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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The hidden costs of artificial reproductive technology |

The article ends with this statement:

"Few clinics provide ongoing counseling for all of the parties involved, especially for the children who are the offspring of a donor."

My response: I don't know any clinics that do this! Please emal me directly at if you know of any.


Sara Axel

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

CT Fertility Launches “The Greatest Gift of All” Campaign Encouraging Embryo Donations to Parents in Need

A clinic here in the NE is getting behind this family-building option that I long ago thought could be the next big thing. And very disappointed that its has not become so. Scratching the surface and moving beyond the ban on stem cell research and personhood, the industry is finally reaching out to the broader base to hopeful parents-to-be.

Sara Axel

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Trivia Question Of The Day

Is this, and was Ringo wearing a tie on the original cover of Yellow Submarine?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dr Oz, Eggsploitation, and What I Wore

I stand by everything I said about the film Eggsploitation, almost a year since I saw the film at Fordham and Columbia U Law Schools. I have not seen Anonymous Fathers Day, and I will probably not when it screens on January 29, 2012 in NYC at a Digital Art Gallery. 

I was, however, asked to be part of a special section of 40 people to attend the taping of The Dr Oz Show this past Friday, 12-9-11. The Topic: HOW OLD IS TOO OLD TO HAVE A BABY? I never saw the Dr Oz Show until I attended this taping. I was prepped on the phone and in person the day of the taping on what the questions would be, about being a 50  yr old mom of 7 yr old twins. The producer I spoke to asked for passionate participation and said there would be people on the other side of the argument, but that she never heard of Jennifer Lahl, Eggsploitation, Shark Tank Girl, Family Scholars or Elizabeth Marquardt. Something told me otherwise (maybe the little birdie I tell my kids about, the one that comes to talk to you when you are a mom). 

I was ushered in to the studio after passing several security check points starting at 8:15am, signing the release form, getting the bracelet to wear so I could give up my belongings for 3 hrs to sit without a bathroom break or even to stretch my legs. No water bottles allowed under your seat, they reflect on camera, it was to go until about 12noon.

During the taping, I raised my hand a few times to speak but was never called upon for a direct question or to add to the discussions. I had no book or film to promote, no organization to do PR or cultivate a relationship or free press for, but I did take a vacation day from work for this and I could use my show ticket to receive a 10% discount on merchandise sold at the Studio Store on the main floor of 30 Rock. 

Those that did speak on camera had good sound bytes to share, good points to make about older parenting and even egg donation, for and against, and I enjoyed the discussion from both sides. It was difficult to hear so I did not catch the 2 doctors names that were on the panel of experts, one woman OBGYN who said that women of advanced maternal age, even with the use of Donor Egg, can sometimes present other medical issues and that she would not allow to move ahead with a pregnancy plan or any fertility treatments. The male doctor on the panel, a Reproductive Endocrinologist, explained quite a bit about how a healthy woman in her 40's, most of what he sees in his medical practice, can carry a child to term with donor egg with greater success rates than with her own eggs. The mom in the audience, Kate, who conceived via DE in her 50's confirmed that no matter what the others are called in her family-building journey, these are her kids and she is the mom.

Many times the word "biological" child was used when I believe the distinction of  "genetic" offspring should have been made. For example, one of the first things Jennifer Lahl said about infertility is that she understands the heartbreak and the desire for a biological child of one's own but that basically giving birth via donor conception was NOT your biological child, it was another woman's child. In addition to that, according to Jennifer Lahl, "Not everyone has a right to have a baby." I hope this is not edited out from the taping. She even repeated herself, just to be clear.
Maybe she thinks it isn't anyone's right to have a baby at any age or by any means of medical intervention by any one at all. As you may know by now, she is looking to end all ivf procedures, not just donor. But surely she didn't mean "Not everyone has a right to have a baby." Did she?

Shark Tank Girl stood up to say that she is 5 months PG, that she has been an Egg Donor and is a Donor Offspring herself, here at The Dr Oz Show to say that Anonymous Donor Conception is wrong because it strips the child of their rightful PARENTAL connection to, you guessed it, the Donor. A parent and a donor are not the same thing.

So, WHY is it, that if a Donor wants to be a parent they have to have their own family with a different mate to actually live as a family, but Shark Tank Girl still insists that the donor is part of MY family. Why do other people get to decide what my family wants or needs? Why do people who are actually parents who conceive at the time through a real relationshoip to the child, get to walk in and out of a kids life and are still the parents, even though everyone else might agree that they are not? I do know families like this and that is exactly the point. People get to decide what they want to be a part of or not and no one can force them one way or another. 

If my kids grow up and decide they want another Mother, it will be IN ADDITION to me, not INSTEAD of me, if that other person wants to and not if they don't.

The kids will have to decide for themselves if they love me or not, still want me as their mom or not, if they want to seek out their donor and then accept them as another Mother or not, and so on. We will always be a family of choice, but I would appreciate it very much if you didn't call me/us other names and use language like "The Violent Act of Buying and Selling a Child" with regard to sperm and egg donation, or that donors are "Used And Then Forgotten'', over and over. If you really care about families then why don't you leave alone the ones that exist just fine (and thriving in the same ways and at the same rate as other families in the general population) without you?  

PS-I wore a blue dress and figure that all you'll see of me when the show airs in January is the back of my head, which I really do hope they edit even that part of my participation out of the show. And if you happen to speak to Dr Oz, please tell him that I want my vacation day back! I am just a working mom, after all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Is It Really Possible to Love an Adopted Child as Much as a Biological Child? | Creating a Family

Actually, its Pat Irwin Johnston's comment that resonates with me the most because it speaks to all relationships, regardless of age,gender, biology, genetics and applies to any stage in our lives.


Embryo Donation is the primary practice of The Law Office Of Amy Demma, Esq.

Read more information on navigating this excellent choice in family-building options here on Amy's blog.

ANNOUNCEMENT:Choosing Positive and Realistic Language In Creating Our Family-Building Narrative

Ok, now that I have your attention, I am once again very excited to announce that Lisa Schuman, LCSW will be our Guest Speaker at our next meeting of The NYC Gathering, January 26th,2012.

Lisa has helped our group members through her private practice and on the staff at RMA NY. I first met Lisa when I went with a friend to a patient information night at RMA, as Lisa joined their team after I had my kids through RMA. I was impressed, so I booked a private session for myself as well as a session for the group (Lisa spoke to us about decision-making, adoption and donor conception the first time she joined us).

Lisa will be generously giving us her time and expertise again on January 26, 2012 and the topic is Language.....

Starting a conversation about Third Party Reproduction and Parenting, pioneering into territories unknown, can be daunting. For those of you who are totally comfortable and have the language of your story working well for you, please come and share with us. For those of you who have not quite settled on what to say, or feel like you haven't been able to flow with it the way you'd like to, or that you would like to fine-tune what you've got, then this meeting is for you.

On a personal note, I wanted to have this topic for a group meeting because I continue to strive for greater clarity and the right words for me to describe my particular situation and others. I surely don't have to be perfect. I will allow myself more "do-overs" if I need them. But I do want to use words that are sensitive and accurate, that my kids and adults can understand and that I am comfortable speaking.

Please join us. I hope you can attend.

Talking With Kids About Sensitive Topics

Lisa Belkin's Blog is now on Huffpost, Parentlode.

Very good advice on talking about where children come from....

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Eugenics,Forced Sterilization and Limiting Who Can and Cannot Have a Baby

A woman over 40 has the right to have a baby as much as anyone else.

With proper education, social and mental health guidance, medical screening and follow-up for all those involved, no one has to participate in third party reproduction against their will.

The slippery slope of limiting access to reproductive choice, ART or otherwise.

Furthermore, are we going to stop doing ivf so that residual drugs are not ending up in the environment and putting others at risk of harm from these drugs? What other drugs are going into the environment this way? We have even more people using batteries in this country than are doing ivf.

Read here for environmental pollution that we are sending to Mexico in the form of "recycling" materials.

Recycled Battery Lead Puts Mexicans in Danger
Dec 09, 2011 - The used batteries Americans turn in for recycling are increasingly processed in Mexico, their lead often extracted by crude methods that are illegal in the United States.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Dr Oz Show

How old is too old to have a baby?
Jennifer Lahl, "Not everyone has a right to have a baby."
I hope this is not edited out from today's taping. She even repeated herself, just to be clear.
Maybe she thinks it isn't right to have a baby at any age or by any means of medical intervention by any one at all. But surely she didn't mean "Not everyone has a right to have a baby."

Did she?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lovely Language

We can learn so much from Adoption. Third Party Reproduction and Adoption are not the same thing, but there are similarities. Here is something that resonates for me, it starts out....

"Adoption is the legal and social means by which a child becomes a member of a family other than the family of birth. Adoptive parent(s) have all the rights and responsibilities of parents.Through adoption, children receive families of their own."

Read more here:

Friday, December 2, 2011

The importance of listening | oliviasview

Congratulations to Olivia on her 100th post. I have a lot to catch up on!

I have known about Olivia and her work through the Donor Conception Network and the literature on Telling and Talking, but have not read all that I would like to from all of the resources available such as her blog.Olivia has much to share about donor conception and parenting.

This is a lovely post, in that she has written something very balanced and understanding of the feelings so many of us, donor parents and children, are feeling. She obviously understands the need to be fully present conversations that might be difficult, to say the least, for many people.

As a friend once said to me, "Straight through the middle with love". I think that's what Olivia is saying here too.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

That very same year, on December 5, Trizila became little Kate's mother. From and

Tue November 29, 2011
I have to thank the writer and interview participants of this article.
Single mom Jo Trizila didn't wait for the perfect man to start her family and encourages single women yearning for a child to 'go for it' like she did.
There was a time when gay parents and single adoptive mothers were unheard of, but the new norm is that almost anything works well as long as there's a dedicated adult and plenty of love.(SO GLAD TO HEAR THIS,AND READ ABOUT IT ON CNN!)
Christopher Fraley, 42, and Victor Self, 41, Parents of 20-month-old Coco.
Christopher Fraley and Victor Self became the first same-sex couple in Rye, New York, to legally wed. Coco, their daughter, was right by their side.
Fraley and Self met in 2003. "I saw kids in my life, and Chris did, too," Self remembers. Eventually, "we decided to get married," adds Fraley...

While their attitude toward fatherhood is traditional, the way they became dads isn't: Coco was born through a surrogate, using a donor egg. In expanding their family, Self and Fraley joined the growing number of same-sex parents in America today: somewhere between 1.5 million and 5 million, according to rough U.S. Census estimates, up from 300,000 to 500,000 in 1976.
The surrogacy process took two years: One egg donor became ill, then a first surrogate failed to get pregnant. But in February 2010, Kira, their second surrogate, gave birth to 8-pound-9-ounce Coco.
Strangers are mostly respectful, which doesn't surprise Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, headquartered in New York City. "As support for legal gay marriage has grown, along with the body of research that shows same-sex parents to be just as committed, so, too, has the acceptance of gay parenthood," he says. Still, Fraley admits, people can be insensitive. "Sometimes they ask, 'Where'd you get your baby?' like we bought her at Target," he says. "I say, 'She was born, just like you.' Another person recently asked, 'Whose sperm did you use?' "
Coco may face a few awkward scenarios, too, as she grows. "Kids can sometimes look down on children from single-sex households, and tell them their family isn't real," Pertman says. "Coco may also start seeing news stories that upset her, like another state wanting to pass an amendment stigmatizing gay marriage. Chris and Victor will need to discuss these issues with her."

They've already steeled themselves for the questions she'll likely have. "Why don't I have a mommy?" may be answered with "Because you have two daddies." It helps that the definition of family is growing, just like Coco. "Is it such a big deal?" asks Fraley. "Look around. All families are different."

Single mom that didn't wait for the perfect man to start her family and encourages single women yearning for a child to 'go for it' like she did.
Jo Trizila, 40, Single Mom to Kate, 2 remembers the conversation with her mom that changed her life. It was her 35th birthday, and they were talking about how some of Trizila's friends had gotten married just to have kids, and were miserable now. "I said, 'I don't want to do that. If I haven't met the right guy by the time I'm 37, what would you and Dad think if I have a baby anyway?' Mom said, 'If you can afford a child, we'll support you 100 percent.' "
By the time her 37th birthday rolled around, Trizila still hadn't met the perfect man. By then she was running a public relations firm she'd founded -- the kind of success that's helping to fuel a rise in single-mom adoptions, notes Pertman, the adoption-institute executive director. "As women like Jo find good careers and their earnings grow, there's less need to find a partner to make having a family feasible."
Trizila considered getting pregnant, "but part of me was saying 'Is it worth finding a sperm donor and doing in vitro? What about adoption?' .....
... By the summer of 2009, she was cleared to adopt. "I was told to expect a couple of years' wait," Trizila recalls. But that September, a woman due to give birth shortly selected her to raise her child.

That very same year, on December 5, Trizila became little Kate's mother.
I'd never understood how you could love someone you'd never met. But I got it the moment I held Kate," she says. Rocking her daughter in the maternity ward, she thought back to her own hospital stay as a teen, for a life-threatening brain abscess and aplastic anemia. "I'd always wondered why I had survived.That night with Kate, a voice in my head said, 'You survived to be Kate's mom.' "
While she's a single mother, there are plenty of people in Kate's orbit....Still, solo parenting has drawbacks. "There's no one to ask 'Am I doing the right thing?' " Trizila says. It's also annoying when she gets asked "Are you dating anyone?" She still hopes to meet a great guy, but is happy being single for the time being. "Are Kate and I that unusual?" she muses. "Look at the divorce statistics. There are a lot of single moms -- they just didn't adopt." (In fact, about one quarter of all kids are raised by solo parents.)
Yet she'd recommend her own path to parenthood to anyone. "If I convince just one single woman out there who's yearning for a child to go for it, this interview will have been worthwhile."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

'Steve Jobs' and Joan Didion's 'Blue Nights' Reveal Dark Side of Adoption - ABC News


Midlife Parenting | Independent Adoption Center

More helpful insights from the adoption world, here in addition to midlife parenting, the writer mentions the incongruities in the mailbox-the AARP newsletter and "Highlights" magazine for her 7yo daughter.

(Side-note:We saved some $ on our car insurance when we changed policies and I joined last week.)

Rhode Island videographer recognized for work on ‘Tuesday’s Child’ Jamestown Press

I love the story and this excerpt from the article,

"Adoption has made them a better family than they might have otherwise been, he said, just because they were required to give parenting so much thought.

In every other way, they're like every other family, he said. Being the dad is the fun part, he said, and being the mom is hard work."

Egg donor helps family beat infertility | ABC 6 WJBF-TV

Monday, November 21, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What If You Discovered You Had 150 Siblings? |

Wendy Kramer of The Donor Sibling Registry is on Anderson Cooper. Two genetic half-siblings meet for the first time on the show. Here are a few clips. The entire program to be uploaded soon,

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Language: Why ‘splitting’ motherhood is against the rights of the child

Save the date-DEC 8th, THE NYC GATHERING will host Lisa Schuman. Our Guest Speaker will take on LANGUAGE.

Top of my list-the Donor is the Donor and the Mother is the Mother. An example here:

Why 'splitting' motherhood is against the rights of the child.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Wednesday November 16, 2011

The Monthly Support Group, lead by Patricia Mendell, LCSW, is dedicated to helping families formed through egg/sperm/embryo donation and surrogacy, create healthy and lasting connections.

Everyone has a unique Story about their family. For parents planning to disclose, telling the Family Story can seem overwhelming.

We Will Discuss:

 The importance of language in the disclosure story
 Latest research on children and families
 Age appropriate books for donor offspring children
 How to answer questions from your child and others
 How to begin "The Talk"
 How children's' questions change over time
 What to tell siblings
Third Wednesday in every month
Starting Wednesday November 16, 2011

7:00-8:30 pm

$25 per person

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

Patricia Mendell, LCSW, 212-819-1778
Call to reserve a space

Saturday, November 5, 2011

 You're Invited to a FREE Telephone Coaching Group on November 17th

From The AFA:

Donor Gametes, the Next Generation: Caring for Our Children.
Are you considering the use of donor sperm, egg, or embryo to create children? Or, are you already parenting children created by donor sperm, egg, or embryo?
During this one hour group conference call, you will receive information on:
· The pros and cons of disclosure to children of their genetic origin
· What and when to share this information with children if you so choose
· How or whether to share this information with family or friends
· Questions you may have if you have already begun to share this information
You will also have the opportunity to share information and support one another in making the decision about disclosure and implementing this aspect of parenting.
WHEN: Thursday, November 17, 2011
WHERE: Telephone Conference Line (call-in information will be given at time of registration)
TIME: 9:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern time
FACILITATORS: Joann Paley Galst, Ph.D. and Patricia Mendell, L.C.S.W.
Registration limited to the first 15 responders who also send information regarding their particular situation and any questions they would like addressed.

For further information and to register contact:

Joann Paley Galst , 212-759-2783      or
Patricia Mendell, 212-819-1778
Facilitator Bios:

Joann Paley Galst, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in New York City specializing in mind-body medicine and reproductive health issues, including infertility, pregnancy loss, and pregnancy and parenting after infertility. She is a past Chair of the Mental Health Professional Group of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and is currently the Co-director of Support Services for the American Fertility Association. She is the author of numerous articles on infertility and co-author of the book, Ethical Dilemmas in Fertility Counseling, published by the American Psychological Association. In her work with individuals, couples, and groups, she believes that good family building decision making starts with well-substantiated facts and clarification of one's feelings and strives to help clients build their resilience so that they can cope more effectively with their fertility treatment.

Patricia Mendell, L.C.S.W., B.C.D. is a clinical social worker in private practice in Manhattan and Brooklyn. She is Co-chair of the American Fertility Association (AFA) and the facilitator of the AFA Ovum Donor Seminar Series. She is co-author of the fact sheets for AFA on "Talking to Children about Ovum Donation" and "Talking to Children about Sperm Donation." Ms. Mendell has written and spoken extensively on numerous topics regarding fertility, third party reproduction, parenting after infertility, disclosure, multi-fetal reduction, pregnancy loss, and adoption. As an infertility and pregnancy loss survivor, she is well aware of the impact decision making choices have on people's lives. In her role as therapist and consumer advocate, she gives those seeking her help both practical and therapeutic advice on how to better cope with stress, resolve marital tensions, and select and explore solutions to their family building dilemmas.

Sara Axel

The Salem State Log

SSU Student's Post-Grad Search will be for Her Biological Parents.

I like her attitude...

Salem State Log

I'm not part of an open adoption, and my mother suggests that my birth parents may have been friends and things may have escalated to another level for a brief time. There's no guarantee if I do decide to make contact that I'll find both parents. .

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

From the heart -

When we were first diagnosed- adoption, donor egg or child free- we went to a meeting of the Adoptive Parents Committee. We did not pursue adoption but I was indelibly impressed by this one night event and organization, community really, what the families and ip's of third part reproduction need to have.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Studies on Family and Parenthood in ART

Linda Layne is an accomplished researcher on Family and Parenthood in the context of Cultural Anthropology and has begun research on a new study.
Published today: Studies in "Choice Moms" – Single Mothers (and Mums) by Choice.
Rensselaer Professor Compares Single Mothers by Choice in U.S. Versus U.K.
Here is a little about the study and Linda Layne's background.
While at Cambridge, Layne is researching the differences between American and British single mothers by choice, studying the religious, political, racial, and class contexts in which alternative families have emerged, and the social and cultural resources upon which they draw.
In her book, Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of Pregnancy Loss in America, Layne used the lens of anthropology to explain why American women are so ill-prepared for miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death and why the feminist movement has not fully embraced this important women's health issue. She further developed a women's health approach to childbearing loss through an 11-part, award-winning television series, "Motherhood Lost: Conversations" produced by George Mason University Television.
She has edited or co-edited two books on motherhood and consumption, a collection on Feminist Technology, and is currently working with British colleagues on a book on reproductive loss and a volume on new trends in parenting.
The Cambridge Centre for Family Research, based in Cambridge University, specializes in research that increases understanding of children, parents, and family relationships with a focus on topics central to public policy, health care, and people's lives. Current research projects on "new families" include a study of adolescents conceived by donor insemination, young adults raised from infancy in lesbian mother families, parent-child relationships and the psychological development of children, bioethics in assisted reproduction and emerging family forms, and parenting and psychological development of adoptive children raised in gay father families.
Read further about the study at

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Does the Religious Right Really Care about Children?

The Religious Right is having the same effect on heterosexual families created through donor and surrogacy.

Adoption on TV: "Modern Family" or "Parenthood"? - Martha Nichols - Open Salon

In drawing parallels to adoption and how far it has come in public support and acceptance as compared to third party reproduction and parenting, I am struck with this comment by the author.

"I long for a form of community my own tiny family of three doesn't have."

I wish families created through donor conception and surrogacy had half the community and resources that are available to adoptive families.

In the comments, someone says "And Julia, I lost count of how many times they said "buying" a baby. That sounds so crude. Even if it is partially true, paying for medical care and legal expenses could constitute buying, I can't imagine the "talk" they will have with their adopted child. "Honey, we wanted you so much, money was no object. We paid top dollar!."

Adoption Parenting - Supermom or Just Mom

Donor Mom or Just Mom?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Reinventing the Family: Good Intentions Are Not Enough

Some of the best examples of why people don't tell their kids they are donor conceived are in this article.

The terminology infuriates me. My comments in BLUE in this piece about the new study by Elizabeth Marquardt of The Institute For American Values (because obviously, people who have their families via donor conception and other third party reproduction don't have any American Values).

"As marriage rates plummet and the percentage of intact families sharply declines, experiments  that challenge the fundamental nature of the family are adding to the chaos that threatens civil society (having kids and starting a family is an experiment? Threatens? What fundamental nature of the family?)

A new report released this month by the Institute for American Values and the Commission on Parenthood's Future explores the impact on children of such experimental arrangements (family is an arrangement? throughout the world. The findings are cause for concern.

The spectrum of associations ( an association?) referred to as "families" (putting the word in quotes is supposed to mean it's use is totally bogus) ranges from single parenthood by choice to networks of multiple adults called "parents." Often masking the profoundly negative consequences for children of these experimental living arrangements (maybe they wouldn't be so negatively effected if people like you weren't shoving it in their face about how bad you think they and their family are just for being who they are), those who advocate such alternative household structures (another strange name for family) describe them in Orwellian terms."

(PS-just one more reminder that having good intentions are just not good enough. I wonder what, if anything, about me and my family would ever be good enough for you.)

Who Are You? The Ethics and Impact of Donor Conception | Independent Lens Blog

"Donor-conceived children often feel as adopted kids do: that the secrecy around their creation makes it feel taboo or shameful."

I think the secrecy is because of what's waiting on the other side of disclosure and that is was causes the shame.

If we are open about donor conception, how can we then be prepared when our kids read and hear from allover the media and close to home that all ivf and third party reproduction is unethical in the first place, that its also "the fertility industry's dirty little secret", and that parents like me have used an egg donor and "left them to be used and then forgotten", we are going to need more tools than a few children's books to deal with this issue,

Remember, its about the kids, right?

‘Baby trafficking’ scandal just the tip of the IVF/surrogacy iceberg: expert |

Making the case that all IVF+Surrogacy are bad or wrong.
With more mainstream exposure than Motherlode in The NYTimes, now on CNN with Anderson Cooper, Jennifer Lahl quoted as saying that all of ivf is unethical.

She's not just Jennifer Lahl when quoted , she's Jennifer Lahl of the film Eggsploitation.

My kids will read this someday. 

We need more than children's storybooks about third party reproduction to deal with how our kids will feel about what is waiting for them on the other side of our disclosure story.

Personality of a sperm donor? Study offers clues - Men's health

Personhood Ballot Initiative in Mississippi Could Ban Some IVF Practices - The Daily Beast

This is why I occasionally post about Reproductive Freedom. Those that are pro-personhood and anti-ivf are on the same path, leading to the same place as family + marriage-preservationists and defining it on only their terms.

From The Daily Beast, "Should Mississippi's initiative pass, 'it would ban some current practices of IVF,' acknowledges Keith Mason, the 30-year-old president of Personhood USA, an organization pushing for personhood amendments at both the state and federal level: 'The creation of 30 or 60 embryos and then picking through them to see which ones are most likely boys or girls, or basically looking at the ones you want to give life to and destroying the rest.' Eric Webb, an anti-abortion Mississippi ob-gyn and prominent supporter of Amendment 26, has said repeatedly that it will outlaw the freezing of embryos, an important part of the IVF process."

Sara Axel

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Married nurse hopes to have world's first baby from womb transplant (donated by her MOTHER) | Mail Online

Would anyone argue who is the baby's mother? » Are sperm banks unethical?

Bedfordshire Local News

Here's how its' working in England for one clinic.

Organs or Eggs. Nobody who donates ever does it for the money

BBC News - Egg donor compensation is to triple under new HFEA guidelines Managing Success Story

Adoption vs. Third-Party Reproduction - My Paperwork Pregnancies Adoption Blog

The Truth About Trying - Resolve + Redbook

Sara Axel

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Donor Unknown | Resources on Donor Conception | Independent Lens | PBS

Sara Axel

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

PBS this weekend: Getting to Know a Sperm-Donor Dad -

Sara Axel

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

My check for Lifetime Membership to The DSR. IMG-20111017

Sara Axel

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Couple Sues Fertility Clinic After Baby Was Born With A Disability

If you read this article, please also read the 1st comment and 2nd comments that are posted.
I am glad there is a voice of reason and someone to call upon others who are quick to judge, to take a look at another angle on the people's character and their situation.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ryan Kramer and his Mom Wendy at The NYC Gathering OCT 17,2011

Hot topic at tonight's dinner, with our guests Wendy Kramer and her son Ryan Kramer of The Donor Sibling Registry, is featured Today On

Who's Your Mommy?
Should they tell their twins they came from donor eggs?

Thanks again to Wendy and Ryan and to everyone who attended.

More to follow, some of us struggle with looking at sperm donors and egg donors being the same thing, the lack of real, widely accepted language on how to define these extended family relationships, and how about the parents of the donors-are they grandparents?.....and yes, I joined. Membership on The DSR is 1 year for $75, Lifetime for $175.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Books at 1/2 price: infertility, adoption and other family building challenges from Perspectives Press, Inc.

Perspectives Press is going out of business on Dec 31/11, so prices on all of their books have been cut by 50% until quantities are gone.

Topics include:
* infertility
* treatment
* reproductive health
* child free living
* adoption
* books for children on adoption


Sara Axel

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Talking to Children About Donor Conception - Denver

If anyone attended that would like to share any re caps or reviews of this or any similar events for sharing on this blog or privately,please contact me directly at

Talking to Children About Donor Conception -- Events Denver ...
This is a professionally led workshop for parents of donor conceived children. It will be held Saturday, October 8, 2011. For more information go to click here.

The Donor Sibling Registry TV Show is available online.

The Donor Sibling Registry tv show is now available to view online.

Wendy Kramer

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

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

From The BioNews Team - participate and read about the Genes and race poll

I've been fascinated about this aspect of donor conception,especially (and obviously) about its relevance in egg donation.

"Have your say about genes, ancestry and racial identity on BioNews

Throughout 2011, the charity that publishes BioNews - the Progress Educational Trust (PET) - has been running a Wellcome Trust supported project entitled 'Genes, Ancestry and Racial Identity: Does It Matter Where Your Genes Come From?'. The project is now concluding with an online poll, which we'd like to encourage all BioNews readers to complete.

The six questions take only a couple of minutes to complete, all responses will be anonymous, and the results will be discussed in an article on BioNews later this year. You can complete the poll here.

As the BBC launches its 'Mixed Race Britain' season, the meaning of 'race' and its connection (or lack of connection) to genetics is a subject of great public interest, but is also fraught with controversy and confusion. Why not give us your views on questions such as whether we should abandon the word 'race'? Whether it is possible for a person to change their race? Whether you would be offended if a medical professional asked to know your race before treating you?

The BioNews team"

Monday, October 3, 2011







''Nancy and Elizabeth run a great group. We shared our thoughts, feelings and experiences and everyone was heard and supported, all within our varying opinions and perspectives.

Particularly helpful to me was hearing Eric Schwartzman's views on being a DI Dad and we all considered how donor conception and all the 3rd party options impact our kids and how we think we will handle it into the future.

For me, I'm not ready for the DSR, but learning from everyone here at this meeting (pro and con), I am trying to remain open-minded and gear myself up for whatever approach my kids want to take when the time comes. My aim would be to support them and help them accomplish their goals and meet their own needs. I hope they too will share their journey with me.

I was also able to explore my own issues as they pertain to DE, ie my family of origin, my heritage, my genome. And back to understanding that it isnt just about me anymore. As Nancy has told me, this is now OUR FAMILY story, not just mine or my kids.''

REVIEW AND REPEAT SCHEDULE Style Exposed: Sperm Donor: 74 Kids and More


Style Exposed: Sperm Donor: 74 Kids and More

Follow Ben, a former sperm donor, on his journey to meet the 70+ children his donations have created. Additionally, Adrienne and Karis, half-sisters from a separate donor, reunite.

Tuesday, Oct 4 @ 5 PM, EST

Wednesday, Oct 5 @2 AM & 12 PM, EST

Friday, Oct 7 @1 AM, EST

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sperm Donor Tv Show Clips


Our sperm donor tv show airs this week (these times are Eastern, check your local listings for the Style Network).

This show gives the public the unique opportunity to see how donor conceived people, their parents and grandparents, and a donor and his fiancée', redefine family as they connect with one another.

Tuesday, Sep 27, 6:00 am, 9:00 pm
Wednesday, Sep 28, 12:00 am, 4:00 pm, 11:00 pm
Thursday, Sep 29, 2:00 am, 12:00 pm, 7:00 pm


Two clips:

Wendy Kramer

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

Friday, September 23, 2011

U.S. fertility specialist says hysteria over egg donation unfounded

Dr Stillman of Shady Grove defends the industry.

"He called for a number of universal standards to be put in place over the under-regulated egg donation industries in both Canada and the U.S.

Among them, he suggested a national donor registry that sets a limit on the number of times a woman could donate eggs; standardized informed consent on how many eggs a doctor can harvest; pre and post-psychological and medical checkups and standardized prices for egg donation."

Sounds pretty reasonable and open-minded to me. Very nice to hear from someone from within the industry.

Jennifer Lahl, on the other hand,
Is quoted as saying that ivf "has created a society ok with 'babies without sex'."

She said it when I asked her at the screenings of Eggsploitation on Feb 3rd, that its not just donor ivf that she wants to stop, she would like to see an end to all ivf.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

MyStyle Story:Sperm Donor Premieres September 27 on Style

Radio Boston:The Thorny Issues Of The Fertility Industry,the subject of a new reality TV show set to air on the Style channel next week, “Style Exposed: Sperm Donor.”

The subject of a new reality TV show set to air on the Style channel next week, "Style Exposed: Sperm Donor", discussed on Radio Boston.

Should donors be allowed anonymity? Should there be a limit to how much money donors receive, or the number of times they donate? And, in the Internet age, how much should donor children be allowed to know about their true genetic backgrounds?


Debora L. Spar, president, Barnard College; author, "The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception"

Liz Coolidge, coordinator, Alternative Insemination Program and LGBT Family and Parenting Services, Fenway Health

Monday, September 19, 2011

Conversation with Amy Demma on NPR Program and Donor Anonymity

Good questions as always, Amy. Is the broad range of perspectives on the meaning of egg donors+egg donation a reflection on the deeper meaning of motherhood in general and is there a different set of complexities involved in de than there is in ds? Is it simply less black+white for de than ds?

Please see Amy's comment to this post. Thanks Amy, 

Amy Demma Comments on NPR Program

I am convinced that we will see these same stories as the egg donor conceived population matures. Why are we not talking, in a broader context about what we can learn from past years of both adoption and sperm donor practices? Are we sticking out heads in the sand? Is better educating donors about social/legal implications the answer?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New York, NY: 'The ethics of telling children if they were donorconceived', Sept 15

Found out about this too late to attend but please do report back if you can. I wonder what would be unethical, very interested to hear about this perspective.

The ethics of telling children if they were donor conceived
Speaker: John Appleby, Welcome Trust Fellow in Bioethics, Cambridge
University, UK

Sept 15/11. 6:00-7:30pm. Columbia University, Morningside Campus, New York
NB. The following location are both given in various notices about this
event, so check with Meghan Sweeney, to be sure which one is correct before
* Hamilton 516
* Fayerweather 310

Presented by The Columbia Master of Science in Bioethics program
RSVP: Meghan Sweeney,

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Book by Sharon LaMothe for the Children of Surrogates: Surrogacy Helps Make a Family Grow!

A New Book by Sharon LaMothe for the Children of Surrogates: Surrogacy Helps Make a Family Grow!
I am thrilled to announce that my book, Surrogacy Helps Make a Family Grow!, is available on for those living and working in the world of surrogacy......Please see Sharons comment to this post, further clarification that this book is meant for the children of the Gestational Carrier. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sperm Donation Seems Simple, but Isn't - Room for Debate -

An Excellent Panel for a Debate about Donor Anonymity

Lawlessness Has Had Its Upsides
David Plotz, author and editor of Slate

A Rush to Pass Laws
Jamie Grifo, program director, N.Y.U.
Fertility Center

Restoring the Human Connection
Colton Wooten, writer
Wild West of Fertility

Debora L. Spar, president, Barnard College

Proceed With Caution
Lori Andrews, professor, Chicago-Kent College of Law

Victimizing Gays and Lesbians
Beth Littrell, staff attorney, Lambda Legal

End the Anonymity
Naomi R. Cahn, law professor and Wendy Kramer, Donor Sibling Registry

A Private-Sector Problem
Charles A. Sims, president, California Cryobank

Rules Can Hurt the Vulnerable
Sujatha Jesudason, executive director, Generations Ahead

Start With Some Hard Questions
Robert G. Brzyski, American Society for Reproductive Medicine ethics committee

In Canada:Surrogate not legally a baby’s mother, judge rules

Note the language in the article. Neither the Donor or GC are considered a Parent.

"...granting John and Bill's request, supported by Mary (gestational carrier via donor ovum and one father's sperm), to remove Mary's name from Sarah's birth certificate, Madame Justice Jacelyn Ann Ryan-Froslie of the province's Court of Queen's Bench, noted that the law defines a "mother" as the woman who delivered a child, and presumes she is also a parent, which is no longer always true.

Being a parent is an important legal designation, she wrote, and it does not apply to Mary, who surrendered all parental rights to John and Bill after Sarah's birth."

Full article here:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

From Wendy Kramer: Today's NY Times/Tomorrow the Today Show

One Sperm Donor, 150 Offspring
New York Times. Sept 5/11

The Today Show will have me live from home (er....I mean DSR World Headquarters) tomorrow morning (Wednesday). 
They are also filming Ryan tonight in Pasadena for the piece.

Wendy Kramer

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

Thursday, August 25, 2011


See my post of August 13th. I have feelings about babies, children, adults, donors, surrogates, parents, families, medical ethics. My feelings did not end with the end of my fertility journey. I care how people are treated and I always have. Can I say this any more strongly?

There must be some way to balance the portrayal of the fertility industry other than blogging and one page statements by the organizations and individual insiders.

The mental health of the families already created by Third Party Reproduction is at stake. I'd like to see just one of them make a proactive statement about the less-than-positive outcome of full disclosure and stop talking about privacy vs secrecy and instead examine why its still not safe to do so.

Teresa Erickson, with the MidIsland Racing Pigeon Racing Society

Life after the fertility business...

Racing pigeon recovering after losing way during race.

"The theory is a pigeon's homing instinct depends on the Earth's magnetic field," said Teresa Erickson, with the MidIsland Racing Pigeon Society. .

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Surrogacy vs. Adoption: A Distinction With A Difference

In my mind, (that being public perception rather than speaking as an attorney or expert in either topic) whether or not there are screening processes for ART vs Adoption, here and around the world, has more to do with liability and lack of govt involvement than any particular interest in society as a whole. Here, we have a free country where no one is denied the right, among other things, to procreate (and yes for some it is because they can afford it). When using this argument against ART and citing that screening ip's is done in other countries, the agenda is still the agenda and we must recognize that for what it is. Sure, it would be nice to become more qualified to become parents if we could, but hopefully that will never be the way it works, and reproductive freedom will remain part of what it means to be an American.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Guest Blogger Melissa Brisman ~ WHO IS THE MOTHER?

Welcome and thank you to Melissa Brisman, Esq, who has written in about the newest developments in surrogacy laws in NY State, which she has been instrumental in changing as she has in NJ and elsewhere in the Northeast. Here she explains the change and how it differs from egg donor contracts as well.

Why should a genetic mother have to adopt her child because the child was born to a gestational surrogate?

Why should a genetic mother’s rights differ from that of a genetic father?

In a recent case, we argued these issues and won. See T.V. v. New York State Department of Health, 6557/09 (


A gestational surrogate offered to carry a child without compensation for her close friends, a married couple, because the wife had undergone a hysterectomy, and was unable to carry a child. The wife’s eggs were fertilized with her husband’s sperm. Therefore, the resulting embryo contained the genetic make up of both the husband and wife, i.e. the intended parents. There was no genetic connection between the gestational surrogate and the embryo. If had an egg donor been used and fertilized with the husband’s sperm, there would have been no genetic link between the wife/intended mother and the embryo.

When the child was born, the New York Department of Health issued a birth certificate which placed the gestational surrogate’s name as mother, and did not include any name as father. After the birth, the genetic father’s name was added to the birth certificate, but the name of the gestational surrogate remained on the birth certificate. In order to correct the inaccuracy, the genetic mother’s only option would have been to request and file an adoption of her own genetic child. We argued that this violated the genetic mother’s constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.


In a unanimous decision published on August 9, 2011, the Appellate Decision sided with the genetic parents by finding that an adoption is the “legal process by which a parent/child relationship is created where none previously existed,” in this case however, “there is already a preexisting relationship, a genetic link, between the Genetic Mother and her child which cannot be ignored.” As a result, a genetic mother, who uses a gestational surrogate, can now have her name placed on the birth certificate through a post birth proceeding. Such proceeding does not need to meet the stringent requirements of an adoption (i.e. criminal background check, fingerprinting and a home study investigation).

Constitutionally and psychologically, this is a significant victory not only for mothers, but women as well.

Melissa B. Brisman is an attorney who practices exclusively in the field of reproductive law and is considered by her peers to be a leader in her profession. Ms. Brisman’s experience and qualifications are unparalleled. She employs an experienced and qualified staff of legal and administrative professionals and is licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. Ms. Brisman has a practice, Melissa B. Brisman, Esq., LLC, located in Montvale, New Jersey, offering a full range of legal services in connection with gestational carrier arrangements, ovum, sperm, and embryo donation, and adoption. In addition, Ms. Brisman is sole owner of Reproductive Possibilities, LLC. Reproductive Possibilities, LLC is an agency offering a donor record-keeping service which maintains contact information for intended parents and their anonymous ovum donors for a period of years following a donor arrangement. Reproductive Possibilities, LLC also facilitates gestational carrier arrangements. Ms. Brisman is also sole owner of Surrogate Fund Management, LLC, a company that manages escrow in connection with reproductive arrangements.

Melissa B. Brisman, Esq. LLC
One Paragon Drive, Suite 158
Montvale, NJ 07645
P: 201-505-0099
F: 201-505-0097

Owner of:
Reproductive Possibilities, LLC and
Surrogate Fund Management, LLC
P: 201-505-0078
F: 201-505-0994

Thanks to Donor Diva -- on

The Donor Diva blogged:
"There is enough gray area in egg donation, sperm donation and surrogacy. Now when these children get older, they could hear that they were conceived with the intent of being sold? I hope they don't have to deal with that. I know there are enough hurdles for donor-conceived children."

But I think the children conceived through this situation WILL hear they were conceived with the intent of being sold AND what everyone on the internet thinks of the Surrogacy Scandal (The Baby-Selling Ring) and has thought of all of Third Party Reproduction long before today.

Donor Diva also asks how will donors feel. And I know its supposed to be "my kids story to tell" as per many, many parents and experts before me have said (and given me lears and warnings about). I, too, have put myself out there emotionally publicly, to say that this is OUR story to tell. If I waited until my kids were old enough to decide for themselves how public they wanted to be then I would be wrestling with "the increasingly blurring lines between secrecy and privacy" (see women's dinner group Donor Mom Dinner Recap - Discussion on DE Parenting and Disclosure post from May 6, 2010, click over there on the right) and perpetuating "don't ask, don't tell" that keeps most of Third Party Reproduction more in the closet than out. Unfortunately, Donor Diva, I think this effects all of us.

I've lost friends on facebook and elsewhere over TPR. They can't be friends with me for fear of being outted just by association, even though I have tons of ways to know someone that easily covers up the donor-conception connection they think others will make of it. Of the hundreds of people I've met this way,on line,on the phone, in person, just a few stay in touch because the association is too risky or simply too much to bear.

Donor Diva,keep up the great work, help us get the message out and when you meet anyone who might be up for the challenge of getting out there with us, please let them know that life as a parent and family through TPR may in fact be harder, but that we are working to make it BETTER. And that we WILL succeed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


IAC Center Workshop Highlights

*How to Talk to Kids about Adoption from Infancy to Age 6 - Sunday September 18, 2011 - 10 to 12noon at the IAC Center Pennington Office.
*W.I.S.E. Up Saturday September 24, 2011 from 3 to 7p.m. in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania
*W.I.S.E. Up Saturday October 15, 2011 from 1 to 4 p.m. in Colt's Neck, NJ
*Adoption Event for Teens - Sunday, October 2, 2011 at IAC Center in Pennington, NJ
*Crossing the Bridge from Infertility to Adoption or Third Party Reproductive Options Saturday March 31, 2012 at the Princeton Hyatt, Princeton NJ.

IAC Center Workshops are accepted by some adoption agencies for home study credits. Click on the links for full workshop descriptions and registration; or contact or 609-737-8750.
IAC Center Groups:

Pre-Adoptive Parents Support Groups - meet once a month

Pennington - Second Saturday of the month 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sept 10, Oct 8, Nov 12, Dec 10, 2011
Summit - Third Sunday of the month from 1:00 to 2:30p.m. July 17, Aug 21, Sept 18, Oct 16, Nov 20, Dec 18, 2011
New York - Third Tuesday of month Time 6:15 to 7:45, July 19, Aug 16, Sept 20, Oct 18, Nov 15, Dec 20, 2011

Adoptive Parents Support Groups - meet once a month

Pennington Parents through Domestic Adoption Group - Third Sunday of the month from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. September 18, October 16, November 20, December 18, 2011.
Pennington Parents through International Adoption Group - Fourth Sunday of the month from 10 to 11:30 a.m. September 25, October 23, Nov 13 (holiday adjustment); December 11 (holiday adjustment), 2011
Montclair Parents Evening Group - Third Wednesday of the month from 7-8:30 p.m. September 21, October 19, November 16, 2011
Montclair Parents Daytime Group - Third Tuesday of the month from 12:30 - 2 p.m. September 20, October 18, November 15, 2011
Montclair Parents of Teens Group - Will meet on the fourth Wednesday of the month from 7 to 8:30 - September 28, October 26, November and December dates to be determined due to holidays.

Kids and Teens Adoption Groups -meet once a month

In Pennington

Pennington Girls Teen Group - Second Friday of the month from 6 to 7:15 p.m. - October 14, November 11, December 9, 2011. Contact IAC Center Counselor Jessica Cichalski, or (609)737-8750 for a screening interview for this Group.
Pennington Girl's Group - For girls ages 8 to 10. Second Friday of the month from 4:30 to 5:45. October 14, November 11, December 9, 2011. Contact IAC Center Counselor Jessica Cichalski, MSW at (609)737-8750 or for a screening interview for this Group.
Pennington Teen Boy's Group - Group will start in Fall 2012 on either a Sunday afternoon or a week night based on what works best for everyone. Contact IAC Center Counselor Sasha Martone, MSW at (609)737-8750 or for a screening interview for this group.

In Montclair

Montclair Teen Group - Usually meets on the First Monday of the month from 6-7:30pm but due to summer schedules will meet on Tues. July 5, Mon August 1, September 12; and then on October 3, November 7, December 5, 2011 . Contact IAC Center Counselor Bridget Devine or 973-534-6680 for a screening interview for this group.
Montclair Kid's Group (Ages 8 to 10) - First Monday of the month from 4 to 5:30 but due to holiday will meet Tuesday July 5; August 1, September 12, October 3, November 7, December 5, 2011. Contact IAC Center Counselor Bridget Devine at or 973-534-6680 for a screening interview for this group.

Contact or 609-737-8750 for more information or to sign up for a group. All IAC Center Groups are professionally led. Fee per session is either $75 or $60. Couples are billed as one member as our way of encouraging both partners to attend.
Infertility Support Groups - We have found that regular attendance is difficult for infertility patients to commit to. We continue to take names and try to build groups.

We offer Infertility and Family Building Options Counseling in our Pennington, Montclair, Monmouth County NJ and NYC offices. Contact: or call 609-737-8750.

**Counseling offers a non-biased overview of family building options to facilitate individuals and couples in making timely decisions that are mindful of long term implications. Using a life-long short-term counseling model, counseling is available throughout the adoption life cycle for all adoption triad members.