A woman with a brain tumor fights to get medical records from a sperm donor

Laura High has a brain tumor, but she says it’s not unique to her.

High is a stand-up comedy whose routine consists of jokes about millennials and living in New York. Jogorku also jokes about the donor child and the search for his biological father.

“What do I do when a woman needs to be a mother and a man needs $200,” High joked recently in New York.

Behind all the laughs, High said she’s fighting for concrete action to help protect donor-conceiveds and access their medical records.

“It’s amazing to know and know how many people are born from a donor [there are] “Especially at my age, they’ve never been told and only found out by chance through a DNA test,” Hai, 34, said of donors who only discover their biological parents through a DNA test.

Laura High, 34, said being a donor child affected her daily life because she had no access to her medical records. According to Hai, he developed a hormonal disorder that led to a diagnosis of a brain tumor when he was 13 years old.

Courtesy of Saliel Dotson

Hai said her parents told her she got pregnant when she was 14 using donor sperm.

Fearing that the man she loved might be her half-brother, she submitted to a DNA test after many years of marriage.

“I live in a city where my donor donates, so most of my siblings are probably in New York,” High said. “I don’t know if my neighbor is a brother. I don’t have anything.”

Hai said she found out she was not related to her son-in-law, but through DNA testing she found three biological siblings.

PHOTO: Laura High sits with her mother as a baby.  Her parents were promised a sperm donor who conformed to their religion, and her father, a Christian man, was replaced by an Upper Half Jew.

Laura High sits with her mother as a child. Her parents were promised a sperm donor who conformed to their religion, and her father, a Christian man, was replaced by an Upper Half Jew.

Courtesy of Laura High

The siblings all had similar genetic health problems. In Hai’s case, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2016.

Without medical records, Hai said doctors can’t prove it’s a genetic issue, but they suspect it is based on his biological siblings’ own medical records.

When High found her father, he said he refused to give her and his siblings access to his medical records, which High claimed might have helped him catch a brain tumor sooner.

Hai said he and his siblings all have hormonal disorders that put him at risk for developing brain tumors. He said he was diagnosed when he was 13 years old.

“I’m very lucky I caught it before I needed surgery and before I was trying to have children because the tumor would have made me infertile while it was still in my head,” High said. – It will take a year [decrease in size]Thank God I caught it now.”

As she continues to receive treatment, High continues to fight for access to her medical records and to pave the way for people born from other donors.

PHOTO:

“I don’t know if my neighbor is a brother. “I have no idea,” she said, fearing that someone might be a genetic sibling. Before they got married, Hai and her fiance took a DNA test to prove they weren’t related.

Courtesy of Laura High

A bill proposed in upstate New York would require donors to disclose medical conditions diagnosed, family medical conditions, doctors seen, names of schools attended and felony convictions.

The Donor Pregnancy Protection Bill would require fertility clinics to provide access to updated medical records for donor births.

“It could save not only my life, but my children’s lives,” High said, adding that donor-conceived people “ask for the same knowledge if you know your parents.”

The fight for donor rights

New York State Senator. Patrick Gallivan, a Democrat, sponsored the bill, S7602A. According to him, most people are not aware of the loose rules that currently exist in the field of fertility.

“People took the reaction that I did,” Gallivan told ABC News. “So far, they’re in complete shock.”

Gallivan explained that state requirements vary, but New York does not require a mental health, physical health or criminal background screening to become a donor.

The US Food and Drug Administration requires that sperm donors be tested within one week of donation. According to the 2020 FDA brochure, donations are screened for nine sexually transmitted diseases, but some donors may be screened for more.

Gallivan’s bill would prevent fertility fraud and prevent a doctor from using a donor’s reproductive tissue unless the recipient consents. If a doctor uses donor material that a client has not consented to, the bill would make it a felony offense of aggravated assault.

In Hai’s case, he says the sperm his mother received was not the donor he and his father chose. She later revealed that her biological father was her mother’s OB-GYN colleague and friend.

High advocated for Gallivan’s bill on TikTok, which has more than 10 million likes on its platform.

PHOTO: Laura High is a New York stand-up comedian.

Laura High is a stand-up comedian from New York.

Courtesy of Saliel Dotson

Gallivan said his bill would help establish New York’s birth control procedures. Currently, it is not illegal, for example, to replace a doctor’s promised sperm donation with another donor’s or the doctor’s own sample.

The bill also defines professional malpractice for physicians, physician assistants, and specialist assistants. Gallivan said fertility clinics must disclose donor information, such as medical records, criminal records and past doctor visits.

The bill would require that information be updated as children grow into adulthood and donors discover potential medical problems as they age.

New York State Senator. Republican George Borrello, the bill’s sponsor, said there is no reason to worry about the mental and physical health problems of donor-born children when genetic testing and background checks are widely available.

“If you buy a used car that has some problems, you can apply,” Borrello said. – Here you are talking about people, life.

Gallivan and Borrello said no one from the fertility industry has approached their offices directly, but they emphasized that the field is one of the few bipartisan efforts everyone can support to protect children.

The bill is currently in the New York Senate Health Committee, where Gallivan and Borrello said they are pushing their colleagues to see the need for the bill.

While there are other bills in the US dealing with donor anonymity, this is the first proposed bill to provide direct access to medical records for donor-conceived individuals.

ABC News reached out to six New York-area fertility clinics for comment on the bill. No one answered.

Richard Vaughan, founder of the International Fertility Law Group, said New York’s bill is a good start, but legislation needs to address the entire field of fertility.

“It’s a bit of a love triangle with donor-conceived people and their right to know,” Vaughn said. According to him, donor-born children should be represented by donors and parents, but the bill only deals with the protection of children.

“I don’t think anyone disagrees with the part that it’s very important for donor children to have accurate information about their medical history and their genetic heritage,” Vaughn said. “So the trick is balancing all three and the middle.” , you have health care providers.”

Vaughn said in his practice, about half of parents tell their children that they were born from donors.

According to Vaughn, the challenge is balancing the health of the family with the availability of donors. He said there was concern that the move to make more personal information about donors available would result in fewer people donating.

“All donations should be open,” Vaughn said. “It’s healthy for donor-conceived children, and it’s good for parents to know that it’s not really something to hide.”

Susan Crockin, a Georgetown law professor who specializes in reproductive ethics, says New York’s law could be the start of a national trend.

He said he hopes the new laws don’t go too far in placing an “impossible burden” on providers to fully investigate every donor.

“My biggest hope is that we have laws that make sense and make sure that donors don’t get turned away, but that we give everyone more information and context about who they are,” Crockin added.

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