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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Fwd: NEW DSR TV SERIES COMING THIS NOVEMBER!



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: Wendy Kramer <wendy@donorsiblingregistry.com>
Date: September 1, 2013, 8:46:03 AM EDT
To: Sara <saxel95@aol.com>
Subject: NEW DSR TV SERIES COMING THIS NOVEMBER!

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.

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/tv/showtracker/la-et-st-tca-press-tour-mtv-generation-cryo-donor-reality-show-,0,4558835.story


 

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

Mixed feelings but glad to promote Wendy Kramer’s outstanding work in the field.

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

 

 

 

 

The first comprehensive book for children born through donor conception and their families

An estimated more than one million people have been born in the U.S. through donor sperm or eggs, including Wendy Kramer’s son. Realizing the unique concerns of being or parenting a donor-conceived child, Kramer launched what would become the world’s largest database for connecting donor-conceived people, the Donor Sibling Registry (DSR).

Finding Our Families provides additional support for this growing community. With compassion and insight, the authors draw on extensive research to address situations families face throughout a donor-conceived child’s development, including the search for a biological parent or half-sibling, and how to forge a healthy self-image.



PREORDER NOW: Penguin.com   •   Amazon

Barnes & Noble   •   Books-a-Million   •   IndieBound

If you are thinking about having a baby through donor conception, this book is for you. If you are a donor conceived person, this book is for you. If you are a parent raising a child who came to you through the help of an egg or sperm donor, this book is for you. If you are a medical or mental health professional, helping people build their families through donor conception, this book is for you…

With wise, compassionate, practical and innovative advice, Kramer and Cahn guide readers through the ever unfolding world of donor conception. They take on the challenges of identifying language to describe new definitions of family and address the complexities—and rewards—that come when people search for donors and other genetic connections. Finding Our Families is that rare book that you will read and return to again and again over time, appreciating and understanding it in different ways as you explore and discover new forms of kinship.  -Ellen Glazer LICSW, Co-Author, "Having Your Baby Through Egg Donation

Click here to read Ellen's full book review!

***

Finding Our Families isn’t just a good and important book – it’s a necessary one. -Adam Pertman, President of the Adoption Instititute, Author, "Adoption Nation"

***

This gem of a  book is based on the unique experience of the founder of the Donor Sibling Registry, Wendy Kramer, who has heard from members of thousands of families who owe their existence to donated sperm and/or eggs.  Kramer and Cahn have written a heartfelt, practical, easy-to-read, and step-by-step book that is indispensable for all members of such families. With the aid of numerous first-person accounts, the book describes what, when and how to tell your child about his or her genetic origin, how to accept and process the usual desire of offspring to learn about their roots, how to proceed with the search for biological relatives, how to reach out to the donors, and what happens afterwards.  Finding our Families includes empathetic and useful sections about meeting the donors, connecting with half-siblings and their families, recognizing the potential outcomes, and handing rejection of efforts to connect. A chapter written specifically for offspring is very useful.  This book is must reading for all members of the family.- Jennifer P. Schneider, M.D., Ph.D.

***

Finding Our Families is a must read for anyone in any part of a process related to donor insemination.  Whether you've just opened the door to an idea about using donor sperm or your donor children are grown, this is a book for you. Comprehensive, thoughtful and full hearted, this book addresses the myriad of issues that can arise in donor families. 
 

It is an inclusive, sensitive map to guide anyone touched by the joys and complexities of donor insemination.  The authors pull from the amazing anecdotal work Kramer has done, as well as research she's spearheaded in this arena.  Three cheers for this groundbreaking work and may it reach a professional audience, as well as the families they write about. -Susan Frankel, MFT

***

This ground-breaking book affirms what donor-conceived people have been telling us (in media interviews, at seminars and support groups, on blogs and internet forums, etc): they want, need and deserve to be told the truth about their genetic origins and the right to decide for themselves whether to seek contact with their donor and/or half-siblings. And thanks to Wendy Kramer's hard work, dedication and innovation in creating the Donor Sibling Registry, many donor-conceived people are now able to "find the other 50% of
the pieces of the puzzle that make up who I am".

 ­ - Diane Allen, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Infertility Network, Canada

***

Finding Our Families gently stretches us to consider the experiences of all those involved in helping make our families. As a psychotherapist, a lesbian, and the mother of a donor-conceived child, I finished this book as a more compassionate and forgiving person.  There is nothing more powerful than the truth. –Liz Margolies, Founder and Executive Director of the National LGBT Cancer Network

 ***

Clearly written and well-organized, this is an indispensable guide for all those who are part of families formed with donated eggs or sperm. -Rene Almeling, Assistant professor of sociology at Yale University and the author of "Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm".

***

The definition of ‘family’ is rapidly changing and Wendy and Naomi's book provides a clear and helpful guide through this uncharted territory. Their advice on communicating with children, by far the most challenging and important aspect of this journey, is compassionate and wise. Thank goodness for this wonderful and much-needed book! –Jane Mattes, LCSW, Founder and Director, Single Mothers by Choice.

***
Wise, honest, informed and reassuring--and written by two deeply respected experts--Finding Our Families is the definitive guide for any parent or child who is part of a family formed with the help of donor conception. The insights are so profound and the guidance so clear-eyed that I would go further and say that the book is a definitive guide for anybody who has a family. An essential parenting book. - Liza Mundy, Fellow, New America Foundation, Author, "Everything Conceivable How the Science of Assisted Reproduction is Changing our World"

***

An invaluable resource for anyone searching for their donor or donor siblings through the Donor Sibling Registry. -Susan Golombok, Ph.D., University of Cambridge

***

You've written a wonderful and much needed book for donor conceived kids and their families! I am impressed with the depth of your insights and I really like the way you have cited the latest research in the field.
I also like the depth of detail you have gone into with regard to conducting searches for donors and half siblings through your registry.This kind of information, drawing on the experiences of
your members, goes a long way towards demystifying that process and will allay the fears of those who want to make contact with their donors and/or half siblings.
-KimKluger-Bell, LMFT, Author  of  "The Pea That Was Me" children's book series for donor kids, www.booksfordonorkids.com

***

The one thing we as human beings deserve more than anything else is our own, personal truth. Wendy Kramer and Naomi Cahn have long fought for this right, even before it was fashionable to do so. These well-respected advocates for the donor-conceived and their families bring outspoken tenacity and audacious courage to the pages of this significant book.- Corey Whelan, patient advocate and author, The American Fertility Association




Wendy Kramer
www.donorsiblingregistry.com
303-258-0902


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

 

Infertility and Adoption Support Groups: The Top 5 Benefits, by Joni Mantell

http://ezinearticles.com/?Infertility-and-Adoption-Support-Groups:-The-Top-5-Benefits&id=6342659

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

State law change to help children find donor parent | theage.com.au

I don't think the term donor parent is correct. There's a donor and a parent. I agree I'm not the genetic mother of my children but I am their mother. It's complicated .

http://m.theage.com.au/victoria/state-law-change-to-help-children-find-donor-parent-20130820-2s9ga.html


Sara Axel

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fwd: Survey of 1700 Sperm Donor Recipients

Pdf not attached but see link below. And I love the quote at the end of Wendy's email by Hodding Carter.

Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: Wendy Kramer <wendy@donorsiblingregistry.com>
Date: August 18, 2013, 7:47:27 AM EDT
To: Sara <saxel95@aol.com>
Subject: Survey of 1700 Sperm Donor Recipients

2013 Reproductive BioMedicine Online: A SURVEY OF 1700 Women who formed
their families using donor spermatozoa

The pdf of this paper is attached, and can be accessed on the DSR's Research page:

http://www.donorsiblingregistry.com/resource-library/dsr-research

"This paper reports the results of an online survey of 1700 recipients of
donor spermatozoa conducted by the Donor Sibling Registry, aiming to understand
the perspectives of respondents who had used donor spermatozoa. The survey
examined: choice of sperm bank and donor; reporting of births and genetic disorders;
disclosure; contact with donor and half-siblings; regulation of sperm donor
activity and genetic testing; and access to medical information. The respondents
formed three groups: single women; women in a same-sex relationship; and
women in a heterosexual relationship. Some differences between the three cohorts
were observed: pre-insemination counseling; acceptance of donors without medical
records or with chronic or late-onset diseases; awareness of choice of bank
and type of donor; and views on the right of offspring to know their genetic
origins. However, important areas of common ground were identified: the
wish by those who had used an anonymous donor that they had used an open-identity
donor; support for, and willingness to pay for, comprehensive genetic testing of
donors; and desire for access to their donor's family health information.
The implications of these results for policies concerning the use and
management of donor spermatozoa will be discussed."



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

<survey1700womenspermatozoa.pdf>

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fwd: New paper on Donor Grandparents!



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: Wendy Kramer <wendy@donorsiblingregistry.com>
Date: July 11, 2013, 10:53:06 AM EDT
To: Wendy Kramer <wendy@donorsiblingregistry.com>
Subject: New paper on Donor Grandparents!

The Journal of Family Issues, May 2013: A New Path to Grandparenthood: Parents of Egg and Sperm Donors. Diane Beeson, Patricia Jennings, Wendy Kramer.

"...third-party reproduction has implications not only for the donor, recipients, and offspring, but also for the parents of donors, who in increasing numbers are learning that they are the biological grandparents of one, or sometimes many, children born outside of their family.  In this article we examine this new path to grandparenthood by reviewing some of the social processes that have led to the emergence of this phenomenon."

Abstract

Assisted reproductive technologies have engendered new familial arrangements, some of which challenge traditional assumptions about the relationship between biology and social roles. In this article, we report on the first survey ever conducted of parents of former egg and sperm donors. Twenty-two men and women participated in a survey conducted by the Donor Sibling Registry, a worldwide registry facilitating mutual- consent contact among donor offspring, their gamete donors, and other family members. We report on their feelings and thoughts on learning that their child donated gametes and on learning that they have a grandchild (or grandchildren) via gamete donation. We also examine what type of relationship, if any, participants have formed with their donor-conceived grandchildren, as well as their advice to other parents of donors. We conclude with questions and suggestions for future research into this newly emerging terrain of family relations.


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

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fwd: New paper on Donor Grandparents!



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: Wendy Kramer <wendy@donorsiblingregistry.com>
Date: July 11, 2013, 10:53:06 AM EDT
To: Wendy Kramer <wendy@donorsiblingregistry.com>
Subject: New paper on Donor Grandparents!

The Journal of Family Issues, May 2013: A New Path to Grandparenthood: Parents of Egg and Sperm Donors. Diane Beeson, Patricia Jennings, Wendy Kramer.

"...third-party reproduction has implications not only for the donor, recipients, and offspring, but also for the parents of donors, who in increasing numbers are learning that they are the biological grandparents of one, or sometimes many, children born outside of their family.  In this article we examine this new path to grandparenthood by reviewing some of the social processes that have led to the emergence of this phenomenon."

Abstract

Assisted reproductive technologies have engendered new familial arrangements, some of which challenge traditional assumptions about the relationship between biology and social roles. In this article, we report on the first survey ever conducted of parents of former egg and sperm donors. Twenty-two men and women participated in a survey conducted by the Donor Sibling Registry, a worldwide registry facilitating mutual- consent contact among donor offspring, their gamete donors, and other family members. We report on their feelings and thoughts on learning that their child donated gametes and on learning that they have a grandchild (or grandchildren) via gamete donation. We also examine what type of relationship, if any, participants have formed with their donor-conceived grandchildren, as well as their advice to other parents of donors. We conclude with questions and suggestions for future research into this newly emerging terrain of family relations.


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

<Beeson et al 2013.pdf>

Fwd: Nottingham, UK: Donor Conception Network conference, Sept 21



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: Diane Allen <DianeAllen@InfertilityNetwork.org>
Date: July 11, 2013, 4:23:53 PM EDT
To: Sara <saxel95@aol.com>
Subject: Nottingham, UK: Donor Conception Network conference, Sept 21

DONOR CONCEPTION NETWORK
Autumn Conference
Sat, Sept 21, 10am-4.30pm. Nottingham, UK

Adult Programme
* Your family & the donor: Ken Daniels, author of 'Building a Family with
the Assistance of Donor Insemination'; New Zealand social work professor who
has written more extensively & accessibly about donor conception families
donors & offspring than anyone else worldwide. Q&A
* Morning discussion groups (introductions & an opportunity to talk about
the content of the main morning session)
* DCN 20th Anniversary Film
* Relative Strangers: Petra Nordqvist will give a presentation on her
research project which explores how parents and also wider family negotiate
and experience information sharing about donor conception. Q&A
* Afternoon discussion groups (on the topic of your choice)

Children's Workshops for 8-12yr Olds
For donor conceived children and non-dc siblings who would like to explore
donor conception issues in a fun and age-appropriate way.  Facilitated by
qualified and experienced children¹s group leader, Sharon Pettle, and her
team.

Advance registration required.
Registration deadlines:
* Aug 30: children¹s workshop for 13-18yr olds - £25/child
* Sept 6: adult program - £25/adult (£10 unwaged), £10 per 13-18yr old
* Sept 6: childcare, £15/child (free for unwaged)

Please bring a picnic lunch for your family.
Drinks & biscuits available free.

Info/Register:
* 020 7278 2608
* enquiries@dcnetwork.org
* http://www.dcnetwork.org


Fwd: 'The World of ART', Nov 10, Charleston, SC



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: Diane Allen <DianeAllen@InfertilityNetwork.org>
Date: July 11, 2013, 4:23:23 PM EDT
To: Sara <saxel95@aol.com>
Subject: 'The World of ART', Nov 10,  Charleston, SC

The World of Assisted Reproductive Technology - A Global Approach to Family
Formation in the United States and Abroad

Charleston, South Carolina. November 10 - 12, 2013.

Topics include:
* Egg banking & legal considerations
* LGBT family formation
* Psychological perspectives
* Medical overview, update & legal considerations
* International ART issues including the Hague Conference
* Statutory & case law updates
* Constitutional issues presented by ART
* Marriage, divorce, death & ART
* International coordination among ART professionals
* Ethical considerations in ART

Presented by the:
* American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA)
* American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA)

Info/Register: http://www.aaarta.org/2013_Mid-Year/conference.htm


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Fwd: From Amy Demma : RESOLVE's efforts to help pass the NY Child Parent Security Act



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: "Sara Axel" <saxel95@aol.com>
Date: June 9, 2013, 8:45:11 PM EDT
To: "'Sara Axel'" <saxel95@aol.com>
Subject: From Amy Demma : RESOLVE's efforts to help pass the NY Child Parent Security Act



I am supporting RESOLVE's efforts to help pass the NY Child Parent Security
Act and I am hopeful that you will, too.

As you know compensated gestational carrier arrangements in New York State
are currently illegal/ A bill in the New York Assembly and State Senate
seeks to reverse this law and make compensated, gestational carrier
arrangements legal in New York. This means New York residents who choose to
use a gestational carrier (surrogate) to become parents and build their
family can stay in New York to do it! This bill also protects families built
through donor cycles.

Please click through to the below link to show your support for this very
important piece of legislation.

https://secure2.convio.net/res/site/Advocacy?cmd=display
<https://secure2.convio.net/res/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id
=463> &page=UserAction&id=463

Warm regards, Amy

Amy Demma, Esq



Sara Axel

516-967-7430



Fwd: Resources on Disclosure from Diane Allen



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: "Sara Axel" <saxel95@aol.com>
Date: June 9, 2013, 8:43:27 PM EDT
To: "'Sara Axel'" <saxel95@aol.com>
Subject: Resources on Disclosure from Diane Allen





Along with a number of other books for adults & children about donor
conception, the books published by the Donor Conception Network (DCN) in the
UK are sold in USA/Canada by our small charity based in Toronto. This
includes their:



* My Story / Our Story series of illustrated storybooks for children (3-6

yrs) in 5 separate versions for children born through donor insemination to
heterosexual or same-sex couples or single mothers, egg donation to
heterosexual couples, and double (i.e. sperm & egg) donation or embryo
donation to heterosexual couples



* 'Telling and Talking' about Donor Conception booklets for parents and
professionals in 4 separate versions: 0-7 years; 8-11, 12-16, 17 and over.



There are also 2 professionally-made DVDs, by a DCN member:

* Telling & Talking About Donor Conception - parents and children in 10
families answer questions about their experiences of Œtelling¹ and
continuing to talk together as children grow and change. Features single
women, a lesbian couple and heterosexual couples who used anonymous or known
egg donation, anonymous sperm donation, or double (egg & sperm) donation.

* A Different Story which shows varied positive, thoughtful reflections by 7
young people, aged 7-20, conceived through anonymous donor insemination (DI)
by heterosexual couples and told the facts of their conception at an early
age by their parents.



For complete details, please see:

http://www.InfertilityNetwork.org/store_dc





Sara Axel

516-967-7430



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fwd: Next Support Group Meeting with Patricia Mendell, LCSW



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: ritz469@aol.com
Date: June 4, 2013, 6:11:06 PM EDT
To: ritz469@aol.com
Subject: Next Support Group Meeting with Patricia Mendell, LCSW

FYI

The next Monthly Support Group Meeting will take place on Thursday, June 6, 2013.  I hope you will all look at the flyer and give it to anyone you think might gain something from the program.
 
Please let me know if I can expect to see you there.
 
Thank you,
Patricia Mendell, LCSW
 
 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Complexity in a Sperm Donation - Modern Love - NYTimes.com

Really sweet article.

A Choice Not as Easy as It Looked

When my husband's friend Maggie asked him if he would donate his sperm to get her soon-to-be wife pregnant, he said he had to ask me first. It's the kind of hypothetical question one might pose at a dinner party: "If your friends, a lesbian couple, ask your husband to donate sperm so they can have a child, would you agree?"

Hypothetically, without hesitation, I would.

My husband called me at work, excited about the prospect. Perhaps he sensed the couple's desire to get started right away. I hesitated. I had questions: "Will you go to a clinic and do it into a test tube? Or are they asking you to have sex with her until she gets pregnant? Because one is very clinical and the other seems potentially problematic."

"No," Ben said. "I give it to them in a Baggie and they use a dropper."

The turkey-baster method.

A few years back, Maggie had asked my husband to be a sperm donor when she was thinking about getting pregnant herself.

"Can we do it the old-fashioned way?" he had joked.

She half-joked back that he was a freak, then dropped it. Until now.

My husband is the kind of man (like many, no doubt) who is flattered to be asked. What, he might wonder, does the couple find biologically appealing in me?

I can answer that: He has a great sense of humor, even if his timing isn't always good. He's tall, sturdy, healthy, intelligent and warmly good-looking: in other words, a good biological catch.

I should know. One night, a few months after we started dating, in the light of a streetlamp, I saw my daughter's face inside his face, and I knew he would be the man to give her to me. Four years later, our daughter was born.

Maggie's request elicited in me an oddly powerful response, the kind that sometimes happens when something feels right even if you don't know why. Although we are married, Ben and I don't have a traditional family. When we met, he was a 20-year-old undergraduate theater major and I was a 29-year-old graduate student. I was also a single mother with two boys and no child support. Naïvely or stupidly (or in that precious place where the two meet), we stumbled into a wild love affair, and shortly thereafter into family life together.

A few years later our daughter was born, and a few years after that, we were married, surrounded by our three children. For 19 years he has steadfastly loved us all.

So when the sperm donation proposition came up, it seemed to strike a beautiful biological balance. But instead of following my immediate impulse, I answered, "Yes, but we must first ask the kids."

One evening as we all sat around the dining room table, my husband explained the situation.

Our daughter, 14, said, "Cool."

The boys are in their 20s but live nearby and sometimes join us for meals. Both shrugged at first. The younger one stayed quiet. Then the older said, "It's kind of weird, but then again it doesn't really have anything to do with us."

Perhaps our daughter would be most affected because of her biological relationship to my husband. People search for their biological parents, siblings and children all the time. What if, one day, this potential child wants a relationship with our daughter because he is as much half-sibling to her as the two half-brothers she's grown up with?

Even as we acknowledged that there was much we could not know about the implications of the decision, we collectively agreed to tell the couple yes. Our daughter scooted her chair back. As she left the table, she said, "Just don't tell me the details about how you are going to do it."

A few days later, while Maggie waited in the heated car parked outside our house, my husband collected his sample, tucked the Baggie under his shirt to keep it warm, and ran with it through the freezing cold night. I watched from the front stoop as he passed the goods through the car window. "Good luck," he said.

By the grace of the fertility gods, this one donation hit its mark.

Once the pregnancy took, more questions arose. What would my husband's legal responsibilities be? (None.) What would his rights be? (None, but he would be welcome to hang out.) Who would he be to this child? (A friend.)

All these agreements were made with no witnesses, no contract, not even a glass of whiskey. There was a discussion about confidentiality. The mothers wanted to keep the paternity secret for the time being.

"Yes, of course," we agreed.

Even when biology is easy, life is complicated. Throughout the pregnancy, Ben visited the couple, but I didn't know exactly what my role was. Mostly, it had nothing to do with me. Still, as the months passed I had more and more questions.

"If I were carrying your baby," I told Ben one evening, "I would fall in love with you. Even more in love than before." I should know, having done it.

"She's a lesbian," he said, "and in love with her partner."

"But biology," I said.

"Biology what?"

"What if they break up? What if you fall in love with the child and then with the birth mother? And she decides to raise the child with you since you're the biological father?"

"What if a piano falls on your head?" he said.

And then there was Facebook, where the mothers posted news of the pregnancy, followed by many "likes" and congratulations. In subsequent months the birth mother provided details, including near-naked photos of her magnificent growing belly. One day she posted an ultrasound with the announcement: "It's a boy."

I leaned toward my computer and, for the first time, saw my husband's biological son.

At first I thought my discomfort was an issue of privacy. While our family had kept our confidentiality agreement, intimate details about the baby and mother appeared daily, sometimes hourly, on Facebook. This was compounded in real life when a few days later, my husband and I ran into a friend of the birth mother's downtown.

"What's up?" she asked, with a twinkle in her eye. She didn't wait for an answer before adding, "I know what's up."

Soon I realized what was really bothering me: I was done having children. I was also nearing an age when I wouldn't have a choice. Seeing her pregnant belly didn't change my decision, but it did bring this loss to the surface. My feelings were as private and sorrowful as hers were public and celebratory.

I confided in a close friend. She was silent and then pursed her lips. "I couldn't let my husband do that," she said. "Are you sure you can do this?"

"Yes."

Anyway, at this point, I no longer had a choice.

I ran the scenario by a progressive advice columnist I know. She knit her brow. "I wouldn't do that," she said.

Too late.

Ben and I took a walk in our favorite park and revisited the reason we agreed: We have been blessed with three beautiful children; why shouldn't we help another family have one, too?

Sometimes you have to leap into the "yes" and let life's mysteries play out, not knowing all the consequences and outcomes. The fact that my husband and I share this crazy perspective might be one of the reasons we have stayed together.

I remember when Ben's parents met me for the first time, the 29-year-old single mother with two kids at their son's college graduation. I imagine they silently suffered heart attacks. But instead of sitting him down for a serious talk, they let him live his life. They treated me with kindness and respect. Most important, they loved my two boys.

For all these years, they have been there in ways their biological father's family was not able to be. It's hard to predict who will become a part of your extended family.

A few weeks before the baby was born, the mothers invited us over to hear his heartbeat. The birth mother was glorious in those last weeks of pregnancy. When she stretched out on the couch, I saw a foot move across the moon of her belly. The midwife placed the ultrasound wand near the boy's shoulder, and the beating heart emerged: my husband's biological child in another woman's body.

There was a little boy in there whose face was inside my husband's face. And I realized there was one question I hadn't considered: What happens if I fall in love with him?

Two weeks later, when I held the baby in my arms, I did. I looked into his face, his eyes, his lips, his tiny breathing nose, all entirely his own, and I fell in love with him. I whispered in his ear. I wished him a long, happy, healthy life and all the blessings and mysteries that come with saying yes.

Lisa Schlesinger, a playwright and professor in Chicago, is working on a collection of essays.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: June 3, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the relationship of the author's daughter to her two sons and to the baby of the same-sex couple. The girl is not a stepsister to any of them because she shares a biological parent with each of them.



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How choice for donors and donor conceived people keeps doors open | oliviasview

One of the best articles I've seen on donor parents and children,



How choice for donors and donor conceived people keeps doors open

Bio-News had to shorten my response to Ben Saer (see previous blog) to fit their word count.  Here's the original with a link to the slightly shorter one at the end.

Having just returned from the States, I thought at first it was the jet lag.  The BioNews article I was reading couldn't possibly contain that many completely unsubstantiated assertions and assumptions and such a skewed view of what is and is not ethical in donor conception.  But second reading when more compos mentis revealed that it did.  It is hard to know where to start in addressing egg donation Dad-to-be Ben Saer's points…but I guess the first paragraph is as good as any.  Here he applauds the decision made by the British Columbia Court of Appeal to overturn the decision made in the Olivia Pratten case giving retrospective access to donor records for donor conceived children.  "Anonymity, guaranteed to the donor at the time of conception, was rightly respected" he asserts.  In the next paragraph he regrets that such respect is not afforded to donors in the UK, completely failing to mention that current donors in this country donate under totally different conditions – ie. accepting that identifiability is part of the deal – and that retrospective access to donor records is not available in this country either.   Nowhere in the world are donors forced to donate their eggs or sperm.  In the UK it is by and large a completely free choice to do so, although some might argue that prevailing economic conditions and the recent raising of the 'compensation' levels for donation might introduce a coercive element.  There have been concerns that women in poorer countries in Eastern Europe and elsewhere may also donate predominantly for economic reasons.  But mostly it is a choice freely made.

Saer goes on to parrot the long-standing media myth that, 'The ending of donor anonymity in the UK cut supply overnight" without understanding that it was the attitudes and actions of many doctors that caused the shortage, not the change in law.   Doctors put the fear of God into the donors they had at the time with nightmare scenarios of children turning up on their doorsteps.  Predominantly male doctors assumed that no man would ever want to donate identifiably.  In this way clinics ran down their practices and many decided not to carry on.    It took two pioneering clinics to change the way that sperm donors were recruited – and the type of donor they targeted – for it to be shown that it was perfectly possible to recruit men who were willing to take on the responsibility of being identifiable.  There had always been a shortage of egg donors and it has similarly been a reluctance on the part of clinics to put resources into recruitment that continued this situation until fairly recently.  The National Gamete Donation Trust is quite clear that when awareness is raised of the need for egg donors, then suitable women willing to be identifiable, do come forward. Many clinics in the UK now have a surfeit of egg donors! Which raises the question of why Saer and his wife chose to go abroad, presumably to the Czech clinic he is now promoting as part of his business.  Was it because they could not find a donor in the UK or was it because they were seeking an anonymous donor?  His antipathy generally to state intervention in assisted reproduction leads me to assume the latter.   All this starts to make me think that donors, for Saer, are simply a means to an end – someone who gives up 'cells' they don't need in order to help create a child for someone else.  But no, a couple of paragraphs later we have, "Donors are heroes.  Without them, donor-conceived children would not exist.  Yet the rights of donors have been oddly marginalised by the debate."  This seems to be assuming that the 'right' that any donor in their right mind would be desiring is anonymity.  As I said before, donors do not have to donate.  They choose to do so under the conditions that prevail in this country at this time.  That is, being willing to be identifiable to young people they have helped to create from 18 onwards.  There is even some evidence from research that some donors from pre 2005 and even pre 1991 days, would have been happy to be identified but the law at that time did not allow for that.

Saer goes on to criticise the Nuffield Bio-Ethics report not only for not recommending a review of donor anonymity but also for the encouragement of donors to re-register as identifiable saying, "Hectoring them to come forward is intrusive and probably illegal".  There are of course no plans to hector donors in any way.  It does seem reasonable, however, to have a high profile campaign pointing out how valuable it could be to some donor conceived people if they did re-register, but only if they choose to do so.  It could be entirely counter productive if donors who wished to remain anonymous were 'outed' or pressured in any way.  It seems to me that donors who take on the responsibilities associated with identifiability are the real heroes here.

Which brings us to the needs of the children, who in Saer's world don't appear to be offered any choices at all.  In what feels like a veiled reference to the Donor Conception Network Saer accuses "countless websites, some with charitable status" of asserting that donor conceived children face an identity crisis later in life (if they do not know the identity of their donor).  DCN has never claimed this – and indeed all the children of the founders, including Walter's and mine, are highly unlikely to ever have identifying or even much non-identifying information because they were conceived before the 1991 HFE Act.  These young adults are doing well and have not suffered identity crises.  But there are many donor conceived people who do feel that knowledge about their donor would help them understand themselves in a more profound way. Even if they have no wish to actually contact the donor, most donor conceived young people have a curiosity about the person or persons who contributed to their existence.  Those conceived in the UK since 2005 will have a choice about what level of information to have.  They, and those conceived since 1991, are able to be in touch by mutual consent with others conceived via the same donor if they choose to do so.  These choices are not available to children conceived in the Czech Republic and elsewhere where anonymity prevails.  Saer naively assumes that "good parenting will alleviate most emotional difficulties", and this is a position I have some sympathy with as many parents and parents-to-be in DC Network hope at some level that early telling (which Saer approves of) and good parenting will somehow curb curiosity.  Particularly before actually becoming parents, recipients of donor gametes often worry that their child might reject the non-genetic parent.  Experience, however, has shown that many young people live with the curiosity without being obsessed by it and children do not reject either of their parents (at least not because of donor conception).  Good parenting is of course supportive and protective in many ways, but it does not resolve the desire of some teenagers and adults to know more about the person who helped create them.

Young adults, like our daughter, who were conceived prior to 1991 know that the culture was different then, that we, their parents, had no choices offered to us with regard to donors and that donor anonymity was the only possible option.  Nowadays, with the change in culture towards openness and transparency in all areas and the availability of identifiable UK donors, prospective parents who exercise their choice to go abroad for anonymity need to understand what this means for their child in a modern context.

Saer says that he does not question the paramouncy of putting children first enshrined in the 1989 Children Act but it is hard to square this with his deliberate choice to have an anonymous donor.  There is no 'statutory access for all" or "mandatory revealing of the donor's identity", as asserted in Saer's article, simply an option for a young person to pursue if this is what they choose to do.  Surely this is the only ethical and genuinely respectful position.

http://www.bionews.org.uk/page_301337.asp

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Sara Axel
516-967-7430
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Who owns a donors sperm

Darn spell check!

Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone

Re: His or Hers - Who Owns A Donor's Sperm

Why doesn't spell check work when you really need it?!

Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


On Apr 23, 2013, at 7:28 AM, Sara <saxel95@aol.com> wrote:

> To me it's like trying to undo sex. What do you think?
> http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/his-or-hers-who-owns-a-donor-s-sperm-1.505332
>
>
> Sara Axel
> 516-967-7430
> Sent from my iPhone
>
> Sara Axel
> 516-967-7430
> Sent from my iPhone
>

His or Hers - Who Owns A Donor's Speem?

To me it's like trying to undo sex. What do you think?
http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/his-or-hers-who-owns-a-donor-s-sperm-1.505332


Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone

Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Where Do Babies Come From? By Dr. Nancy Freeman-Carroll


By Nancy Freeman-Carroll, Psy.D.

Most parents get a little nervous the first time their young child asks the question, "Where do babies come from?" This question, and the answer, are both more complicated when the child asking was conceived with assisted conception—IVF, donor egg, or donor sperm. Although it often makes parents squirm, this inquiry is an important step in a child's awareness of himself and the people around him.

A typical first answer might be something like, "when two people love each other they can make a baby." This answer is simple--short and sweet.  For a preschooler, this is usually enough information to begin the ongoing conversation about intimacy, sexuality and family most parents hope to have with their children. The first words on the topic are not so straightforward for individuals who have struggled with infertility.

Briefly, assisted conception usually means the use of a donated gamete to conceive a child.  A gamete is a reproductive cell, such as a mature sperm or egg that is capable of joining with a gamete of the opposite sex to produce the fertilized egg that will grow into an embryo, then a fetus, and eventually become a baby.  Families choose donor gametes when there is no other way to conceive a child.  Some reasons for this include: infertility, which affects about 10% of the population; advanced maternal age (i.e. over 35); same-sex coupling; and the wish of an unpartnered person to have a child.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends families explain the use of assisted conception to their children.  When the need for donor gametes is most obvious (e.g. in families with gay or lesbian parents), children typically grow up knowing something about it.  Although many heterosexual families intend to tell their children, their qualms about how to start this conversation can get in the way.

Parents' concerns are understandable.  The discovery that one cannot conceive a child without a donor gamete is a life-altering event that is, at best, a significant emotional adjustment, and at worst, a trauma.  The acceptance of this reality can be slow and painful, and may remain unresolved even after a baby finally arrives.

Parents may postpone telling their children, friends or family because they worry that disclosure will be painful and stigmatizing, for their children, and for themselves.  However, when parents delay talking, they can miss the opportunity to make donor conception one of the basic things a child knows about herself from a young age.  In my experience, nearly everyone who uses donor conception has questions about how to talk about it with their kids.

When talking to a child about donor conception, I recommend the following:

- Start early. Talking with the child, even before she can understand, gives parents time to get used to telling their story; to identify and mange the painful feelings that remain attached to the decision to use donor conception. 

- Remember children will be curious.  Children will approach the idea of donor conception with interest because they have no preconceptions about what is the "right" or typical way to be conceived, or who is in a family.

- Explain that 3 things are needed to make a baby:

A special cell from a man or daddy that is called a sperm cell

A special cell from a woman or mommy that is called an egg or ovum cell.

A special place inside a woman's or a mommy's body where the baby will grow.

- Explain that sometimes these 3 parts come from the two people who will be the baby's parents AND sometimes another person is needed to help make the baby.  It is possible that two or more people may be needed to help make a baby.  We call these peoples donors.

- Identify what kind of donor was needed for your family.  Parents should emphasize their love for each other and their determination to create a family.  They can also introduce the known facts about the donor.

The advantage of early disclosure is clear: there is time for children to learn gradually about assisted conception, just as they learn about so many other things that define their families and themselves.  However, it is never too late to provide information about donor conception. 

Research conducted with adolescents suggests that teens told for the first time about their donor conception are able to empathize with their parents' effort to create a family. Teens recognized the difference between a parent and a donor, and awareness of donor conception did not change the role of the parents in their lives.  The teens asserted that children are entitled to this information because it's relevant to their identity. 

Families begin when parents conceive the idea of a child--the child grows first in the mind of the parent(s), in plans to get pregnant or obtain assistance to create a pregnancy, and in dreams for the future. When children ask "Where do babies come from," they are also inquiring about their parents' thoughts and feelings; they are asking, "how did you get ready for me?"  What they most want to hear from their parents is, "Listen, this is the story of how I began to think of you!  This is the beginning of our family."

Nancy Freeman-Carrol, Psy.D., is Supervising Analyst at the William Alanson White Institute and an active member of the Mental Health Professionals Group of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. She is in private practice in Manhattan.

Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone

Where Do Babies Come From? | Psychology Today

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201303/where-do-babies-come


Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Fwd: free telecoaching workshop Wednesday February 27, 2013



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: Patricia Mendell <pmendell@hseny.com>
Date: February 24, 2013, 9:02:27 PM EST
To: Patricia Mendell <pmendell@hseny.com>
Subject: free telecoaching workshop  Wednesday February 27, 2013

Please share with your patients, clients, friends and peers :

 

  You're Invited to a FREE Telephone Coaching Support Group on  Wednesday, February 27, 2013

 

Adoption and Egg/Sperm/Embryo Donation 

What You Need to Know When Considering  

These Family Building Choices  

 

<image003.jpg> 

 

Knowing when it's time to consider egg/sperm/embryo donation and/or adoption is never easy. Even more challenging for each person is coming to a decision about which of these family building options is right for you. 

 

During this one-hour group conference call, you will receive information about:

 

  • How to know when it is time to consider donation and/or adoption
  • How to decide which option is right for you: looking at the pros and cons
  • Knowing the medical/ psychological implications of each option
  • The costs of adoption and donation
  • What to do when partners are not in agreement

You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and share information that can help you move forward with your goals to have or complete your family.  

 

WHEN: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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: Patricia Mendell, LCSW and Carolyn Berger LCSW

COST: FREE!

 

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:

Patricia Mendell pmendell@aol.com, 212-819-1778

Carolyn Berger cnberger@optonline.net: 914-834-6396

 

Patricia Mendell, L.C.S.W. is a clinical social worker in private practice in Manhattan and Brooklyn. As a current member of the board of The American Fertility Association (AFA) and its former Co-Chair, she has co-authored numerous AFA fact sheets including, Talking with Children about Ovum Donation and Sperm Donation. She is also a member of the AFA Mental Health Advisory Council. Patricia facilitates a monthly Family Building Network Support Group for families formed through assisted conception. She has written and spoken extensively on numerous topics regarding the emotional impact of infertility, coping strategies and decision making in family building, including donation and surrogacy, disclosure and tools for talking about family origins, multi-fetal reduction and pregnancy loss. As a parent, infertility and pregnancy loss survivor, Patricia is well aware of the impact decision making choices have on people's lives as they seek to build their families and begin their new roles as parents.

 

Carolyn Berger, LCSW is a clinical social worker in private practice in Westchester and at NY Fertility Services in Manhattan. She is Founding Board Chair of The American Fertility Association and Chair of its Adoption Advisory Council. She frequently counsels couples and individuals who are at the "fork in the road," trying to decide between more fertility options and adoption. She leads a group at The LGBT Center in Manhattan for individuals who are interested in learning more about their family building options. Carolyn is the parent of two sons, one through reproductive technology and the other through adoption. She is often asked to speak about "blended families."

   

 

Fwd: free telecoaching workshop Wednesday February 27, 2013



Sara Axel
516-967-7430
Sent from my iPhone


Begin forwarded message:

From: Patricia Mendell <pmendell@hseny.com>
Date: February 24, 2013, 9:02:27 PM EST
To: Patricia Mendell <pmendell@hseny.com>
Subject: free telecoaching workshop  Wednesday February 27, 2013

Please share with your patients, clients, friends and peers :

 

  You're Invited to a FREE Telephone Coaching Support Group on  Wednesday, February 27, 2013

 

Adoption and Egg/Sperm/Embryo Donation 

What You Need to Know When Considering  

These Family Building Choices  

 

<image003.jpg> 

 

Knowing when it's time to consider egg/sperm/embryo donation and/or adoption is never easy. Even more challenging for each person is coming to a decision about which of these family building options is right for you. 

 

During this one-hour group conference call, you will receive information about:

 

  • How to know when it is time to consider donation and/or adoption
  • How to decide which option is right for you: looking at the pros and cons
  • Knowing the medical/ psychological implications of each option
  • The costs of adoption and donation
  • What to do when partners are not in agreement

You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and share information that can help you move forward with your goals to have or complete your family.  

 

WHEN: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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: Patricia Mendell, LCSW and Carolyn Berger LCSW

COST: FREE!

 

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:

Patricia Mendell pmendell@aol.com, 212-819-1778

Carolyn Berger cnberger@optonline.net: 914-834-6396

 

Patricia Mendell, L.C.S.W. is a clinical social worker in private practice in Manhattan and Brooklyn. As a current member of the board of The American Fertility Association (AFA) and its former Co-Chair, she has co-authored numerous AFA fact sheets including, Talking with Children about Ovum Donation and Sperm Donation. She is also a member of the AFA Mental Health Advisory Council. Patricia facilitates a monthly Family Building Network Support Group for families formed through assisted conception. She has written and spoken extensively on numerous topics regarding the emotional impact of infertility, coping strategies and decision making in family building, including donation and surrogacy, disclosure and tools for talking about family origins, multi-fetal reduction and pregnancy loss. As a parent, infertility and pregnancy loss survivor, Patricia is well aware of the impact decision making choices have on people's lives as they seek to build their families and begin their new roles as parents.

 

Carolyn Berger, LCSW is a clinical social worker in private practice in Westchester and at NY Fertility Services in Manhattan. She is Founding Board Chair of The American Fertility Association and Chair of its Adoption Advisory Council. She frequently counsels couples and individuals who are at the "fork in the road," trying to decide between more fertility options and adoption. She leads a group at The LGBT Center in Manhattan for individuals who are interested in learning more about their family building options. Carolyn is the parent of two sons, one through reproductive technology and the other through adoption. She is often asked to speak about "blended families."