April 20, 2007
A story from Canada could give new meaning to sibling rivalry:
MONTREAL - In what is considered a world first, Melanie Boivin has donated her eggs to her daughter who is sterile because of a genetic condition called Turner's syndrome.
The Montreal lawyer's eggs are to be frozen until her seven-year-old daughter, Flavie, becomes of age to bear a child through in-vitro fertilization.
If she chooses to become pregnant, Flavie will be giving birth to her genetic sister and Boivin will simultaneously become mother and grandmother.
The possible outcomes from this scenario boggle the mind. Would this make Flavie's spouse (assuming he consented to fathering a child with his mother-in-law's eggs) a stepfather-husband to Flavie? Would he be progenitor to his own sister-in-law? Would the child have a brother-in-law-father, a sister-mother, and a mother-grandma? My head hurts just from thinking about all the possible permutations.
What's equally bizarre is the apathy some ethicists have toward the matter. University of Toronto philosophy professor and "moral scholar" Wayne Sumner argues:
When it comes to donor gametes, it is "irrelevant" who donates the eggs, Sumner said.
"I don't see it as all that significant - the scrambling of generations .I don't have concerns about whether it's natural or normal.
"It's a little odd for (Boivin), who will have both a child and a grandchild simultaneously, but people wrap their heads around these things."
Just a little odd? Consider my head unwrapped.