Donating my children to science

I am all for scientific research, and on some days I’d be willing to sell the kids to a research facility if it meant that I would be able to go to the bathroom by myself. But I like to think that I’m doing my part to advance the cause of science by offering up my kids as test subjects. Here’s how it all happened.

When Ane was born, my alma mater, the University of Washington, contacted me via mail to see if I would be interesting in volunteering my infant for different research studies. They didn’t contact me because I was an alumni, but because they get vital statistic lists from the state and mail out forms to all new parents.

Now, not only do I have a soft spot for my university because it enabled me to meet the Webmaster (who also graduated from there), or because the UW happens to have one of the top medical schools in the country and a thriving scientific community, but my own parents offered both me and my brother up for infant and toddler studies to the UW when we were little. So when I was offered the chance to bring in my own child for a study, it was kind of like fulfilling a family tradition. Ane participated in an infant hearing study at 7 weeks old. I think we did four studies total with her, the last couple being emotional/developmental studies for babies. The last study I took her to, I was seven months pregnant with Tad. The studies were also nice in that initially, they paid us a little cash to participate. Once Ane was older, though, they would just offer her her choice of a new toy, which I didn’t like so much, because 1) she didn’t need more toys, and 2) I had taken time out of my schedule and gas out of my car to bring my kid to this study – Mommy wants to hit Starbucks here!

When Tad was born, I was offered the same chance to do infant research with him. At that point, I declined, because Ane was a active toddler and I would have had to find someone to watch her while I took Tad to a study, and if all Tad was going to get was a new toy, it really didn’t seem worth it to me. It had become too complicated, and I’m not ashamed to say that the extra $20 in cash was a nice incentive to do it and it sucked when they didn’t do it anymore.

Still, I felt badly about it. I liked the feeling that I had helped out the scientific community without having to donate a body part. It didn’t harm Ane at all to participate, and it was an interesting experience.

Then Tad broke his arm. Little did I know I was going to have something new to contribute to science.

After we got home and settled in, I was contacted by our local Level 1 trauma center hospital, Harborview, which is running a research study on childhood health after injury, working in conjuction with Children’s Hospital and the UW Hospital. They asked if I was interested in doing interviews via the phone over a three-year period on Tad’s accident, health and recovery, as they are doing a study to determine how these types of childhood injuries affect future health. Of course I said yes, and I did my first interview last Friday over the phone while Ane and Tad watched Curious George and Sesame Street.

Oh, and for each interview I do, we get a $25 gift card. They offered me a choice between Starbucks and Target. I was good and picked Target, because that will actually be a help to the family budget. When I do the interview in November, however, I will be hearing the siren song of peppermint mochas calling my name, and I don’t think I will be strong enough to resist it.

So, there you are. I am offering up my children on the altar of science for coffee. And I can pat myself on the back for it, too.

All kidding aside, if you get a chance to do something like this, take it. You never know who this kind of research will benefit. It could be your own kids, or your grandkids. You just never know.

2 Responses to “Donating my children to science”

  1. croutonboy
    September 17th, 2007 12:41

    But you’re offering up your kids for GOOD coffee, so that makes it OK.

    FYI, saw your “Go Seahawks” comment on Child’s Play x2 and just wanted to send a cross-country high-five your way (damn Cardinals…)

  2. Deanna’s Corner » Blog Archive » Malaise
    July 31st, 2008 01:33

    […] the day after Tad breaks his femur, I get an email telling me it’s time to fill out my follow-up survey on “childhood health after injury” because it’s been almost 12 months since Tad […]