Laura High says it isn't just about saving her life but also about potentially saving her children's lives.
"I'm what happens when a woman needs to become a mother and a man needs $200," joked Laura High about being a donor-conceived child during a stand-up performance, evoking raucous laughter. Laura High's initial search for her biological father was to learn about herself and her lineage until she realized that she could have possibly inherited genetic health issues. High's search for her father and his medical records is now a fight to save her own life.
High has a tumor at the base of her brain and is now fighting for donor-conceived people to have access to their parents' medical records. "It's shocking to learn and to find out how many donor-conceived people [there are], especially in my age group, who have never been told, and who only found out by accident via a DNA test," the 34-year-old said about people who learn of their biological parent only through a DNA test, reported Good Morning America.
High learned she was a donor-conceived child only when she was 14. She says being a donor-conceived child has affected her health because she does not have access to her medical records. She took a DNA test to rule out the possibility that the man she loved was not her half-brother. She knew the person who donated sperm had done so in New York City which meant there was a probability that she could have siblings in New York and it could be anyone. "I have no idea if my neighbor is a sibling. I have no clue," she said.
The DNA tests came back and she learned she and her fiancé were not related. But she found three of her biological siblings. When she met with them, she soon realized that they all had similar genetic health issues and that didn't bode well for her. Last year, she was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor, a tumor that formed in her pituitary gland, at the base of her brain.
She found her father but he refused to give High or her siblings access to his medical records. High's doctors couldn't prove that her tumor was genetic without access to her biological father's records but had to make the judgment based on her biological siblings' medical records. Her biological father's medical records could have helped detect her tumor sooner. They all have hormonal disorders. "I'm very lucky I caught it in time before I needed surgery, and before I started trying to have children, because the tumor, while it is still in my head, essentially makes me infertile," said High.
She is now undergoing treatment but also fighting for donor-conceived children to have access to medical records that could prove life-saving. High is backing the Donor Conceived Person Protection bill in New York that would require fertility clinics to give donor-conceived people access to their updated medical records. "It's not going to just save my life, it's also going to potentially save my children's lives," said High. New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan, one of the sponsors of the bill said he was shocked by the loose regulations existing in the state on the fertility industry. The bill will help protect against fertility fraud and a doctor who used a donation that wasn't selected would be charged with aggravated assault. This is what happened in High's case, where the donation wasn't from the selection her parents had made but rather from a man who was a colleague and friend of her mother's OB-GYN.