Every month in Connect, The AFA will feature a different list of supporters, professional members, and donors. This month, we'd like to thank the following:
Fertility Centers of Illinois
Fertility Physicians of Northern California
IVF Florida Reproductive Associates
Reproductive Biology Associates
Reproductive Endocrinology Associates of Charlotte
Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York
Shady Grove Fertility Centers
California Fertility Partners
Georgia Reproductive Specialists
Pacific Fertility Center
Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut
Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area
Building Families, Inc.
Center for Male Reproductive Medicine and Microsurgery - Weill Cornell Medical College
Chana Simmonds, MSW, LCSW
Deborah S. Simmons, Ph.D., LMFT
Diane Michelsen, Esq.
Fertility Source Companies
Genesis Fertility & Reproductive Medicine
Happy Beginnings, LLC
Heartfelt Egg Donation
HM Risk Group
Lotus Blossom Consulting
Madison Women's Health & Fertility
New England Fertility Institute
Open Arms Consultants
Pacific Reproductive Services Sperm & Fertility Center
Elaine Robbins, MSW, LCSW
Joni Mantell, LCSW
Julie LeClair, Ph.D.
Laura Alper, MSW, LCSW
Peggy Orlin, MS, MFT
Silvia Schneider Fox, Psy.D.
|Building Families of Choice. What Does It Mean?
The world of family building is an interesting place. We are defined differently by varying groups, particularly those
who need definitions in order to feel comfortable. One thing that I have noticed over the years is a lack of consensus around vocabulary in our world. What one person calls reciprocal IVF may be called partner IVF by someone else. Today's premature ovarian failure is tomorrow's primary ovarian insufficiency.
The AFA is known for our commitment to helping people build the families of their dreams, in the way that is comfortable for them. Couples connecting in their own homes, or those who need a physician's support, or a lawyer's support. Individuals who wish to adopt or pursue third party reproduction. Those who have decided that friends are the only family they need. And so on. The one common cord that all of these families have is love.
What I have noticed lately however has made me stop, and think, and try to open up my mind to new possibilities. Some say that perhaps the definition of family may be even more fluid than I had envisioned, and also defined differently by varying groups. And this may be true not only of family, but of parent as well. I used to joke that the definition of a parent is someone who cleans up their child's mess at age one or age 21. A metaphor, of course, for someone who always shows up and stays showed up for their child, no matter what.
What is your definition of parent? What is your definition of family? In this ever-changing world, is it safer, and kinder, for these definitions to change as well, or for them to stay the same? What does your family constellation look like now and what do you expect it to look like in the future? This issue of Connect features content applicable to LGBT families and other families of choice. It may be a good time to ponder questions specific to the type of family you dream about for yourself.
Dear friends, happy reading. - The AFA Editor
Talking to Children About Sperm Donation
By Jean Benward, LCSW and Patricia Mendell, LCSW
Donor insemination or DI has been performed for more than a century in the United States and is the oldest form of assisted conception. Historically, the use of donor sperm triggered debates among ethicists, theologians, and medical practitioners. Initially, physicians presented DI as a medical treatment that could conceal the father's infertility. DI was practiced in secrecy, in the doctor's office with fresh semen, and destruction of donor records.
Using a Known Sperm Donor: Understanding the Legal Risks and Challenges
By Deborah Forman, Esq.
Melissa is a single woman who has long desired to have a child. She asks a long time friend, Jim, to donate sperm. He agrees, on the understanding that he will have no rights or responsibilities regarding the child. When the child is 5, Melissa loses her job and files an action in family court against Jim, seeking child support.
Caitlin and Samantha are lesbians in a long-term, committed relationship. They desire to start a family. They approach Samantha's brother Nick about donating his sperm to inseminate Caitlin. He agrees, on the understanding that he will not be considered a parent or have to pay child support, but that he will have ongoing contact with the child. When the child is two, Caitlin and Samantha break up. Caitlin refuses to allow Nick to visit the child. He goes to court to establish paternity and visitation.
These are just two of the myriad situations that can arise when using sperm from a known donor. To learn more about legal issues and known donors, click here.
Myth or Fact: Are Egg Donor Agreements Necessary?
by Meryl Rosenberg, Esq.
With the explosion in the use of donor eggs as a viable method of assisted reproduction, the medical and legal world entered a new era of third party reproduction.
Because of the changing landscape of third party reproduction in general, and egg donation in particular, novel legal disputes and conflicting resolutions between the states have emerged and will continue to do so.
The legal disputes and their resolutions have evidenced that critical to any third party reproduction arrangement is the need to clarify the role of the donor and of the intended parents at the outset and in writing (and in accordance with any applicable state law since family law is the province of the states - each determining its "view" on determination of parentage.). Even where a written agreement was not required many court cases would have had different results had there been a clear written record of the various parties' intentions. Bitter parentage and other disputes would have been avoided had there been a careful legal analysis and understanding, memorialized in writing, before entering into any of these arrangements.
|Gay Dads and Lesbian Moms and the Transition to Parenthood
by Kim Bergman, Ph.D.
After 14 attempts over 18 months of donor insemination I was finally pregnant--something I had wished for and wanted for years. That's why I was so surprised at my reaction when at 8 months pregnant I visited my friend Holly (who was a month ahead of me) right after the birth of her second son. I walked into her hospital room and saw him in her arms, tiny and pink and looking entirely too fragile and delicate. Holly immediately handed him to me (she was an expert at this, having an older daughter already). I held this tiny creature, watched his eyelids flutter, marveled as his mouth sucked reflexively and thought to myself, "No way am I prepared to do this in just one month!" It was like slow motion and one of those voice-overs saying, "Do not attempt this at home".
The Adoption Home Study for Same-Sex Couples
by Carolyn Berger, L.C.S.W.
Stories about couples readying themselves for their adoption home study are legion. Couples have been known to repaint their apartments, scrub between the bathroom tiles with an old toothbrush, and make sure there are cookies baking in the oven when the social worker arrives.
But what is the purpose of an adoption home study? It is designed to meet state and federal government standards as well as meeting adoption agency requirements for people wishing to adopt. It is part of the certification process whereby a couple or individual is deemed ready to bring a child into their home.
It is also an opportunity for future adopters to learn more about adoption and child rearing.
The AFA's Event Calendar
There are events taking place across the country to help educate and support you on your family building journey. Please take a look through our calendar to find classes, discussion groups, workshops and emotional support groups on infertility, adoption, third party reproduction and LGBT family building.
To learn about all of The AFA's support groups, including those for Mind/Body and Over 40 issues,click here.
The AFA's LGBT family building handbook, Building The Family of Our Dreams," is now available for Kindle!
Comprehensive handbook on medical and legal aspects of third party reproduction, and adoption. Click here to download.