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Darren Spedale is a subject matter expert on modern families and has been conducting research on non-traditional families for the last 20 years. He began researching the concept of “modern family” as an undergraduate at Duke University in North Carolina, where he published his honors thesis “Domestic Partnerships”, analyzing both opposite-sex and same-sex domestic partnerships and the issues for employers to evaluate in considering benefits for domestic partners.
In 1997, Darren was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to research modern family structures in Northern Europe, where he worked with governments, NGOs, and many dozens of couples living in non-traditional family relationships to understand what the needs of non-traditional families are, and what the United States could learn from how non-traditional families were being recognized abroad. Based on a subset of this research, Darren published the book “Gay Marriage: For Better or For Worse? What We’ve Learned From the Evidence” (Oxford University Press, with co-author Prof. William Eskridge of Yale Law School), sharing insights on a modern family growth trend.
Darren is currently finishing a new book, “Family By Design: The Complete Guide to Successfully Finding a Parenting Partner and Navigating the Co-Parenting Process”. Family By Design is the first book to explore the concept of parenting partnerships, and provides expert advice on whether a parenting partnership is right for you, how to find the right parenting partner, and how to work with that parenting partner through the entire co-parenting process from beginning to end. Darren has interviewed dozens of current parenting partners for this book to get their insights for the benefit of prospective parenting partners. He has also spent time with the country’s most prominent professional experts on the topic of parenting partnerships – including legal, medical, financial and psychological experts – to provide additional guidance to readers.
But most importantly for Darren, this is personal. Having gone through the search for the right parenting partner himself, Darren understands how challenging and confusing the process can be. Darren hopes Family By Design (and familybydesign.com) will help many people wishing to become parents to find happiness and fulfillment in a modern family of their own.
Darren holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University, a law degree from Stanford Law School, and an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
Bill Singer is a family law attorney whose practice specializes in family formation and protection issues for non-traditional families. As a co-founder and Fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AAARTA, the national organization for legal issues related to assisted reproductive technology), Bill is a leading expert on current legal developments affecting modern families and is a legal expert on co-parenting. In addition, a significant part of his practice focuses on the needs of both prospective and current parenting partners in a co-parenting relationship.
Bill lectures and writes on all of the issues he confronts in his practice. He has published articles in the Rutgers Journal of Law and Social Policy, the New Jersey Law Journal, the New Jersey Family Lawyer, New Jersey Lawyer, the Management Information Exchange Journal and other periodicals. He has spoken at Rutgers Law School, Rutgers School of Social Work, Albany Law School, Stockton University and numerous continuing legal education seminars around the country.
In recognition of his record of achievement, in 2012, the ACLU-NJ gave Bill its Bill of Rights Award for the advancement of civil liberties.
Bill received his BA from Rutgers College and his JD from the Columbia University School of Law. He has been practicing law in New Jersey for over 40 years.
As the founder of Connecticut Fertility Associates, Dr. Doyle has practiced Reproductive Medicine in Connecticut since 1991. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology and Psychology, with Honors, magna cum laude, from Brown University in 1980. In 1985, he earned his medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, where he received numerous academic honors, including selection to the national medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha.
He then completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1989. He completed his advanced fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology at Yale University in 1991, and began private practice there. Since then over 4,500 babies have been born to Connecticut area couples who have been successfully treated by Dr. Doyle, and consistently praise him as a highly skilled expert who balances his skill with a caring, compassionate approach. Non-traditional families make up a significant part of Dr. Doyle’s practice, including many families in a co-parenting relationship.
Dr. Doyle has authored numerous articles, research papers and book chapters covering a broad area of fertility related topics, and is a frequent speaker at medical meetings and conferences. He participates regularly in clinical research trials in the areas of fertility drugs and in vitro fertilization (IVF). His specific areas of expertise include egg donation, surrogacy, in vitro fertilization, microsurgery, advanced laser laparoscopy and hysteroscopy, treatment of severe endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and management of male infertility.
Dorothy Greenfeld is a Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Services at the Yale University School of Medicine. Her focus is on the psychological aspects of fertility treatments, and her practice includes individuals and couples counseling at all stages of the reproduction and pregnancy process.
A significant part of Dorothy’s research has focused on the psychological fertility issues of non-traditional families, including publications on psychological considerations in older prospective parents (i.e., women and men over 35) and in same-sex couples. A recent list of Dorothy’s research publications can be found here.
Anthony Brown is the head of Non-Traditional Estate Planning for the law firm of Albert W. Chianese & Associates. As such, Anthony has advised dozens of modern families in such areas as setting up trusts, tax issues, insurance planning issues, financial structures for children such as 529 plans and UGMA/UTMA trusts, and many additional issues related to the economics of non-traditional families. Anthony writes and speaks regularly on estate planning issues for modern families.
Anthony has worked as a law guardian for children at the Children’s Law Center, representing the legal needs of children in Brooklyn Family Court. Anthony is also on the Board of Directors of Men Having Babies, a nonprofit organization created to educate the public and advocate for men having children through non-traditional means. He graduated from Brooklyn Law School and is a member of the New York Bar Association, the New York County Lawyer’s Association and the Committee for Assisted Reproduction of the American Bar Association.
Anthony also has a personal understanding of parenting partnerships from his own experiences. He is a “known donor” to the female parents of 7-year-old and 2-year-old girls, and remains close to their family. He is also the father of an 3-year-old son, which he and his husband Gary had together with the help of a surrogate. His story was told in the 2010 CNN documentary, “Gary and Tony Have a Baby”.
OUR CO-PARENT EXPERTS
Heidi is a forty-something, native New Yorker who entered into a parenting partnership with a dear friend after her soul mate became ever more elusive. Heidi knew that she had the rest of her life to find “Mr. Right” but only a small window of opportunity to fulfill her dreams of becoming a mom, so she decided to make her dreams come true. She is now the mother of a beautiful boy and is enjoying the journey of creating a modern family together with her friend and co-parent.
In addition to parenting a very active toddler boy, Heidi is a full time Registered Nurse specializing in oncology and a singer in a rock and roll band.
In 2007, Tim became a co-parent to his first beautiful son, Tommy. Along with his two close friends, Heather and Abbie, they have raised Tommy together. Tommy lives primarily with his two moms in Brooklyn – but Tim has his special days with Tommy that they refer to as “Dadurdays”. Tommy calls him Daddy – and he’s fully aware of the makeup of his special family.
In March of 2012, another son, Teo, joined their family. Prior to bringing their two sons into the world, the would-be parents talked, questioned, and dealt with the complex issues that come with a parenting partnership. The experience, although challenging at times, was well worth the outcome.
Professionally, Tim launched his own design firm three years ago. His firm has designed the interiors for spaces ranging from studio apartments in Chelsea to country estates in Connecticut.
Susan is successfully co-parenting with a friend she met while leading a Co-Parenting support group in New York City. She began facilitating this co-parenting group more than 11 years ago, with the personal goal of herself becoming a co-parent. As a single woman, Susan was determined to offer her future child(ren) the benefit of more than one parent, and more than one extended family. Her daughter now has exactly what her mom had planned – a mom and a dad who equally share time with her and load her with love and attention.
In addition to volunteering on the PTA, packing lunch and super-vising playdates, Susan is a graphic designer, leading large architectural signage projects in New York and beyond for over 20 years.
Colin always thought he would be a dad. When he found himself forty and single, he began to explore single-parenting through surrogacy, but quickly realized that his professional life would not mesh well with single-parenting, and put his parenting dreams away. A few years later, a mutual family friend introduced him to Samantha, a single woman looking for a co-parent. Six months later they were pregnant, and Stella Rose arrived healthy and happy in February of 2011. Stella currently lives with her mom on the Upper West Side but spends a lot of time every week with her “Abba.” They will evolve to a shared-custody arrangement before Stella starts kindergarden.
Colin has a professional background in finance and marketing as well as years of experience in grass-roots fundraising and social activism. He currently works as Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University, though he works primarily from home in New York City.