Katie Couric has traveled the globe reporting world news and interviewing prominent people.
This Wednesday, on her afternoon show, Katie, championed a unique interview.
Here’s a brief background.
Janet Schreibman went into early menopause which prompted her and her husband to seek egg donation. Though IVF, she became pregnant and gave birth to their daughter, Brittan Gilmore.
Early on, Schreibman was candid with her daughter.
Heidi Hall, a journalist from The Tennessean wrote, “Sometimes mommies and daddies need help if they want to have a baby, Schreibman would say. Children are created in all different ways. One way is called in vitro fertilization.”
Gilmore, a curious seven-year-old, asked her mother the poignant question, “Are you my real mom?”
Always transparent, she told her daughter she had two mothers.
The other mother was JoLana Talbot.
“Nearly a decade later, the Nashville teen and her egg donor came together in a way as modern as her birth, after a search on an Internet database, a timid message on Facebook and, finally, a tearful introduction on Katie Couric’s daytime TV talk show,” Hall reported. She continued, “That’s not the end of the story. Brittan’s experience getting there made her an advocate for an open system that would allow willing egg and sperm donors to connect with their offspring.”
When Talbot was 23 and a military wife at the time, she made the decision to donate her eggs at the Nashville Fertility Center. After seven separate surgical retrievals, Talbot donated 348 eggs.
Gilmore is part of that egg donation.
Talbot always felt a sense of connection to the eggs she donated.
Hall goes on to write, “She called the fertility clinic every time she moved to leave her new address, in case there was ever a medical crisis someone wanted to ask her about. ‘It would be selfish to say, I don’t ever want to be found or noticed, she said.’”
The first IVF attempt for Schreibman failed. But on the second try, it worked. Shreibman’s husband was the biological father, Talbot was the egg donor, and Schreibman carried to full term when she was 46.
In her interview with the family, Hall reported, “The decision to tell Brittan about her birth led to adolescent curiosity and then to the Donor Sibling Registry, the creation of Colorado mom Wendy Kramer and her son, who started it in 2000 with a Yahoo.com group. Today, more than 43,000 donors, parents and donor offspring are registered with 11,000 sibling and other matches.”
In the article, Kramer said honest parents like Schreibman and her husband end up having great relationships with their children. For Kramer, she feels there is no reason to keep relationships like this apart.
But there are two sides to every story.
A law professor offers his own twist in the article.
“The identity of U.S. sperm and egg donors is protected by default. In the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries, sperm and egg donors must be willing to be contacted when their offspring turns 18, said I. Glenn Cohen, a Harvard University law professor who specializes in bioethics.” Hall quotes him again, “But some birth parents still never tell because they don’t want to be undermined by a second relationship, Cohen said, and it can be tough for a child to be rejected by the donor.”
Cohen also pointed out that if the United States were to authorize more openness, laws should be considered on how much accountability a donor must have.
Hall wraps up Cohen’s point of view by writing, “It sounds like the story on Katie Couric is a happy one, but in some cases, when people agree to be sperm donors or egg donors, they don’t want to have a relationship with the children brought into existence,” he said. “I’d rather clarify up front what people are agreeing to do.”
In any event, Gilmore began her search at 13 contacting the Nashville Fertility Clinic. While they were unable to assist, Gilmore discovered an online registry but there was no success for some time.
Then it happened – Gilmore spotted her donor.
“Within minutes, she’d found Talbot’s registry moniker on Pinterest, linked it to Facebook and messaged her,” wrote Hall.
Gilmore’s mother then contacted the clinic for the donor number which confirmed the match and shared this with her daughter when she celebrated her 16th birthday.
How did this story make it to Couric’s daytime show?
Apparently, a neighbor of one of these families is the television producer.
This first-time “meeting” can be seen on Katie Couric’s show on ABC this Wednesday, June 11.