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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

PVED NYC Meeting Recap 5.17.15

Sunday's NYC PVED Meetup was fantastic. PVED Hosted their first ever luncheon in NYC and Marna Gatlin, Founder and CEO, had her first visit to NY. I hope NY was as kind to Marna as she was to us. PVED.ORG is THE resource for third party reproduction and parenting.

I first met Marna 13 years ago on a yahoo group called MVED, Mothers via Egg Donation. We became part of a small community of family-builders. We had each other to laugh with, cry with, coach and encourage. Marna went on to form PVED, a non-profit, and I went on to form The NYC Gathering.

The first presenter on Sunday was Amelia (Amy) Demma who sits on  the PVED board. Follow your heart on your family building journey but seek legal counsel and have the appropriate contracts in place. Amelia can help you in NY State or help you find an attorney in another state. She specializes in Embryo Donation and has experience in all facets of third party reproduction.

Amelia also mentioned legislation which is being proposed in Albany by Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan. Due to New York's laws on surrogacy agreements, the senator and his husband had to have their daughter in California.

Hoylman and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, sponsor the Child-Parent Security Act (A.6701/S.4617), which would create legal requirements and conditions for paying someone to carry and birth a child. I believe the bill also covers egg donation.

The next presenter was Carole Lieber-Wilkins of LAFAMILYBUILDING, also on the board at PVED. Carole is the parent of child #11 conceived through egg donation in the 1980's. She is also an adoptive parent. She adapted the model of talking to her child about adoption to talk about egg donation. Carole drove home the point that the parents of donor-conceived are the only parents, the donor is a donor, another person but not the parent.

A resource for literature for kids and parents is the DCN, Donor Conception Network. They have books for sale as well as a series of free downloadable articles called Telling and Talking, broken down by age group.

Marna wrapped things up by sharing her story as a parent to a 15 yr old son conceived via egg donation and her passion for helping others on a similar path. She used an anonymous donor and a decade later asked her clinic to contact the donor to see if she would be open to contact from Marna and family. The answer was YES and they have met in person and become close. She also recommends the Donor Sibling Registry which also connects donors and families, as well as families to each other who might have genetic siblings through shared or repeat donor cycles.

Marna is available to answer questions, consult on family-building, and support you on your journey. PVED offers a number of forums for contact with others going through or have been through the process, and so much more.

Thank you again to Marna, Amelia and Carole.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Monthly Support Group Meeting led by Patricia Mendell Thursday June 4, 2015

Thursday, June 4, 2015


The FBN is a monthly support group that brings together families formed with the help of egg/sperm/embryo donation and/or surrogacy as well as parents-to-be; giving them the opportunity to ask questions, get answers to their concerns, share experiences and feel supported.
The decision to parent with the help of donors/surrogates involves multiple choices. Many parents are unsure whether they should tell their children about their conception. Even for those who make the decision to tell, the uncertainty of how and when to begin this conversation can often result in years passing by and children not being told about their genetic origins. Fear of "doing it wrong" or "being rejected" by their children seems to become the biggest roadblocks to talking and sharing.

The monthly FBN meetings provide a safe and comfortable place where you need not feel alone or different. Often, listening and sharing stories with others can give parents the confidence needed to not only start the talk with their children and others, but continue to grow the conversation.


Discussions will include:
    • Tools for talking about donor conception with children

    • The importance of language in the disclosure story

    • How to answer questions from your child and others

    • How children's questions change over time

    • The latest books for parents and children






Thursday, June 4, 2015

7:00-8:30 pm

$20 per person, $30 per family

902 Broadway (between 20th-21st Sts. next to
920 Broadway), 13th Floor, NYC 10010

Patricia Mendell, LCSW, 212-819-1778


Upcoming dates: 6/4

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Chapter two

In the new school, mom is now married. She is asked by new friends where is your real dad and she says he's in Europe .

Sara Axel
Sent from my iPhone

My So-Called Family by Courtney Scheinmel

One of my 10 yr old girls is an avid reader and picked this book up from the tween section at our library. She hasn't started reading it so I did. I'll recap and review here as I go. The inside cover says the girl in the book is Sperm Donor Conceived and searches for a donor sibling through their Sperm Bank Registry. Chapter One reveals that the girl is in seventh grade, daughter of a choice mom, she knows and understands the story of her conception. She has always lied to her friends that her father lives in Europe so that she wouldnt be ''different''. Word gets out about the Sperm Donor and the kids in school tease her, calling her ''science experiment''. She is happy to be relocating. My reaction-This will be my kids first encounter with negative attitudes about ivf or donor (the book doesnt say which part the kids are making fun of). Sad. We also used an anonymous donor, with no registry at our clinic. I joined the DSR but have not pursued trying to make any connections there. Sad not to have identifying info to give my kids. My feeling is that I am their mother, the donor is a "genetic other" to quote Diane Ehrensaft from "Mommies, Daddies, Donors, Surrogates". If my kids want to seek out this connection I dont have a problem with it but it did take me a long time to come to terms with it. Now I regret the anonymity altogether.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fwd: Making choices from a place of love or fear?

Sara Axel
Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Wendy Kramer <>
Date: June 18, 2014 at 9:58:04 AM EDT
To: Wendy Kramer <>
Subject: Making choices from a place of love or fear?

Since participating in the Katie Couric Show in which an egg donor meets her donor daughter for the first time, I've been mulling over, and simplifying this issue down to the basics.  I have these thoughts…

Making choices from a place of love or fear?

Getting to spend time with Janet, Jim, and Brittan before, and after the Katie show was inspiring. Because Jim has a genetic connection to his daughter, I was more focused on Janet, Brittan's mom, as many of the non-genetic parents in donor families seem to struggle much more with the idea of their children connecting with donor relatives.  Decisions about donor conception, including the ones about connecting to unknown relatives, can be complicated, but I suggest we can simplify these decisions down to just two choices, love or fear.

When looking at the choice that mom Janet made, to open up her life to her egg donor, I see it as choosing between love and fear. Fears might include complicating your life, or opening your family up to a situation that might be out of your control. The truth is that as your child grows up and heads into the world, these concerns, as well as a plethora of others, are realized regularly, in our everyday lives of raising children. So we can keep our kids safe, at all cost, or give them opportunities to expand themselves in the world, and learn about their own power, strength, and their ability to open themselves up to love.

Certainly, when faced with opening our lives to unknown genetic relatives, we might feel fear, confusion or worry. We can make choices solely based on these feelings. We can let our feelings of insecurity as parents hold us back. What if my child likes them better? How will the dynamics of our family be changed? What if my child realizes that I haven't been a "perfect" parent? None of us have been "perfect" parents- and meeting the donor isn't going to out this fact (those with teenagers can count on them to do this!).

We have the opportunity in these situations, to make our choices coming from a place of love, instead of from fear. We can choose to see the opportunities in reaching out and connecting- in expanding our child's, and our own sense of family.  We can be open to this new idea of family and see how it actually might strengthen our relationship with our child, not threaten it in any way.

When we watched Janet, we saw a confident and strong parent. Did she have fears and hesitations?  Yes, most certainly. Did she realize that the benefits for her child would largely outweigh any concerns she might have had?  It sure appears so. We watched Janet be empowered as a parent, and witnessed her confidence, love, and support.  She had the grace to not only meet, but to completely embrace her egg donor JoLana, on national television no less. We felt her sense of gratitude, and wonder, as she looked into the eyes and held the hand of the woman who made it possible for her to have her beautiful daughter.

Janet rose to the occasion, and was therefore empowered in her role as parent to Brittan.  She put the needs and desires of her child (to seek out and connect with her egg donor) above those of herself and this is the ultimate sacrifice that parents make for their children.  It is also the greatest gift we can give to our children, and to ourselves.


"There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life." ~ John Lennon


​First 3 segments of Katie can be seen here:​

Wendy Kramer

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children.
One is roots; the other wings." - Hodding Carter

Finding Our Families: A First-of-Its-Kind Book for Donor Conceived People and Their Families

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fwd: June 12th Katie Couric Show- Egg Donor Meets Teen Offspring

Sara Axel
Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Wendy Kramer <>
Date: June 3, 2014 at 8:13:22 AM EDT
To: Wendy Kramer <>
Subject: June 12th Katie Couric Show- Egg Donor Meets Teen Offspring

The piece will feature a 16 year old girl and her parents meeting their egg donor, and her two daughters, for the first time. Very emotional and it shows how important these connections can be - for all involved.
Please forward to anyone who might benefit from seeing this type of a meeting. It's important for prospective parents to actually see offspring who long to know about the invisible sides of themselves, and how rewarding these connections can be- for not only the children, but also for the donors and parents.

This family was profoundly moved by the opportunity to meet each other 2 months ago, and they continue to re-define and expand their new family.  As more stories like this get out into the public, and with growing numbers of clinics and agencies writing the DSR into their contracts between egg donors and recipients to establish contact right from the start, these types of connections will be much more common.

Check your local listings for exact times (usually at 3:00) and ABC channel.

Best wishes,


"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children.
One is roots; the other wings." - Hodding Carter

Finding Our Families: A First-of-Its-Kind Book for Donor Conceived People and Their Families

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Baby-Making Business: on the front lines of Toronto’s booming, semi-legal surrogacy market |

What effect will calling third party reproduction a "baby-making business" have on my children. Yes, medicine is a business but it pains me how insensitive people and business can be.

Sara Axel
Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Sara Axel
Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Wendy Kramer <>
Date: September 1, 2013, 8:46:03 AM EDT
To: Sara <>

MTV News & Docs announces a new docu-series! Six episodes of the compelling new one-hour docu-drama Generation Cryo will explore the issues faced by a new generation of kids coming of age who were conceived via anonymous sperm donors and are redefining what it means to be a family. The series will document the journey of Breeanna, a 17-year-old only child, who recently logged onto the DSR and learned that she has at least 15 half-siblings all fathered by a man none of them know. Now, Bree's on a mission to meet all of her half-brothers and sisters and lead them on a nationwide search to find their biological father. July 27, 2013 LA Times article!

"There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One is roots; the other wings." - Hodding Carter

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Upcoming TV Show focuses on Donor Conceived

From Wendy Kramer- of The Donor Sibling Registry- we also have a tv show coming out this fall that focuses on a 17 year old donor conceived girl who meets many of her half siblings, while also searching for her donor. I think you will find it interesting as we show many of the mixed feelings of both the donor kids, and the parents.,0,4558835.story