I went to a conference this weekend. It wasn’t my first but it was probably the most interesting. the only other conferences i’ve attended were the ones i used to go to in high school for the student council people- there was a lot of icebreaking games and )comradery, camraderie) camaraderie (..there we go.), so it was a bit different.
I attended especially for GLOBAL TRADE IN BODIES AND SERVICES PANEL 2: NEW REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES!!
Jocelyn Downie, Dalhousie University: “Cross-Border Trade in Human Eggs”
Erin Nelson, University of Alberta: “Global Trade and Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Regulatory Challenges”
I got there early and listened to the end of the first panel which was really interesting as well- about globalization, transnational law and regulation. I got there for the Q & A and the conversation mostly surrounded stem cells.
During the break i covertly slipped some HATCHED postcards onto the table with all the Health Policy and the LAW books on it. In and amongst Michael Ignatieff’s books. I was in. With the big leagues. plus they had tropicana orange juice in a bottle- no pulp. my fave.
I listened so intently to the Jocelyn Downie talk about the Egg trade that i started to get sweaty. surely this wasn’t the way to present oneself at a professional event. i tried to calm down and focus my energies instead of wanting to bounce out of my seat asking any questions that popped into my head, no matter how ill formed. How best to present myself? I went with ambassador. i figured that was better than diplomat.
You can be compensated now .under the law. reimbursement for expenditures with receipts.
there must not be “purchase” of eggs. the donor must meet consent requirements. and there are some health and safety regulation s that must be met (thank christ).
The second speaker spoke about surrogacy and specifically stories like this one:
A couple in the UK receives eggs from a Croatian donor then implanted into a surrogate in the Ukraine.
The law in the Ukraine acknowledges surrogacy legally so the Ukrainian government sees the kids as citizens of the UK but the UK does not acknowledge surrogacy in the same way so to them the kids are Ukrainian citizens- the children of the surrogate mother.
okay that was sort of general because i can’t remember the specific countries but you get the picture that the ramification of reproductive technology has not been easy on a legal level because each nation state operates by it’s own laws. crazy.
I asked a couple of questions, made some comments. people thanked me for speaking up afterwards, that” we need more accounts of what actually happened”. i felt kind of embarrassed by the attention. I met up with a fertility lawyer that i’ve been following on twitter. (Media Saaaaaaavy) we had a great chat. she talked about open donations which i’d never even realized existed. everyone sits in a room and talks about what they want and it all gets figured out. none of this secrecy, alias stuff. good. good.
I ate two cupcakes then left. on the way home it was sunny and i wore my purple sunglasses. i was on top the world! i then made the mistake of trying to buy jeans. #ihateshopping.
we did two days of workshopping on the show this week.
My stay in the manor motel did wonders for igniting a re-write. (Thank you Southampton!)
I was able to come to the workshop ready to write more. In case ya’ll don’t know what a workshop entitles here you go:
-Director. the amazing Jeannette Lambermont Morey. She essentially runs the workshop and acts as a dramaturg ( I had to look up the definition of a dramaturg. )
Dramaturgy: The art of writing and producing plays. (princeton’s def.) IVY LEAGUE! Whatwhut!
She asks alot of questions. hard ones. “why do you want to write this?” “what are you trying to say?” questions that i mostly try to answer out of some high school ingrained trait where i feel i have to answer every question posed to me AND get it right…usually after i mutter and stammer for a few moments she’ll say…you know, you don’t have to answer that. Fucking EH!
She helps shape the script into actable form.
Three actors: Catherine Fitch, Laura Schutt and Roger Bainbridge. Amazing all. They are integral because they’ll let me know if the words sound funny coming out of their mouths and if the general story has points that don’t make sense or big holes or weird archaic references to death metal that no ones gonna get.
So i listened and i wrote and i went home and wrote and drank wine and came back the next day and listened while they improved (that would be the art of doing improv- they had nothing to improve upon. they were great) and made notes and hummed and hawed and drank too much coffee.
and after ten hours of that. i have a brandly new re-worked play. based on the old story but told a different way.
huzzah! things be moving up.
Now onto planning our fundraiser. (which the mere thought of makes me go into anxiety provoked digestive failure. too much information? i don’t even give a care)
10:27pm at the Manor Motel in Southampton, Ontario. Drove out to Sauble Beach to see if I could find a motel there but that place is a dead zone in April. Seriously creepy. I’m here to do some re-writes for Hatched. We have a workshop coming up April 24-25 and I need to revision the structure of the script. I am totally excited about this. The entire project has wings right now.
I have been reading and researching more about the recipient’s experience with egg donation. I have come to a sort of conclusion that IVF inspires HOPE. Can you really put a price on hope? I guess you can. It’s been done throughout history. Just a little money in exchange for ONE life. Twisted perhaps but true. Stay tuned for an updated blog look! Less needles!xo
I was posed a question yesterday that has made me think.
Why is this play important? From a producing angle how are we going to sell this play to the masses. I’m 30 years old. My peers are not necessarily looking to have children right now. Yes, they will come to support me and watch the show but I don’t have so many friends that I can pack the house every night for two weeks.
How do I get men interested in this show? Is egg donation a woman’s issue? I suppose so. If we were going to genderize the whole infertility world the female desire to conceive a child may supercede the male’s in society’s eyes. I think this entire issue: INFERTILITY is clouded by shame and secrecy. As is egg donation. Donors are supposed to remain closeted and quiet. Couples aren’t suppose to discuss what goes on in the bedroom. But maybe if people talked about it more…
– more awareness could be brought to the issue- that in fact Men suffer with infertility just as equally as women
– we might be able to see patterns with infertile people ie. neighbourhood structure, proximity to industry, diet and consumption of non natural substances in the body that could affect someone’s ability to conceive.
– we could understand as a society how much closer we are getting to genetically manufacturing our babies, maybe if we talked about it more people could begin to have some base knowledge about the social and ethical ramifications of this industry.
Remember. ONE in SIX Couples. Those odds ain’t great.
My friend sent me this article from the Globe and Mail.
I seriously wanted to scream. I mean do they think they are hitting a new story here? Cracking the case? This has been going on for YEARS! why is this topic still being published in the paper as if it’s a new, breaking story? Hmm. Maybe because no one cares. Why should anyone care about a group of women getting paid thousands of dollars for their eggs?
I’m not sure.
Maybe because once you start commoditizing eggs and sperm you enter into seriously ethically questionable territory about the commoditization of human life. If I can pay for a beautiful, intelligent young woman to hook me up with some eggs I should be able to pay a doctor to tweak that egg genetically to give that embryo red hair right? Cause red heads do come up on top. lets not kid ourselves there.
Come on Globe and Mail. Get with the times.