Tags: Family Inceptions, Gestational Carrier, Infertility, Intended Parents, Reading surrogacy books, Sharon LaMothe, Surrogacy, Surrogacy Helps Make A Family Grow, surrogacy support, Talking to surrogate kids, Telling kids about surrogacy, Tummy Broken
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Did you hear that the governor of Washington State has signed a NEW bill into law regarding compensated surrogacy? Starting January 1st 2019 women in Washington, who desire to help someone by carrying a baby for them, can do just that and be compensated for their time and dedication. Being a surrogate isn't an easy job, as you might remember from your own pregnancies, but it is rewarding and guaranteed to be a life changing experience. There are many issues to consider with surrogacy. If you are interested in speaking with me about all that surrogacy involves, I would be more than happy to answer your questions. I was a gestational surrogate twice, giving birth to two sets of twins for two different couples! I enjoy sharing my own experiences plus what I have learned throughout the past 20 years of being a consultant! You can email me at LaMotheServices@aol.com. Most requirements for a woman to be qualified to act as a gestational surrogate are based on the expectations of doctors and clinics and the laws that are in place (that vary state to state in some cases). Agency’s also have their own list of what their clients are looking for in a surrogate. If you feel that you have the qualities listed below, I would love to talk with you about what your next steps might involve!
I look forward to hearing from you soon!
This call is FREE OF CHARGE for those women considering surrogacy and just want some answers!
LaMothe Surrogacy Consulting
Issaquah, WA 98027
Tags: Become a surrogate mother in Washington State, Family Inceptions, Gestational Surrogates, Intended Parents in WA state, LaMothe Surrogacy Consulting, learn about being a Gestational Carrier in WA State, Learn about surrogacy, Sharon LaMothe, Surrogacy in WA State 2019, Surrogacy in Washington State, Traditional Surrogates
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“I researched surrogacy for over a year and joined an online support group called Parents Pursuing Surrogacy,” Jenn remembers. “When my husband and I finally signed contract papers, I felt pretty confident we were going in the right direction.” But when the agency director mentioned a gestational carrier, Jenn didn’t know what she was talking about. “Do you mean a surrogate mother?” she asked. According to Sharon LaMothe, a Seattle-based surrogacy consultant, gestational carrier is the more-recent term for a surrogate mother who is biologically unrelated to the baby she carries for a couple. “That sounded clinical,” Jenn remembers. “Not what we were going for, at all.”
On a waiting list for five months, Seattleite Jenn says she felt butterflies when she met Long Beach native, Mel, for the first time at the agency’s-office in Orange County. Told that surrogates were in short-supply, Mel was the only one ready at the time whose ideas about the surrogacy process matched Jenn and her husband’s. “I saw her photo and e-mailed with her a few times, but when I met her in person, I didn’t hear a word she said. I was listening to my instincts on this one, and my heart,” Jenn says.
Mel admits the same. “Jenn and her husband were my third set of Intended Parents. I worked for several years with a couple who never had success—and it was heartbreaking.” Several embryo transfers for the couple failed and the whole experience was very discouraging,” she says. But Mel didn’t give up. Matched a 2nd time with another couple, she was pregnant with and delivered a baby girl for them. “Having a baby girl for my couple was one of the greatest things I ever did. I don’t have words for the joy it brought to everybody.” It was right then that Mel knew she wanted to do another surrogacy—but only with a couple who shared her values. “I clicked with Jenn and her husband, instantly,” Mel says. “It was love at first sight.”
Although it was one of the hardest things she’d ever done, Jenn stood by attentively while her microscopic 3-day embryos were transferred to Mel’s womb, for safe-keeping. “I knew I had to let them go to Mel. And although I am a very analytical, somewhat-controlling-person, I was able to take a step back. Mel knew the process and was a consummate professional. Even more, I could tell her heart was in the right place.” A giant leap of faith by Jenn, she says the feeling is impossible to describe. “I placed our babies in a woman I barely knew. We were asking for a miracle.”
On their second embryo transfer (Jenn’s eggs and her husband’s sperm), the team of Mel & Jenn were pregnant. Their jointly-chosen OB called Mel’s pregnancy “textbook”, but the whole experience for Jenn, was anything but. And as much as Mel was financially compensated for what Jenn calls “ultra-early-babysitting”, it turned out Jenn’s hunch about “gestational carriers” was spot-on: “Mel wasn’t a carrier—she was a MOTHER.”
Baby at 12 weeks
Jenn says that not only did Mel eat right, rest, and get great prenatal care, she involved Jenn and her husband in her pregnancy and family from day-one. “I have an open-door policy so I invited Jenn and her husband in,” Mel says in a matter of fact way. “She cared for our baby like he was a member of her family,” Jenn explains. “And Mel’s husband and kids did too. I was in California for a prenatal visit once and stayed with Mel and her family. While Mel read a Harry Potter series book out loud to her own children, my baby stopped kicking to listen.” “He’s quiet now, Jenn,” Mel whispered. The look in her eye said it all. Gestational Carrier? “No, it was LOVE,” Jenn says.
Finally, one warm February day, Jenn’s dream came true when Mel went into labor. Meaning “gift from God”, they pronounced the baby “Jonathan”. Holding back tears, Jenn cut the cord from her surrogate to her precious gift. “You are the luckiest boy in the world,” she told her new baby. “You’ve got TWO moms.”
Jenn cuts the cord
Of course, many surrogacy stories end, right here. The parents take their baby home. The surrogate feels fulfilled. The end. But although Jenn and Mel didn’t know it at that moment, for them, it was only the beginning.
Jenn remembers that Mel’s husband looked her straight in the eye on the way out of the hospital. “We’re all going to stay together, now, aren’t we?” he asked. “Absolutely,” Jenn remembers answering. According to surrogacy expert, Sharon LaMothe, “Most legal contracts between IPs and surrogates have verbiage preventing the surrogate from contacting the family, after the birth. It must be a mutual feeling, a needed connection between all parties. ” Jenn and Mel’s contract was no different. But before they signed it, they talked about their hopes and dreams for a relationship, once the baby was born.
Mel and Jonathan, age-5
As Baby Jonathan grew, the families kept in touch. Jenn and her family (that included daughter Laura) flew almost every year to California from Seattle, to visit Mel and her family. Mel and her family flew up to Seattle, during school breaks.
Mel and Jonathan, age-8
The gifts and love, from the surrogacy experience, just kept flowing.
Mel, Jonathan, and Jenn
An avid Lacrosse player at age-14, now-teen-Jonathan found a sports camp (through an Internet search) in the Los Angeles area and wanted to go. “No, it’s too far from Seattle,” Jenn remembers telling him. But he wouldn’t drop the idea. “What if Mel and her husband looked after him, while he was there?” Jenn’s husband suggested. It was at that precise moment, that a light bulb went on. Just 15 years before, Jenn stood by, and let go of her child to Mel. And now, as if by some grand design, here they went, AGAIN. After a bit of soul-searching, Jenn says she realized that she felt very comfortable letting her son fly by himself from Seattle to Lost Angeles. His mom would pick him up in baggage claim. It wouldn’t be Jenn, herself. And it wouldn’t be a gestational carrier. It would be Mel. Jenn says it felt like the most natural thing in the world.
Jonathan and Mel, at the airport
“There are surrogacy stories that hit the press—more now than ever before,” says Sharon LaMothe. “But what happens between the surrogate and family, five, ten, or fifteen years down the road? These stories are just beginning to be told. There is no one-way to handle the situation. But the story of Jenn and Mel shows that it can be a good thing for all involved.”
What lies ahead for the team of Jenn and Mel? Neither mom is quite certain, but there’s one thing they know for sure: when you have faith, and let-go, no distance is too far and your own biology ceases to matter. “It’s all about love,” says Mel.” “Absolutely,” Jenn agrees.
Mel and Jenn
*JP Tammen is a freelance writer in the Seattle area
Tags: CA Surrogacy, Gestational Surrogate, JP Tammen, LaMothe Surrogacy Consulting, Seattle Intended Parents, Sharon LaMothe, Surrogacy, Surrogacy Pregnancy, Surrogate Mother
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Carla Lewis-Long’s first book, WHY I’M SO SPECIAL: A BOOK ABOUT SURROGACY rated a 5 star review by surrogacy expert, Sharon LaMothe on Amazon.com. A good accomplishment, but Carla didn’t feel as the full story was told. According to U.S. Census, there's a growing number of same-sex parents in America today: between 1.5 million and 5 million, in 1976, that number was estimated to be 300,000 to 500,000. And a recent report by CNN, stated that children with same-sex parents should be prepared for questions from strangers and classmates. "After writing my first children's book on surrogacy, I realized that the majority of people that use surrogates are same sex couples and I wanted them to also have a book to read to their children about their journey.” So on December 19, Carla releases the second volume, WHY I’M SO SPECIAL: A BOOK ABOUT SURROGACY WITH TWO DADDIES (AuthorHouse ISBN:9781468500073), and introduces 9 year old, Tyler Simone Newman, who illustrates the book.
Surrogacy for two dad households have been bolstered by the recent news of celebrities such as Neil Patrick Harris having twins Harper Grace and Gideon Scott in October 2010, Ricky Martin having twins Valentino and Matteo in 2008, and Elton John getting the best Christmas gift of all, Zachary Jackson Levon one year ago.
According to the advocacy group, Resolve, 7.3 million people in the U.S. are affected by infertility. Carla Lewis-Long’s fertility issues led her to Creative Family Connections, which helped find a wonderful surrogate to carry her baby. Her first book, Why I’m So Special: A Book About Surrogacy is a story for all parents who used a surrogate to share with their young children, to let them know just how special they are. The second installment focuses on the two dad household and how that journey may be explained to the children.
Besides being a loving mom to Makana Elliott Long, Carla Lewis-Long is VP, Distribution for nuvoTV. She has spent 17 years in television, working at networks such as AmericanLife TV, Oxygen, and USA Network. CableFax Magazine named her as one of the "Most Influential Minorities In Cable."
For more information, visit https://carlalewislong.com
Follow on https://twitter.com/surrogacystory
Like on https://facebook.com/abookaboutsurrogacy
Same-sex couples starting families are headed to primetime in The New
Normal, a fall sitcom from NBC based on two gay men looking to start a
family with the use of a surrogate. It’s one of the first expansive and
relatable looks into the process. But a local affiliate station in Salt Lake
City, Utah banned the comedy because it worries that this show about families is “inappropriate” to be watched by families.
Even in the show, Bryan and David must contend with the surrogate’s bigoted grandmother. The New Normal might be, as Jonathan Kipp of Oregon Reproductive Medicine, a leading fertility clinic for LBGT couples, “another step in showing Americans that our country’s families are diverse.” But it’s also a hint at what couples who try surrogacy experience when confronted with a culture not yet prepared for a “new normal.”
According to U.S. Census data from 2010, an estimated one-quarter of all same-sex households are raising children. The Census didn’t ask how many used alternative reproduction. But for those couples, the expensive process comes with a host of frustrations and little support during the search for a donor.
Just how expensive — costs associated with alternative reproduction run steep and can prove to be challenging for couples.
• Surrogate fees range from $20,000 to $40,000.
• Insurance coverage for the surrogacy cycle ranges from $15,000 to $25,000.
• Program coordination fees for surrogacy range from $15,000 to $22,000.
• Egg donor fees range from $5,000 to $10,000.
• Program coordination fees for egg donation range from $4,000 to $8,000.
• Doctor's office fees, labs, medications, and the like range from $13,000 to $20,000 and more.
• There will also be incidentals such as attorney fees, psychological and genetic consultations, complication insurance policies for donors and travel expenses that could add an additional $1,500 to $5,000 and up.
April Nelson, 38, an attorney, and Margaret Fiore, 49, a corporate trainer, of Mayfield, Md., began discussing whether to have kids several years into their relationship. The couple of seven years opted for IVF and now have twins, a boy and a girl named Addison and Avery, who are now almost 4 years old.
Nelson and Fiore’s journey began in the summer of 2007 when first exploring
how to get pregnant "the old fashioned way," Nelson jokes, referring to simply
using anonymous donor sperm for insemination. The couple encountered their first
hurdle, however, when it was determined by doctors that Fiore's likelihood of
producing a viable egg was minimal because of her age and hormone levels.
Then the couple spent a few months considering options, and with Nelson still
midway through law school and Fiore having always wanted the pregnancy
experience, they decided to try in-vitro fertilization (IVF) using eggs from
Nelson implanted in Fiore.
"The process was exciting and terrifying and exhausting all at the same
time," said Fiore. There were periods when both were on injection hormones and
making multiple visits each week to the fertility clinic. The couple underwent
mandatory counseling sessions to ensure they "knew what they were doing," and
Nelson had to participate in even more assessments required for egg donors. The
clinic was open affirming, but neither its policies nor the law were truly
prepared for how to "categorize" them.
Tags: alternative forms of reproduction, Egg Donation, LBGT, same sex couples, Same sex house holds, sperm donation, Surrogacy, Surrogacy Fees, The New Normal, Third Party Family Building
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As children grow and their bodies change, it's not always easy for parents to tell if a child falls within a healthy weight range. Body mass index, or BMI for short, is a standard measurement of body fat. Your child's BMI can help you determine if he is at risk for health problems based on his weight. Measuring the waist or neck circumference is another way to measure body fat in kids. Your health care provider may also do this.
The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend BMI screenings for all kids age 2 and older. Here's what you need to know about checking on your child's BMI and what to do with the info once you have it.
BMI estimates how much body fat you have. Calculating a child's BMI number starts out just like calculating an adult's BMI. It's based on height and weight. But for kids, height and weight alone aren't as accurate as they are for adults. Why? Because kids' body fat percentages change as they grow. Kids' BMIs vary based on their age and gender.
That's why when health care professionals talk about a child's BMI, you won't usually hear a plain BMI number, like 25, but rather a BMI percentile, like 75th. These BMI percentiles show how a child's BMI compares to other children of the same age and gender. To calculate the BMI percentile -- which is also called "BMI for age" -- a health care provider or an online tool like WebMD’s FIT Kids BMI Calculator takes a kid's BMI (along with age and gender) and looks it up on a pediatric growth curve. This gives the child's BMI percentile.
BMI percentiles are grouped into weight categories:
So, for example, a 6-year-old boy with a 75th percentile BMI has a higher BMI than 75 out of 100 6-year-old boys. And though you may think that means he is heavy, he is considered a healthy weight.
Many parents assume that if their child had a high BMI, their pediatrician would tell them. But that's not necessarily the case. Sometimes pediatricians may not bring up weight issues with parents. So if you're interested in your child's BMI percentile, it's best to ask directly.
Some school districts have started to measure all children's BMIs in school. The school then sends home a BMI report card to alert parents to any weight issues. Although some parents don't like the idea of schools sending report cards with their child's BMI, experts say that the point is not to embarrass anyone. It's to let parents know about a health problem with serious consequences.
Studies from the U.K. show that children's BMI report cards can work. One study found that after getting a BMI report, about 50% of the parents with overweight children made some healthy changes to their lifestyle.
How Accurate is BMI for Kids?
Experts generally consider BMI for kids to be a good measure of body fat, at least among heavier children. But there are some cases in which BMI might be misleading. Athletic kids, in particular, may fall into the overweight category when they are actually muscular.
Your child's BMI is important, but it is only a piece of the picture. If a BMI percentile indicates that your child is not within the healthy range, she needs a complete weight and lifestyle evaluation with a pediatrician.
The pediatrician will likely follow up with an exam to see how far along your child is in her development and perhaps tests for weight-related health conditions, and by asking questions about her diet and exercise, whether weight is an issue for her, and your family history. This information will allow the health care provider to determine the best way to respond to an underweight, overweight, or obese BMI percentile.
Experts recommend that kids of all ages and all weight categories follow these healthy guidelines to help keep weight in check. It's easy to remember them as 5-2-1-0 every day.
Here are some other expert-recommended eating guidelines.
August is National Breastfeeding Month, which is fitting because breastfeeding is once again spiking in popularity among new moms as the preferred method of feeding their newborn babies. Breastfeeding is a personal choice that all mothers make and this trend is very healthy because breastfeeding provides so many benefits to both the mother and her baby. Chicago Healers Practitioner Dr. Marilyn Mitchell, MD, provides some of the benefits of breastfeeding.
It is also smart for new moms to be aware of what they consume while breastfeeding, as it can affect their child. Here is a list of things to up intake of and things to avoid:
Brookie Cookie Bookie: A children's book about friendship, acceptance and celebrating our differences by Robin B. Rosenberg is sure to bring smiles to the faces of small children as they are read to and relate to the pictures drawn by kids their own age. Its large, colorful and the message is timeless. What I particularly enjoyed were the little rhymes on each page telling of another friend of Brook's, the differences they have and what each child has in common. "Siobhan has a BIG family and mine's very small but we both love family time and know it's the most important time of all!" Brookie Cookie Bookie is a great gift for ages 1-6. Read and enjoy!
Expecting 411, Baby 411 and Toddler 411 by Michele Hakakha, MD and Ari Brown, MD are wonderful books for the first time parent and for those with lots of experience! Not only are these books written by doctors they had an advisory board to help them and trust me, no detail is left out! These books are very well organized with sections and chapters and a clear question and answer format along with icons to indicate Helpful Hints, Red Flags, Old Wives Tales and Disturbing Material Ahead to name a few. The Baby 411 and Toddler 411 books have Insider Secrets and Feedback from the Real World. I highly recommend this entire set!
Do you want to WIN your own BRAND NEW set of these great 411 books? Here's how you do it! Visit Infertility Answers, look over the website and recommend it to someone you know(the recommendation button is at the bottom of each page) and then sign into the Guest Book! Leave a comment about the site and your name and e-mail address along with the date and you will be put in a drawing to have this entire set delivered to you by December 17th! This Contest starts today and will end on December 7th 2010. You will be contacted by e-mail on December 11th! Expecting 411 is signed by both authors!
Thank you and GOOD LUCK!
On October 21, The Surrogacy Lawyer Radio will interview Sharon LaMothe, author of “Surrogacy Helps a Family Grow,” and Tracy Armato, Conceptual Options Program Director
When a woman decides to become a surrogate mother, she will have many conversations: with members of the surrogacy agency team, the intended parents, the medical and legal professionals involved in her care and with her spouse or partner and other adult relatives and friends, to name a few. But one of the most important conversations she will have is with her children, so she can explain the surrogacy process to them.
On the Thursday, October 21 episode of The Surrogacy Lawyer: Your Guide to IVF and Third Party Reproduction, Theresa Erickson, Esq., will be discussing how surrogate mothers should talk to their children about their pregnancies for another family. Ms. Erickson will interview Sharon LaMothe, a former gestational surrogate and author of the upcoming book Surrogacy Helps a Family Grow, and Tracy Armato, program director of Conceptual Options, The Surrogacy and Egg Donation Center and past surrogate. This episode will air on at 11AM PST/2PM EST on Voice America.
Sharon LaMothe is currently the owner of Infertility Answers, Inc., and the creator of two blogs about third party reproduction. She also owns LaMothe Services, LLC, an assisted reproductive technology business solutions service. Tracy Armato is responsible for overseeing the daily operations of Conceptual Options. Having been a gestational surrogate, Tracy has viewed third party reproduction from both angles and is a key support figure for surrogates.
“As a surrogacy lawyer and owner of a surrogacy and egg donation agency, I am excited about this new tool to help surrogate mothers talk to their children about the amazing gift they are giving another set of parents,“ says attorney Erickson. “Having open and honest conversations about third party reproduction is essential, whether you are a surrogate or egg, sperm or embryo donor. I look forward to advancing the conversation about this important topic.”
About Theresa Erickson, Esq.
Ms. Erickson is the managing partner of Erickson Law and the founder and chair of Conceptual Options, The Surrogacy and Egg Donation Center. In addition, Ms. Erickson is the author of the newly released Surrogacy and Embryo, Sperm, & Egg Donation: What Were You Thinking? Erickson was motivated to write her second book so she could educate potential intended parents, as well as the women who become surrogates and egg donors, about what all parties need to know if they are going to become involved in third party reproduction.
Attorney Erickson is a globally recognized expert in this specialized area of law and is a board member of the American Fertility Association and the legal director of Parents Via Egg Donation. For more information, please visit www.ericksonlaw.net and www.conceptualoptions.com.
Tags: Gestational Surrogacy, infertility, Sharon LaMothe Theresa Erickson, Surrogacy, Surrogacy Helps a Family Grow, The Surrogacy Lawyer, Traditional Surrogacy
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When you have a baby, one of the things that should be on your “to do” list is getting a Social Security number for your baby. The easiest time to do this is when you give information for your child’s birth certificate. If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, there may be delays while we verify your child’s birth certificate.
So if you are about to have a baby, through Surrogacy, IVF, or without any help at all go to the hospital prepared with the information to start the Social Security wheels in motion!
Tags: Daddy and Pop, Egg Donor, Gay Parenting, Guess Who? Multimedia, LaMothe Book Review, Surrogacy
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Living near a fast-food outlet doesn't make children fat, nor does living near a supermarket stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables make them thin, new research shows.
The study by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis researchers examined a decade of data on more than 60,000 children aged 3 to 18. They compared the children's weights before and after fast-food outlets or supermarkets opened near their homes. The study found that living near a fast-food outlet had little effect on weight gain and living near a supermarket wasn't associated with lower weight.
The findings were published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
"This study contradicts anecdotal information and provides scientifically verified insights into a wide range of variables that we hope will help physicians and public policy makers fight childhood obesity more effectively," study first author Robert Sandy, a professor of economics and assistant executive vice president of Indiana University, said in a school news release.
He noted that previous studies looked at a single moment in time, not a decade of data.
"Previous studies did not benefit from the wide range of information we acquired such as details of both sick- and well-doctor visits, changes in a child's address, annual food-service establishment inspection data, aerial photographs of neighborhoods and crime statistics over time. And other studies have not taken into account, as we did, families' self-selecting their locations -- for example, families who value exercise may be more likely to live near a park," Sandy said.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianpolis, news release, June 16, 2009
It seems now the age of the fathers (or the age of the sperm, depending on how you look at this) is under scrutiny. I have seen several research articles on the effects of male age factor on children. Below is one of many...your thoughts?
Progress Educational Trust
16 March 2009
A study by researchers at the University of Queensland, Australia, appearing in the journal PLoS Medicine, has found that children of older fathers perform less well in a range of cognitive tests than children born to younger fathers.
The research, led by John McGrath, studied data from intelligence tests taken by 33,437 children born between 1959 and 1965 in the US. The tests focused on memory, learning and concentration skills in the children at the ages of eight months, four years and seven years. McGrath stated, 'the offspring of older fathers show subtle impairments on tests of neurocognitive ability during infancy and childhood'.
It was previously thought that the mother's age had more effect on a child's abilities and intelligence, but the data found that children born to older mothers did well on the tests. The researchers have concluded that as men age the cells that produce sperm are subject to genetic mutations, whereas the mother's eggs are formed while still in the womb, and are therefore protected from mutation until they are used.
Other recent studies have shown a link between fathers over the age of 35 and health problems in children, such as birth deformities, cancer, and conditions such as autism and schizophrenia. James Watson, the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, has publicly speculated whether his age when he became a father to his son Rufus had a causal impact on Rufus' diagnosis of schizophrenia. Watson has commented that 'I worry that I was 42 with Rufus. I read that the frequency of schizophrenia goes up with the age of both parents'.
In the developed world the age at which both men and women are having children is increasing; in 1993, 23 per cent of births in England and Wales were to men aged 35 to 54 years old, but this had increased to 40 per cent by 2003. While genetic factors are considered important, the research team also took socioeconomic factors into account, with the potential for older fathers to provide better access to education and healthcare.
Dr Allen Pacey, a fertility expert at the University of Sheffield, took a sobering view, stating that 'the author's observation that most neurocognitive outcomes is also reduced in the children of older fathers provides a further piece of evidence to remind us that nature intended us to have our children earlier in our lives than we currently are'.
When I read this Special Feature I knew that I needed to pass it along and the response back was tremendous. Really, this article drives home that its the simplicity in the telling of the facts that will make the answers easier to understand.
I have to confess upfront that this is one of my favorite subjects. I study it. I counsel parents about it. Most importantly, I live it, together with my partner and our two amazing girls. What follows represents a summary of my opinion however, I urge you to contact me directly for more information.
What you have to know at the outset is that your baby is going to be born to you not knowing anything about the world. Your baby won’t arrive with any opinions about how things are supposed to be. They arrive ready to be guided by you as to what’s right and what wrong. They don’t show up questioning what’s missing.
Gay parenting, and surrogacy is not about something missing. It’s not about something’s wrong. It’s not about saying, “We couldn’t do something this way so we had to do it this other way.” It’s not about loss as perhaps adoption can be. There’s no loss. No one has given anything up. It’s about creation.
As far as your child knows, you and your family are complete. Everything that your baby gets about your family, is going to come from you. Eventually the world around you seeps in, but mostly, it’s up to you to help them make sense of their lives.
For this reason, I believe it is profoundly important that you get comfortable with who you are when you have kids. Your level of comfort or unease translates to your child. You set the level.
The story that you tell your children is going to be their truth – nothing else. You can invent that story anyway you want.
Here’s my favorite story:
Daddy and Papa fell in love and got married and lived together and loved each other. We had so much love that we really wanted to have children to share it with.
To have children you need three things:
Daddy and Papa had the sperm, but we needed an egg and a uterus. So, a very nice woman gave us her egg and the doctor mixed it with our sperm. Then the doctor put that inside the uterus of another nice woman who very kindly allowed you to grow there for nine months.
When you were born, you came out of her uterus and into our arms. We took you home and you were our baby.
Simple, clear and truthful works best.
People always ask, me
“When should I start telling that kind of story?”
I say: the day your child is born.
You start telling the story even before the child can understand it and there is never a question about what happened. You tell the story in developmentally appropriate terms – so maybe you are not going to say sperm and egg and uterus to a two year-old or four year- old. The thing to remember is to tell the truth that’s developmentally appropriate.
“Who can I consult about what’s appropriate?”
Me. This is my area of expertise. This is my passion.
Surrogacy is a story of people who want to be parents. It’s the story of someone who needed help assembling all the ingredients. It’s a story of collaboration, love and intention. It’s a beautiful story.
Will your child say: “How come I don’t have a mommy?”
When you are a parent, you realize that children always say stuff like that. “How come I don’t have a mommy?” flows right along with, “How come I don’t wear glasses?” “How come our house is smaller than their house?” “How come I don’t have a dog?” “Why can’t I have a horse?”
When our kids ask such a question, too often, we make that mean, “Omigod! They’ve figured it out that something’s wrong with our family!” That doesn’t have to be the case. We don’t panic when our children ask us, “How come I don’t have a dog? Why can’t I have a horse?”
If we are not intentional with our response and comfortable with who we are, that’s when we have a tendency to inflate the importance of these questions. We end up adding negative meanings because we are scared we’re doing something wrong, but we’re not.
When your kid says, “Why can’t I have a horse?”
You can easily say, “I hear that.” “I know you’d like to have a horse. I’d love to have a horse, but we don’t have a horse.” “We can’t have a horse.”
I know from experience that when your child asks, “How come I don’t have a mommy?” you can easily and truthfully answer, “Because you have two daddies.” It really can be that simple.
What do you need to be a healthy gay family?
There’s no need to get defensive or scared. Your family is whole and vibrant. You are not coming from a place of scarcity.
You will probably need one other thing. The willingness to take a stand for your family everywhere you are.
Let’s say, you’re in line at the grocery store with 52 little old ladies or men in business suits or teenage hoodlums even, and the checkout lady says to your child “Oh you have such cute blond hair! Your mommy must have blond hair.”
What does taking a stand mean? It means, you, saying in front of that whole entire line of people, “He doesn’t have a mommy. He has two daddies.” That’s what it takes, everyday, everywhere you go.
My partner and I take this approach. What we end up with is my kids correcting people all the time. You say in public to one of my kids, “Oh, you have such pretty, green eyes. Your daddy must have green eyes.” They will say, “I don’t have a dad, I have a sperm donor.” They are as matter of fact as can be. My kids have been saying that since they were three years old.
I don’t mean you have to be on a soapbox. I just believe that you must tell the truth and not allow lies.
When you’re in line by yourself, you can say whatever you want. By yourself you can choose to be “in” or “out.” You don’t have that choice in the presence of your child. If you fail to take a stand, if you don’t say, “She has two daddies,” what your child hears is, “We are pretending that I do have a mommy because I should have one. We are pretending because there’s something wrong.”
So, don’t pretend like you didn’t hear it. Make the correction. Being a gay family doesn’t mean you are “political,” that may not be your intention. In truth, however, it turns out to be political sometimes.
Everyone always loves to ask:
“Aren’t you worried that when your kids get a little older they’re going to have really big problems with gender identity and sexuality?”
No. I’m not worried about it at all.
The research that’s been done (which isn’t very much) consistently shows that the children of gay and lesbian parents are just as well-adjusted as everyone else and more flexible. Gender identity seems to be internal. You have heard the classic example, right? Most gays and lesbians were born and raised by straight parents.
But still, won’t your teenager be ashamed to have gay parents?
Don’t panic though. Teenagers are ashamed about everything having to do with their parents. Adolescence is about individuating, differentiating and independence. The way that children work through this stage is by pushing against the thing they’ve been so close and connected to. That’s you, their parent.
It really doesn’t matter. Being a gay parent is just as much a pretext as anything else that’s going to embarrass them.
Whatever it is - You’re too strict. You’re too liberal. You dress badly. I even have kids in my practice who are embarrassed because their parents work out and are in great shape.
They will find something. The upside is that being the gay parent of teenager is not going to be worse. The downside is that it’s probably not going to be better.
How do you cope?
You develop a foundation of trust and respect. You instill these values in your child from the day you get them in the hospital. You repeat that they are the most wanted child in the world. You tell them the story of all the planning, the collaboration, the intention and the love that went into their creation. Your child will realize, there may be something different about your family, but there’s nothing inferior or wrong.
They’ll come out the other side of adolescence and love you again. Keep your checkbook handy.
This is so funny and TRUE...It sure does remind me of MY mother at times! Enjoy and happy Sunday! I am off to Florida!
We, as parents of children with food allergies, are always concerned that what we give our kids to eat, or what others give, may have a negative affect on their delicate systems. I found this article and thought I would share it with you. As a woman with a peanut allergy, (among other things) I am always concerned with what the package says or what the menu reads......Sharon
How to Clear Confusion From Food Allergy Warnings
August 26, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's one of the biggest frustrations of life with food allergies: That hodgepodge of warnings that a food might accidentally contain the wrong ingredient.
The warnings are voluntary -- meaning there's no way to know if foods that don't bear them really should. And they're vague: Is "may contain traces of peanuts" more reliable than "made in the same factory as peanuts?"
Now health officials in the U.S. and Canada are debating setting standards, amid increasing concern that consumers are so confused they're starting to ignore the warnings.
"Really, the safest thing you can do is make all your food at home from scratch, period," says Margaret Sova McCabe of Sanbornton, N.H., whose son Tommie, almost 8, is allergic to peanuts, dairy, wheat and five other ingredients.
But she doesn't find that practical -- and repeatedly has spotted longtime favorite "safe" foods suddenly bearing new warnings that accidental contamination is possible after all.
"Sometimes we buy the product anyway, and sometimes we don't," says McCabe, who is a law professor and questions how often the warnings signal liability protection rather than true risk.
"What does this really mean? Can I count on it, as a consumer, to really have any meaning?" she asks.
The Food and Drug Administration will ask those same questions at a public hearing on Sept. 16, a first step toward developing what it calls "a long-term strategy" to clear the confusion.
"Advisory labeling may not be protecting the health of allergic consumers," the FDA acknowledged.
Canadian authorities have gone a step further, saying accidental-allergy warnings are "misleading consumers" and advising food makers to begin clarifying them even as Health Canada researches a formal policy.
The food industry recognizes there's confusion. The Grocery Manufacturers of America has been working to set new guidelines on the warnings for more than a year, but declined comment before next month's meeting.
About 12 million Americans have food allergies. Severe ones trigger 30,000 annual emergency-room visits, and 150 to 200 deaths a year.
Starting in 2006, a U.S. law required that foods disclose in plain language when they intentionally contain highly allergenic ingredients such as peanuts or dairy.
Left out of the law are accidental-allergy warnings -- for foods that might become contaminated because they were made in the same factory, or on the same machines, as allergen-containing products. The FDA has said that a quarter of inspected food factories have the potential for such a mix-up.
More and more foods bear precautionary labels, but there's a disconnect. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, an influential consumer group, counts at least 30 different ways that the warnings are worded -- and consumers too often falsely assume that one food is riskier than another because its label sounds scarier.
Three-quarters of parents of food-allergic children surveyed by the group in 2006 said they would never buy a food with an accidental-allergy warning, down from 85 percent in 2003, when such labels were novel.
The FDA's own surveys found the allergic pay more attention to warnings that a food "may contain" an allergen than those "made in the same factory" labels.
Yet when University of Nebraska researchers tested nearly 200 products with various accidental-peanut warnings, they found that peanuts were more likely to have sneaked into products labeled "made in the same facility."
And Health Canada researchers recently discovered that some chocolate labeled as possibly containing "traces" of peanuts or tree nuts in fact contained up to six times the amount that the government considers a trace level.
Contributing to consumer mistrust are puzzling warnings, like canned or frozen vegetables with nut precautions. Just last week, allergy network founder Anne Munoz-Furlong was stunned to receive a basket of fresh fruit with a warning that it might contain nuts or milk.
"Right now everybody's making up their own rules," Munoz-Furlong says -- and she's pushing FDA for clear standards to help consumers understand which foods to avoid.
In Canada, the government's review is just beginning, but meanwhile it recommends foods bear one of two labels: "May contain X allergen" or "Not suitable for consumption by persons with an allergy to X."
Back in New Hampshire, the McCabes show how tricky label reading is. Tommie has loved a particular nondairy soy yogurt since infancy. When it began bearing an accidental-allergy precaution, his mother toured the factory and was relieved by how the equipment was cleaned. But last week, she noticed the label had changed again, to say the yogurt might also contain live cultures based on milk.
It "maybe illustrates how difficult it can be when you have food allergies to stay on top of that information," McCabe said.
The most common neural tube defects are spina bifida (an incomplete closure of the spinal cord and spinal column), anencephaly (severe underdevelopment of the brain), and encephalocele (when brain tissue protrudes out to the skin from an abnormal opening in the skull). All of these defects occur during the first 28 days of pregnancy - usually before a woman even knows she's pregnant.
That's why it's so important for all women of childbearing age to get enough folic acid - not just those who are planning to become pregnant. Only 50% of pregnancies are planned, so any woman who could become pregnant should make sure she's getting enough folic acid. (and women planning on becoming egg donors and surrogates)
Doctors and scientists still aren't completely sure why folic acid has such a profound effect on the prevention of neural tube defects, but they do know that this vitamin is crucial in the development of DNA. As a result, folic acid plays a large role in cell growth and development, as well as tissue formation.
Lets have pride in our families...one and all! Happy Sunday! Sharon
Myth: The only acceptable home for a child contains a mother and father who are married to each other.
Fact: Our children are raised in families large and small. There are one-parent, two-parent, and grandparent headed families. There are stepfamilies, blended families, foster families, families of birth and families of intention. There are families with one child, families with ten children, families with no relatives and families bursting with extended family activity. Families are interracial, multiracial, intergenerational, gay and straight. The reality of today is that the traditional definition of the married, heterosexual couple with 1.5 children is only one of the many, many families that our children grow and thrive in. To say that it is the only acceptable home for our children insults all children's homes that do not look like this. We believe that the "acceptable" home for a child is one in which love, commitment, and support are freely given among its members...
Source: Golombok et al. 1983, Green, R., 1978, 1986.
Excerpted from the Family Pride Coalition.
Reprinted with permission.
Listed below are some links to various umbilical cord blood sites and educational information. I personally didn't have this choice when my own children were born in 1986 and 1996 however, in 2000, my IP's decided to bank the cord blood of their newborn twins...and in 2005, my 2nd couple decided NOT to bank the blood of their newborns...so you can see, it is a very personal decision that needs to be made individually. I read on one of these sites that the odds are that the average baby will ever use his or her own banked cord blood is considered very low. The primary reason that parents consider banking their newborn's cord blood is because they have a child or close relative with a family medical history of diseases that can be treated with bone marrow transplants. On the other hand public cord blood banking is strongly supported. Its up to you to research the facts well before the birth. It's a procedure you have to choose and plan for beforehand as it is not routine in hospitals or home births.
British woman freezes eggs for daughter aged 10
Progress Educational Trust
03 June 2008
[BioNews, London] A British woman has had some of her own eggs frozen for her ten-year old daughter to use in the future, as she will be rendered infertile by a genetic illness. As frozen eggs for donation can only be kept for 10 years, and the mother's eggs were frozen when the girl was only eight, her daughter will have to use the eggs before she reaches the age of 18.
The girl has Turner syndrome, where one of the two X chromosomes carried by women is missing, and which almost always causes infertility, although women with the condition can conceive using donor eggs. The syndrome affects around 2,500 girls born each year. In 2005 her mother decided to freeze some eggs for her daughter, to give her the chance of having a baby genetically related to her.
The case has caused some to call for a change in the law, as the girl is unlikely to be in a position to want to have children by 18, when the eggs will have to be either used or destroyed. The mother, who is campaigning for the law to be changed, said 'I don't want to put my daughter under pressure, and I don't think she should be having to make that choice at that age. We feel real sadness that, for no particularly justifiable reason, our daughter is going to be put in an impossible situation'.
Proponents of a change in the law argue that the ten year rule is arbitrary, with Gillian Lockwood, medical director of Midland Fertility Services, arguing that it has 'no scientific justification at all'. The family's cause is being supported by their MP, Andrew Stunell, who has also raised the issue in the House of Commons. Mr Stunell is considering tabling an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which is in the process of being debated in Parliament. He said, 'my constituent and her family are in a Catch-22. She faces a ten-year maximum storage period, by which time her daughter, who would be the beneficiary of the donation, would not be at an appropriate age or stage in her life'.
The Department of Health has said that the storage rule could be changed without primary legislation, and is an issue that will be considered once the new Bill has been made law. Another solution would be for the girl to have the eggs fertilised with donated sperm, and to have those embryos frozen, which could then be stored for a further 10 years.
The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.
— James Oppenheim
Where to find …
When you should be contacted
Emergency contact numbers
• Rule number 1: “Everybody out!”
• Provide a map showing the most logical exits
• Detail locations of fire extinguisher/s and blanket/s
• Outline any other pertinent details
House rules (mostly for older kids)
• Time limits for phone calls
• Bed times
• Appliances that are out of bounds such as heaters, electric blankets, food processors
• Television programs that are off limits
• Rooms that are out of bounds
• Foods that are allowed or not
Where the parents will be
• Details of locations where they will be while out
• Phone numbers where parents can be reached
• What time parents expect to be home
• When parents expect to call in to check on everyone
The above may seem like an exhaustive list but once you have prepared it, it’s ready each time someone baby sits for you. It’s a small investment for the children’s safety and your peace of mind.
Here is a very brief look at each of the vaccine-preventable diseases:
This bacteria causes meningitis and bloodstream infections. It used to be extremely common, but is now very rare. Most cases are in infants or the elderly. It can be fatal.
This bacteria causes meningitis, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia. It is still fairly common. Most cases are in infants or the elderly. It can be fatal.
This bacteria causes a severe throat and upper lung infection. It can be fatal. It has been virtually eradicated from the U.S.
This bacteria causes weakness and paralysis when allowed to fester in a deep, dirty wound. It is fairly rare and occurs mainly in adults. It can be fatal.
This bacteria causes severe coughing fits. Fatalities do occur, mainly in young infants. It is still a very common illness in the U.S.
This virus causes severe liver damage. It is a sexually transmitted disease, or contracted through other means of blood exposure. It is fairly common in adults, but very rare in infants and children. It can be fatal.
This virus causes severe diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration in infants. It is extremely common and can be fatal.
This virus causes muscle weakness and paralysis. It can be fatal. It has been eradicated from the U.S. and entire western hemisphere.
This virus causes fever and rash. It can damage internal organs but is rarely fatal. It is now fairly rare in the U.S.
This virus causes fever and rash. It can damage internal organs but is rarely fatal. It is now fairly rare in the U.S., although a recent epidemic did sweep through the Midwest.
This virus causes fever and rash. It is now extremely rare in the U.S. It can cause birth defects if a pregnant mom is exposedChickenpox
This virus causes fever and rash. It is still very common, but fatalities are very rare.
This virus causes a severe intestinal “flu” and mild liver damage in adults. It is very mild in young children, however. It is fairly common, but virtually never fatal.
This virus causes the classic “flu”. It is extremely common and causes come fatalities in infants and elderly.
This bacteria causes severe bloodstream infections and meningitis. It isn’t very common, but has a high fatality rate when it does strike.
This virus causes genital warts and cervical cancer. It is extremely common and is passed through sexual contact.For a more detailed discussion on these vaccine-preventable diseases, see The Vaccine Book.
It takes no energy.
Costs no money.
Takes little time.
Requires no special tools.
It can cause increase in stature.
It can bring renewal and a lighter step.
It can ease stress.
It can lift a heavy load.
It affects every life at every age.
P power packed words of encouragement
r right at any time of day or nite
a always works
i intuitively welcome
s saying something that is positive and personal
e everybody deserves some
Do you want to change things in your marriage, your work, your children, your school, committee meetings, church, relationships??? Try praise. "You will win more bees with honey"
Now I am not suggesting that you make things up. That you slather compliments...brown nose....etc...
I AM SUGGESTING that you begin to practice praise. Start by making a decision to give 1 genuine praise per day per individual. This does not come natural in most cases. So you will need to be intentional to pull it off. You may meet some skepticism in the beginning but don't let it hinder you. Make it a practice.
Children will thrive with praise. You do not need to worry that they will become proud or spoiled...if the praise is genuine it will do it's job.
It can be delivered privately or in a group setting, in a note, letter, with a gift or alone.
Don't let anything stop you. Praise. Praise PRAISE!!
A friend sent me this site and it's really an eye opener. Because Beauty is a multi-billion dollar industry and targeted at our girls, I felt that it was more then appropriate to place this on my Sunday Parenting 101 blog. Intended Parents look at Egg Donors the same way in my opinion. The first thing they see is the physical form and only then will they look deeper into who she really is. This may be the wake up call!
In 2004, Dove launched the Campaign for Real Beauty. It ditched the industry standards for advertising. There would be no more unrealistic beauty standards.
Dove also launched a self-esteem campaign. It attempts to dispel beauty myths. Part of that campaign involves viral films.
These two films show how the beauty industry distorts reality. It’s an important lesson. Pass this on to anyone with a teenage daughter.
Things to keep in mind:
Schedule an appointment for your baby's next visit, usually within one to two weeks after birth.
This was posted on AOL....one embryo was transfered using IVF....
By FRANK ELTMAN,
Posted: 2008-03-05 09:25:02
Filed Under: Health News, Nation News
MANHASSET, N.Y. (March 5) - When they get older, Logan, Eli and Collin Penn may blanch at the notion they wore nail polish to their first news conference. But it's the only way their parents know how to tell the boys apart right now. The identical triplets were born Wednesday at North Shore University Hospital on Long Island - an event so rare that an obstetrician estimated it might happen just once in 200 million births.
Ed Betz, AP
Allison Penn looks at her identical triplets Tuesday at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. From left are Logan, Eli and Collin. The triplets resulted from just one embryo implanted during in-vitro fertilization. The odds of giving birth to identical triplets are one in 200 million, an obstetrician estimated.
The triplets' mother, Allison Penn, was impregnated with just one embryo through in-vitro fertilization, said Dr. Victor Klein, a specialist in multiple births and high-risk pregnancies who delivered the boys.
That embryo split in half, and then one half of that split again, he said.
"This is the first one we're aware of in the literature in the country in which they only put back one embryo" and a woman gave birth to triplets, said Klein. "Most people put back two or three embryos, and you just never know."
Identical triplets are born at a rate between one in 60,000 and one in 200 million, depending on the research, Klein said.
Allison Penn, 31, said she and her husband, Tom, 46, had tried to have a baby since they got married about four years ago. Although she once thought of having several children, the disappointments over four years revised her dreams downward.
"When it took us so long to get pregnant, I just assumed we were going to have one, and that would probably be it," she said. "So I thought one would be good."
And when she and her husband were told three youngsters were on the way?
"I looked over at Allison and her mouth was wide open and her eyes were like saucers, and she didn't say a word," Tom Penn said. "Then I realized that it was possible, and then I started to laugh."
He confessed he couldn't get over the irony.
"Everything we had done was to have one baby," he said. "Anybody who says God doesn't have a sense of humor - everything we did was just for having one baby, and now we have three."
To help tell them apart, the boys have a dot of maroon nail polish on their fingers. Logan Thomas, who weighed 4 pounds, 12 ounces, has a mark on his thumb; Eli Kirkwood, a 4-pounder, has polish on his forefinger, and Collin McGuire, at 4 pounds, 11 ounces, has a mark on his middle finger. Logan may have a problem with a non-functioning kidney, but the other children are healthy, doctors said.
Allison, an education specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said she has not decided whether to return to work.
"That's one of those 'one-day-at-time' issues," she said.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
Sunday is a day of rest....so enjoy this little video all you Dads, Intended Dads and Moms who think that the Dads should help!
Infant Swimming Resource has instructors throughout the United States. To find instructors outside of Phoenix, AZ log on to the national website - www.infantswim.com.
I wanted to share this link with you today, especially for parents with swimming pools. After all, our goal is to keep all of our children safe!