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.

These people will find that for most things in life, you have to be willing to make an effort to help yourself. Complaining about how the state won't overlook your crimes, no one will give you money, and you might have to move somewhere that you aren't familiar with shows their big problem is one of attitude.

Zachary Hilbun
Via e-mail

Groucho does Iowa

Robert Wilonsky mentions in his article about Groucho Marx ("A puff of smoke," June 8): "He played Carnegie Hall when he was an old man, repeating lines from his old films much as an aging rock star performs his ancient hits."

As a "test run" for his 1972 Carnegie Hall appearance, Groucho first performed this act at C.Y. Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa, where I worked as an usher and sometimes as a school photographer while in high school and during college at Iowa State University in Ames.

A "Tom Wilhite," I believe, who was sort of the head usher and about my age, was responsible for bringing Groucho to Ames. I don't know what has become of Tom, but I heard at one point that he continued in the entertainment business, and a "Tom Wilhite" appears in connection with films in an Internet search.

Groucho said in an article about his appearance that he expected to find this young kid with corn behind his ears when he met Tom, but was surprised and pleased at his professionalism.

I wish I had bought the LP of An Evening With Groucho, which was compiled from his Carnegie Hall and Iowa State performances. But at least I saw Groucho in person (accompanied at the time by Erin Fleming) and still have these memories.

Eric Weiss

Conan's feminine side

I've been a fan of Robert E. Howard ("Howard's end," May 25) for about 30 years now. I'm sure most assume the Conan and Kull stories to be full of mindless hacking, slashing, boozing, and wenching. I'm sure several people would be surprised to find that a Conan story like "The Tower of the Elephant" is a compassionate story in which Conan feels compelled to help a sentient elephant-like being from his miserable imprisonment. The Kull story "The Mirrors of Tuzun Thule" has enough existential philosophy in it to blow many a mind. REH wrote an article called "The Beast of the Abyss" that should be mandatory reading for cat rescuers.

Thanks for printing this article. REH is definitely an author who should be appreciated by a wider audience.

Via e-mail


You wrote, "Robb Walsh, by the way, is no longer editor of the Fort Worth-based Chile Pepper magazine (Fluff, June 8). He's now at the Houston Chronicle."

Uh, no. He's at your sister weekly, the Houston Press.

David Butler
Arlington, Virginia

Salt in the wounds

I recently read your article on Veruca Salt (Preview, June 1). To get right to the point, it really pissed me off. I realize it's a free country and you can say whatever you want, but do you realize how much some of those artists mean to a lot of us? I think a lot of your comments are way off base.

Has it ever occurred to you that music is more than crappy Top 40 pop hits? Artists like the Breeders, Liz Phair, and particularly Veruca Salt have been and continue to be staples in my music selection. I'm not alone! Some of this music means a lot to me and a lot of others.

So if you don't like it, go out and buy some nice pre-packaged popular garbage like Kid Rock or the Backstreet Boys or whatever shit you listen to, but leave our music alone.

And since it's obvious you haven't a damn clue, Nina Gordon and Veruca Salt have a totally different sound now, so get it together. I would have thought someone writing for a newspaper would at least listen to something before they review it. Guess I was wrong...

P.S. The Dallas Stars suck.

Via e-mail

Who the hell does Robert Wilonsky think he is?

Sure, Veruca Salt's new album sucks. Nina Gordon is no longer in the band. Has he even heard her new album? Probably not.  

His idiot rantings are a joke. And to mention Jane's Addiction in that article, those guys are icons of American music. Being a successful artist has nothing to do with Top 40 one-hit wonders. Obviously, the Dallas Observer works closely with the McJobs program...

Derek Rogers

Who are these 1,000-plus fans who cram into small venues to see Veruca Salt? I'm sure these people aren't there to hear "Seether" and go home. Granted, they aren't selling out arenas across the globe, but if "selling out" is your definition of a quality musician, you'd better get your head examined. The difference between Veruca Salt and, say, Limp Bizkit is the passion. Do you think Limp Bizkit cares about their fans? You think they write music from their heart and soul? Um, I don't think so.

I think you should go listen to American Thighs before you throw out Veruca Salt. It is one of the finest-crafted pop masterpieces of the decade. Veruca Salt can easily be considered the best female rock artists of all time.

I admit their new album isn't the best. Duh--it's missing the talented Nina Gordon. But when do "Seether" and "Volcano Girls" do any justice for this band when they have songs like "Forsythia," "Spiderman '79," "Number One Blind," and "Earthcrosser?"

Do more research before you start flaming bands.

Via e-mail

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