Tuesday, September 2, 2014

[Switzerland] "Swiss Gay Fathers Granted Parental Recognition in Landmark Surrogacy Ruling"

While surrogacy remains illegal in Switzerland, two gay fathers fought — and won — precedent-setting parental rights by crossing their homeland's borders.

In a first, a Swiss gay couple have been recognized as the legal parents of a child conceived via an American surrogate mother,  despite surrogacy being illegal in Switzerland, reports the U.K.'s Pink News.

The two St. Gallen-based fathers, whose partnership is legally registered in their home country, chose to have their child through the artificial insemination of a donor egg by one partner's sperm. Both were listed as fathers on the U.S. birth certificate, after their California-based surrogate mother delivered the newborn and abdicated parental rights.

But when Swiss law still considered the surrogate mother and her husband the legal parents of the child, the two gay fathers petitioned the Swiss national registry for parental recognition, supported by their own local registry.

The Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) appealed the couple's petition, forcing the case to be decided by St. Gallen's administrative court earlier this month.

Last week, the court finally announced their decision to recognize the child's California birth certificate. However, according to Gay Star News, a note about the child's genetic surrogate parentage will remain on the record, in a partial acknowledgement of FOJ's complaint.

The justice department can still appeal the decision to Switzerland's supreme court, but has not yet announced any intention to do so.

Read More at The Advocate

Saturday, August 30, 2014

[US] "The Barcus Bunch: Single gay dad on unconditional parenting" by Ross Forman

Dan Barcus is a single, gay dad living in the far northwest suburbs of Chicago who has said is a lackluster housekeeper and a terrible cook.

Still, the parenting experience has been overwhelmingly positive, he said.

And quite memorable—times five—and why, along with Little City Foundation and the Allendale Association, he is encouraging more people to think about becoming foster and adoptive parents.

Barcus is the foster/adoptive dad to five special-needs kids, ranging in age from 6 to 22.

"I get a lot more surprise reactions from people about being a single dad than I do [about] being a gay one," Barcus said. "I think folks are very accepting up here in Lake County. There's an absence of the 'Oh, you're here to make a statement' vibe, if that makes any sense. Folks in [suburban] Antioch just go about their lives and have as much fun along the way as we all can. No one really seems to worry about who is with whom or where or what is 'appropriate.' Those are the advantages to village life, I think.

"Also, people here seem to grasp without any effort that kids have needs and development stages that don't match up and progress in pretty little prearranged packages. One of the kids on Jason's baseball team is clearly Asperger's, for example, but even in the four or five hours of shooting the breeze with his dad before I got to know the kid, it never occurred to his dad to mention it. It's not a problem for any of the kids, no one is teasing or avoiding him. It's like the kids and parents here just meet each child where they are at."

Barcus came bursting out at 18 with his mentor, Mary Celia Roemer. From that point on, he didn't let being gay stop him in any pursuit, "any more than I let being diabetic keep me from roller skating," he said. For example, Barcus was the first openly gay pledge to Delta Sigma Pi in recorded history, he said. "I also was the first openly gay resident assistant at Ball State [and] the first openly gay 'Big Brother' in Indiana."

Barcus went on to work at AT&T after graduating from college and was among the first openly gay business services managers, he said.

In addition, Barcus co-founded and ran a group called "Out at Work ( or not )," which did advocacy and training for area businesses and professionals.

"I always thought I would become a dad with a partner, a great job, lots of money, a big house, a nanny, a housekeeper, a dog-walker, dry-cleaner pick-up and grocery delivery service," he said. "In 2005 none of those things were really true for me, but that's when I woke up one day and got struck in the head with the notion that I was ready.

"So, I found Allendale and Little City Foundation to be great partners, and started getting training and learned that there was a whole category of special kids who were extra tough to parent. Crazy as it sounds, I knew that those kids who needed extra zing were the ones for me."


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

[Australia] New Research - Australians' use of surrogacy - 1 September 2014

Australians' use of surrogacy - 1 September 2014 by Sam G Everingham, Martyn A Stafford-Bell and Karin Hammarberg


Abstract
Objectives: To investigate the characteristics of parents and intended parents and their current and planned behaviour in relation to surrogacy arrangements.

Design, setting and participants: Members of two Australian parenting support forums who were considering surrogacy or were currently or previously in a surrogacy arrangement were invited to complete an online survey during July 2013.

Main outcome measures: Sociodemographic characteristics; proportions engaging in domestic uncompensated and overseas compensated arrangements; countries used; costs incurred; and impact on behaviour of state laws criminalising compensated surrogacy.

Results: Of 1135 potential participants, 312 (27%) commenced the survey. Of these, 24 did not fulfil inclusion criteria and 29 did not complete the survey. Eighty-nine respondents were considering surrogacy and 170 had commenced or completed surrogacy. Many respondents (53%) considered both overseas and domestic surrogacy. Among those who only considered one option, overseas surrogacy was considered significantly more often than domestic surrogacy (92% v 8%; P < 0.05). Only 22 respondents (8%) commenced with a surrogate in Australia. The most common countries used for compensated surrogacy were India and the United States, and average total estimated costs were $69 212 for India and $172 347 for the US. Barriers discouraging domestic surrogacy included concern that the surrogate might keep the child (75%), belief that it was too long and complicated a process (68%) and having no one of the right age or life stage to ask (61%). Few intended parents (9%) were deterred by state laws criminalising compensated surrogacy.

Conclusions: Most Australian intended parents via surrogacy consider or use overseas compensated arrangements. Laws banning compensated surrogacy do not appear to deter those seeking surrogacy arrangements.

Read FULL Report

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

[Australia] "Thailand surrogacy: Australian couple caught in crackdown break their silence" by Lindsay Murdoch

It wasn't going to be long before this got to the newspapers.  Happy for the couple.

Bangkok: An Australian same-sex couple caught up in a crackdown on surrogacy in the Thai capital have broken their silence, saying many Australian parents unable to bring their surrogate-born babies home are distraught and have run out of money.

Steve and James, the biological parents of a three-week-old boy they have called Rhyley, say 20 Australian couples they know who are holed up in Bangkok hotels are having issues with their babies because they are so distressed.

“This is very emotionally draining. We had a meeting and I told them not to be stressed, to enjoy the fact they have their babies,” said Steve, 46, from Melbourne.

James, left, and Steven with Rhyley and two-year-old daughter Aleisha, in Bangkok.

“But they are not enjoying their time with their babies … this should be a special time of bonding but it has been, I would not say destroyed, but tainted by the situation in Thailand,” he says. “When you are stressed your baby becomes stressed. The babies are getting upset, they are crying constantly ... people are carrying on as if the sky has fallen in but they shouldn’t as this is something that is out of their control.”

Like an estimated 200 other Australian couples, Steve and James, 47, face an agonising wait to find out whether they will be able to take their babies home, after Thai authorities cracked down on surrogacy following the baby Gammy scandal.

They say they are remaining positive despite “confusion and frustration” and plan to attempt to leave Thailand in early September as they had originally planned.

“What have we got to lose if we try and are turned back?” Steve says.

At least three Australian couples and their babies have been turned back from the airport in recent days, but one same-sex couple was allowed to fly out with their baby to Singapore.

Thai authorities have declared that foreign biological parents must obtain a court order before being able to depart through immigration channels, a process fraught with difficulty that is expected to take months.

The number of babies with Australian biological parents who are caught up in the drama in Bangkok could be as high as 300 because many of the couples have entered into arrangements to have twins.

In a Facebook message Steve and James, who do not want their surnames published, said “even though this situation is beyond our control and despite rumours of being arrested for human trafficking, having our baby returned to his birth mother or being placed in a Thai orphanage, we remain positive and hope to be home soon”.

James says many Australians who have pregnancies under way have not been able to contact their surrogates because of raids on clinics, including All IVF, the most popular clinic for Australians, which has been forced to close.

“It’s easy for us to say because our boy has been born but these parents should take a deep breath, relax – the pregnancies will progress and once everything is done, dusted and settled they will be able to renew their contact,” he says.

Holding Aleisha, the couple’s two-year-old daughter who was born to a surrogate mother in India, James says he and Steve are proud parents a second time.

“Who do you love?” he asks Aleisha. 

“Daddy and daddy,” she says.

Rhyley was born to a 30-year-old surrogate mother of two other children on July 31 at Bangkok Nursing Hospital, the day after Thai authorities decided to crackdown on the country’s booming surrogacy industry.

Steve says the surrogate asked to see the baby after the birth.

“She cried and touched my heart. It was raw emotion. She said ‘I am happy if you are happy',” he says.
“That was when we knew it was a business arrangement for her. She was happy to do it for us and had no intention of taking the baby from us … so from that moment we wanted her to see the baby, to feed the baby and hold the baby.”

Rhyley and Aleisha were born from the same egg donor, a 30-year-old Australian who flew to Bangkok after the birth to see the baby.

Steve and James each fathered one of the children.

James says if they cannot take Rhyley home for months Steve will stay in Bangkok and find a cheap hotel while he returns to work in Melbourne. The couple have already taken out additional loans to pay the tens of thousands of dollars for the surrogacy but say many of the other Australian couples are in dire financial strife. Some of them face losing their jobs unless they return to work soon.

“They are sacrificing everything for children they cannot have in Australia,” James says. “They thought they were going to be here five or six weeks now there are rumours they will have to stay three months or six months, or who knows how long,” he says.

Steve adds: “Their credit cards are maxed out. They have refinanced their homes. They have taken out personal loans.”

James says couples are being told different things and they do not know who to believe but are hoping Thailand’s military rulers will allow a moratorium for those with existing surrogacy agreements before laws are passed that will effectively ban commercial surrogacy in Thailand, except involving relatives. 

“That would be a very compassionate thing for the Thai government to do and would be a real show of faith that surrogacy has a place in the world,” he says.


Read more at SMH

[Australia] "Same-sex couples using Thai surrogates wait anxiously to bring children home" by David Hudson

Gay Star News is also reporting further on the Surrogacy situation in Thailand for Gay Couples.  Thankfully there are some signs it is improving.

A crackdown on commercial surrogacy in Thailand has left some intended parents unsure of their legal rights 

Thailand’s military government has acted swiftly introduce laws to curb commercial surrogacy in the country.

Until now, commercial surrogacy was not illegal in Thailand but rules and regulations around its practice were unclear. This made it a popular surrogacy destination for couples – both opposite-sex and same-sex – from countries such as Australia, where commercial surrogacy is banned.

The crackdown follows the international scandal provoked by the baby Gammy case, when an Australian couple paid a Thai woman to carry twins. After the children were born, the couple allegedly opted to only take their baby girl back to Australia and chose to leave her baby brother – who has Down's Syndrome – with the surrogate.

Last week, Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) approved draft legislation that will implement a range of rules and regulations regarding surrogacy in the country. Surrogacy payments will be limited to intended parents providing financial assistance for a surrogate mother’s health only, and surrogacy would be allowed for legally married couples that file a petition through a Thai court requesting parental rights to any children born. In effect, this would ban commercial surrogacy.

This has prompted anxiety and confusion with some intended parents who have already started surrogacy proceedings with women in Thailand – particularly same-sex couples, who are not mentioned in the draft legislation.


Saturday, August 16, 2014

[Australia] "Australian same-sex couple allowed to leave Thailand with newborn twins"

Some good news just out of Thailand via the ABC

An Australian same-sex couple at the centre of Thailand's surrogacy scandal has been able to leave the country with their newborn babies.

On Thursday, two Australian couples with babies born through commercial surrogacy deals were prevented from leaving Bangkok International Airport.

ABC NewsRadio can confirm one of the couples has now arrived in Singapore with their newborn twins who were born last month via surrogate.

It is understood the Australian Embassy in Bangkok is assisting several other families who remain in legal limbo in Thailand.

The Federal Government is urging people to seek independent legal advice before going to Thailand to arrange commercial surrogacy.

Current laws in South Australia, Western Australia and the ACT prevent same-sex couples from entering into surrogacy arrangements.

Parents who have had children through surrogates in Australia say the thriving overseas surrogacy market is being fuelled by messy Australian laws.

Thailand's newly formed national assembly, which is heavily dominated by members of the military, had been handed draft laws to ban commercial surrogacy earlier this week.

The ruling army general does not want Thailand to be a surrogacy hub and is expected to move quickly to outlaw the practice, essentially ending a lucrative foreign market.

The changes come in the wake of controversy surrounding a West Australian couple accused by their Thai surrogate of abandoning their newborn son - known as baby Gammy, who has Down syndrome - and only taking home his healthy twin sister.

It was later revealed father David Farnell has 22 child sex convictions, including unlawful and indecent dealing with girls as young as seven when he was in his 20s, but he says the girl is "100 per cent safe" in his care.

DFAT said it had updated its travel advice for Thailand to reflect changes in the country's surrogacy requirements.

Since the case of baby Gammy came to light, a number of fertility clinics have been raided and shut down.

[Australia] "Family Affair: Couples Still Fighting For Equality" by Patricia Karvalas


[Australia] "Thai Surrogacy Laws Mean Same-Sex Parents Will Wait Longer" by James Finlay

The problems with surrogacy and Thailand continue, however there is some hope that couples now have a pathway to take their children home.  How long the "court" processes will take is very unclear, and it is equally unclear how those courts will rule.  James Finlay from Gay News Network reports:

Victorian same-sex couples who are waiting for the birth of their babies by Thai surrogates have been assured they will be allowed to bring their children to Australia, but will have to obtain a court order.

The news comes amid a turbulent week following the ‘Gammy saga’ in which a Western Australian couple allegedly left their baby with Down syndrome with his surrogate in Thailand.

In light of the Thai Government’s recent ban on all new surrogacies and with many surrogacy agencies closing, couples who currently have surrogates carrying their babies or have embryos stored in Thai clinics were unsure if they would receive their children.

Rodney Chiang-Cruise from Gay Dads Australia told MCV the situation in Thailand had been very stressful for future parents.

"The past month or so has been a trying time for many gay men who were doing surrogacy in Thailand,” Chiang-Cruise said.

“The sudden change of practice with respect to surrogacy in Thailand had left many people anxious and concerned about whether they would be able to be at the birth of their children and whether they would be able to bring them home.

“It is welcome news that surrogacy advocates and the Australian government have been working behind the scenes with the Thai authorities to clarify existing surrogacy arrangements.”

Sam Everingham, founder of Surrogacy Australia, told MCV there are approximately 100 gay singles and couples that have Thai surrogates pregnant or have embryos stored in Thai clinics. 
“Thai agencies assure us that the care of currently pregnant surrogates is their primary priority.

They are going to extraordinary lengths to deliver that care in a difficult political environment,” he said.

However, Everingham said it is likely those waiting for their children to be born will have to go through the Thai court system to transfer legal parenting rights.

“Surrogacy Australia respects the importance of new laws to better regulate Thai surrogacy and align practice with existing guidelines of the Thai Medical Council,” he said.

“This will ensure that clinics are better regulated and the global community has improved confidence in Thailand’s IVF practices.”

Sappasit Kumprabban, who participated in drafting Thailand’s new surrogacy laws, said punishment for commercial surrogacy will not be retroactive.

“Assuming the bill is implemented today, a surrogate child born before or after law enforcement will be automatically the legitimate child of the commissioning parents,” he told the Bangkok Post.

Where an egg provider is used, as in the case of gay men, Sappasit said, “the bill provides a route for the commissioning father to claim parental rights over the child.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

[Australia] "‘Multi-parent families should be recognised’, says Family Law Council" by Natasha Bita

A piece in The Australian today touching on the issues around co-parenting and having more than 2 legal parents.  Complex and interesting.


CHILDREN should be allowed more than two legal parents, the Family Law Council has advised the federal government in the most sweeping reforms to parenting laws since shared custody.

Modern families have become so complex that some children consider several adults to be their “parents’’, the council concludes in a 210-page report released by Attorney-General George Brandis yesterday.

“The use of reproductive technologies and surrogacy to create families has also increased the number of potential parents that a child may have, including a mix of genetic, gestational, social and intending parents,’’ the report states.

“The law should provide scope for the recognition of more than two people to have parental responsibility for a child where that reflects the social reality of that family.’’

The council recommends that when a Family Court judge makes parenting orders, the word “parent’’ be substituted with a term such as “parent and other significant adults’’.

Custody should be granted to “more than two persons where that supports the child’s best interest’’.

The government’s advisory council calls for commonwealth legislation to clarify that sperm donors, egg donors or surrogate mothers are not legal “parents’’.

It recommends the government introduce a status of children act, to help the Family Court determine the parentage of children born through IVF and surrogacy.

The Family Law Act should be changed to “clarify that donors of genetic material are not legal parents’’, it says.

Australian parents who use their own embryos, sperm or eggs in surrogacy, however, should be recognised as the legal parents of surrogate children.

The report reveals that hundreds of Australian children born to surrogate women overseas now have “no secure legal relationship” to the genetic parents who are raising them in Australia.

“There is currently no capacity for the family courts to recognise or accord parental status to intended parents where children are born as a result of a commercial surrogacy arrangement,’’ the report says.

“Council is conscious that the number of children conceived as a result of overseas commercial surrogacy arrangements has increased dramatically in the past several years, despite the existence of Australian laws prohibiting such arrangements.

“As a consequence, it would seem that a large number of young children are growing up in Australia without any secure legal relationship to the parents who are raising them.”

The council recommends the Family Court should be given new powers to transfer legal parentage from the surrogate parents.

A judge would need to be satisfied the surrogate mother had given her “full and prior informed consent’’, as some surrogate mothers overseas have used a thumbprint to “sign” a contract.

The council warns that Australian parents are relying on DNA tests to prove a surrogate child is a “citizen by descent’’, apply for a passport and bring the child back to Australia. However, “the grant of citizenship by descent does not mean the intending parents are considered legal parents in Australian law’’.

The council also supports a wider definition of “parent” in indigenous communities, to embrace aunts, uncles or grandparents raising children.

It calls for legalisation of the customary adoption practice of Torres Strait Islanders, known as kupai omasker.

“Customary adoption is a widespread practice within Torres Strait Islander communities,’’ the report says. “It is used to maintain inheritance of traditional land, to ensure that family members who cannot have children due to infertility are able to raise a child, and to strengthen alliances between families.”

Mr Brandis said the government would respond to the recommendations “in due course’’.






[Australia] Family Law Council's "Report on Parentage and the Family Law Act" finally released. Surrogacy Recommendations.

On 14 August 2014, the Federal Attorney Generals department released the "Family Law Council" "Report on Parentage and the Family Law Act".  The report was in response to the former Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon request t consider a range of issues in relation to who is considered to be a parent of a child under the Fmaily Law Act 1975 (Cth).  The report was finalised in December 2013, but was only released today.

The report covers a range of areas relating to the Family Law Act, but Chapter 3 of the report is the one that is of particular interest to Gay men who have had children via surrogacy overseas. in particular, those who have used commercial surrogacy overseas to create their families.

Men who have children via surrogacy overseas return to Australia with their children only to find that they are not the legal parents of their children. Effectively, the children have no legal parents in Australia.  This applies to gay couples as well as straight couples.  This is different to those who have children via altruistic surrogacy in Australia under the various state and territory legislation.

This anomaly  was considered in Chapter 3 of the report.  And whilst it remains to be seen whether the Government will actually implement the recommendations, it is important that we note how significant they are for gay dads via surrogacy.

There are 5 recommendations in Chapter 3 dealing with Surrogacy, however it is the first 2 that are the most interesting.

Recommendation 12 states: 

The new federal Status of Children Act (see Recommendation 7) should contain provisions specifically dealing with applications for transfer of parentage in surrogacy cases where state and territory Acts do not apply. This should be based on a transfer of parentage process and not a presumption of parentage.

What this means is that they are recommending that these dads can now become legal parents of their children via a transfer of parentage process in the Courts.  This is a significant recommendation and will for instance all my husband and I to become the legal parents of our 7 year old.

The second significant recommendation (No. 13) ties in with No. 12. It states: 

The provisions in the new federal Status of Children Act dealing with the transfer of parentage in surrogacy cases where state and territory Acts do not apply should contain a set of minimum requirements based on the proposals considered by Ryan J in Ellison and Anor & Karnchanit [2012] FamCA 602 with the aim to ensure compliance with Australia’s international human rights obligations, including the following:

•That any order is subject to the best interests of the child;
•Provision is made for when the parties change their minds;
•Evidence of the surrogate mother’s full and prior informed consent;
•Evidence of the surrogacy agreement, including any sums paid;
•Consideration should be given to whether the intending parents have acted in good faith in relation to the surrogate mother;
•Evidence of the intending parent/s actions in relation to ensuring the child will have access to information concerning the child’s genetic, gestational and cultural origins;
•Provision is made that where a surrogacy arrangement involves multiple births, orders must be made in relation to all children born;
•The legality of the surrogacy arrangement should be a relevant consideration for the court when determining parentage.

This outlines the requirements that the surro-dads will need to meet in Court in order to gain access to a transfer of parentage and thus become the legal parents of their children.

These proposed provisions have been developed out of Ryan J decision in a particular surrogacy case.  They should be seen as very important for those people planning surrogacy overseas in future. They inform the intended parents of a minimum standard of care, oversight, behaviour and ethical conduct that is expected if they are to succeed in gaining a transfer of parentage.

Whilst there are no doubt some people who will find them onerous or maybe even consider them unfair, the reality is that they are aiming to reflect best practice in surrogacy cases such that the rights of all parties (the surrogate, intended parent and children) are all adequately considered and protected.

It is only a report with recommendations at this stage, but for surrogate dads and their kids, this is a huge step forward in the long road to actually becoming legal parents of our children.

Read the Full Report Here.

Rodney Chiang-Cruise
Co-Moderator Gay Dads Australia

[Taiwan] "Lesbian couple raising twins sue Taiwanese government to get both recognized as mothers" by Andrew Potts

Chou Shu-chi and Wang Shu-yi are raising twins together but the Taiwanese Government refuses to recognize Wang as a legal guardian of her children as she was not the birth mother

Taiwanese lesbians Chou Shu-chi and Wang Shu-yi are suing the Taiwanese Government after it refused to recognize them both as legal guardians of the twins they are raising together.

The couple have been together for 15 years since meeting in college and four years ago they decided they wanted to start a family so Chou traveled to Canada to undergo an assisted reproduction procedure.

The couple were told there was a 60% chance the procedure would not work so they were blown over when they discovered they were having twins - a boy and a girl.

Read more at GayStarNews

Friday, July 4, 2014

[Australia] New & Significant Research of Same Sex Parented Families by Dr Simon Crouch

Dr Simon Crouch
Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey

Dr Simon Crouch, along with co-authors Elizabeth Waters, Ruth McNair, Jennifer Power and Elise Davis have just published a journal article entitled "Parent-reported measures of child health and wellbeing in same-sex parent families: a cross-sectional survey". BMC Public Health 2014, 14:635.

Dr Crouch has been at the centre of this large and comprehensive study known as ACHESS (Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families) and this paper details how well children of same-sex parented families are doing.  I strongly recommend that you take the time to read it and share it.  Research of this scale has not been done previously in Australia and the findings are significant.

Background
It has been suggested that children with same-sex attracted parents score well in psychosocial aspects of their health, however questions remain about the impact of stigma on these children. Research to date has focused on lesbian parents and has been limited by small sample sizes. This study aims to describe the physical, mental and social wellbeing of Australian children with same-sex attracted parents, and the impact that stigma has on them.

Methods
A cross-sectional survey, the Australian Study of Child Health in Same-Sex Families, was distributed in 2012 to a convenience sample of 390 parents from Australia who self-identified as same-sex attracted and had children aged 0-17 years. Parent-reported, multidimensional measures of child health and wellbeing and the relationship to perceived stigma were measured.

Results
315 parents completed the survey (completion rate?=?81%) representing 500 children. 80% of children had a female index parent while 18% had a male index parent. Children in same-sex parent families had higher scores on measures of general behavior, general health and family cohesion compared to population normative data (??=?2.93, 95% CI?=?0.35 to 5.52, P?=?.03; ??=?5.60, 95% CI?=?2.69 to 8.52, P?=?<.001; and ??=?6.01, 95% CI?=?2.84 to 9.17, P?=?<.001 respectively). There were no significant differences between the two groups for all other scale scores. Physical activity, mental health, and family cohesion were all negatively associated with increased stigma (??=?-3.03, 95% CI?=?-5.86 to -0.21, P?=?.04; ??=?-10.45, 95% CI?=?-18.48 to -2.42, P?=?.01; and ??=?-9.82, 95% CI?=?-17.86 to -1.78, P?=?.02 respectively) and the presence of emotional symptoms was positively associated with increased stigma (? =0.94, 95% CI?=?0.08 to 1.81, P?=?.03).

Conclusions
Australian children with same-sex attracted parents score higher than population samples on a number of parent-reported measures of child health. Perceived stigma is negatively associated with mental health. Through improved awareness of stigma these findings play an important role in health policy, improving child health outcomes.

[Declaration: Rodney Chiang-Cruise acted as a liaison between the research team and the GLBTI parenting community, particularly Gay Dads Australia]

Read the full Paper at BioMedCentral

Other Papers by Dr Simon Crouch

Triumphs and challenges in recruiting same‐sex parent families - S Crouch, E Waters, R McNair, J Power, E Davis, L van Mourik - Australian and New Zealand journal of public health 38 (1), 87-88

What makes a same-sex parented family? - SR Crouch, RP McNair, EB Waters, JJ Power - Medical Journal of Australia 199 (2), 94-96

ACHESS–The Australian study of child health in same-sex families: background research, design and methodology - SR Crouch, E Waters, R McNair, J Power, E Davis - BMC public health 12 (1), 646

[Australia] Mark and Matt - Surrogate Dads Share Their Wonderful Journey

It is always wonderful to see and read the stories of gay dads and their journeys to fatherhood.  Mark and Matt, a South Australian gay couple take us through their journey to becoming dads to two wonderful kids. Sharing stories like this is so powerful and inspiring.

Mark and Matt made headlines in January when they travelled to Thailand for the birth of their two children via commercial surrogacy. Five months down the track, they tell Blaze about their journey so far.

Being a same-sex parent has been and will continue to be a life changing and fulfilling journey for us. We’re absolutely thrilled to wake up each morning greeted by our two lively children, Estelle and Tate. It’s now been five months since the births of our children through commercial surrogacy in Thailand. There’s something amazing about the way they look at the world with their bright eyes and laugh and smile at almost everything. They’re happy and healthy, which is worth the world to us. The love and support shown to us by our families and community has been overwhelmingly positive. We love these two more than anything and could not be happier with where life has taken us.

We always intended to have children one day, and had considered the options available to us in South Australia. South Australia is one of the few Australian states where same-sex couples are not able to adopt, so we knew that our most likely options were surrogacy or fostering. With commercial surrogacy illegal in Australia we had to consider international options. While India has been a popular destination for commercial surrogacy in past years, changes to Indian surrogacy law around a year ago now prevents singles and same-sex couples from undertaking surrogacy there. The US is another option, but at over $100 000 for one pregnancy it wasn’t financially viable for us. So we looked into surrogacy in Thailand, which costs around $40 000, and has been growing in popularity for Australians since the changes in India.

Read More at GNN

Monday, June 16, 2014

[USA] "Gay men looking to surrogacy for children" by Beth Roessner, The Desert Sun

It is Father's Day in the USA and there are lots of stories on Gay Dads - it is wonderful to see.

Panic.

That's what Scott Hartzel felt when he learned his surrogate had multiple eggs developing.

He understood that this helped increase the likelihood of fertilization, but the thought of so many children was intimidating.

Then, he and his partner Scott Russell learned they were having twins. Panic turned to elation.

"I really wanted a girl out of this," said Hartzel. "We kind of knew it was going to be twins all along... My oldest is a girl and I thought, 'Can't I have just one more girl?' "

Fatherhood is a life changer, resulting in dirty diapers, soccer games and an immense sense of pride. It's also evolving, with today's dads taking on a larger role in parenting compared to previous generations. With same-sex marriage at the forefront, many gay men are pursuing adoption and surrogacy to bring children into their lives.

The Hartzel-Russell family, who now reside in Thermal, were living in Mississippi while their surrogate was in Arizona. The surrogate was inseminated with Russell's sperm and her eggs were used.

Read More at The Desert Sun

Sunday, June 15, 2014

[USA] "From Caskets to Cradles: Miracles for Gay Men That Would Have Been Insane a Few Years Ago" by Stuart Bell

Many years ago a guy called Stuart Bell (and many others) from Growing Generations helped create our family.  Today, I read a really interesting piece in the Huffington Post, called "From Caskets to Cradles: Miracles for Gay Men That Would Have Been Insane a Few Years Ago".

""Would you blow dry my hair?"

Charley asked this as if it were perfectly normal for one man to blow dry another man's hair.

No, Charley was not my lover, and I was not a hairdresser. Charley was my patient, and he was so weak from AIDS that he could no longer lift the blow dryer. He knew the end was near, but he wanted one more night on the town before he died.

So I picked up the blow dryer, and, while we watched each other in the mirror, I carefully brushed his hair while drying it. It was perhaps the most intimate act I had ever experienced in my 25 years of living.

Of course, Charley was not completely thrilled with my attempt. "It's too poofy," he said. We both laughed and tried to get his hair to flatten out a bit.

The year was 1991. I had graduated from college a few months prior and had taken a job at Nashville CARES, an AIDS nonprofit serving all of middle Tennessee. I went from the carefree life of a closeted fraternity boy to being an openly gay man fighting a war against AIDS where death always won."

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