She believes at least four children were conceived from her eggs, results she was proud of. In recent months, however, she got grim news: One has Tay-Sachs, a neurological disease that usually kills its victims before age 5.

A child can develop the disease only if both parents carry a relatively rare genetic mutation. Gammelgard said she had no clue she was a carrier; she hadn’t been tested because she wasn’t in the groups at highest risk.

She knows now. The couple raising the sick child contacted the agency that arranged Gammelgard’s egg donation. The agency told her.

But neither she nor the agency has made any effort to inform the other families who used Gammelgard as a donor.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.