August, 2019 – Deciding to try IVF

We did a lot of research before starting the IVF process. The difficulty of adoption in the US in this era is comparable to or worse than IVF, and it’s almost as expensive, so we didn’t go that route — and besides, no one in my family is carrying on the family name, so we’d prefer to have my ancestor’s genetic threads continue.

We searched online for an egg donor. This is still an unregulated business, with some effort made to provide a code of conduct from a nonprofit organization of donation agents, but couples looking for Only The Best eggs clamor for Ivy League, Asian, accomplished concert pianist donors; which means a donor with those desirable characteristics can charge far more for her donation. Some agencies advertise “$50-100 thousand dollars for your eggs,” which is well beyond the guidelines.

We found a great donor but at one of the more mercenary agencies; she’s a graduate of a great but not Ivy League science-oriented college, she has a high IQ, and she was not that expensive as a first-time donor. “Proven” donors (after at least one successful donation) can charge more, but this was her first time. We had the agency’s help and did Skype calls to see if we liked her and vice-versa. Contracts had to be drawn up (there are lawyers for both sides at every stage of the process!) and signed.

Recognize that this isn’t easy for donors — they have to put up with medical, psychological, and genetic screening, making many visits to clinics, taking precisely-timed drugs to mature their egg follicles in abnormal numbers for a carefully-timed harvest. Our donor had to fly cross-country twice. The harvesting procedure can be painful and the wrenching-around of body chemistry can result in bad reactions. Fortunately, none of that happened and she was very successful. (And we had to have her back for a second donation when only one embryo came of the first, for reasons that I’ll describe in a later post.)

Our IVF doctor is semi-famous: “IVF doctor to the Stars,” kinda, with past clients like [redacted] and numerous Hollywood types. His office is in West LA on Wilshire, almost to the Santa Monica border, so we visited several times.

Genetic screening is a big part of the matching process. Both egg donor and sperm donor are screened for genetic abnormalities; many people harbor genes that can produce syndromes or diseases that would cause miscarriage if combined with similar genes from the other parent.

My Counsyl gene tests showed three more-or-less damaging flaws; fortunately, none of these overlapped with similar flaws in the egg donor, so we were cleared. I had two recessive conditions, plus a third which apparently is held back from the report for laypeople because it’s too diffuse a danger (sufferers live long enough to reproduce but are extra-susceptible to emphysema and liver failure.) I carry one copy of the good gene and one half-good gene (S) which means it would be wise to avoid hooking up with another carrier (and even wiser to splice it out for good, but we don’t do that yet.) https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/…/alpha-1-antitrypsin…

Then I got my first sperm count of zero! That will be the subject of the next post — male factor infertility and remedies.

Driving to IVF clinic

Downtown LA as seen from highway

Evitant (Avoidant) Published in Romania

Romanian Cover of "Avoidant"

Romanian Cover of “Avoidant”

A year or so ago I sold rights to Avoidant to a Romanian publisher. I did a little research into the market — small and almost entirely still on paper. The book has apparently been published now, and I’d be interested in hearing from any native Romanian speaker on how well it has been translated, since I had been concerned the specialized vocabulary might be difficult for them.

The description is just a translation of the author bio, and the error of place of birth (Kansas City, Missouri) being shown as “Kansas, Missouri” is not reassuring.

Evitant at Curtea Veche

Avoidant at Amazon.

Review Roundup: Avoidant, Bad Boyfriends

While I’ve been working on other projects, more reviews came in for Avoidant: How to Love (or Leave) a Dismissive Partner. There’s also been some activity on my older book, Bad Boyfriends: Using Attachment Theory to Avoid Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong and Make You a Better Partner. As usual, readers are invited to take questions and concerns to the Jeb Kinnison Attachment Type Forum to discuss attachment issues and their own special situations.

Here I’ll recap the better reviews, leaving out the obvious axe-grinding ones. It’s not uncommon for a reviewer to react negatively for personal reasons and then take it out on the book. Those reviews are self-identifying.

For Avoidant:

5.0 out of 5 stars – Five Stars
By Kate on January 21, 2017
Excellent read! Very informative.

5.0 out of 5 stars – Great to read with your partner
By J Harrison on January 18, 2017
Incredibly helpful. Great to read with your partner, to help guide those difficult conversations.

5.0 out of 5 stars – Along with Wired For Love and Marriage Rebranded
By room7609 on January 9, 2017
If you’re reading this then I know you can relate. This book, along with Wired For Love and Marriage Rebranded, saved me and my marriage. Read all three and ask your spouse to do the same. You’re welcome. 😉

5.0 out of 5 stars – WOW
By M. M. Jackson VINE VOICE on December 25, 2016
Fantastic, fantastic book. Very therapeutic and helpful. A window into the soul of these tormented people who, knowingly or not, manage to so thoroughly torment. I’ve read a few treatments of the subject, this has been the best by far yet. Expands upon his “Bad Boyfriends” book (which also applies to girlfriends, in my case) and in fact pretty much includes a lot of the same material, which you will find expanded here. Between the two, buy this one.

For Bad Boyfriends:

5.0 out of 5 stars – Excellent Primer on Attachment in Relationships
By stephen jensen on January 23, 2017
I’ve been reading a lot on attachment theory lately and so far this has been the best summary of the theory and its implications on relationships. It is focused, dense with insight, and unflinching. Highly recommended. Don’t let the primacy of “Boyfriend” in the title mislead you- its intended audience is everyone.

5.0 out of 5 stars – Five Stars
By S. Boydon on January 1, 2017
This is worth buying because it’s hands-on with lots of material.

5.0 out of 5 stars – I would recommend this book.
By Stephanie P. on December 27, 2016
Well written and correlates to other scholarly or reliable books on attachment theory. My daughter is a childhood and adolescent development major so the links between infancy to dating partners made sense when discussing portions of this book with her as well. The percentages of healthy attachment style adults over 40 was a bit depressing, yet makes me feel better about how hard it’s been to find a good partner after leaving a long term marriage. It’s not that my online profile needs help, it’s truly rough out there.

5.0 out of 5 stars – A book like Kinnison’s reminds me that there are many ways to …
By Catherine Coan on September 24, 2016
Attachment theory can seem limited — avoidant, anxious, secure, I get it! — but it’s not. A book like Kinnison’s reminds me that there are many ways to know a thing. In this case, at the level of love relationships, delving deep. Excellent!

2.0 out of 5 stars- There are much better books focusing on men’s relationship issues
By L. A. Duranon on October 9, 2016
This book is NOT for men. Despite the parenthetical attempt to make this non-gender-specific in its subtitle, this book is really geared toward women’s relationships. If you are a man, don’t buy this book. There are much better books focusing on men’s relationship issues.

On that last review, I’m guessing the reviewer finds it disappointing that I see the attachment types as largely independent of gender — the sexes differ on average, and in particular avoidant and preoccupied traits are reinforced by sex role stereotypes, but there’s no special “men’s point of view” about relationships. I have run into lots of men whose wives are dismissive and rebuff their attempts at intimacy, inverting the usual stereotype. Dismissive women and preoccupied men are more likely to have developed camouflage to hide their true feelings, since “society” is more likely to disapprove of the needy male and the intimacy-avoidant female.

Orlando and Elite Bigotry: Come Out as an American

Marines Marry - photo from Freedom to Marry

Marines Marry – photo from Freedom to Marry

Instapundit (Ed Driscoll posting) has a post up quoting a New York Times piece on Garrison Keillor’s retirement from Prairie Home Companion:

Curiously, Mr. Keillor has always found it difficult spending so much time with the strong, good-looking, above average people of Lake Wobegon, which he based on his relatives, past and present.

In “The Keillor Reader” (2014), he complained bitterly about “their industriousness, their infernal humility, their schoolmarmish sincerity, their earnest interest in you, their clichés falling like clockwork — it can be tiring to be around.”

Speaking on his porch, Mr. Keillor said of Lake Wobegonians, i.e., his relatives, “I am frustrated by them in real life.” They were too controlled by good manners, he said, and “have a very hard time breaking through.”

So why devote so much of his professional life ruminating about them? “It’s the people I think I know,” he replied.

Will he miss them, and the weekly jolt of the show?

“No,” he replied. “No.”

Ed continues: “As with many on the left, in the wake of 9/11, Keillor emerged as a vicious partisan, describing President Bush’s supporters thusly in 2004:”

The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.

Then this quote from Christopher Caldwell:

At some point, Democrats became the party of small-town people who think they’re too big for their small towns…For these people, liberalism is not a belief at all. No, it’s something more important: a badge of certain social aspirations. That is why the laments of the small-town leftists get voiced with such intemperance and desperation. As if those who voice them are fighting off the nagging thought: If the Republicans aren’t particularly evil, then maybe I’m not particularly special.

Ed has outlined the problem: the opinion leaders in the Blue Tribe gleefully engage in the extreme stereotyping, bigotry, and prejudice they rightfully decry when applied to everyone but their cultural cousins in the heartland. It is all about feeling superior to their countrymen not so privileged as to live in elite coastal communities where wealth, education, and stable academic or government jobs give them a platform to look down on, and prescribe correct thought to, the great unwashed they have separated themselves from.

The current attempt to paint evangelical Christians and gun control opponents as responsible for a supposed climate of hate leading to the Orlando massacre is a good example. After winning enormous improvements in both law and opinion on gay rights, Democrats and activists want to continue to crusade against old enemies rather than facing the reality — that there is almost no one in their demonized classes who would want them killed, while there are a millions of fundamentalist Islamists, egged on by Salafist training financed for decades by Saudi Arabia, who *do* want them killed. By displacing the blame, the Blue Tribe leaders can avoid considering the enormity of the evil of gays and women being stoned, shot, thrown from buildings, and otherwise sacrificed in a broad swath of the Middle East and Africa where these fundamentalists are in power, and how that evil is coming home to us now.

Burt Gummer from "Tremors" - Tremors Wikia

Burt Gummer from “Tremors” – Tremors Wikia

Yesterday’s post about the infighting between American cultures over the response to Orlando murders gets at some of this — American Red Tribe members, many of whom have some traditionalist beliefs about sex roles and gay marriage, bear no murderous urges toward anyone, and would help defend their fellow citizens should it ever come to that using their stores of guns and ammo and military training. Like the townspeople’s reaction to prepper Burt Gummer in Tremors, “sophisticates” roll their eyes when the ex-military guy seems to be paranoid and overprepared for unlikely threats, but everyone is grateful when the threat appears and he’s the only one who has a useful response. A civilization which has so protected its people that they lose the ability to even imagine the need to defend themselves is ripe for external attack. And the threat from Islamist ideology is real — it’s not a country, it’s not a state (no matter what ISIS’s pretensions are), it’s a thought-virus.

It is not helpful that so many filter the news for the most outrageous behaviors to confirm their fear of the other tribe — steady consumption of clickbait outrage stories would have you believe most Christian leaders want gays killed and approve of the Orlando murders, while the truth is only a minute number of attention-seeking sect leaders (like the Westboro “Baptist” Church) are anything but properly horrified. By choosing to read these outrage porn sites, people nurture old grievances and retain a profoundly wrong idea of the feelings of their Red Tribe countrymen, so much so that it is becoming a danger to our polity.

I grew up in the era when everyone who appeared weak or different could expect to be bullied. We’ve made a lot of progress as a people to remedy that kind of abuse, but the defensive reflexes remain. The generation now in their 50s and 60s are the primary opinion leaders, and edit most of the media we read. They still believe in the ill-will of their flyover countrymen that many of them worked hard to get away from, and identities and egos are built on their feelings of moral superiority. They are easily persuaded that external threats are unimportant compared to the need to continue to suppress their old enemies in the culture wars — and that is a great danger, since by not acting to counteract Islamist ideology and its promoters, and by portraying legitimate criticism of the current government’s management of security and screening of millions of immigrants as racist, sexist, and xenophobic, they block any reform that might reduce the number of Jihadi converts in sensitive positions.

So here’s my suggestion for my Blue Tribe friends — get to know your Red Tribe cousins. Go shooting with them, barbecue some ribs with them, visit the country in the middle you’ve never seen and absorb the culture there without your blinders on. Instead of vacationing in New York or San Francisco or the villa in Tuscany or the south of France, try Salina, Kansas, or New Braunfels, Texas. Get to know some young men who sport cultural signifiers you fear — like pickup trucks, gun racks, and military backgrounds. You’ll find them to be as friendly and civilized as the average coastal resident, just different. And you may come to respect them as much as I do — even though I worked as hard as I could to get away from them when I was young. Your past experience has prejudiced you against a people who in the current reality are your closest and warmest cousins. Bigotry and discrimination have no place in the new America — the President is quite right about that. But his blindness and bigotry toward half the population of his own country is obvious.

Don’t be a bigot. Talk to those people you think you loathe and fear. Come out as an American.

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples OrganizationsDeath by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations,  available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. Here’s the condensed version; view the entire review here.

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.