Scientist fathered 600 children by donating sperm at his own fertility clinic

April 10, 2012 21:33 by PrideAngelAdmin
Dr Barton A British scientist fathered 600 children after founding a fertility clinic that promised to provide sperm donors from ‘intelligent stock’, it emerged yesterday.

The barrister found out in 1965, at the age of 12, that he was born from a sperm donor, but was never told who his biological father was. He finally discovered the truth through DNA tests and has subsequently made contact with 11 of his half-siblings, including documentary-maker Barry Stevens, who led research into the clinic. Mr Gollancz said he had mixed feelings about his unusual family history.

He said: ‘It’s rather uncomfortable, because artificial insemination was developed on an industrial scale for cattle and I don’t like the feeling of having been “bred”.

‘But meeting the half siblings that I have tracked down has been a very life-enriching experience. This does make it frustrating too, because I know there are all those other siblings out there who I don’t know but would really like to meet. I’d love to be able to hire a huge marquee and invite them all to a party.’

Wiesner and Barton’s clinic, based in London’s Portland Place, is believed to have helped women conceive around 1,500 babies known as the ‘Barton Brood’. The high fees meant most of their clients were middle-class, but Barton also claimed to have helped many of the upper classes and even some ‘peers of the realm’.

The couple used family friends to provide sperm, but a shortage of donors is believed to have led to Wiesner providing the majority. DNA tests were carried out in 2007 on 18 people conceived at the clinic between 1943 and 1962. The tests found that 12 of the group – two-thirds – were Wiesner’s children.

Dr Barton told a 1959 government forum on artificial insemination: ‘I matched race, colouring and stature and all donors were drawn from intelligent stock.’

She added: ‘I wouldn’t take a donor unless he was, if anything, a little above average. ‘If you are going to do it [create a child] deliberately, you have got to put the standards rather higher than normal.’

An article the couple wrote in 1945 about their work prompted a peer to denounce their activities in the House of Lords as ‘the work of Beelzebub’. Geoffrey Fisher, then Archbishop of Canterbury, also demanded the closure of the clinic. Austrian-born Wiesner died in 1972, aged 70. His wife died 11 years ago.

Mr Gollancz was involved in a campaign to stop sperm donors being anonymous, but said he still wanted further changes in the law. He said: ‘I would like to see birth certificates also carrying the name of the sperm or egg donor. ‘Most recipient parents don’t tell their children they are conceived this way, meaning they would never know to search for a donor father. ‘People have a right to know about their own history.’

Article: 10th April 2012

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Happy Easter and Springtime from us all at Pride Angel

April 8, 2012 14:33 by PrideAngelAdmin
egg baby Happy Easter to you all from everyone at Pride Angel. Eggs have been associated with Easter celebrations throughout history; in ancient times it was thought the egg represented fertility and new beginnings. Springtime is therefore a lovely time to consider starting your new family or if you have recently had a baby, then enjoying your new bundles of joy.

Thank you so much, to all of you who have recently sent in your baby photos, please take a look at all the beautiful baby pictures in our gallery.

Our baby photo competition is open to everyone and gives you a chance of winning a £50 mothercare voucher for the winner and a £20 mothercare voucher for the runner up.

If you would like to submit your baby’s photo, please email it to us; click here to find out more about it.

Choosing the winner will be a difficult decision so please help us by letting us know your favourite, just contact us giving the name and age of the baby you would like to win.

And for all you hoping to become mums in the near future we wish you much happiness in your journey to parenthood.

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Women over 40 warned that IVF will not rewind their biological clock

April 7, 2012 12:18 by PrideAngelAdmin
women's biological clock Women in their 40s expect fertility treatment to rewind their ‘biological clock’, and are upset when they find out they can’t have babies, warns a top fertility specialist.

Demand for IVF from older women is rising dramatically, but they don’t realise the chances of success are limited, said Pasquale Patrizio, of the Yale Fertility Center in the U.S. He said the latest research showed success rates for women aged 42 and over had stayed static at less than 10 per cent.

Even if a woman conceives, being older makes it less likely a live baby will be born and pushes up the risk of abnormalities. Professor Patrizio said: ‘There is an alarming misconception about fertility among women. As clinicians, we should begin educating women more aggressively.’

He and his colleagues have noticed more women coming to their fertility clinic at age 43 or older, expecting that pregnancy can be instantly achieved. He added: ‘We are really seeing more and more patients upset after failing in having their own biological child after age 43 so we had to report on this.

‘Their typical reaction is, “what do you mean you cannot help me? I am healthy, I exercise, and I cannot have my own baby?’’’ The latest report comes as UK figures show 40-somethings are becoming pregnant at more than double the rate of two decades ago.

But there is growing concern among British doctors over the ‘epidemic of pregnancy’ in women in middle age. Some of the country’s leading fertility specialists have warned that women who put off having children are ‘defying nature’ and risk never becoming mothers.

The Yale researchers said women who delayed pregnancies in their most fertile years were ‘vaguely aware’ that fertility decreased with age, but only when they experienced age-related infertility first-hand did they begin to understand the reality of their situation.

Britain's oldest first time mum: Sue Tollefsen says she made a mistake in waiting until she was 57 to give birth to daughter Freya. The growing popularity of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has given women the impression that female fertility may be manipulated at any stage in life, and the problem is made worse by images of celebrities who seem to effortlessly give birth at advanced ages, said Professor Patrizio. U.S. figures show the number of IVF cycles performed between 2003 and 2009 for women aged over 40 increased by 41 per cent – four times as fast as for women aged under 35.

Professor Patrizio said: ‘Even though the number of women turning to ART has increased, the number of IVF cycles resulting in pregnancy in women above age 42 has mostly remained static at 9 per cent.

‘If pregnancy is achieved at an older age, women then face higher risk of pregnancy loss, birth defects, and other complications. ‘Women should be given the appropriate information about postponing fertility, obstetric risks, and the limited success of ART in advanced age to allow them to make informed decisions about when, if at all, they hope to become pregnant.’ Professor Patrizio said women should take advantage of egg-freezing if they wanted to postpone motherhood.

Alternative options such as egg donation, which leads to the highest pregnancy rates reported for any type of fertility treatment, are also available. He added: ‘There is an urgent need to educate women that reproductive ageing is irreversible and, more importantly that there are options to safeguard against the risk of future infertility.’

Last month, Britain’s oldest first-time mother, Sue Tollefsen, admitted she had made a mistake in waiting until she was 57. She regretted not having a baby earlier because she might not be around to see her daughter grow up.

Article: 6th April 2012

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Egg and sperm donor regulator is seeking to increase numbers donating

April 5, 2012 20:44 by PrideAngelAdmin
egg and sperm donation The UK fertility regulator is seeking to increase the amount of egg and sperm donation.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) says people should feel the same about it as they do about altruistic, or living, organ donation.

It is launching a new drive to encourage more donors to come forward to help infertile couples have a child. But critics say egg donation is an invasive process, and women should be warned of the risks.

Infertility affects about one-in-six couples in the UK, and when other fertility treatments fail, they sometimes turn to egg or sperm donors for help. But because of a shortage in donors in the UK, a number go abroad for treatment, sometimes to unregulated clinics.

The HFEA is trying to increase the number of national donors because of concerns about the safety of treatment abroad. Last year it agreed to increase the levels of compensation given to egg and sperm donors.

Now it is bringing together a group of experts to help develop ways of increasing awareness of gamete donation in the UK, and to encourage people to regard it as a positive contribution to society.

"Donating eggs to another woman is the most extraordinary gift," said HFEA chairwoman Lisa Jardine. The HFEA is also worried that some fertility clinics may discourage donors by making them wait and failing to return their phonecalls.

"It's important to make sure donors are really valued and looked after at clinics," said Laura Witjens of the National Gamete Donation Trust, which helps couples seeking egg or sperm donors.

The HFEA said it was going beyond its usual remit by bringing together a National Donation Strategy Group to look at how to raise awareness. But critics argue that donors should not be given more encouragement to come forward.

Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said egg retrieval was an invasive process that posed potential health risks. "It's one thing to incur risks for your own fertility treatment," she said, "quite another to be exposed to those risks for the benefit of other mothers."

Article: 5th April 2012

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Dieting during pregnancy may cause obesity in children study reveals

April 3, 2012 18:31 by PrideAngelAdmin
dieting pregnancy Women who diet during pregnancy are more likely to have a child that could become obese or diabetic in later life, a study suggests. Researchers found in a study on sheep that giving ewes less food at the time of conception caused DNA changes in the brains of their young.

The University of Manchester scientists suspect the findings may hold true for humans as well and could explain why twins are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in adulthood.

The study investigated twin pregnancies in sheep as well the pregnancies of ewes that received less food around the time the lamb was conceived. The researchers then looked at tissues from the brains of the unborn lambs to see if there were changes in the structure of the DNA.

Study leader Anne White said: 'We found that unborn twin lambs had changes in the structure of DNA in the region of the brain that regulates food intake and glucose that resulted in an increased chance of diabetes in adulthood.

'Our findings provide a reason why twins are more likely to get diabetes but we have also shown that mothers who don’t have enough food around the time of conception may have a child who grows up with an increased risk of obesity.'

The researchers believe their findings are relevant to humans as they reveal a non-genetic, or ‘epigenetic’, way in which the DNA of offspring can be altered.

Professor White added: 'Our study is important because it shows that factors in the brain can be altered by non-hereditary mechanisms and this results in changes in the body, which could make people obese.

'The findings may provide a new understanding of why twins can develop diabetes and also suggests that dieting around the time a baby is conceived may increase the chance of the child becoming obese later in life.'

More and more people are becoming obese and getting diabetes, while rates of twins are steadily increasing as women have babies at older ages and rates of conception using artificial reproductive technologies increase.

Dieting in young women is also very common and can occur in women who may not know they are pregnant. The team’s findings in sheep, if replicated in humans, suggest that obesity and diabetes could be more likely in twins and in children from mothers who aren’t eating properly, or dieting, around the time of conception.

Researchers say it could affect the advice giving to women who are planning a family to reduce future health risks for their children. The study was published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Article: 3rd April 2012

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Egg donor payment rise has increased potential donors by five-fold

April 1, 2012 20:10 by PrideAngelAdmin
pregnant by egg donor The payment to women donating their eggs for use in IVF will triple from £250 to £750 tomorrow. The extra money on offer is said to have led to five-fold increase in women approaching clinics to donate their eggs to infertile couples.

The recession will only further help fuel the rise in the number of women coming forward, campaigners claimed last night. Joyce Robbins of the Patient Concern group said: ‘For many women, £750 is worth having, especially if you are wondering how you are going to pay the mortgage.

‘Increasing these payments will tempt the hard up, but women should give it proper thought.’ Last October, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority decided that the compensation payment for women donating their eggs for IVF should be increased, bringing it into line with countries such as Spain.

Until now there has been a payment cap of £250 for egg donors per cycle of treatment. Under the change, egg donors will be given free treatment to retrieve the eggs plus a payment of £750 per cycle, no matter how many eggs are collected. As more women delay having children until their late 30s and 40s, demand for donor eggs is increasing.

A woman in her early 40s has less than a ten per cent chance of having a baby through IVF using her own eggs, compared with a 50 per cent chance using the eggs of a young woman.

Britain has a chronic shortage of egg donors, with some clinics reporting a four-year waiting list. Campaigns alerting women to the change in payment have prompted a significant rise in the number of potential donors.

CARE Fertility, which runs private IVF clinics across the country, said interest has increased five-fold, while Midland Fertility Services has seen a ‘noticeable increase’ and the National Gamete Donation Trust a doubling in inquiries.

Dr Simon Thornton, medical director at CARE Fertility, said clinics were ‘delighted with the response’ but added not all women who inquire will end up being donors.

He added: ‘Hopefully this change will reset the balance nationally so the requirement for donor eggs is going to match availability and waiting lists will come down.’ Dr Gillian Lockwood, of Midland Fertility Services, said: ‘Most women donate eggs because they have experienced infertility themselves or know someone who has.

‘The increase in compensation is recognition that donors go through a lot. There is extensive counselling and scrutiny, and the average donor cycle could involve six to eight visits to a clinic, daily injections, vaginal scans and some discomfort for the egg retrieval itself.

‘Early counselling sessions would quickly identify women who were doing it purely for the money.’ A law change in 2005 means any child born from donor eggs or sperm can trace their biological parent when they reach 18.

Article: 30th March

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