Tag Archives: assisted reproduction

Religion and Assisted Reproduction

Although faith wasn’t a consideration for me when I chose to become an egg donor, nor when we chose to use a sperm donor, for some religion can be a major force when contemplating fertility options.

Check out Ellen Painter Dollar’s piece in yesterday’s Huffington Post offering tips to people of faith when they’re considering infertility and assisted reproduction.

Dollar expands on her discussion of tip #2, moral questions, in her blog post, and further in her new book No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Parenthood, and Faith in an Age of Advanced Reproduction.

Like many aspects of our lives, the decision on how we become parents can be complex and nuanced, where right and wrong are moving targets that depend on where you’re standing. Dollar is stimulating the discussion and brave to tackle it head on.

Photo courtesy of www.yourspiritualfaith.com.

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Egg and Sperm Donation in Other Cultures

The other day I was watching the The Learning Channel’s new program, All-American Muslim. I was drawn in by the docu-series because it follows Muslim-American families in my home state of Michigan, in the community of Dearborn.

I like the program so far because it’s giving a voice to a group of Americans who, as a minority group, have been the target of misguided anger, hate crimes, prejudice, and misunderstanding since the 9/11 attacks. Our country needs more programs like this that attempt to dispel negative stereotypes and the judgement of entire groups of people based on the actions of a few.

I’m mentioning it here on my blog because last week’s episode chronicled the events of one muslim woman’s quest for a family. Samira Amen and her husband have been trying to start a family for some time with no success. When she turned to her local religious leaders to ask if she and her husband could use a sperm donor, she was told that a child born from donor sperm would be “that man’s child” and so it was not permitted. They did not mention the use of an egg donor in the episode, but did note that adoption was not common among the Muslim-American culture.

Samira spent a great deal of thought and energy consulting family, friends, and elders within her community and decided that she would continue to dedicate herself to her faith and perhaps God would bless her with a child.

I realized from watching the program that I knew very little about sperm and egg donation in other cultures. A quick search of the Internet yielded this clarification of Islamic Medical Ethics by the Islamic Society of North America.

“We believe infertility is a disease and desire for a cure by an infertile couple is natural. However, in Islam, for an action to be permissible all means of achieving that action are also to be pure. IMANA holds the position that all forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART) are permissible between husband and wife during the span of marriage using the husband’s sperm and the wife’s ovaries and uterus. No third party involvement is allowed. We believe in the sanctity of marriage (Quran: 16:72) and that the death of one of the spouse terminates the marriage contract on earth, thus frozen sperm from husband can not be used. Sperm, ova and embryo donation are not permitted. We also believe that surrogacy involving a third person is not permissible, as we believe that it exceeds the boundaries of the marriage contract and lineage (Quran 58:2, 25:54). An infertile couple , if they can not find a permissible cure, can care for another child or someone else’s child as their own without giving legal adoption such as changing the name, inheritance etc. Use of infertility drugs is permissible.”

Although I would feel extreme sadness if I were an Islamic woman who could not take full advantage of the technology available today, I also deeply respect a person’s freedom and choice to follow the dictates of their religion and/or cultural norms.

Do you know other cultures or countries that frown upon the use of sperm or egg donors?

Year End Inventory

One of my writing mentors, Christina Katz suggests cataloging your accomplishments before setting goals for the new year. Give this a try before setting your New Year’s Resolutions.

Here are my writing-related accomplishments during 2010:

  • I published 10 articles in local and regional publications
  • I have 12 articles already written that can be circulated as reprints and published elsewhere
  • I took two classes: Writing & Publihing the Short Stuff and the Dream Team
  • I completed edits for a personal essay, Finding My Way, that will be published in the anthology, Bless Your Heart, due out in Fall 2011
  • I wrote ~70,000 words of my memoir, and polished about 10,000 more
  • I blogged at least 3 times a month right here on my own blog all year long and converted my old blog to WordPress (highly recommend it)
  • I joined my county writers and publishers group, Whatcom Writers and Publishers, and attended two meetings
  • I joined a critique group and connected with at least 4 other writers in my town. Some of them are in my blog roll to the right.
  • I opened a separate bank account to hold earnings from writing
  • I started telling people that I’m a writer when they ask what I do
  • I narrowed down the kind of writing I’d like to do in the future to two niches: assisted reproduction and environmental conservation & toxicology

I’m sure there are a couple that I missed but that feels like a lot of success for one year.

Looking ahead, I came up with these goals for 2011. Please let me know if you would like to help me acheive any of these aspirations.

  • Publish more than ten articles this year, hopefully at least one will be in a national publication
  • Finish the draft of my memoir and revise it until I am satisfied, and then submit my proposal to at least 10 more agents
  • Earn some money writing this year
  • Increase my blog readership, and explore blogging strategies, such as guest blogging
  • Consider taking a personal essay class and/or a class on platform development
  • Start publishing small stuff in my newer niche: environmental conservation & toxicology
  • Attend two conferences this year, Pacific Northwest Writers Association meeting and Chuckanut Writer’s Conference
  • Meet and get to know the owners of my local book store, Chuck and Dee Robinson at Village Books
  • Publish a personal essay or short story in an anthology—I’ll check out Chicken Soup for the Soul, Cup of Comfort through Adams Media, and Seal Press

I hope that your year has been as productive and rewarding as mine and that you will achieve any goal you attack in 2011.

Happy Holidays!

Lorraine Wilde

Positive Feedback

I’m still kicking ass with NaNoWriMo. I’m currently at 29,169 words, approximately one full week ahead of schedule. I’m really liking the approach, which is to write with little or no editing. Of course that means that the draft I have is quite rough, as Ann Lamott’s Bird By Bird refers to it, my shitty first draft, but I don’t think its all that shitty. So I’m optimistic that I can use December and January to whip these chapters into shape.

I have a couple of writing friends who graciously will be looking over my chapters during that time and they can only improve.

I woke up to a new rejection this morning of my book proposal, this time from St. Martin’s Press’ (one of the big girls) editor, Michele Richter. Calling this a rejection seems like a misnomer though. I think I’ll start calling it a “pass” when it sounds like this one. It’s always hard to know whether they’re just being kind, but I’d like to think there is sincerity here. I met Michelle at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference and she seemed like a true New Yorker, not one who beats around the bush to spare people’s feelings, so this pass is very encouraging to me.

I’ll keep plugging away and hopefully will send out my proposal to another round of agents and editors in February or so. I think I’m waiting to hear back from only one more agent from the round I sent out in August.

Here’s her e-mail message in all its glory:

Dear Lorraine,

I enjoyed meeting you very much, and I thank you for sending me EGG MAMA. You do have a fascinating story to tell, and there’s certainly an inspirational aspect, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass on the chance to make you an offer. Memoir is a very crowded market, and we’re having to be more and more selective with the projects that we take on. I do think that your writing is engaging, and that someone else will snap you up and give you a happy home. I wish you all the best of luck.

best, Michelle Richter