Assisted Stevens Article


International Organization

Congrats to David and Tom and others for hard and intelligent work and a very encouraging political achievement.

I have long argued for an international lobby org ‹ and in fact of course, we did have one, nominally, which here in Canada has made representations to the government under the name the Alliance of People Produced by Assisted Reproductive Technology (APPART.) It was so named to be inclusive of those to come who are made other ways than by Œdonor¹.

I am not particularly attached to this name (some may find acronyms cute or handy, others may find them annoying.) And I do recognize that we are a special group distinct from others who have ³complicated parentage,² so perhaps it is not so important to include those people to come who will be made via new and more exotic technologies, or by surrogacy and other interventions.

I am sorry though that the name of the proposed organization uses the word donor,¹ a word that I now try to avoid. In my film, I shall refer to Œegg providers¹ and Œartificial insemination.¹ The latter phrase was abandoned generally I believe because it embarrasses recipient families, and even offspring don¹t like to think of their beginnings as artificial, since we place a positive value on Œnature¹ and a negative one on Œartifice.¹ But our beginnings WERE a matter of artifice and intervention, so this is surely just accurate. The same cannot be said for the word Œdonor.¹ A donor is
obviously somebody who donates, and the meaning carries a clear distinction from somebody who sells. I know that in the UK, payment is no longer made ‹ likewise in Canada with the passage of the AHRA. And indeed, in the 40s and 50s, the early donors were not paid and so back then the term was accurate as well. But in the years since then, and in countries all over the world (most dramatically in the USA) donating a gamete as gift is not the norm. An egg provider in the US can be paid upwards of $10,000. And yet they use the word Œdonor¹ universally. As far I can tell reproductive medicine is the only area where the word¹s meaning is routinely changed to mean Œseller,¹ and it is done to sugarcoat and obscure the fact that the practice involves
a commercial trade in gametes and embryos. Since the practice that made us has long been riddled with deception, I would be sorry to see us continue this particular falsehood in our name, if indeed we intend the organization to be international.

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Barry Stevens                              (416) 536-2098
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