6 November 2010, by Dannie Cho
Couples who, like us, are in the midst of trying for children through alternative means must have seen the latest shocking news over the past few days – the haze in Singapore has reached unhealthy levels, and if you think about it, I’m sure most parents-to-be will now try to time the births of their children to be right after the haze as cleared. No sense risking an asthmatic baby, right?
In other news, Thomson Fertility Centre was responsible for a major boo-boo in their IVF procedures.
When I explain the IVF procedure to my friends, the explanation goes like this, “We go to the hospital. The doctors scrape the wife’s womb for eggs (or follicles). Then they get me to masturbate into a bottle. Then they put the eggs and my sperm together, stir it up a bit, then let the wife drink it all up.”
This is only 80% true, but the stunned look I get is what makes lying 20% of the time worth it. 🙂
The wife doesn’t get to drink the mixture. Instead, what happens is that a lab technician will put her egg and my sperm together to form embryos, which will then be re-inserted back into her womb.
Now, a certain degree of focus is required for creating a child. After all, once the child is created, you can’t just hit Ctrl-Z and undo it. Hitting Ctrl+Alt+Del is an even worse idea that could land you in jail. Our Ministry of Health has requirements that state that fertility clinics should handle only one specimen, whether sperm, oocyte (fancy medical name for egg) or embryo, at a time. This was apparently flouted by the technician at Thomson Fertility Centre. The result? A newborn baby that has the DNA of the mother and another man who is not her husband.
My heart goes out to the parents, who are now faced with a tough decision.
With a skin complexion that is markedly different from both parents, the baby is obviously not completely theirs. From friends and relatives in the know, this will be a gossip item for years to come. From friends and family not in the loop, they have to endure and figure out how to react when comments like, “He has his father’s nose!” invariably appear. In the future, from the child’s classmates in school, there may be taunts and bullying. And for someone who is not of their loins.
But what other choice do they truly have? Give up the baby? Put the baby into foster care? Then they will be branded selfish and heartless.
A terrible choice to have to make.
Putting this whole incident into context for Yi Lin and me, I remember there was one evening when we were talking about adoption as a final option. I was opposed to it. I want to have kids, but I don’t want to have ANY kid. I want my own children. I know myself best, and I know that I will never be able to fully bond with children that are not my own.
I do know of at least one person who has adopted. (Okay, I know a few who have adopted, but the rest are celebrities who don’t know me.) One of my ex-managers adopted a boy several years back, and recently adopted another girl. He doesn’t speak of the adoption, always introducing them as HIS children. And it works! As far as I know, it’s as close-knit a family as they come.
It’s just not for me.
We should be going for our next try in November or December, depending on the timing of the wife’s menstrual cycle. Our hospital better not screw up OUR kids.