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Gay Parents to Be / RMACT is the only Connecticut fertility practice to demonstrate its dedication to LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices for the second consecutive year.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC), the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, named Gay Parents to Be/Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) on its eleventh edition of the Healthcare Equality Index (HEI). For the second consecutive year, Gay Parents to Be/RMACT had a perfect score, making them “Leaders in Equality” by demonstrating a commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices for both employees and patients. Gay Parents to Be/RMACT is one of two fertility practices in the nation and one of four healthcare facilities in Connecticut on the list.

“Being a part of HEI shows that we walk the walk when it comes to LGBTQ inclusiveness,” says Dr. Mark Leondires, medical director at RMACT and its LGBTQ educational platform Gay Parents To Be. “We want to live in a world where our straight and LGBTQ friends, family, employees, and patients all feel welcome and have equal access to quality healthcare, and this is our small part in making that happen. Out of over 400 IVF centers in the country, we are one who has received this stamp of approval.”

Gay Parents to Be/RMACT has a team dedicated to working with LGBTQ patients to address their unique family-building needs. With advanced fertility treatment as the cornerstone for all its patient care, Gay Parents to Be/RMACT provides complete family-building services, including support groups, individual and couples psychological counseling, acupuncture, nutrition counseling, and third-party support for any patient working with an egg donor, sperm donor, and gestational carrier. Additionally, in 2012 RMACT launched GayParentsToBe.com, an educational website for LGBTQ community with resources to help individuals find a path to having a family.

The HEI survey is a rigorous, multi-stage process that requires validating the implementation of LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices in four areas: LGBTQ patient-centered care, LGBTQ patient services and support, fully-inclusive employee benefits and policies, and LGBTQ patient and community engagement. In addition, applicants are evaluated on responsible citizenship, which requires applicants show they do not engage in any activity that would undermine LGBTQ equality or inclusive patient care. Despite a national policy shift based on the exclusion of the LGBTQ community, HCR had a record 626 applicants who participated in the survey, with 418 hospitals and healthcare facilities being named “Leaders on Equality.”

Human Rights Campaign Foundation Names RMACT a “Leader in Equality” - YouTube

The post Human Rights Campaign Foundation Names Gay Parents to Be a “Leader in Equality” on Its 2018 Healthcare Equality Index appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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A scorecard of legal victories for aspiring LGBTQ parents will show mixed results from state to state. But homes across the country, where children’s laughter is becoming more common every day, reflect a positive trend

Tatiana Quiroga, a regional manager for the Family Equality Council, a New York-based agency that advocates for LGBTQ parental civil rights, said that while the fight is ongoing, the latest generation of couples is taking advantage of advances.

“Despite some setbacks, we’re anticipating a baby boom,” Quiroga said.

The Family Equality Council, or FEC, is one of several agencies that lobby lawmakers and provide information to advocates of LGBTQ couples who seek to have children through artificial reproductive technology, adoption or foster care.

Amanda Hopping-Winn, the FEC chief program officer, said that in 2017, “license to discriminate” laws were defeated in seven states: Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Washington, Wyoming and Tennessee.

At the same time, three states – Alabama, South Dakota and Texas – passed laws last year that make it legal for businesses and organizations to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals and families based on a provider’s personal moral or religious beliefs.

And many states have weak laws that may not protect LGBTQ couples and others, like singles and interracial couples, who seek to start a family through surrogacy, adoption or foster care.

Artificial reproductive technology in those states is often more difficult because the member of a couple who contributes sperm or an egg to a pregnancy probably will have stronger legal parental rights than the partner who has no biological connection to the child. That’s why FEC urges LGBTQ couples to make sure the non-bio partner legally adopts the child.

The names of both parents may be on the birth certificate, Hopping-Winn said, but that “amounts to nothing but a state-issued birth announcement.” Couples in states that don’t recognize both partners as parents might face problems, for example, when the child is taken to a hospital emergency room.

“We highly encourage all our families to cross their T’s and dot the I’s,” Quiroga said. “You’ve got to be able to protect your family the best you can.”

In addition to second-parent adoption, FEC encourages LGBTQ parents to carry relevant papers when traveling with their children between states or internationally.

“You never know what might happen,” Hopping-Winn said. “The minute you cross that state line, things could change.”

Family Equality Council will spend some of its efforts in 2018 advocating for laws that would ensure LGBTQ rights at the federal level, an effort that promises to be difficult as the Trump administration moves in the opposite direction.

Most recently, the Department of Health and Human Services said in January that it would create a new office to “more vigorously and effectively enforce existing laws protecting the rights of conscience and religious freedom.” Media reports said the new rules would be aimed initially at limiting access to abortion, but LGBTQ advocates believe it will also allow providers to curtail medical access in a range of situations.

An FEC press release states:

“Anti-LGBTQ discrimination in health and human services doesn’t just hurt LGBTQ people, it hurts our children and families too. Approximately 20% of LGBTQ people are parents, and Family Equality Council has documented numerous instances of harm to our children when health providers are allowed to deny critical services. For example, we have documented the case of a child of a lesbian couple in Texas who was refused emergency treatment by a pediatric dentist who told the parent that ‘a child cannot have two mothers.’ ”

Hopping-Winn said the “next three years will be grueling. But we are optimistic about our partnerships and the work we’re doing for our families. We used to fight this battle ourselves, but with the current administration, we are hearing from unexpected allies to support the work we do with our families.”

The Family Equity Council’s advocacy of family formation will center in 2018 on the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign. With support from several additional national organizations, the campaign will “promote the best interests of all children in the foster care and adoption system by increasing their access to loving, stable, forever homes, and to ensure safe and supportive care for LGBTQ youth seeking family formation.”

The coming months and years will see both setbacks and successes, Hopping-Winn predicted.

“We’re a community that has always fought,” she said. “This is not new to us. We’ve had numerous successes in the last few years and unfortunately, we’ve also had some setbacks. But we’re a community that has always had to fight for a seat at the table, and we don’t intend to stop now.”

Gay Parents To Be stands with the LGTBQ community to fight for the civil rights of our community’s parents and children. Let us know which issues you want more information about by giving us a call at (203) 956-2266.

References Tatiana Quiroga

Tatiana Quiroga is the Southern Regional Manager for Family Equality Council. Tatiana has extensive background in the non-profit sector, mental health counseling field and higher education. She earned her Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Rollins College.

Amanda Hopping Winn

Amanda Hopping Winn is the Chief Program Officer at Family Equality Council. She earned her Master of Arts in Social Welfare from the University of California, Berkley.

The post Setbacks and Successes for LGBTQ Parents in 2017, With More of Both Predicted in 2018 appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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No matter who you are or where you live, the desire to have children is powerful. The problem for LGBTQ couples, though, is that it’s easier in some states than in others.

In Lewisboro, NY, two gay men who want to start a family cannot legally contract with a surrogate to carry a child for them. Just miles away, however, across the state line in Ridgefield, CT, they can sign a surrogate contract that guarantees their rights and hers.

Additionally, in Connecticut, the couple’s health insurance will pay much of the costs of surrogacy and in vitro fertilization, or IVF, a benefit unavailable in New York and most other states in the U.S.

Such are the challenges that LGBTQ couples face when they decide to have a family. But the issues are not insurmountable. The following is a guide to decision-making, including questions of surrogacy and in vitro fertilization, when beginning the journey to bring a baby into the world.

Finding a donor and surrogate

Historically, LGBTQ couples have been having families for years often by asking a friend to supply a womb or a sample of sperm in a friendly exchange; however, such informal agreements do not provide protections for anyone. Either side can walk away at any time, including after a birth. Costs for the pregnancy of a surrogate carrying a baby can surge with no guarantee of payment from the couple and in some cases the surrogate has decided to keep the baby.
Other issues include:

    • The process of having a baby via in vitro fertilization with a surrogate can in some cases cost between $100,000 and $200,000 and still end without a pregnancy. (However, there are ways to control costs.)
    • In some places, medical practitioners cite religious or social values as reasons why they refuse to work with LGBTQ couples.
    • Does your lawyer know anything about the laws of surrogacy? Do you know how to find one who does?
The Master of Ceremonies

With more LGBTQ couples having babies – the Williams Institute at UCLA says that as of 2016 about 125,000 same-sex couples were raising almost 220,000 children under 18 – more doctors and medical clinics are offering services.

Still, the mix of scientific, practical and legal knowledge needed to have an IVF baby can be confusing. If you are trying to do everything yourself, things can get overwhelming. That is why you should consider starting with a fertility clinic, where medical professionals and other experts can oversee the entire process, guiding couples through the laws, regulations, costs and emotional ups-and-downs of artificial reproductive processes.

Clinics that meet the highest professional standards recommend egg and sperm donor sources that are registered with the Food and Drug Administration. The clinic will advise couples on what physical and psychological screening tests should be administered when they choose to work with a friend or relative as donor.

A clinic will also work with a number of lawyers from which you may choose. Reproduction law is specialized, and a lawyer should be able to draft contracts with a sperm donor, egg donor or gestational carrier, review insurance and obtain all documents, such as living wills, adoption papers if needed, and birth certificates with both parents’ names.

Financial help

Only 15 states require insurers to either cover or offer coverage for infertility diagnosis and treatment. Reproductive services — with egg or sperm donations, surrogates to carry a baby to term, protecting participants’ legal rights, and medical payments – are expensive. Fortunately, organizations offer grants and other support that can defray costs of financing LGBTQ surrogacy. You can also compare costs between agencies.

But cost isn’t the only consideration. You should compare IVF success rates – the national average is 40 percent success for women ages 35 and younger — as well as other services. Parents who go through the process of assisted reproduction must contend with long waits and delays caused by tests, gathering of medical histories of donors and surrogates, and medical preparations.

Happy families

Once couples successfully navigate the process, they report the traditional mix of emotions and happiness of all parents.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information, a department of the National Institutes of Health, said in a study that most gay fathers are content with the level of contact they had with the surrogate. Nearly all the families said they had started the process of talking to their children about their origins.

Another study, by the Williams Institute, reports without irony that similar to heterosexual parents, LGBTQ “parents’ mental health and relationship quality decline across the transition to parenthood,” although support from friends, family, and the workplace buffers all parents from the challenges of new parenthood.

The institute also found that “same-sex couples with children share childcare, housework, and paid employment more equally than different-sex couples with children.”

Happily, although LGBTQ prospective parents perceive less support from their own parents and other family members than do new heterosexual parents, they also find that family ties strengthen after the arrival of a child.

Gay Parents To Be offers a suite of resources and coordinated support for LGBTQ individuals and couples exploring the journey to parenthood. Visit our site and contact us to become part of the team that helps you build a plan for the highest IVF success rates, knowledgeable attorneys, and guidance for financial support, including grants for gay surrogacy financing. To talk more, call 203-956-2266 or email.

The post Find answers to all your questions about starting “The Journey,” and a family appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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This month, we introduce a new series of interviews: Personal Family Building Stories. We’ll talk with couples who have completed their family building journey as patients of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), the IVF fertility clinic with whom GayParentsToBe partners with.  

First up: Peter and Luis.

Building A Family | The Beginning

The couple met 11 years ago, at a gym in Boston. They dated, and simultaneously moved to New York. “It’s been bliss ever since,” Luis says.

At their wedding last year, the priest surprised them by giving them an opportunity to say something unscripted to each other. Luis talked about the difficulty they had deciding to actually be married – and how they should now move on to become a family.

Peter adds, “We decided this was something really important to us. So we started thinking about how we could make it happen.”

The couple saw eye to eye on most parts of their journey. After all, they’d been together for nine years when they decided to have a baby.

As with many aspects of their relationship, Luis pushed and Peter pulled. The first step was attending an event where Dr. Leondires spoke. They made a connection, and began their research. After attending an LGBT family building expo, they decided to use a surrogacy agency.

“Meeting Dr. Leondires and his staff opened a huge world for us,” Luis says. “From there, it was exponential learning. There’s so much that we didn’t know. RMACT / GayParentsToBe held our hand. They were very supportive, and we learned a lot.”

Peter and Luis: A Family Building Story - YouTube

The Egg Donor, Surrogacy & IVF Process | Getting There

One of the most beneficial parts of the process, Peter says, was meeting a psychologist and their potential carrier (also referred to as a surrogate), to talk through some of what they might encounter and how they – and she – would feel.

Though they’d spoken before, Peter notes, “it was all very clinical. We weren’t really talking about how we would relate to each other, timing, communication and expectations. Really talking about those issues was very helpful.” They also felt very comfortable with Dr. Leondires.

The couple was very fortunate to become – and remain — friends with their carrier. She and her husband came to Peter and Luis’ wedding.    Along the journey, the two dads-to-were at the transfer, and many medical appointments (it helped that they were not far away geographically). They enjoyed the process.

Regular Facetime meetings helped. Luis and Peter even met her children that way.

“They’re just really good, fun people,” Peter says of their surrogate and her husband. “We really related to them on a personal level.”

“What she did for us was absolutely incredible,” Luis reiterates. “Our son is the most amazing thing that’s ever happened. We owe her a mountain of gratitude.”

Of course, the journey from agency to baby was not always easy. The process is long and exhausting. Peter says that neither he nor Luis is “incredibly patient.” Waiting for test results was difficult. So was not knowing what was next, and how to prepare for it. “Managing our own anxieties,” as Peter calls it, was the hardest part.

The couple also wish they’d known about unforeseen finances.

There were other issues too: Who will be chosen as the biological father? Whose last name will the child take? Who’s “Daddy,” and who is “Poppy”?

Our Baby | Sweet Results

Finally, their son was born. “For the first two months, I was scared I would break him,” Peter admits. “I was scared he wasn’t sleeping the right way.” But, he notes, that’s probably common to all new parents, regardless of how their child was conceived.

Before their son arrived, Luis and Peter discussed their different roles and tasks. Because neither is breastfeeding, they have taken turns for night feeding – and for most other chores.

The moments when their son smiles, coos and recognizes his parents are the times when their hearts melt. That’s when “every bit of anguish, energy and money seems well worth it,” Luis says.

“Some men talk about the moment when their wife started to show, or they went to their first ultrasound,” Peter says. “I think, because we went through this process as spectators, to a large degree, the big moments for us were when we were in the hospital. There he was!

“We weren’t there every day during the pregnancy. We didn’t feel him growing. So I think when we saw him – full red hair, real live baby – it was pretty profound.”

Their son’s birth had special meaning for Luis, who was part of a large family with plenty of kids. When he first came out as gay, he heard from friends and family that he’d never have a family. He never thought it could happen, until a gay friend had children through surrogacy. He calls this “a dream fulfilled.”

For 10 years, he says, he and Peter have explored and traveled the world together. The chance to do that now, with their son, thrills him.

Luis offers “a million thanks” to both their egg donor (who they never met), and their surrogate. Every time they see their surrogate, they tell her how great it is that she could help them become a family. She has told them that she loves being part of her own family, and believes it is important to help others create their own families.

The GayParentsTobe Be / RMACT team – including Nora and Dr. Leondires — was also vital. “Every person we had interactions with through the process was very compassionate,” Luis says. “They understood the experience we were going through. If we called, whether it was about timing or billing, or if we were in a panic, they met our anxiety and came from a knowledgeable, special place. It’s a very warm, very embracing, very gentle environment.”

“This could very easily be an impersonal process,” Peter adds. “It’s a medical procedure. But from the very beginning we built a personal relationship with the people there. They were receptive to us, and excited to have us there.

“Frankly, we weren’t sure what to expect, being a gay couple. But their practice –  the people,  were really inspiring and excited to have us join them, and to go through the process with us.”

The process worked. It’s been a “huge blessing,” they say, and they cherish every moment of it.

“There’s an unconditional love that you are able to give to a child, and also to get from a child,” Peter says. Luis – busy taking care of their son at the moment – nods in agreement.

The post Peter + Luis | A Family Building Story appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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Choosing to have a family is one of the most joyous and exciting decisions an individual will ever make. The process can be overwhelming at times, as there are a multitude of things for gay men to consider when starting this process. Deciding whether to adopt or have a biological child is just the beginning. From there, individuals and couples start to ask “how?” As in, how do I start the process? How affordable is this? Once the decision is made to have a biological child, the questions lead to “who?” Who will be the egg donor? Who will be the gestational carrier? Who will help us with this?

It is important for gay men to also consider “where?” Laws governing surrogacy vary from state to state, making some states more favorable than others for the LGBTQ community, their gestational carriers, and their unborn child.

First, it is important to understand that some states have laws that are unfavorable for LGBTQ couples. For example, New York and Washington, D.C. forbid surrogacy, and anyone who enters into a surrogacy contract can be fined up to $10,000. Other states are not as definitive in their restrictions, yet the laws can still present issues for couples. One such state is New Jersey; the state forbids traditional surrogacy but there is some latitude for gestational surrogacy. Gay couples should not assume that generally liberal states are favorable; often times the state laws do not reflect the people’s LGBTQ views.

Some states are neutral. By omitting regulations, these states leave anyone entering into a surrogacy contract or agreement in a precarious and unpredictable situation, but these states can be amenable to gestational surrogacy. A surprising number of states do not directly address surrogacy: Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, North Carolina, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

Other states are considered favorable because of their written laws and, in the best scenarios, because of court decisions interpreting and upholding the laws. For example, the Supreme Court of Connecticut ruled on Raftopol v. Ramey (2014), where both fathers sought to secure parental rights prior to the birth rather than going through the adoption process upon their birth. Similarly, California law has been reinforced in favor of surrogacy in the California Supreme Court rulings of Calvert v. Johnson (1993) and Buzzanca v. Buzzanca (1998). This is good news for anyone entering a surrogacy contract in these states, gay or straight.

Victoria Ferrara, the surrogacy lawyer who represented the father in Raftopol v. Ramey, explains: “Parents don’t want to hear that they will have to adopt their baby after the birth. They will do it if they have to, but it is hard for them to wrap their head around the idea that this isn’t their baby yet. It has practical and emotional implications.”

So how does a couple determine “where”? The surrogacy laws are applied based on where the baby is born. Therefore, couples may reside in one state, the gestational carrier in a second state, and the baby can be born in a third state. However, for practical reasons, it is generally recommended that the gestational carrier live in a surrogacy-friendly state.

Of all the questions that arise for gay men who want to start their families, it turns out one of the most important questions is “where?” Along with reviewing a potential surrogate’s medical and social history, intended parents should also be mindful of the state in which she resides. If there is a choice between two potential carriers with one residing in a carrier-friendly state, this is likely the better choice.

The post The Importance of “Where” When Considering Surrogacy appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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Dr. Mark Leondires, Medical Director of Gay Parents To Be® is available for complimentary consultations for gay couples or single gay men who want to learn more about their family building options.

In-person Metro NYC consults:

Gay Parents To Be®

1625 3rd Ave., Suite LL

New York, NY 10128

(view map)

The post In-Person Consults | Metro NYC Area appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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Why Consider Attending a Family Building Conference?

Men Having Babies held it’s Family Building Conference in Brussels last week. This conference is designed to address the medical and emotional options for gay men who are looking to build their own families. Attendees are given the opportunity to learn about new treatments, talk directly to doctors and specialists, explore parenting options and network with others who are at a similar stage of the journey.

“This event was inspiring to me. In spite of the many obstacles to family building in place for male couples, there were more than 200 men there. In fact, the event was completely sold out,” James Speer, Genetic Counselor at RMACT shared.

MHB offers this conference as foundation to access information on the best ethical practices for egg donation and surrogacy. Attendees are able to hear about developments from other countries that may open the door to less restrictive policies on surrogacy and adoption for gay men and inspire future laws or regulations on the subject.

In attending a family building conference you are gaining information that is rapid and new, allowing the scope of how families are built to broaden because the knowledge is more easily accessible.

“We all deserve to know the most up to date information as possible, giving everyone a chance to achieve the dream they’ve always wanted. The message that being both a gay man and a dad is possible allows us to be our true selves: caring and loving people,” Speer  said.

How Can I Get Involved?

The annual conference offers you a chance to tap into resources for surrogacy and egg donation from medical professionals from all around the would. Gay Parents to Be attended the conference and joined in the conversation to provide their own helpful information on resources for family building options by speaker from our own practice. If you missed this event, don’t fret! Dr. Mark Leondires, Reproductive Endocrinologist at GPTB & gay dad of two, recaps part of the event on our Facebook live video consult called “5 Things to Get You on the Path to Becoming a Gay Dad.”

GPTB additionally offers numerous live Facebook  events similar to this throughout the year in areas  such at New York City, Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. To find out more about these family building seminars you can visit our Events page to see what’s coming up in the near future!

The post Brussels Gay Family Building Conference Attendance Grows appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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Alicia and Julia’s story began as a classic representation of love at first sight. It all happened organically and eventually came together as strangers turned into friends and then ultimately soulmates.

Julie was always certain she wanted to have children, even when she was just a child herself. Growing up she was very close with her brothers & sisters and knew that having a family of her own would be a very crucial part of her adult life.

Similarly, Alicia knew that having kids was “always in the cards” for her. While she never had any major interest in carrying a child through pregnancy herself, she knew that a big family was something she wanted in her future. Growing up with with a strong bond among three brothers Alicia understood how important family was to her and as an adult she wanted to instill those same family values as she starts a life of her own.

At first, Julie and Alicia felt discouraged by all of the information out there pertaining to how two women have a baby. They started researching with a book and from there they went to the internet, searched and found information through Gay Parents to Be ® which then introduced them to Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut.

“We had a great relationship with all of the doctors at RMACT. We were able to work with all of them and got very comfortable with them all,” Julie notes.

Julie and Alicia worked with Dr. Leondires using a procedure called Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Julie admitted to initially being very nervous, but after talking to Dr. Leondires about her favorite TV show “Chopped” her previous fears has been bemused and began to subside.

“We felt that he was just so professional and made us feel so comfortable,” Julie shared.

Alicia and Julie both agreed that what made the overall experience all the more rewarding was working with patient advocate Lisa Rosenthal.

“She was someone we could text, someone we could call, someone we could talk to, someone we could cry to or laugh with,” Alicia shared. This direct friendship really guided them through every part of their journey.

There were many factors that Julie and Alicia took into consideration when choosing a sperm donor. They both wanted someone who had a healthy medical background and found that many websites had an impressive and helpful display of information on family medical history.

Another decisive factor, as Alicia explained, was choosing a donor that shared her physical features as well as parts of her own ethnicity. Together they could match what she looked like since she wasn’t biologically involved in the process.

There were many challenging questions to answer from friends, family and others asking about their process, especially pertaining to the donor.   Both Alicia and Julie , fortunately, had researched many of those questions beforehand and were well-versed in defending their family story and the journey that got them there.

“He doesn’t have a father. He’s got us and he’s got a lot of uncles. He’s definitely going to have a lot of male role models in his life but that’s just the reality of our situation.” In this case, the DNA received came from a donor. And, oftentimes the question is asked:  “Who is the father”?

[NOTE FROM GAY PARENTS TO BE:  When asked the question of ‘who is the mother, or ‘who is the father’, sometimes the word “father” or “mother” is used as a noun and sometimes more as a verb. A sperm donor could be considered a father because his genetic material was used. But in the other sense, which is how this couple intended it’s use in the video, he isn’t playing the role of father. Just like the verb “mother” is to raise (a child) with care and affection, that too applies to “father”—and in this case, there is no father to raise the child with care and affection. So, what it comes down to is interpretation of the meaning of the word.

We hope we all can agree that the most important word surrounding any family is LOVE.]

Through the struggles and hardships that came with the process, Alicia and Julie used each other as each other’s rock that guided them to their ultimate success; being pregnant with their baby boy, Hudson.

Julie shares how the whole experience still, “feels unbelievable.” Through it all, both Julie and Alicia agree that the process changed their lives and helped make their greatest and most precious dreams come true.

Check out Alicia & Julie’s story in their own words!

Alicia & Julie: A Family Building Story - YouTube

The post Alicia & Julia: A Family Building Story appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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Photo created by Hea Poh Lin from Noun Project

Same-Sex Couples Now on Birth Certificates in Arkansas

Justice was issued for two same-sex couples in Arkansas this week when they sued their high court after upholding a law stating that non-biological parents could not appear on their child’s birth certificate. The court had previously ordered, under law, that married lesbian couples are required to get a court order to have both spouses listed as parents on their child’s birth certificates, as opposed to heterosexual couples whose father’s name could be on the certificate even without any biological proof. Their case, Pavan v. Smith, went against the Arkansas Supreme Court, which ruled that same-sex parents didn’t have to be included on birth certificates because “it does not violate equal protection to acknowledge basic biological truths.”1

A lesbian couple in North Carolina faced a similar issue in 2015, but only solution they could find was through step-parent adoption in order to share legal rights to their child.2

The according to an article written by The Next Family, the lawyer assigned to the Arkansas case supported the couple’s position by stating that upholding the ruling the court would once again relegate same-sex couples and their families to the stigma, discrimination and pain of “second-tier” status.

And so, the Supreme Court spoke and overturned the inequitable ruling, allowing both individuals of married same-sex couples to appear on the child’s birth certificate. This favorable ruling shares its date in history with the anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage, a ruling again by the Supreme Court with the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, the case legalizing same-sex marriage.3

Children’s Healthcare and Education Rights Secured 

This is a win, not only for all same-sex parents, but also for their children. An accurate birth certificate gains a child access to common everyday conveniences from signing up for a little league team and enrolling in school to being added to a healthcare policy. These benefits can be withdrawn from a child when one of their parents is restricted from being listed on their certificate.

A clear example could be seen in Arkansas, where some public schools only allow those parents named on a child’s birth certificate to “education information absent a court order,” according to an article written in the New York Times.

This ruling helps to identify the form of legal recognition given to married parents in contrast to unmarried parents. In consistency with Obergefell, Arkansas may not deny same-sex couples that recognition.  

FOOTNOTES:

  1. The Next Family, “Supreme Court Strikes Down Arkansas Birth Certification Law that Discriminates Against Same-Sex Couples.” The Next Family. http://thenextfamily.com/2017/06/supreme-court-strikes-down-arkansas-birth-certificate-law-that-discriminates-against-same-sex-couples/
  2. Arnold, Matthew. “ NC Changes Birth Certificate Policy; All Children Born to Same-Sex Spouses Can Now Have Both Parents Listed.” Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Blog. https://www.charlottedivorcelawyerblog.com/2016/11/nc-changes-birth-certificate-policy-children-born-sex-spouses-can-now-parents-listed.html
  3. DeMillo, Andrew. “ Supreme Court Sides with Same-Sex Couples in Arkansas Suit” U.S. News. https://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-06-26/supreme-court-sides-with-same-sex-couples-in-arkansas-suit

The post LGBTQ Couples on Birth Certificates | Arkansas: Paven vs. Smith appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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Gay Parenting Blog by Gay Parenting Team - 4M ago

Dr. Mark P. Leondires, medical director of Gay Parents To Be, will be scheduling complimentary consultations for gay couples or single gay men who want to learn more about their family building options in Dallas

The post Gay Parents to Be in Dallas appeared first on Gay Parents To Be | LGBT Family Building Resource.

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