New National Campaign Aimed at LGBT Adoption

November is National Adoption Month and one organization is making an effort to reach out to everyone who is interested in adopting, regardless of sexual orientation. With so many changes occurring within our country, and more acceptance of the LGBT community taking place around the the country, it’s only fitting that when it comes to the topic of adoption, everyone should be included within the discussion. Many states still have laws against same-sex couple adoption, or at least make it more difficult for a couple to adopt, although there are ways to work around each system.  Single parent adoptions are on the rise, and of course, there are parenting partnerships, where two individuals in a non-romantic relationship raise a child together, under their own personal terms, which are beginning to become more and more common. Parenting partnerships are limitless and adoption is definitely one of the many options for people considering entering a co-parenting agreement.

More information on RaiseAChild.US and their campaign, “Let Love Define Family,” can be found below. (source)

In an expanded effort to outreach to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, RaiseAChild.US is launching a national campaign entitled “Let Love Define Family” and is hosting special events in a five-city tour in mid-November and early December for National Adoption Month. The events will be held in Chicago (November 18), Los Angeles (November 20), Kansas City (November 21), New York City (December 3), and San Francisco (December 5). The evening events will feature an LGBT parent panel and actor/comedian Alec Mapa performing an excerpt from his one-man show “Baby Daddy” about adopting his son from the foster care system.

RaiseAChild.US believes all children deserve a safe, loving, and permanent home. The Los Angeles-based nonprofit encourages the LGBT community to build families through fostering and adoption to serve the needs of the 400,000 children in our nation’s foster care system. Recognizing that many prospective parents fear they will not be accepted by foster and adoption agencies because of their age, marital status, or other reasons, RaiseAChild.US provides its services free to anyone who wants to foster or adopt from the foster care system by helping them navigate the system through RaiseAChild.US’s unique Parent Advocacy program.

“The upcoming holiday season is a special time when people think about family and family building,” says RaiseAChild.US founder and CEO Rich Valenza, who adopted a five-year-old girl and six-year-old boy from foster care before founding the organization. “At RaiseAChild.US, we are concerned year-round about the hundreds of thousands of children in foster care. Our goal is to find safe and loving homes for these children and we know that non-traditional family formations are another solid and proven answer to this national crisis.”

Actress Sherri Saum, who stars in ABC Family’s groundbreaking hit drama series “The Fosters,” has lent her support by recording radio PSAs that will air in Chicago, San Francisco, and in Spanish and English in Los Angeles. Saum and her co-star Maia Mitchell each participated in an interview for the RaiseAChild.US “Let Love Define Family” series in Huffington Post Gay Voices. Actor comedian Alec Mapa participated in media interviews to promote RaiseAChild.US’s work in the and in the Chicago Tribune. In addition to radio and television PSAs, the organization’s media campaign includes transit ads in Chicago, and streetlight banners in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Long Beach, California.

Craigslist Sperm Donor Case Coming to an End

In what seems to be a never-ending court case, it appears as if the current judge hearing the Kansas sperm donor case is about to make a ruling. The Kansas Department for Children and Families filed the case in October of 2012 against a man who donated sperm to a same-sex couple. The women had posted an ad on the internet seeking a sperm donor. After the child was born, the women split up and the parent who remained with the child full time applied for state assistance. This is when the state refused to help and went after the sperm donor as they believed he was responsible as the biological father. The three technically didn’t follow a Kansas statute that specifically deals with sperm donors.

The statute, KSA 23-2208(f), says, “The donor of semen provided to a licensed physician for use in artificial insemination of a woman other than the donor’s wife is treated in law as if he were not the birth father of a child thereby conceived, unless agreed to in writing by the donor and the woman.”

Attorneys representing the state of Kansas and William Marotta presented arguments to a Shawnee County District Court judge Friday in the Craigslist case, which focuses on whether Marotta is legally considered a sperm donor or the father of a 4-year-old girl.

At the end of a nearly hourlong hearing, Judge Mary Mattivi said she would issue a written ruling addressing motions both sides have filed seeking summary judgment in their favor. A summary judgment is a determination made by a court without a full trial.

Marotta is fighting the action. He says he didn’t intend to be the child’s father and signed a contract waiving his parental rights and responsibilities while agreeing to donate sperm in a plastic cup to Schreiner and Angela Bauer, who was then her lesbian partner.  (source)

An Unusual Co-Parenting Twist

Sometimes life throws a curveball. Carson Rennick was one of Canada’s unnoficial spokespersons for parenting partnerships. He gained this status after an interview he did for a newspaper article where he opened up about how much he wanted a child but didn’t want a romantic relationship with the birth mother. Instead, he was ready to co-parent. Julia Cunningham was also in a similar situation and was highly considering finding a sperm donor, but was prepared to be a single mom.

The two met on a traditional dating site, although Rennick was registered and active on a co-parenting website, similar to He was very open with Cunningham when they began chatting and told her to google his name to learn about his “story” and ultimate goal. The two bonded over wanting a child and four months into the relationship, have decided to go at it together, but not as co-parents, but as romantic partners.

It’s not what either of them expected or necessarily were seeking, but it just worked out that way. Fortunately, both Rennick and Cunningham are open-minded enough to understand the concept of co-parenting, and both agree that a “traditional” family isn’t necessary to raise a family, it just so happens that in their case, co-parenting  brought the pair together.

“We were both looking for the same thing at the same time and oddly enough we found each other,” says Rennick, who works as a union steward in construction. “I still love the concept of co-parenting. But, at the same time, I am glad that I found a partner in life as opposed to just a partner in child rearing.”

Rennick and Cunningham, a 33-year-old social-services worker, are very much the romantic couple. They hold hands, exchange supportive glances and laugh easily as they answer a visitor’s questions in the living room of the home where Cunningham rents a room.

“Sometimes in life when you stop looking for something, that’s when you find it,” says Cunningham. “I know, for myself, it was one of those, ‘Do I have to have the nuclear family?’ And, for me, the answer was no. I don’t have to have that. It’s not going to stop me from having a child if I’m not in a relationship.”

“Now, here we are together, and we’re like, ‘Wow, this really works.’ It’s nice and I really hope that it lasts. I’m really enjoying being with him and I really hope we end up being able to be parents together. Both of us don’t think you have to be in a nuclear family to raise a child so it is kind of funny we ended up together wanting to have a wonderful nuclear family.”

Now, while we wish them both the best, we are not posting this to give hope to others that they too will find love on our website. Our intention is to bring  like-minded individuals together who are looking for a parenting partnership situation that works best for them.


Making Sperm Banks Safer

Imagine starting a family using a sperm donor from a reputable sperm bank. You took the time to flip through athletics, eye color, bone structure and education of donors. Now imagine getting a phone call after the child was born and being asked to go and check if your baby is still alive. It sounds completely absurd and unreal, but it happened to Anne Morriss. Only afterward would the man, phoning with results from the state’s newborn screening test, explain that her son had tested positive for a rare and potentially fatal genetic disorder that prevented him from converting certain fats into energy.

Now Morriss has cofounded a company aimed at reducing the odds of having an unhealthy child when using a sperm donor. Named GenePeeks, it will test a woman’s DNA and the genes of potential donors to produce a personalized list that strikes out donors who may be a bad match for about 600 genetic childhood diseases. The test, costing about $2,000, will be offered starting in December to customers of a New York sperm bank.

Although virtually every person probably harbors at least one flawed copy of a gene that could cause a disease, such illnesses are recessive traits, meaning they will not develop unless a child inherits two flawed copies of a gene, one from each parent. That means risk factors can lurk in perfectly healthy people’s DNA for generations — until someone happens to pick a reproductive partner with the same mutation. Even then, they would have only a one-in-four chance of having an affected child.

Technology is already being used in an attempt to lower those odds even more. Prospective parents can be tested to see if they or their partners — or sperm donors — carry risk factors for specific panels of diseases, often chosen based on their ethnicity. Sperm banks often test for the most common genetic diseases.

A mutual friend introduced Morriss, a former consultant, to Lee Silver, a Princeton University biologist who had thought up a novel way to give prospective parents better guidance about potential offspring. Together they founded GenePeeks. Silver’s technique uses computer modeling to mimic what happens when people reproduce: Half of a woman’s DNA combines with half of her partner’s. Silver argues that by looking not just at the genes the parents carry, but at the possible combinations, it will be possible to identify pairings that are likely to result in illness.

The company is starting with a conservative approach; it will simply expand on the kind of screening that is already done, looking more exhaustively for recessive genetic diseases. Morriss and Silver hope to eventually test the risk for more complex diseases, depending on the state of scientific understanding. The technology skirts some of the most thorny issues that emerge when it comes to DNA analysis and reproductive genetics. Because no one receives any genetic information back, the company will not have to wrestle with reporting disease risks back to the women or sperm donors.


Originally found here.

Three Parents and a Baby

California is once again in the spotlight with news that Governor Brown has has signed legislation to allow a child to have three legal parents. The new legislation was created to cover certain situations in which a same-sex couple has a child with an opposite-sex biological parent. Of course, this is causing all sorts of controversy from proponents of the “traditional” family, but with the law set to effect at the beginning of next year, California will now be the fifth state to pass such a law.

The bill was partly prompted by a complicated custody battle in 2011 involving a child of lesbian parents who was placed in foster care after one parent ended up in jail and the other in the hospital. The child’s biological father was initially granted parental responsibilities by a court, but the decision was later reversed after an appeals court concluded a child could not have more than two parents.

The bill was sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and by the Children’s Advocacy Institute at San Diego School of Law.

Opponents of the new law had the following to say:

“Once we started trying to normalize parenting by same-sex couples and redefine marriage to remove the dual gender requirement, we had to end up with triple parenting,” says Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute, which seeks to promote traditional marriage.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute, says, “This is, in the long run, going to be a mistake.”

He adds, “The ones who are going to pay the price are not the activists, but it’s going to be children, who will see greater conflict and indecision over matters involving their well-being.”

So what do you think? Does this law make sense for certain situations and certain families?

Thoughts on “Designer Babies”

You have heard the term “designer baby” right? It’s a practice that is already sadly popular with dog breeding, by mixing two breeds that normally wouldn’t breed, to create something new. Well, there is currently an American patent for a method that could allow people to choose genetic traits like eye color in children, as well as some other very unusual traits, like athleticism. It sounds almost insane, doesn’t it? Well, the folks over at 23andMe, who applied for the patent, aren’t claiming 100% guarantees, but more a better chance at those traits, qualities.

So what’s next? How designer will future parents be able to make their baby? There must be more to this, and hopefully, it’s more on the scientific research side of things. Being able to avoid health issues for example, would make this more acceptable, but that’s not exactly how they are promoting it. What do you think? Here is more on the patent that we found here.

The patent for what is called a “gamete (egg or sperm) donor selection ” method, was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to the firm 23 and Me on September 24.

A description on the USPTO website said the “technique allows the potential gamete recipients to make more informed donor choices.”

“What 23andMe is claiming is a method by which prospective donors of ova and/or sperm may be selected so as to increase the likelihood of producing a human baby with characteristics desired by the prospective parents,” said the commentary by medical ethicists from Belgium, the Netherlands and France published in the journal Genetics in Medicine.

This would be based on a computerised comparison of the genomic data of the egg provider with that of the sperm provider.

Characteristics on the parents’ “shopping list” could include height, eye colour, muscle development , personality traits, or risk of developing certain types of cancer and other diseases, said the commentators.

A figure attached to the patent application would allow prospective parents to indicate whether “I prefer a child with” : “longest expected life span”, “least expected life cost of health care,” or “least expected cumulative duration of hospitalisation,” they said.

There were also options for “0% likely endurance athlete” and “100 % likely sprinter” , though the company had stated it could not guarantee the outcome but merely boost the chances of a child having the desired traits. The commentators describe the method as “hugely ethically controversial” — particularly as it allows for the selection of characteristics that have nothing to do with the child’s health. “At no stage during the examination of the patent application did the patent office examine or question whether techniques for facilitating the ‘design’ of future human babies were appropriate subject matter for a patent,” they wrote. The USPTO said it did not comment on issued patents.

23andMe said the patent, applied for more than five years ago, was for a tool dubbed Family Traits Inheritance Calculator that offered “an engaging way for you and your partner to see what kind of traits your child might inherit from you” — from eye colour to whether the child will be able to perceive bitter taste or be lactose intolerant.

The language of the patent was much broader than the technology to support the calculator , the company said in a blog on its website.

“At the time 23andMe filed the patent, there was consideration that the technology could have potential applications for fertility clinics, so language specific to the fertility treatment process was included ,” it said. “The company never pursued the concepts discussed in the patent beyond our Family Traits Inheritance Calculator, nor do we have any plans to do so.” AFP

Read more here.



Possible Pregnancy After Menopause

New medical advancements might offer some women a second chance at becoming pregnant. Some women reach menopause much earlier in life, and are unable to become pregnant. Around 1 per cent of women suffer from a condition called primary ovarian insufficiency which brings on menopause at a very young age. Scientists have found a way to wake up dormant follicles, and the experimental technique has been tested on a group of infertile woman who reached menopause at around 3o years old.

Of the 13 women treated, one has given birth, and another is pregnant. There are overwhelmingly high numbers, but it sure proves that there are possibilities and with more research, numbers within trials could rise.

Until now the only option available to women with this form of infertility has been to accept IVF treatment using donor eggs, which means raising a child with another biological mother.

The researchers now plan to see if the technique can help other categories of women, including those affected by cancer treatment, and who become infertile between the ages of 40 to 45.

To read more, click here.

Finding His Inner Mommy

We all know that a family can come in many different forms. There is no true singular definition for what “family” means, and as our world is changing and embracing differences, it’s great to read stories of modern families. In a recent interview with CNN, Dan Bucatinsky, the 47-year old actor, producer and author, who most recently won an Emmy for a guest role on ABC’s “Scandal,” the actor opens up about finding his “inner mommy” when it comes to raising his two young children.

Bucatinsky, who plays a gay dad on TV, is also a gay dad in real life. Together with his husband, Don Roos, the pair are fathers to Eliza and Jonah. Within the interview, Bucatinsky opens up about how the definition of “family” is evolving. He also wrote a book on the road to becoming a family in his memoir, “Does This Baby Make Me Look Straight?: Confessions of a Gay Dad.”

CNN is even reaching out to same-sex parents in hopes to highlight creative ways in which they address their parenting roles. A portion of the interview is below. For the full interview, click here.

CNN: When you were growing up and coming to terms with being gay, did it ever cross your mind that you might someday be a father?

Dan Bucatinsky: It wasn’t something that I dared to aspire to. I lived a lot of years in denial. I spent a lot of my teen years promising myself that if it turned out to be true, that I would kill myself. I’m really glad that I didn’t fulfill that promise.

Even early in my 20s when I came out of the closet, I wasn’t really thinking about marriage. I focused on my career, and I didn’t have a clear picture of my future as being in a relationship, having kids and having a domestic life. By 27, I was settling down, and it became clearer to me that it was something I was subconsciously craving.

I was so envious of the gay men I’d meet who wore wedding rings. I remember feeling some kind of pang in my mid-to-late 20s. Maybe it was too painful to really picture. I felt like it wasn’t in my cards. I met Don when I was 27, and we didn’t have kids until I was 40. For 12 years we talked about it, but not seriously, until the last five years. I didn’t believe it was possible, so now, when I think about it, it’s just surreal.

CNN: When you talk to young, gay men about parenthood now, do their expectations differ from that?

Bucatinsky: It’s amazing how different it is now to talk to someone who is exactly my age when I met Don — a 27-year-old out, gay man (who has probably been out since he was 15). It’s a foregone conclusion that if they want it, marriage and kids could be in their future. Parents used to say, “I love you just the same that you’re gay, but it’s such a sad, lonely life,” but that can’t be said anymore.

CNN: When parenthood was finally happening for you and your husband, did you worry about not having a blueprint for it?

Bucatinsky: While we were expecting Eliza, I was in such shock and denial that it was really happening. It didn’t occur to me what would happen when we took that baby home. I didn’t really think it through. Nor did my spouse and I have long enough discussions about our parenting styles. We have subsequently discovered our differences, which hopefully leads to a little yin and yang with the kids.

There were parents that to me were just the ideal. Many of them were straight moms who have just been great, supporting, warm, funny and tough, at least in my perception of them. I’m sure they all had their own bouts of self-doubt. They became my role models, and I hoped I could be as good as them; their kids turned out so great.

CNN: Is motherhood necessarily tied to femininity?

Dan Bucatinsky: It’s not. What I discovered inside me that I didn’t realize was there, was mommyness. But by definition of the fact that I’m not a mommy, if I’m finding qualities that I’m describing as “mommyness” then why do I have to attach a gender to them? Why can’t we move to a time where “parent” is an umbrella term that encapsulates a lot of things: discipline, nurturing, sustenance, support and boundaries?

When you’re a gay dad, you get the question, “Which one of you is the mom?” I used to get offended by it, but now I just answer: I am. If you’re asking me in the way that I’m using the term “mom” loosely, then yes, I have fallen into those more mommyish kinds of roles. Don has fallen more into the daddyish roles, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t do bath time. But straight parents, too, any modern dad now is doing the same kinds of things. It doesn’t really have to do with gay or straight anymore.


Who Will Run Your House?

Some parents at times feel lost and helpless when trying to come up with the right decisions when parenting at home. At times, it’s due to their own fears and inhibitions. When this occurs, it’s typical for children to take advantage of the situation and a role-reversal tends to take place. A new book, Who Runs Your House: The Kids or You?, helps put a stop to this and teaches parents the importance of taking control over the household and how to properly keep their children on the right path.

We all know or have seen parents that are controlled by their children. It’s easy to judge, but what guarantees you that your parenting style will afford you a different relationship with your children? Everyone is different and each child is unique, but studying up and taking tips from different sources can help lead parents or soon to be parents in the right direction.



More on the book here and below:

“Our children are beautiful active little people and we sometimes experience diffi culties when their stubbornness or their behaviour leaves us confused. When our children will not listen to us, they behave in a manner we feel is not appropriate or they may act out with anger or tantrums at the worst possible times, what are we suppose to do?” -Karen Phillip
• Are you experiencing regular tantrums from your child?
• Do you argue about behaviours?
• Do you feel your child does not listen to you?
• Is there a problem with your child going to bed or staying in bed?

Parents can easily learn to get their power back, to run their house the way they believe is right for them and their children.

This book can be used as a simple guide to assist you to make the right rules and boundaries for your children and have them followed. It will help you to guide your children toward better behaviours without too much confl ict. By using these suggestions you can communicate better with both your partner and children to achieve the outcome you require.

You run the house, not the children. Get back your control and power easily with little effort both within the home and when out. Follow these suggestions for a happier, life that will be more fulfi lling, enjoyable, and fun.

CA Surrogate Agent Found Guilty

Some justice for some hopeful parents came out of a court sentencing earlier this week in California. In an unfortunate fraud case where a California surrogate parenting agent collected money from clients and never delivered on services paid for, a judge has ordered restitution in the amount of $1.7 million dollars.

When considering any type of assistance with starting or building a family, taking the time to do the proper research can prove to be crucial. Ask for references, search the internet and scrutinize as much as possible to avoid situations like this one.


Associated Press: MODESTO, Calif.—A federal judge has ordered the owner of a surrogate parenting agency to pay $1.7 million to the victims of a fraud scheme carried out through her Central California-based operation.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said 37-year-old Tonya Ann Collins—the owner of the defunct Surrogenesis agency in Modesto—was ordered to pay the restitution on Monday.

Collins was sentenced in May to five years and three months in prison.

The government said Collins took money from prospective parents and used it for personal expenses, including automobiles, homes, jewelry, clothing and vacations, between 2006 and 2009.

As a result, Collins’ clients, surrogates and other businesses suffered losses of more than $2.4 million.

Prosecutors said that in some cases, victims couldn’t afford a surrogate pregnancy again.