Every egg matters; The little ingrates; Groucho does Iowa; Conan's feminine side; Salt in the wounds

Every egg matters

After reading Lisa Singh's article on egg donors and recipients ("Good eggs," June 1), I am troubled by the amount of secrecy, shame, and emotional denial that seems to be part of the process. Although agencies and doctors may call the egg "a piece of tissue" over and over again to reassure the recipient couple, there is obvious discomfort when the couples regurgitate this idea for the interviewer. I'm willing to bet most of the women feel ashamed and deficient because of their lack of functioning eggs and might even feel cheated on when they think of their husband's sperm mingling with some young college girl's eggs.

Although it's illogical to think these things, it's perfectly natural to feel them. Denying there is any natural emotional attachment to one's own seed and some natural antagonism to having someone else's germinating inside you doesn't make it go away. Tellingly, in two of the couples interviewed, when the women found out their eggs were not viable, they were willing to adopt a child totally genetically unattached to the couple, but the husbands refused and convinced their wives that it would be better to have half genetic attachment to the child--his half. So in the same breath, they've said it's irrelevant where the female seed comes from yet it's vital that the male seed be his. This contradiction ought to be confronted by the couple and not denied to prevent any later manifestations of emotional distance between parent and child.

Equally disturbing to me is the amount of secrecy the donors and recipients seem to feel is necessary. I don't see that there is any shame in any of this, so why do so many couples refuse to tell their child how he or she was conceived? It seems to me the same emotion the women say they don't feel about their nonexistent or nonfunctioning eggs makes them want to cover up their need for someone else's involvement in conception. But if they just understood and could deal with all these feelings of shame, they wouldn't feel so much need to begin their child's life with lies to family and friends and eventually to the little girl or boy that starts to ask questions.

How can they feel right about teaching their child lying is wrong when there is a huge lie hanging over that child's whole life? It really troubles me that people will be growing up and going to doctors and giving false medical histories because no one bothered to tell them their real genetic lineage.

I considered becoming a donor last year, and realized I didn't want to attempt it because my medical history and personal appearance aren't that attractive, and I've had enough rejection in life without dealing with possible egg rejection. But mostly, I discovered I didn't like the idea of my egg-child being out there possibly growing up without my values, my priorities, my personality. I don't want to wonder all the time whether my egg is being treated well. If other donors don't mind that egg connection, by all means, they should donate, but my point is that all parties should really consider all these issues before proceeding.

When I had an abortion, I thought I would feel nothing, that it was "just some tissue" being removed. This did not at all prepare me for the nightmares and depression I felt before and after the procedure. I do not in any way regret my decision, but I now realize that it's natural to feel emotionally attached to eggs, sperm, or embryos in a way you can't always predict or control. And no one can work through these feelings by denying them.

Karen Eckhoff
Via e-mail

The little ingrates

Your article about the illegal alien children of illegal immigrants ("The kids aren't all right," June 1) was apparently meant to engender sympathy for them. To me it's very difficult to have sympathy for someone who is knowingly and deliberately breaking the law. Committing a crime very often does have drawbacks. If I were to commit a crime, I think it would greatly complicate my life. My rule of thumb for crime is that criminals should not be allowed to profit from it.

If someone defrauded people of $1,000,000 and was only required to pay back $500,000, then for them, committing the crime was worth it. I particularly don't like the bill that would allow illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition. The great majority of in-state tuition is subsidized by taxpayers, and I don't see why it should go to support criminals.

These illegal aliens rejected the idea of going to college in Mexico, apparently preferring not to go to college at all. The reasons given were lack of financial aid, family in Dallas, and not knowing much about Mexico.

With regard to the money, many people of modest means work their way through college. With regard to the rest, many students look forward to going away to college. I would think a citizen of Mexico, raised mostly in the United States, would find a college education in Mexico to be a rewarding experience.

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