Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology

By Jane Haynes; Juliet Miller | Go to book overview

Chapter 10

The story of Seth's egg

Emma Scrimgeour

Emma Scrimgeour is a pointer and lives in London with her partner and two children.

Seth is my nephew, his mother is my sister and his father is my brother-in-law. Seth's conception took place in a Harley Street clinic Petri dish; the sperm was my brother-in-law's and the egg was mine. He looks very like his father and shares his dashing eccentric style in clothes and sense of humour; nevertheless he reminds us all of my son Peter when he was Seth's age.

My sister, Flora, asked me to give her an egg and I was pleased she did. She and my brother-in-law, Hugh, had experienced eight years of disappointment with fertility treatments which culminated in the devastating stillbirth of their naturally conceived daughter. By the time Flora and I had our first conversation about egg donation, Mark, my husband, and I had considered every way we might help them get a baby, including having one and giving it to them. Now that we had heard about egg donation it seemed a very simple and natural thing to do for my sister who, in a great many ways, had brought me up since I was fifteen.

She was a strikingly sharp child who delighted my father who called her his 'Queen'. Until I was born she was the only girl amongst three boys and her supremacy was unassailed. When she was told without any warning, aged five, that she had a sister upstairs she said, 'How nice for me'. This was much quoted by my father, and I always felt the ambivalence of the story. My sister guarded her position like a tiger and I turned out not to be very nice for any of them, sneaking on my siblings and throwing tantrums whenever they teased me.

Until I was fifteen I lived in the shadow of my sister's brilliant, rebellious school career and her powerful presence at home. We were opposites; physically I began by being tall and strong for my age (I was christened Tamara Press by my siblings after a Russian weightlifter who was caught taking steroids), whereas Flora was wraithlike and grew into a teenage beauty. I charged about on my pony and Flora read in her room, eschewing any form of physical activity. Whereas she was naughty and quick, I was eager to please, and if I hadn't later been 'saved' by her I may have ended up forever getting ready for my next gymkhana. I was both scared and immensely proud of her and I longed to be like her but would be seized by jealous rages, hurling her (and anybody else's) things out of the window or pouring mince into her boyfriend's boots. Sometimes I would sneak into her room to try on one of her beautiful, shoplifted dresses from Biba and get stuck, slightly

-105-

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Inconceivable Conceptions: Psychological Aspects of Infertility and Reproductive Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements x
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 3
  • Chapter 2 - Assisted Reproductive Technology and the Fertility Clinic 11
  • Experiencing Infertility 17
  • Chapter 3 - Clinical Waste 19
  • Chapter 4 - One Man's Story 27
  • Psychological Aspects 31
  • Chapter 5 - Eros and Art 33
  • Notes 45
  • Chapter 6 - Mourning the Never Born and the Loss of the Angel 47
  • Chapter 7 - The Battle with Mortality and the Urge to Procreate 60
  • Bibliography 72
  • Chapter 8 - Myths and Reality in Male Infertility 73
  • Bibliography 84
  • Chapter 9 - Love, Hate and the Generative Couple 86
  • Changing Patterns of Kinship 103
  • Chapter 10 - The Story of Seth's Egg 105
  • Chapter 11 - Seth 109
  • Chapter 12 - Gifts of Life in Absentia 120
  • Chapter 13 - Women's Work 143
  • Bibliography 165
  • Chapter 14 - Egg Donation 166
  • The Shadow 179
  • Chapter 15 - Dark Reflections 181
  • Afterword 205
  • Chapter 16 - Afterword 207
  • Appendix 217
  • Glossary of Terms Used in Art (Assisted Reproductive Technology) 219
  • Index 227
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