Wednesday, May 6, 2015

[AU] "Changes proposed by Surrogacy Australia would make paying for arrangement illegal" by Sally Brooks

An interesting story just posted to the ABC Australia website by Sally Brooks on surrogacy in the Northern Territory.  It is a Territory that we don't hear about often and this piece includes some comment from Sam Everingham.

A group supporting surrogate families says the Northern Territory Government should outlaw commercial surrogacy, but make it legal for a woman to be paid compensation to carry a child.

Surrogacy Australia will send a draft bill to Attorney-General John Elferink, which, if legislated, would bring the Territory's laws into line with other states.

The NT is the only jurisdiction in Australia without surrogacy legislation.

This means commercial and altruistic surrogacy is technically allowed in the NT, although medical professionals are regulated by Commonwealth ethical guidelines which ban assisting people with commercial surrogacy.

Paying a woman to carry someone else's child is prohibited in every other jurisdiction, but altruistic surrogacy is allowed and regulated.

Surrogacy Australia founder Sam Everingham said there are key differences between paying a woman compensation to carry a child and allowing commercial surrogacy.

Under commercial models, surrogates must surrender the child post birth, he said.

"In Australia, under an altruistic model, the surrogate is allowed to change her mind, although that hardly ever happens, but that's one of the positions of an altruistic model," he said.

"The UK is a good example it has an altruistic model that Australia has, but it does allow compensation of surrogates to a capped amount."

Continue Reading at ABC News.

[AU] Let's Help Lee and Sandra Get Married (in NZ!) and Honeymoon before it is too late!

A GoFundMe campaign I am right behind is the one started by Australian Marriage Equality to help an lesbian couple from Tasmania get married before one of them, who has a terminal condition, passes.  Of course, we'd love it if they could do it in Australia but alas we are still in the dinosaur age here.  But New Zealand....oh...New Zealand.  Equality proudly exists in New Zealand.

Lets help Lee and Sandra get married, have a honeymoon and reception before it is too late.  Every dollar helps.  Spare a couple of cups of coffee and donate today.  It is good karma.

Lee and Sandra’s wedding is on!

In only two days people from all over the world have helped us reach the minimum we needed to book Sandra and Lee's flights to New Zealand and their accommodation.

They are over-joyed by the generosity of strangers and are so excited that their dream is coming true.

While Sandra and Lee are relieved they will be touching down in Rotorua very soon, we at Australian Marriage Equality want their marriage to be a truly memorable moment for them.

With Lee's health failing, their wedding in Rotorua will be their last adventure as a couple. We have a unique opportunity to make it special.

We have raised our target to $15,000. Your donation will go towards a small reception in New Zealand for Lee and Sandra and a short honeymoon for the happy couple.

Help us turn the injustice of this couple being forced to marry in another country into a beautiful, trans-Tasman celebration of love and commitment.

Donate Here...Now!

[US] "Johnston County Woman Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Hopeful Parents"

Another disturbing "surrogacy" case, this time from the United States, via ABC in the USA.

SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WTVD) -- Jennifer Soronen pleaded guilty Tuesday to 11 counts of conversion by bailee, which is a type of fraud.

We first introduced you Soronen back in May of 2013 during an I-Team Troubleshooter investigation.

It was then a Fort Bragg couple came to Troubleshooter Diane Wilson after they hired Soronen and her company Baby Steps Egg Donation LLC, which had offices in Smithfield and Cary. The couple paid Sorenen more than $5,000 for an egg donor. That never happened and the couple wanted their money back. When we confronted Sorenen, she said it was all a misunderstanding and did refund the couple their $5,000.

However, there were more victims. Investigators say Soronen stole money from 11 couples who attempted to find surrogates through Soronen's company. In all, Soronen took more than $183,387.14 from the couples. We're told Soronen used the money for personal services including breast augmentation along with hair and nail treatments.

After pleading guilty, a judge sentenced Soronen to at least four years behind bars. She was also ordered her to pay $183,387.14 in restitution to her victims.

In court, Soronen did apologize for her actions.

Read More at ABC here.

[UK] "Surrogate mother launched hate campaign against baby's gay father" by John Bingham

This case illustrates the vital importance of written agreements and screened IPs and Surrogates. Good agencies are important to managing the surrogacy process - just as much as good intentions are.  This is not a DIY activity!!!

A “duplicitous and manipulative” mother who tricked a gay couple into an informal surrogacy arrangement so that she could get pregnant has been ordered to hand the toddler over to them.
In the first ruling of its kind in England and Wales, Ms Justice Russell ruled that the girl is “more likely than not to suffer harm” if she were brought up by her obsessive mother rather than by her father and his partner.

The court heard how the woman kept the 15-month-old girl with her 24 hours a day, sleeping in the same bed, being carried around in a sling, and breast-fed on demand day and night.

A judgment details how the woman, who cannot be identified, was considering continuing to breast-feed the girl – known as M - for “several years” to come.

Read More at The Telegraph.

Perth Free Seminar 18 May 2015 - IVF Options

Sydney Free Seminar 15 May 2015 - IVF Options

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

[USA] "Transgender Men Who Experienced Pregnancy After Female-to-Male Gender Transitioning" Obsetetrics & Gynecology

OBJECTIVE: To conduct a cross-sectional study of transgender men who had been pregnant and delivered after transitioning from female-to-male gender to help guide practice and further investigation.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We administered a web-based survey from March to December 2013 to inquire about demographics, hormone use, fertility, pregnancy experience, and birth outcomes. Participants were not required to have been on hormone therapy to be eligible. We used a mixed-methods approach to evaluate the quantitative and qualitative data.

RESULTS: Forty-one self-described transgender men completed the survey. Before pregnancy, 61% (n=25) had used testosterone. Mean age at conception was 28 years with a standard deviation of 6.8 years. Eighty-eight percent of oocytes (n=36) came from participants' own ovaries. Half of the participants received prenatal care from a physician and 78% delivered in a hospital. Qualitative themes included low levels of health care provider awareness and knowledge about the unique needs of pregnant transgender men as well as a desire for resources to support transgender men through their pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: Transgender men are achieving pregnancy after having socially, medically, or both transitioned. Themes from this study can be used to develop transgender-appropriate services and interventions that may improve the health and health care experiences of transgender men.

Available at Obstetrics & Gynecology

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

[USA] "Analysis: PolitiFact Is Wrong; Social Science Does Show Children Do Best With a Mom and a Dad"

OK.....I don't normally promote this rubbish, but have a look at how so-called "christians" fail to understand what Science is (hardly surprising, is it!).  This embarrassing rubbish was posted on "Christian Post".  

The only consolidation is that hardly anyone believes this rubbish any more.  The sounds of the desperate, last stand by people who think the earth is 6000 years old!

Despite a wealth of social science research showing that children do best when raised by their biological, married mother and father, PolitiFact rated this claim "false" after Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, stated it on Fox News Sunday.

"We know from the social science that children do best with a mom and a dad," Perkins said on the Oct. 12 Sunday morning news show.

Later that afternoon, PolitiFact posted an article rating the statement "false."
A 2013 report by Child Trends summarizing social science research on the topic stated, however, that, "on average, children in single-parent families are more likely to have problems than are children who live in intact families headed by two biological parents."

Children raised in homes that experience a divorce are more likely to have "academic and behavior problems" such as "depression, antisocial behavior, impulsive/hyperactive behavior, and school behavior problems."

And, children raised by stepparents "have lower levels of well-being than children growing up with biological parents." Which means "it is not simply the presence of two parents, as some have assumed, but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children's development." (Emphasis in original.)

Continue Reading (if you can be bothered) at the UnChristian Post.

[Ireland] "Government to address surrogacy law by end of year" by Fiona Gartland

Minister for Justice says State ‘had to appeal case as it would have overturned existing law’

A memo on an Assisted Reproduction Bill to deal with surrogacy will be brought to Government by the end of the year, Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has said.

Speaking following a landmark decision from the Supreme Court that the birth mother of twins born by surrogacy is their legal mother, Mr Varadkar said legislation on assisted human reproduction, surrogacy and gamete donation is long overdue.

He said he would consult with Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Government colleagues and others on the preparation of this Bill, which is “likely to deal with the issues of legal parentage, surrogacy, egg and sperm donation, and other related issues”.

“Our prime concern here is that any law protects, promotes and ensures the health and safety of parents, others involved in the process such as donors and surrogate mothers, and most importantly, the children who will be born as a result of assisted reproduction,” the Minister said.

The Supreme Court ruled, by a majority of six to one that under current law the surrogate mother, as the birth mother of the twins at the centre of the case, should be registered as their legal mother.

Continue Reading at Irish Times

[Australia] "Victoria clinic sperm demand prompts calls to use overseas donors" by Beau Donelly

Victoria's donor sperm supply has plunged in the past year as fertility clinics struggle to recruit enough men to meet demand, strengthening a push for donor sperm to be imported from overseas.

The Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority said demand for donor sperm from single women and same-sex couples was outstripping supply, with the number of people accessing donor insemination more than tripling in the past four years.

Its annual report shows the number of donors whose sperm was available on July 1 dropped by 23 per cent compared to the previous year, from 445 to 343, while the number of men signing up to become sperm donors dropped from 64 to 61. 

"Everyone's having problems," chief executive Louise Johnson said. "Except for one small clinic, everyone was reporting that their supplies of donor sperm had dropped."

While donor sperm rates dropped sharply last year, they are still at their second highest rate in a decade, which the industry says is due to donor recruitment campaigns.

Ms Johnson said there has been a surge in demand for donor sperm in the four years since legislative changes made it possible for fertile women to access treatment. VARTA reports the number of women using donor insemination increased from 92 in 2009-10 to 311 this year.

Continue Reading at The Age

[Ireland] "‘Real hope but another reality’: Surrogacy and same-sex parenting in Ireland" The Journal IE.

There are some important and interesting things happening in Ireland with respect to surrogacy.

A LANDMARK CASE in the Supreme Court this week saw the status quo remain in place – that the genetic mother of a child born to a surrogate could not appear on its birth certificate.

According to Ireland’s current laws, genetics only counts when it comes to fatherhood, not motherhood.

To be a legal mother, the child must be born out of your body.

It seems like an unbelievable position for the court to take but the Chief Justice underlined that she had no other option. It was not the job of the courts to create a “golden rule” for motherhood. It was up to the lawmakers of the country. She basically told the big wigs in Leinster House to pull the finger out on this one and come up with some legislation on surrogacy.

As a solicitor for one of the sisters involved in the case said outside the court, “Surrogacy is happening… These aren’t the only family involved in this particular kind of case.”

And there are potentially hundreds more who will need legal clarity in the near future.

As a visiting fertility specialist told an audience at a same-sex parenting seminar held in Dublin’s city centre this week, “there is a global revolution happening and Ireland is just entering it”.

Dr Brandon Bankowski of Oregon Reproductive Medicine was one of a number of experts to speak 
to more than 50 same-sex couples on Wednesday evening in the Westbury Hotel.

He was addressing those couples as ones who had “made the first step… to dream of becoming parents”.

Continue Reading at The Journal. 

[UK] "Gay couple to become fathers to three babies in just seven months after meeting three different surrogate mothers online" by Lucy Crossley

This is published in the Daily Mail Australia so of course who knows how true the story is, but here it is....

A gay couple are to become parents to three children by three women they met via surrogacy websites.

For the past 15 years, Daryl Lee, 41, and Luke Harris, 50, had longed to have children and joined a number of online forums in an attempt to find a suitable surrogate.

They made contact with one of the women, Becky Harris, 27, and through her met Bex Harris, 32, and Viktoria Ellis, 32.

The couple had always dreamed of having a large family, but were shocked to find that this would happen sooner then they expected when all three women, who live in Suffolk, became pregnant.

Mr Lee, 41, is the biological father of two of the children, while Mr Harris, 50, gave his sperm for the third. All three babies will be born within seven months of each other, between January and July next year. 

Continue Reading at Daily Mail

Saturday, November 8, 2014

[USA] "Mourning his husband, devoted gay dad still wanted his babies to enjoy their first Halloween " by David Hudson

This is a powerful piece, reminding us what family is.  

‘I am widower. My husband loved Halloween but unfortunately he passed away last May and never got to enjoy the babies first Halloween, so in his memory I'm trying to enjoy as much as we can.’ 

Jorge Goytizolo and his partner Philip Parrish always loved dressing up at Halloween.

The two met in 1998 and got married in New York in 2013.

They became parents to twins Santiago and Ella in February of this year, through the use of a surrogate mom in Guatemala.

Overjoyed with their children, the Fort Lauderdale couple looked forward to enjoying their first Halloween as a family.

However, it was not to be. Tragically, Philip passed away suddenly in May following a battle against brain cancer. It hadn’t been until their surrogate mom was six months pregnant that they realized how seriously ill Philip had become.

His death, aged just 48, was a devastating blow for Jorge [pictured right with Philip], who not only had to deal with the grief of losing his beloved husband, but also had to cope with the challenge of suddenly becoming a single parent to twin babies.

Continue Reading at Gay Star News

[Daylesford] Unofficial & Informal Rainbow Families Weekend at ChillOut 2015 (6-9 March)

Attention: Gay Dads & Rainbow Families

For many years groups of GLBTI families have spent the weekend or just a day at Daylesford for ChillOut.

Once again a group of gay dads are heading up on the weekend of ChillOut and it would be awesome if we can get as many other Rainbow Families to ChillOut as possible.

The weekend is fun and very rainbow family friendly.  If you come up for a day, then make it the Carnival Day on Sunday.  If you come up for the weekend, why not rent a house or caravan - either just your family or split the costs with another.

Each year we go with a group of other gay dads and kids.  Each year we meet lots of new Rainbow Families and their kids (and lots who are keen to become parents).

Organising big weekend events are always challenging but if you are thinking of a weekend away with Rainbow Families, why not make it ChillOut 2015.

The Rainbow Families have heaps of opportunities to connect at the parade and carnival, as well as other events over the weekend.  Closer to the date I will try and organise a contact list of those families going if people are interested.

ChillOut is on from 6-9 March 2015 (Labour Day Long Weekend) in Daylesford - See the website

There are at quite a few Rainbow Families already going - hope to see you there.

Rodney Chiang-Cruise
Co-Moderator Gay Dads Australia

[Australia] Free USA Surrogacy Event: Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane

Gay Dads Australia have just received notification that Growing Generations together with The Fertility Center of Las Vegas will be holding 3 seminars in Australia in mid December.  The Flyer is attached.

Monday, 15 December 2014 6:00-8:00pm
Uniting Church Hall 52 Merthyr Road, New Farm, QLD  4005

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 6:00-8:00pm
Seminar Room One State Library ofVictoria 328 Swanston Street
MelbourneVictoria 3000 Tel +613 86647291

Saturday, 20 December 2014 3:00-5:00pm
Sydney Mechanics’ School ofArts MitchellTheatre 280 Pitt Street

The Speakers include:

Stephen Page - Surrogacy Lawyer from Harrington Family Lawyers in Brisbane

Dr Kim Bergman, Psychologist and Co-Owner of Surrogacy Agency, Growing Generations, Los Angeles

Said T Daneshmand MD, the Practice Director at The Fertility Center of Las Vegas.

If you wish to attend, please see details on the flyer.  This is a free event.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The moderators of Gay Dads Australia have a strict policy to not endorse any agency, lawyers, clinics etc with respect to Surrogacy.  We will however promote free seminar events by Agencies (etc) when they come to Australia.  They happen rarely and so they are an opportunity to meet relevant people in the industry without having to venture overseas first.

Take advantage of these opportunities, even if you are planning to use a different agency or IVF clinic.  Many of the issues they cover will be similar.

As always, if people are aware of other free surrogacy related events coming to Australia, please let us know.