Sharing - Parents Banned From Forcibly Sterilising Their Disabled Daughter

~ Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 9:00 AM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys as I'm very interested to know your thoughts on this. Do note that sharing this does not mean I agree or disagree with it. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

The parents of an intellectually disabled woman who fear she is vulnerable to sexual advances that would likely result in pregnancy have been stopped from permanently and forcibly sterilising her. The parents of the 25-year-old woman, known as ZEH, said it would be in their daughter's best interest to become 'permanently infertile' and applied to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a guardianship order to have her fallopian tubes tied.

They told the tribunal that their daughter, who has a mild intellectual disability and relies heavily on her family, was easily influenced and believed she could be taken advantage of sexually given her 'friendly and trusting nature'. 'ZEH’s character and personality has evolved into a person who gravitates to anyone who has a smile or shows interest in her,' her parents told the tribunal. 'Unfortunately in this ever-changing world she can be exposed to potentially serious risks by being taken advantage of in a sexual manner.'

They noted an instance where someone touched ZEH inappropriately at a social activity some time ago, stating that this highlighted her inability to determine what is considered right or wrong when it comes to sexual activity.

ZEH, an accomplished athlete who holds a part time job, has trialled a combination of other contraceptives, including the Mirena IUD which unfortunately caused her 'significant hormonal side-effects'. She has been on the oral contraceptive pill since 2007 but her parents believe it may be causing her to experience headaches and dizziness, and claim that in the long-term could put her at risk of developing breast or cervical cancer.

Birth Control Pills

ZEH's sister, who has promised to take her in once her parents are unable to care for her, said she has no grasp on what is considered dangerous and recalled instances where she has seen her hug, smile or engage in conversation with strangers who have shown her kindness. 'This concerns me as she has no capacity to assess a person’s intentions whether good or bad,' she told the tribunal.

She said it would be 'preposterous' to think ZEH would be in a position to care for a child, or handle the hormonal and body changes that come with pregnancy. ZEH's sister said it would be 'selfish' to expect her or her parents to take care of a child that was a the result of an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy.

Psychologist Kerry Arrow spoke with ZEH about her parent's plan and found that she understood that they wanted her to have an operation to stop her falling pregnant. She said she is 'not able to look after a child' as she can not look after herself, but commented that she knew to take her contraceptive pill without prompting from her mother and was 'happy to do so'.

VCAT deputy president Genevieve Nihill said that while she believed ZEH's parents had the 'best of intentions', sterilisation was an invasive option that should only be used as a 'last resort'. Ms Nihill acknowledged the family's concerns that they would have to help ZEH raise the child if she did fall pregnant but stated that these issues did not relate to ZEH's best interests.

The guardianship order was denied.

What do you think?

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Sharing - Britain's Youngest Organ Donor At 74 Minutes Old

~ Posted on Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 9:48 PM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

A tiny baby girl called Hope who died just 74 minutes after she was born has become Britain’s youngest ever organ donor. Emma Lee and her husband Drew were asked if they wanted to abort one of their twins after scans showed she suffered from an incurable condition. But despite knowing she would die shortly after birth, the couple bravely refused, so she could save other lives.

And last week, just over an hour after she and her brother were born, little Hope died peacefully in her mother’s arms and her distraught parents agreed to donate her kidneys and liver cells.

Now Emma and Drew, who are now back at home with Hope’s week-old twin brother Josh, have spoken of their “pride” at their daughter’s bravery. The couple were inspired by the story of Teddy Houlston - who donated organs last year despite living for just 100 minutes. They had read his incredible and ground-breaking story just weeks before they were given the devastating news that Hope would not survive.

And, after learning their baby had Anencephaly - the same condition Teddy had - and would not survive for more than a few hours, they took comfort from knowing his story meant they could donate Hope’s organs. Emma, 32, said: “Before I was pregnant I read about Teddy in the paper and my only thought was that his parents were so brave. “I never expected that I would end up in exactly the same position. “When we found out Hope wouldn’t survive, knowing Teddy’s story made me confident doctors could do the same thing.

“Today she is still living on inside someone else and it helps with the grief, it’s taken some of the pain away.” Drew, 51, added: “She only lived for 74 minutes but she has achieved more than some people do in a lifetime. “Watching Hope being born was great but heartbreaking at the same time because I knew she would’nt survive. “I will remember those minutes as long as I live.

“She looked very peaceful when she passed away. Her eyes were open at the time so I just closed her lids. "Her eyes were lovely and blue, it was quite a moment. “We feel our little girl is a hero.”

Emma and Drew, who met 10 years ago while working as carers, already had one child Madie, four. Emma conceived twins after undergoing IVF treatment. She said: “Madie was born by IVF and we had to have the same treatment for the twins. "We had been trying for ages - for us it’s been a long journey to create our own family.” But while attending a 12-week ultrasound scan in June this year, their joy instantly turned to grief. Emma said: “We were absolutely over the moon when we found out we were having twins. But during the ultrasound I knew immediately something was wrong. “The midwife went quiet before saying ‘there’s still two heartbeats but there’s a problem’.”

The couple were told that one of their twins suffered from Anencephaly, which affects 6 in 10,000 births and prevents the brain and skull from developing properly. It is so severe that babies usually die before being born or within a few hours or days after birth. Emma and Drew were immediately taken into a side room for bereavement counselling. Emma explained: “The first thing I said was ‘I want to donate the baby’s organs’.

“I hadn’t even discussed it with Drew it was just a spontaneous thing which felt very natural. Straight away he said ‘I want to do it as well’. “We were distraught but we didn’t want her to die in vain.”

Consultants offered the couple the chance to terminate the affected twin and they were told that if they didn’t abort, there would be a greater risk of a premature birth. They decided to carry on despite knowing they were putting their healthy twin at greater risk. Emma said: “We had to weigh up our desire to donate organs against protecting our child. Knowing that he could suffer and be born early made it an even harder decision.” It was around this time that the couple, of Newmarket, Suffolk, discovered the gender of their twins. They had already decided on Josh for the boy, but had to come up with a name for his sister.

Drew said: “We were thinking of names and I thought Hope. “It means hope for us and hope for the other people she helps. “The name has really worked well - we have still got her because she is living on in other people.” Emma and Drew started planning their unborn daughter’s funeral just 20 weeks into the pregnancy.

Last week she was born by Caesarean section weighing just 2lb 13oz, while Josh was delivered two minutes later at over 5lbs.

Britain's Youngest Organ Donor At 74 Minutes Old

Tiny Hope was cuddled by her entire family - including grandfather-of-two Drew’s two daughters from a previous relationship. Emma said: “We were with her from the second she was born until the moment she died. “I don’t think anyone spoke during the 74 minutes, we just all gave her cuddles.

“When I held her I was just looking at her features and trying to remember how she looked. “She was tiny, like a little doll, but she looked incredibly peaceful which really helped me. “I will treasure those moments and the time I spent with her for the rest of my life.”

Remembering the scenes at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, Drew added: “I cried my eyes out as soon as she was in my arms. I felt so sorry for her because she was so tiny. “And then everyone in the operating theatre, including the nurses, started crying - I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.” He added: “When I first held her she had one eye open and one shut. I put my little finger in her hand and she grasped it.”

Britain's Youngest Organ Donor At 74 Minutes Old

Just after her death, Hope was taken for the transplant surgery and her kidneys were transplanted into an adult patient and cells from her liver were taken and frozen. These healthy cells will help up to five adult patients survive long enough to undergo liver transplants. The cells are injected into a damaged liver to prolong lives. Emma added: “When we heard the transplant had taken place it instantly took some of the pain away.

“I would like to speak to that person in the future, a part of Hope is living on inside them.” After the surgery, Hope was brought back to the family and Madie, four, then bravely cuddled her tiny sister. Drew added: “I was quite lucky in a funny way because I saw the incision down her stomach, so her kidneys could be removed. It was fantastic - not gory at all - it just looked perfectly smooth like a paper cut. “This image of a CSI autopsy puts a lot of people off becoming donors but it’s not like that at all.”

Emma and Drew have now returned home with Josh, who is feeding - and sleeping - well and they have vowed he will be brought up knowing the story of his heroic twin sister. Hope is due to be cremated next week. Emma has been a full-time carer to Drew following a motorbike accident six years ago. The couple now hope their story will encourage others to become organ donors.

Emma said: “I have always believed that if you are willing to receive an organ you should be willing to give one. Why be cremated or buried with all your organs when there are so many people on transplant lists dying? “I have always felt very strongly about donation and all my family are donors. “Giving life to someone else is an amazing gift - please sign up."

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Sharing - Dad Demands Abortion After Surrogate Learns She’s Having Triplets

~ Posted on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 5:20 AM ~

I came across this article which I must definitely share with you guys. Do note that sharing this does not mean I agree or disagree with it. For your convenience, I have copied the excerpts from the article here:

A man who paid a surrogate to have his baby became overwhelmed when he learned she was having triplets — and demanded the woman abort one of the fetuses while threatening her with financial ruin, she claims. “They are human beings. I bonded with these kids. This is just not right,” mom-to-be Melissa Cook told The Post on Tuesday.

Cook’s heart-wrenching dilemma comes as Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers are weighing whether New York should lift its ban on commercial surrogacy, which was enacted in 1993. The babies’ dad, a Georgia man, hired Cook for $33,000 to have a child by in-vitro fertilization using his sperm and the eggs of a 20-year-old donor. The California woman was implanted with three embryos, which defied the odds to all go on to develop normally.

 Cook, 47, said she and the man learned she was having triplets when the embryos were around 8 or 9 weeks.

Dad Demands Abortion After Surrogate Learns She’s Having Triplets

He almost immediately began to raise concerns, and they have grown increasingly threatening, she said. Cook, a mother of four — including her own set of triplets — is now 17 weeks pregnant. She also had a fifth child as a surrogate. California law says that aside from life-threatening exceptions, fetuses can’t be aborted once they become “viable,’’ or around 20 weeks. The dad “understands, albeit does not agree, with your decision not to reduce,” his lawyer, Robert Warmsley, wrote in a Friday letter to Cook, who has never met the sperm donor.

“As you know, his remedies where you refuse to abide by the terms of the agreement, are immense [and] include, but are not limited to, loss of all benefits under the agreement, damages in relation to future care of the children [and] medical costs associated with any extraordinary care the children may need,” the lawyer warned. Cook received another letter from Warmsley on Tuesday urging her to schedule a “selection reduction” — abortion of one of the fetuses — by day’s end. A day earlier, Cook argued in an emotional letter to the dad, “The doctor put in three healthy embryos . . . The chances were high they were all going to take. You knew I was 47 years old. If you knew you only wanted two babies, then why put in three embryos?”

According to her contract, Cook is entitled to her $33,000 pregnancy fee for one baby, plus an additional $6,000 for each additional child. Given the pressure she’s under, Cook said Tuesday that she was wavering on her decision to keep all three babies. “I have to reduce. I’m scared. I don’t want to suffer,” said Cook, who is split from her husband and lives in Woodland Hills, Calif.

Jennifer Lahl, head of the Center for Bioethics and Culture, a group that opposes surrogacy, said the Cook case is the first she’s aware of in which a surrogate mom has gone public to expose the pressure she’s under to undergo an abortion. “Why on earth would Cuomo want to set up a system like this in New York? It’s parent breeding,” said Lahl, who is seeking to help Cook. At least 22 states allow surrogacy fee arrangements. Warmsley, the dad’s lawyer, declined comment.

What do you think?

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.