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Laugh Lines and DNA Ties: Laura High's Donor-Conceived Story Part 2
Episode 7428th November 2023 • Family Twist • Corey and Kendall Stulce
00:00:00 00:34:50

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Continuing our conversation with Laura High, we delve deeper into the nuances of being donor-conceived. Laura's candidness, combined with her sharp wit, offers a rare glimpse into the personal and systemic challenges of the fertility industry.

Laugh Lines and DNA Ties: Laura High's Donor-Conceived Story Part 2

Episode Highlights:

  1. Laura’s activism, including protests for donor-conceived rights and her stance against the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
  2. The complexities of navigating identity and relationships as a donor-conceived individual.
  3. Insights into the legal and ethical challenges within the fertility industry, especially concerning donor information and family limits.
  4. The transformative power of acknowledging and sharing one’s donor-conceived status, both personally and in the broader community.
  5. Laura’s personal health journey, influenced by her donor-conceived status, highlighting the importance of medical history awareness.
  6. Engaging discussions with fertility industry professionals, revealing varied perspectives and attitudes towards donor conception.
  7. The urgent need for legislative action and public awareness to reform the fertility industry’s practices.

Guest Bio:

Laura High is a New York actor and comedian. She received her B.A. in Theatre Performance from Nazareth College. Laura has had lead roles on TV shows, and national commercials. Laura performs stand-up comedy at venues like Broadway Comedy Club, Bananas, and headlined Carolines on Broadway. Laura has been featured on the New York Comedy Festival and won the 'Broadly Funny' Divison at the 360 Stand Up Festival. Laura is a rising content creator. Laura has gone viral several times on TikTok and her following has grown exponentially in a short amount of time. Laura writes, produces, and edits all of her own work. 

Resources Mentioned:

Closing Summary:

Laura High's story is more than just an individual narrative; it's a call to action for greater transparency and ethics in the fertility industry. Her episode is an essential listen for anyone interested in the intersection of personal stories, advocacy and reform. Don't forget to rate, follow and review Family Twist for more thought-provoking conversations like this one.

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Transcripts

1

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This was the very first protest for donor

-conceived rights.

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And I showed up with a custom -made

costume of me in a sperm cup.

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Hello and a heartfelt welcome to all our

listeners as we embark on season four of

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the Family Twist podcast.

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I'm Kendall Austin Stulst and my life

story is a tapestry of unexpected turns

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from being adopted as an infant to losing

my adoptive parents by the time I was 17.

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And then in a twist of fate, finding my

birth family through the magic of DNA

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testing in 2017.

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And I'm Corey Stulst, Kendall's partner on

this life adventure.

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When we uncovered his paternal birth

family's roots on the East Coast, I knew

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our next chapter was calling us there to

mend the missing pieces of Kendall's heart

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with the love of newfound relatives.

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Our podcast began as a single thread, a

narrative of my own, but it is woven into

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a vibrant quilt of stories celebrating the

complexities of DNA surprises, adoption,

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donor conception, NPEs, surrogacy, and the

myriad ways families come together.

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Together, we've been welcomed into an

incredible community with each guest

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sharing their own family twist.

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And through it all, we found strength in

each other.

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Thank you for letting us share our passion

and these remarkable stories with you.

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The bonds we formed with you, our

listeners, and the stories you've shared

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have only deepened our commitment to this

journey.

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Family Twist isn't just a podcast.

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It's a celebration of the unexpected ties

that bind us all.

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Thank you for joining us on this fantastic

ride.

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Welcome back to the second part of our

conversation with Laura High.

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We continue to uncover the layers of

Laura's experiences as a donor -conceived

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individual.

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Her insights provide a rare perspective on

the ethical challenges faced by the

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fertility industry and the personal growth

resulting from such unique circumstances.

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Laura's story highlights the importance of

transparency and the need for a collective

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voice in advocating for change.

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Her blend of humor and seriousness and

tackling these issues is something we can

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all learn from.

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So let's pick up where we left off and

continue our conversation with the

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inspiring Laura High.

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Laura, for people who are listening that

might have family secrets out there that

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they haven't shared with their children,

what did that revelation do to your

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relationship with your father?

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Honestly, it changed nothing.

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We just went back to playing basketball.

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Good.

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I was hoping that was going to be your

answer.

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We just went back to playing basketball.

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We just went back to singing musicals in

the car together.

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That's literally, it was just like, okay.

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Like nothing changed between my father and

I.

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And I say this as somebody who's like, my

dad and I have had rough moments in our

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relationship.

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Never ever once in any of those moments

between my father and I have I ever, ever

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once been like, you're not my real dad.

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Never have ever said that, never thought

that, never felt that.

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Like, no, that man's my father.

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That man is even.

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even if I ever had a relationship with the

donor as well, my dad is my dad.

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That could never for me ever be undone.

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And especially as an adult looking back

and realizing probably how scared my dad

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was in that car and knowing how much

bravery it took for him to tell me that,

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because I'm sure he was scared, had no

idea how I was going to react.

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I appreciate his honesty and I appreciate

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the courage it took for him to tell me,

especially in that day and age when there

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was no support for him or my mom.

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I really appreciate that.

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And I will say it, everybody always asks

me, what do my parents think of my

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advocacy?

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They're my two number one fans.

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They're so proud of everything I'm doing.

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My dad, especially with like all the

politics, because my dad's a political

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junkie.

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and it's like all the political stuff I'm

doing, he thinks is so cool.

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He's just like, who have you talked to?

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Who are you?

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What are you doing?

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And I've had like some interviews with

politicians and he was like doing research

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on them and he was like, Laura, I have

some questions for you that you can ask

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them, okay?

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Like this is what you gotta do.

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He seems so sweet and supportive.

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What I would say to those parents is,

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I think actually with Kerry Washington

came out recently, you know, cause she

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came out recently as sperm donor.

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And I think she said it the best.

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The secret's going to affect the

relationship.

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And as much as we want to pretend it

didn't happen and bury it, you can't

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unring the bell.

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You can't unring donor conception.

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You can't pretend it didn't happen.

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It did.

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It literally created your child.

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It created their body.

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And there's a couple of things with it is

when you bury it up as a secret, one,

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there's going to be shame instantly,

whether you are aware of it or not.

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And that child is going to carry around

that shame.

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And this all could be very subconscious,

but the fact that you are not like openly

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telling your child like, yes, this is how

we created you.

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This is the magic in which we became a

family.

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That infertility shame, that fear that you

have, you're going to pass that on to your

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kids.

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And I know that many parents are gonna be

like, no, I won't, no, no, no, they have

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no idea.

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And I'm like, yes, they do.

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It will get passed on.

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And it's not to like, you know, shame you

or tell you, fuck you.

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It's just, there's so much going on that

you may not even realize.

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And it's so common for donor conceived

people to have always said, I always knew

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something was up.

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I just had no idea.

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And Kerry Washington even said it herself.

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And she said, once the secret was

revealed, she was like, we as a family,

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experienced healing for the first time.

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And that secret was now gone.

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It no longer was weighing down on

everybody.

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And she also talked about how like she got

to show her dad saying like, because you

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kept the secret from me, you made my love

essentially, I'm probably misquoting her a

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little bit, but she was like, you made it

to be like, it was conditional love.

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Now that the secret is revealed, watch me

unconditionally love you.

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Right, yes.

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And that's what I would tell to the

parents who have those family secrets is

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let the healing happen.

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It will.

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It will happen.

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And I think it's important for parents to

hear that if there's never a secret, such

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as in Kendall's case, Kendall was adopted,

always knew he was adopted.

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Those are his parents.

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Even though they've been gone for decades,

we talk about them on an almost daily

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basis.

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Those are his parents.

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And, you know, I've gotten to know him

just through the stories.

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Now we've connected with his birth father.

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And that's his birth father and great.

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But Betty and Ruble are his parents.

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And - That's the cutest names, Betty and

Ruble.

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Oh my gosh.

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I want to have like children's books of

like the adventures of Betty and Ruble.

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Forthcoming.

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We'll co -write them.

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I think you should.

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Those are the cutest names I've ever

heard.

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I can never talk about them without being

emotional and especially in context.

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with this, you know, I feel so fortunate

that I was, you know, I didn't experience

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those lies, that secrecy, the potential

stigma that's, you know, was especially

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back then, you know, I was born in 1970

and I'm from this tiny town where it kind

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of surprises me that people were as

accepting as they were.

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And I think it was to your previous point,

because my parents had this,

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known history of infertility.

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And I shouldn't say that.

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My mother had three miscarriages, but I

think the fact that she was never going to

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be able to probably have a baby, it was

just kind of common knowledge and their

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friends were so supportive and they had

friends who had adopted children and just,

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you know, wonderful stories where I got to

be surrounded by kids that were also

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adopted.

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And, you know, so it's,

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I just didn't have the same level of

stigma that I know people that were your

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parents' age were definitely dealing with.

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The stigma of infertility that affects, I

think, a lot of adoptees and donor

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-conceived people, I do firmly believe is

one of the reasons that certainly the

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fertility industry has gotten away with so

much unethical activity.

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Because of the stigma, no one talks about

it.

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No one talks about the struggles, the

emotional struggles, or just the day -to

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-day, oh my god, my dad texted me, just as

we're on this podcast.

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Oh my god, it's very sweet.

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Oh, he's asking me how my shows were at

the cellar last time.

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Oh.

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But he's very sweet.

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He wanted, again, he wanted to come be

there for my first shows, but it was, it

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was all sold out immediately.

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But I do think that the fertility industry

has gotten away with so much stuff because

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no one talks to each other.

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No one talks about, well, what did the

doctors tell you?

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What have you been going through?

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What are they saying to you?

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And then once the child is born, like, are

you experiencing this?

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What is happening?

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Is your kid getting sick or stuff like

that?

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And I think that the biggest and easiest

thing that we can do, that everybody can

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do right now to fight the fertility

industry and to help get regulations

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passed is we need to let go of the stigma.

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There is nothing to be ashamed of that

you've been going through fertility issues

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or that you need help with family

building.

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There's nothing to be ashamed of.

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So many people need help for family

building and so many people struggle with

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fertility issues.

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It's unbelievably common.

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nothing to be ashamed of.

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I'm having fertility issues right now.

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I'm almost through mine, but, and my

fertility issues actually are because of

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my donor.

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So, you know, full circle.

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Wow.

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It is ironic.

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I'm almost through it.

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Wow.

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I know, I've been on medication now for a

couple of years and I'm almost through it

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because I had a, what we basically

discovered and I'm very lucky I discovered

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it very early on, but I have a benign

tumor on my pituitary gland which is

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located right at the base of my brain and

the pituitary gland controls your thyroid

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and your adrenals.

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We caught it before I needed surgery so I

only needed medication to shrink it and

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now the tumor is gone and we're just

regulating my hormones now, but

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essentially the tumor in place rendered me

completely infertile.

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Now the tumor is not genetic, but the

hormonal imbalance that I had been

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experiencing since I was 13 absolutely

seems to run on his side, because I've

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talked to other siblings who had very

similar problems as well.

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So thanks, Papa, for that one.

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Right, yeah, thanks, doctor.

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Yeah, exactly.

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There's just, again, just how significant

these things are that, you know, children

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should know.

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Yeah.

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They just should.

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And I'm really lucky, but part of the

reason that,

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I was able to find it in time is because I

knew I'm donor conceived.

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And it's always the first thing I tell my

doctors.

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Because always when you go to the doctor,

they're like, do you have a family history

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of this, of this?

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And I always tell them, I literally was at

the OBGYN a couple of weeks ago and they

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were asking me about my history.

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I'm like, I'm a sperm donor, baby.

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I don't have half of my medical history.

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I literally have zero.

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So on my mom's side, no signs of this, but

I got no idea what's on the dad's.

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And they were just like, okay, great.

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And that's...

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always been in the conversation.

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So when we were trying to figure out what

was going on with my body years ago,

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because I could tell something was wrong,

they ran extra tests.

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And I'm so grateful my primary care

physician was like, I'm gonna send you to

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the endocrinologist.

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Cause they just kind of trusted me and

they were like, you know what, she doesn't

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know half her medical history.

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And the endocrinologist in a few tests was

like, oh, there it is.

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There, yep.

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Wow.

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Your prolactin is skyrocketing.

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There it is.

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And then got me the MRI and got me on

medication in time.

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And I'm very, very lucky.

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I'm very lucky that I could tell people

I'm donor conceived.

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And just so many people my age don't have

that luck where they don't even know.

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They don't even know to tell their doctor

that they're donor conceived and they're

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giving their doctors a false medical

history, which gets them sick, which gets

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donor conceived people killed.

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It gets their children in trouble as well.

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Yeah, even though I don't have half my

medical history.

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just the fact that I can say I'm donor

conceived alone helps me out a lot.

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Right, yeah, because they're not gonna

necessarily start, you know, pumping you

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full of stuff that's gonna kill you.

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Exactly, and they know to run extra tests

and they know to go like, okay, we don't

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know, let's give her all this extra shit

just in case, just to be safe.

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And that has helped me out tremendously.

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Through the work that you do, have you had

interactions with professionals in the

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fertility industry?

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Yeah, they love me.

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We have a great time.

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Well, so it's really interesting.

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I would say I have two different

reactions.

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Either there are industry professionals

who have been like the most supportive

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people and they're like, yes, yes, thank

you.

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And they're wonderful and they're so

supportive.

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And they're like, I love what you're

doing.

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Keep fucking doing it.

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Because them as physicians, as people who

took an oath to do no harm are sick and

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tired of how their industry treats people.

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and like they have seen it and they have

felt so alone trying to battle this

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industry and trying taking care of their

patients.

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So they are sick of this as well, but

they're unfortunately very few and far

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between within this industry.

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So that is an interaction that I've had

with a bunch of people within the

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industry.

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And that's always really, really lovely.

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And then there's also some industry people

who are like, I don't really know about

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this.

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Can you tell me more?

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And then like, you know, when I start

talking to them about laws and

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regulations, they're going, holy shit, I

had no idea.

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They're like, cause we don't run our

clinic that way.

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They're like, I had no idea it was this

bad other places.

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I had no idea these stories existed.

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Holy crap.

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And so that has happened, which has been

great.

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But then I have other industry

professionals who are less receptive,

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maybe a little less gracious.

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I was told by an industry professional who

was at, cause we were protesting the ASRM

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convention.

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ASRM is the American Society for

Reproductive Medicine.

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They basically create the guidelines for

the clinics and cryobanks to follow in the

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United States.

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Now understand I said guidelines, not

regulations.

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None of the clinics and cryobanks have to

follow the guidelines.

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And ASRM should be, in a perfect world,

our biggest advocate.

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It should be the people, this should be

the group standing up for donor -conceived

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rights.

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And they have not.

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They actively are very like...

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They care about the clinics and cryobanks.

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They do not give a shit about donor

conceived rights.

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And they've made that very, very clear.

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They care about the bank accounts and

that's about it.

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And we've seen that from how we've been

treated when the Colorado legislation

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first was proposed and the Colorado

legislation was the very first sibling cap

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proposed in the United States.

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So now Colorado has a 25 family limit.

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It's still way too high, but it's still

something.

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And ASRM when the legislation was first

proposed, it...

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publicly was like, we don't support it.

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So in my opinion, if you have no problem

putting down stuff, you also have the

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ability to publicly support.

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And the fact that they just actively are

not our biggest advocate and they are not

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actively trying to help us is very

unfortunate.

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So we protested them to remind them that

we are people, not products.

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You know, another year in a row, no donor

conceived person spoke at a single panel.

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And now some of the panels were about like

IVF and that has nothing to do with donor

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conception.

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So I'm like, okay, maybe not a donor

conceived person on any of the panels, but

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any of the panels that are about donor

conception should have a donor conceived

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person on that panel.

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That is the ethical thing to do.

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And it is incumbent upon ASRM to be like,

there was a panel that was all about like

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how donor conceived people are feeling

about donor conception.

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And they used AI to sift through all of

like all of YouTube to gather donor

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conceived opinions.

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And I'm like, why didn't you just get

donor conceived people to come talk to

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you?

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Exactly, yeah.

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That's really fucking weird.

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And that should have been ASRM coming in

going, no, you're gonna get donor

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conceived people, like invite donor

conceived people onto that goddamn panel.

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There was a panel, I believe about early

disclosure, a donor conceived person

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should have been on that one.

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A few donor conceived people should have

been on it.

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There should have been a donor conceived

person who did get early disclosure, and

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there should have been a donor conceived

person who got late disclosure to talk

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about the experiences of both.

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And the fact that ASRM is not putting its

foot down and ensuring that our voices are

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heard is ridiculous.

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And I always say, it is not upon you to

give us, to grant us a seat at the table.

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We are the table.

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You cannot have a conversation about us

without us.

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It is absolutely unethical and you should

be actively making room and you should be

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doing that work.

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And they are just actively not.

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So we protested them.

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To basically go full circle back to what

you initially asked was, I was directly

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told,

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by an industry professional who was at

ASRM.

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They were like, just like letting you know

the industry, like people at the

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convention really saw the protest as like

kind of a negative.

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And I was like.

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Bitch, it's a fucking protest, yes.

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Exactly.

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Yeah, that's good.

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It's in the name.

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That means I did my job.

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Exactly.

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And I was like, and she said this as a way

like, and she was trying to tell me that

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like, I'm doing advocacy wrong.

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And she's telling me like, you need to do

advocacy better in a way that's like more

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like industry palatable.

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And I'm like.

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I'm not here to play with you.

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And I'm just sitting there going like, ma

'am, in the history of protests, when has

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the person ever being protested be like,

oh my God, I love this.

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Look at the aesthetic, keep them outside.

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This looks great.

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Oh my God, send them Gatorade.

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Like what are you on ma 'am?

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Like it just was like, it baffled me to be

like, I get it, you don't like us, but do

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you hear yourself?

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Like this is delusional.

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You should have said, oh, you're right,

I'll leave right now.

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Like, oh my God, I'm so sorry.

371

::

Were we a bother?

372

::

I am so sorry.

373

::

You guys think this is a negative?

374

::

I thought we were just having fun.

375

::

Exactly.

376

::

Wow.

377

::

Oh my God.

378

::

Yeah, it really just was this like, lady,

give me a fucking break.

379

::

Right.

380

::

So I also get a lot of that as well.

381

::

And we get a lot of a lot of the reactions

we get is like, oh, that's just angry DCP.

382

::

DCP means donor conceived people.

383

::

And that's a very just gaslighting

dismissive term we get a lot like, oh,

384

::

you're just angry.

385

::

And it's like, yeah, I'm angry.

386

::

That's actually the very proper emotion.

387

::

When we find out our mothers were

388

::

sexually assaulted by these doctors and

legally there's nothing we can do and you

389

::

guys aren't doing shit.

390

::

Yeah, actually anger is 100 % the

appropriate emotion.

391

::

The fact that I find out that like I'm one

of a hundred donor conceived siblings and

392

::

all of my siblings are sick as hell

because there was a falsified medical

393

::

history.

394

::

Yeah, I'm angry or I've been in the

hospital or as one donor conceived person

395

::

I know had 13 surgeries by the time they

were 15 years old.

396

::

because of a falsified medical history.

397

::

And in her words, she was medically

tortured.

398

::

Wow.

399

::

Yeah.

400

::

Anger is the proper emotion.

401

::

And this is what I always say.

402

::

It's like, I'm sorry that like, we're not,

you know, more consumable.

403

::

We're not sweet.

404

::

And we're just going like, oh my God,

thank you so much for letting us die.

405

::

Thank you so much.

406

::

We really appreciate this opportunity to

be killed by you.

407

::

Thank you.

408

::

I'm sorry that we're not nicer about it,

but anger is the right term.

409

::

And the fact that...

410

::

the industry has continually treated us

like mousepads and not like sentient human

411

::

beings has got to stop.

412

::

It's got to stop.

413

::

And it's not just donor conceived people,

the fact that donors are commodified as

414

::

well, the fact that recipient parents are

lied to, the amount of recipient parents I

415

::

have spoken to, and it's so heartbreaking

to hear like, they have three, four year

416

::

olds and they're like, oh my God.

417

::

And they're sort of like realizing what

happened.

418

::

and they're going like, our kid is sick.

419

::

They've had so many problems and they're

like, we had no idea.

420

::

We had no idea what was going on.

421

::

They're like, I feel horrible and awful.

422

::

I don't know what to do.

423

::

And it's just this, you can hear that just

pain in their voice.

424

::

And then when you talk to recipient

parents who lost their donor conceived

425

::

child because of just the negligence of

the fertility industry, it's like, you

426

::

just don't forget those conversations.

427

::

and you hear the pain and the mourning in

their voice and they know it didn't have

428

::

to be this way.

429

::

This could have so easily been avoided.

430

::

So why isn't there more legislation?

431

::

I think a lot of it is donor conception

education is so brand new.

432

::

We're just starting.

433

::

And I think a lot of it just has to be

that we're just telling people why they

434

::

should care.

435

::

But...

436

::

There is some legislation on the table

right now.

437

::

Like right now we're trying to get H .R.

438

::

451 passed, which is the federal fertility

fraud legislation, which would criminalize

439

::

a doctor switching out the chosen donor

gametes for their own or any others that

440

::

they feel like.

441

::

So that is one.

442

::

And you can call your local legislature

now and say, like, please support H .R.

443

::

451.

444

::

The bill is bipartisan.

445

::

It's got like a ton of co -sponsors.

446

::

It's just stuck in the Judiciary Committee

right now.

447

::

And we need it to get a date on the

calendar to vote on.

448

::

So that's one.

449

::

We also have the Donor Conceived Persons

Protection Act trying to get passed in New

450

::

York state.

451

::

This would require clinics and cryobanks

to verify the medical information that a

452

::

donor hands in.

453

::

So again, groundbreaking.

454

::

So if you live in New York state or you

have family or friends in New York state,

455

::

tell them to call your local legislature

and be like, we desperately need to get

456

::

the Donor Conceived Persons Protection Act

passed.

457

::

There are more states who are in process

of also passing their own fertility fraud

458

::

legislation as we wait for the federal

fertility fraud legislation.

459

::

Those states, it's gonna become a little

bit more public soon, so I'm gonna wait

460

::

for those stories to come out.

461

::

But I will say, just be on the lookout,

more stories are coming out.

462

::

Yeah, there is legislation that is moving

and grooving.

463

::

And if you want to find out more ways to

support legislation as it unfolds, you can

464

::

follow the United States Donor Conceived

Council, USDCC, on Instagram.

465

::

It is a group of donor can see people that

literally write regulations and literally

466

::

negotiate with the industry.

467

::

If you're particularly interested in

fertility fraud legislation, you can

468

::

follow Eve Wiley on Instagram.

469

::

She is the one who spearheaded the

fertility fraud legislation.

470

::

You can also follow Jacoba Ballard, who

was like the head narrator for the

471

::

documentary, Our Father, which was about

Dr.

472

::

Klein on Netflix, who switched out the

chosen sperm for his own and now over a

473

::

hundred patients.

474

::

So there is legislation coming.

475

::

But I think right now the way that we get

legislation happening is we need to get

476

::

more donor conceived stories out there.

477

::

We need recipient parents, donors like

Dylan, and donor conceived people actively

478

::

coming forward and telling their story and

showing this is what happened to me.

479

::

This was the lies that we were told.

480

::

Because these stories are so horrific, it

actually doesn't take much to get these

481

::

legislatures to really start to listen.

482

::

I mean, fertility fraud is comically

awful.

483

::

And the fact that doctors can actively get

away with fertility fraud because the laws

484

::

are just not tight enough is just, it's

absurd because this should be an easy slam

485

::

dunk.

486

::

These doctors should go to fucking jail

immediately for doing that.

487

::

There is legislation and it is slowly

coming and trickling out and it's coming

488

::

out faster and faster as more donor

conceived people are finding their voice.

489

::

And...

490

::

speaking their truth.

491

::

And that was a thing that actually really

happened at the protest, which was really

492

::

magical to see was there were donor

conceived people supporting each other and

493

::

coming forward for the very first time in

a very public way, talking about what

494

::

happened to them.

495

::

Well, thank you for sharing those

resources because as you said, the more

496

::

the conversation explodes, then the more

things are going to start to change.

497

::

Absolutely.

498

::

And I want to make it clear to like every

parent who's listening to it or every

499

::

intended parent, it is,

500

::

Not my goal, it's not the USDCC's goal,

it's not Jacoba Ballard's, it's not Eve

501

::

Wiley's, like any of these resources that

I just gave you, no one is trying to stop

502

::

donor conception.

503

::

No one is actively trying.

504

::

I think donor conception is, in a perfect

ethical world, a wonderful way to start a

505

::

family.

506

::

It's a great resource if you need

fertility, if you're having infertility

507

::

problems, if you need assistance with

family building, I want you to have your

508

::

family.

509

::

I want that for you.

510

::

but I want it to be done in a way that is

safe and ethical for all parties involved,

511

::

especially the donor conceived person.

512

::

So I always want to make that really clear

that none of the advocates that I work

513

::

with are trying to stop donor conception.

514

::

We're just literally trying to make it

safe and ethical for you and your child.

515

::

Right.

516

::

And I think what we're talking about is

literally pennies on the dollar to do

517

::

things the right way.

518

::

You know, it's just, again, with so many

industries, the greed is there.

519

::

It's like, oh, I couldn't possibly give up

a nickel.

520

::

Right.

521

::

Well,

522

::

And a great way to explain, so this is a

multi -billion dollar industry and a great

523

::

way to explain it is like, let's use

Dylan's story.

524

::

So Dylan is a donor who donated at Zytek

and he donated for multiple years and he

525

::

got paid a hundred, $150 per donation.

526

::

And he, I believe he made like 20 ,000 ish

dollars.

527

::

We talked about it like on my podcast, but

it was about 20 ,000 ish dollars.

528

::

And now one of the things to remember

though is he got paid per donation.

529

::

So every time he would come in and make a

deposit.

530

::

Now, when you are a sperm donor though,

one deposit does not equate to one

531

::

sellable vial.

532

::

They take that one deposit and they split

it up into multiple sellable vials.

533

::

It might be as little as three, it might

be as big as 19.

534

::

19 is the most we've ever heard of.

535

::

And Dylan's vials went from 1000 to $2

,000 each per vial.

536

::

So Dylan and I did the math together on

like how much he donated per week.

537

::

And we sort of, we tried to like low ball

it and be like, let's say they only broke

538

::

it up into four vials and we played it

very conservatively.

539

::

But like we did the math, the cryobank

allegedly made a million dollars off of

540

::

just Dylan.

541

::

Right, right.

542

::

Just off of Dylan alone, a million

dollars.

543

::

And that's just off of the vials.

544

::

Most clinics and cryobanks charge extra.

545

::

If you want a full medical history that

was not verified, you have to pay extra

546

::

for that.

547

::

If you want a picture of the donor, you

pay extra, you wanna see their

548

::

handwriting, hear their voice, you're

gonna pay extra.

549

::

Now what happens if you want to have

siblings?

550

::

Okay, then you have to buy more vials.

551

::

Now you have to pay for storage at the

cryobank.

552

::

So you're paying for storage fees for all

that sperm.

553

::

They nickel and dime these recipient

parents.

554

::

So many recipient parents end up having to

take a second mortgage in order to pay for

555

::

this.

556

::

So you're right, it's an obscene amount of

money.

557

::

So the fact that like Dylan made about $20

,000 and this cryobank,

558

::

allegedly made a million dollars off of

just him and they have way more donors

559

::

than that.

560

::

Right.

561

::

Is absurd.

562

::

And of course these cryobanks and clinics

have overhead.

563

::

They absolutely have overhead.

564

::

But give me a fucking break.

565

::

Give me an absolute break.

566

::

That is absurd.

567

::

And at a certain point, it's like we have

to keep things ethical.

568

::

Like, I'm so sorry, doctors, you're not

going to be able to buy that second yacht.

569

::

Right.

570

::

We have to make sure the sibling pod is

under 20.

571

::

So sorry.

572

::

Which is still, still such a moneymaker,

even with the Colorado regulation.

573

::

You know, if you have 25 family

possibilities, you know, for a single

574

::

donor, that alone.

575

::

That still could be 50 kids.

576

::

Exactly.

577

::

And that alone is still astronomical as

far as what the cryobank is making.

578

::

Yeah, absolutely.

579

::

It's just bizarre to me that we just have

to your point, we have to educate the

580

::

general population to say, A, this is what

these companies are making, but B, it's

581

::

unethical across the board.

582

::

And I might just be a, I still try and

stay very optimistic.

583

::

And I've talked to so many recipient

parents and the majority of recipient

584

::

parents.

585

::

genuinely want what's best for their kids.

586

::

They really, really do.

587

::

And I really just would encourage intended

recipient parents to be like, I know you

588

::

want your kid to be healthy.

589

::

I know you want your kid to be safe.

590

::

I know you want your kid to be happy.

591

::

So help us fight for these regulations now

because before you get pregnant is when

592

::

you have the most power in this industry.

593

::

Start demanding change now because they

care about your pocketbook.

594

::

That's what they care about.

595

::

They want your money.

596

::

So you have to wield that.

597

::

power now because once you get pregnant,

they don't give a fucking shit.

598

::

They don't care.

599

::

And they've made that very clear.

600

::

There are a lot of recipient parents I've

spoken to who are like, my heart has

601

::

broken.

602

::

I thought this place cared about me.

603

::

Apparently not.

604

::

And you have to wield that power now.

605

::

So what I would do is like, again, little

things that you can do that can make a big

606

::

difference.

607

::

I would call your clinic and cryobank and

ask them.

608

::

have you supported HR 451?

609

::

Have you supported the fertility fraud

legislation?

610

::

And here's the thing, I can tell you right

now, not a single clinic or cryo bank has,

611

::

okay, only one bank has supported the

fertility fraud legislation and that's

612

::

Fairfax.

613

::

That's the only bank that has.

614

::

Now, Fairfax still has a lot of

accountability they need to take in terms

615

::

of like crap they've done, but I will give

it to them there.

616

::

They're the only bank that has actively

supported the fertility fraud legislation.

617

::

So with that,

618

::

You go to every single other bank, every

single other clinic and go, I will not use

619

::

you until you publicly support the

fertility fraud legislation.

620

::

Use it.

621

::

Like be like, you need to send in a letter

and then I would use you or ask them,

622

::

like, do you openly support a sibling cap?

623

::

Ask them saying, like, what are you doing

to support donor can see people like

624

::

actively, actively wield that and be very

curt and very just like.

625

::

No, then I will not use you.

626

::

I only support clinics and cryobanks that

are actively supporting donor -conceived

627

::

people.

628

::

Well, and you don't have to necessarily be

somebody who's looking to have a child

629

::

through a sperm bank to do that.

630

::

You can call and ask these questions.

631

::

Anybody can just call and ask these

questions.

632

::

Oh, yeah, go ahead.

633

::

Go have some fun.

634

::

Like, you got a free afternoon on a

Sunday.

635

::

Go knock it out.

636

::

Go have some fun.

637

::

Make some phone calls.

638

::

Oh, my God.

639

::

Go have a good time.

640

::

But yeah, it's there.

641

::

But yeah, that but those are ways that you

can actively start doing some small

642

::

changes that actually make a big impact

because the more that we actively demand

643

::

the industry to change to change, the more

they will.

644

::

Because again, they care about money and

they're going to be like, OK, how do we

645

::

make more money?

646

::

Oh, shit, we got to do all this other

crap.

647

::

All right.

648

::

That's the only way.

649

::

And that's how we've been able to like get

certain things, I would say, a little bit

650

::

more normalized within the industry.

651

::

Yes, absolutely.

652

::

Well, we really, really appreciate what

you're doing because.

653

::

You know, we were talking about very

serious subject matter here, but I feel

654

::

like humor has a place in every

conversation.

655

::

You know, I think it makes more palatable

for people.

656

::

It breaks the ice a little bit.

657

::

And, you know, so thank you for what

you're doing.

658

::

And, you know, keep on wearing that sperm

costume.

659

::

Well, thank you for listening.

660

::

It really makes a big difference.

661

::

The fact that people are willing to just

listen and hear us out and go like, yeah,

662

::

that is fucked up.

663

::

We can change it.

664

::

There are so many complicated.

665

::

problems in this world, this one's really,

we can fix this one.

666

::

We really can.

667

::

This is one we can do.

668

::

And it will make a huge impact on so many

different communities in such a positive

669

::

way.

670

::

And I genuinely believe in, I'm still

trying to stay optimistic and believe in

671

::

the goodness of people and be like, I know

that the majority of intended recipient

672

::

parents genuinely want what's best.

673

::

Absolutely, absolutely.

674

::

And hopefully there's definitely some

crossover for our different audiences

675

::

because we talk about surrogacy, we talk

about donor conception, we talk about

676

::

adoption.

677

::

And I'm sure there are people are tuning

in because they are interested in that

678

::

specific issue.

679

::

But really, this is just a big community.

680

::

We're all in this community together, you

know, and yeah, yeah.

681

::

No, we're all in this together and it all

feeds into one another, like the whole

682

::

baby business, whether it is surrogacy or

adoption or anything, it all plays in and

683

::

it all feeds off of each other.

684

::

And I do believe that we are on the path

to getting reproductive help into a place

685

::

that is much more ethical for all parties

involved.

686

::

I do believe that we are entering a phase

where we're starting to go down that right

687

::

path as it should be.

688

::

And that's incredible.

689

::

And I know it's going to be in 10, 15, 20

years, we're going to be in a completely

690

::

different place.

691

::

And it is because I do think that we're

all working together and realizing how

692

::

much we all have in common within that

Venn diagram, especially between donor

693

::

conceived people and adoptees.

694

::

There's so many similarities and empathy

that we share.

695

::

Like I have felt like some of the most

incredible support from like my fellow

696

::

adoptee advocates.

697

::

have been like some of our most fiercest

supporters because there's just so much

698

::

that we understand about each other.

699

::

Even if we don't have like exact similar

experiences, there's just like, I get you

700

::

boo.

701

::

Right.

702

::

Absolutely.

703

::

Yeah.

704

::

Well, again, thank you so much for what

you're doing and thank you for, you know,

705

::

sharing your story on the podcast.

706

::

Thank you for having me and have a

delightful day.

707

::

Thanks.

708

::

You too.

709

::

We thank you for joining us on this

insightful journey.

710

::

Laura's story is a beacon for anyone

grappling with similar issues, reminding

711

::

us that understanding and healing often

begin with an open conversation and a

712

::

willingness to listen.

713

::

We encourage you to engage with the donor

conception stories, support advocacy

714

::

groups, and stay informed about this

complex topic.

715

::

Thank you all for joining us on this

journey with Laura.

716

::

Remember, change begins with awareness,

and each of us has the power to make a

717

::

difference.

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