Science really is a remarkable thing, not least the science of assisted reproduction and we always love to celebrate babies born to this amazing technology. But now, we can celebrate someone born to assisted fertility who’s an Olympian!
16 year old American figure skater, Alysa Liu, was conceived using an egg donor, IVF and a surrogate.
Alysa’s Olympic dream was almost over before she got to Beijing by contracting Covid, but her start in life is just as dramatic.
Her father, Junguo (Arthur) Liu, was smuggled out of his homeland of China in the late 1980s. He’d been a stalwart of the Chinese student democracy movement and had to flee in fear of his life. He ended up in Oakland, California, and was making a living in the hospitality industry as a busboy in restaurants.
During this time, he was also studying and in 1998, he graduated from University of California Hastings College of Law and set up his own legal practice in Oakland.
Junguo had left behind a large family in China, and longed for the same himself
So he used two egg donors, two surrogates and IVF techniques to conceive Alysa and her four younger siblings. Junguo’s ex-wife, Yan (Mary) Quingxin, cares for the children part time and is their legal guardian.
He told Sports Illustrated that he wanted his children to “benefit from the genetic diversity and his view of his own life as a fusion of cultures” and for this reason decided to use white egg donors.
Alysa was conceived using a different egg donor to her siblings – sister Selina and triplets, Joshua, Justin and Julia
She’s also the only sibling who skates, after being taken to the rink aged five by her dad who describes himself as a “typical skate dad”.
Alysa became the youngest female to win a US Championship title, at just 13 years old and in 2019 and 2020, she was the youngest skater in history to win back to back titles.
In a recent TV interview alongside her father, Alysa spoke of her “origin story” and how proud she is of her father for creating their family
She says she was about eight when she first started to realise that she didn’t look like either of her parents but that she’s super proud of her mixed heritage.
Any child brought up with the truth around their heritage, especially if they’re born as a result of assisted fertility techniques tend to be more accepting of their “differences” and the more topics such as egg and sperm donation are discussed, the more normalised it will become.
We wish you all the best for these Winter Games and beyond Alysa!
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