The Annual Meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine was just completed in Denver, Colorado from October 23-27th and as usual it was a whirlwind of activities and information. Networking and learning and arriving back to Houston exhausted but excited about putting into practice all that was learned or rather what “soaked” in the most!
Perhaps the most interesting two symposia that I attended were on anonymous vs. identity release gamete donation and age and parenting.
Both sides brought up many very interesting facts but it appeared that anonymous with individuals deciding if they both want future contact and with the donor taking the lead is what most professionals feel comfortable with, although our friends in the mental health world would generally disagree. As with most controversial subjects, the “squeaky wheel” gets the grease and it appears that from the many media stories on donor conceived individuals that “they” want to known more about and meet the people who gave their DNA to them…..but just is compelling is the other side of the equation, the donors who donated in the spirit of altruism and who have no desire to play a part in the future life of children that were conceived with their assistance. The European model (mainly identity release donors and minimal compensation) is not something that US infertility clinics are willing to embrace, AND most importantly no government hand in how donor gametes are handeled, at least from the disclosure or compensation side. Many interesting items for future discussion.
The other very interesting symposium was on “Wrinkled Parenting” or how old is too old to have a baby. Amazingly enough, this discussion centered on women almost exclusively! The audience voted and the majority felt that 50 was the upper limit on ART prcedures to have children but there was strong support for the motherhood beginning up to age 55. The health risks were discussed, but other than a very high incidence of C-section, it appears that careful and attentive obstectrical care does keep most health risks at bay. The most interesting example of singleing out the older mother as an example of extreme health risks was discussed by Dr. Richard Scott of RMA-NJ. He stated that the highest complication rate in obstectics for serious complications like HEELP syndrome were in African American teen mothers! Food for thought…