среда, 17 февраля 2016 г.

America may be simplifying the process, it's not a cheap proposition for hopeful parents.

When Valerie Reimold's water broke early Sunday morning in January, she wasn't sure how she was going to get to the hospital.
The storm that blanketed parts of York County with up to 31 inches of snow had just subsided, and the street outside Reimold's New Salem home had yet to be plowed.
Already a mother of two, Reimold was successfully rushed to York Hospital, where she gave birth in less than 20 minutes — she swears it felt longer — to a healthy boy, who wasn't hers to take back home.
A Surrogate's Story
The boy's parents, a gay Norwegian couple, were able to get to the hospital a couple hours later to meet their second American-born child, Sigurd Jonsbu.
Though Reimold carried Sigurd in her uterus more than a week past her due date, she is not biologically related to him because she served as the gestational carrier, often referred to as surrogate.
Gestational surrogacy involved in vitro fertilization, where a donated egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body and then implanted into a woman's uterus.
Program in place: York Hospital has been running a program to help support gestational carriers and intended parents through process since 2007, according to Sue Dolla, the hospital's Women and Children Services outreach coordinator.
Mary Miller, Labor and Delivery Department nurse manager, said the hospital has grown from delivering two or three babies through gestational surrogacy per year in 2009 to 10-15 per year recently.
"We've had couples from Israel, Norway, Russia, Canada, Spain and all over the U.S.," Dolla said. "The word is getting out."
Dolla said York Hospital's program has helped streamline the process by having plans in place to work with surrogacy agencies, lawyers and offering tours.
"York Hospital really extends the red carpet to help it be a positive experience," Miller said.
Reimold said York Hospital's staff was very accommodating, making sure she got her paperwork in on time and setting up the intended parents in their own room following the birth.
Jessica Waltersdorff, a current gestational carrier living in Felton, toured York Hospital last week with the future child's intended parents, and she said all parties came away impressed.
"(The staff) made the parents a lot more comfortable with the situation," Waltersdorff said.
Both Reimold and Waltersdorff were matched with couples through surrogacy agencies, which help facilitate the whole process.
Growing practice: Dean Hutchison, director of legal services for Boston-based Circle Surrogacy, said gestational surrogacy has been on the rise throughout the United States for numerous reasons.
Before in vitro fertilization became feasible, heterosexual couples were more hesitant to turn to traditional surrogacy, where the carrier's eggs are used for impregnation, because it wouldn't be biologically related to both parents, Hutchison said. Social stigmas have also changed in the past 5-10 years, he added.
"I wasn't sure my family and the community would be accepting when they found out I was having a child that wasn't mine," Waltersdorff said. "But so far, everyone has been extremely supportive."
Circle Surrogacy has been around for 20 years and, in the beginning, no hospitals had any protocols in place for handling the process, Hutchison said, but most hospitals now have a committed program. Spring Garden Township's Memorial Hospital also has a surrogacy program, according to spokesman Jason McSherry.
According to a 2010 Council for Responsible Genetics report, the number of babies born in the U.S. through gestational surrogacy nearly doubled from 2004 to 2008, with an estimated 5,238 babies.
International couples are a major contributor to that growth because surrogacy is prohibited in many countries, and other countries where it is legal, such as Ukraine or India, don't have the same level of medical care as the U.S., Hutchison said.
Ole Aleksander Dyrkorn and Magnus Jonsbu, now back home in Norway with their son Sigurd, previously had a daughter through a surrogate in Rhode Island, according to Dyrkorn.
"In Norway, where we live, surrogacy is not allowed," Dyrkorn wrote in an email. "Same sex couples are allowed to adopt, but very few countries that cooperate with Norway allow children to be adopted by a same sex couple. We know several couples who have become fathers through surrogacy in the U.S., and their experiences have been very positive."
Hutchison said America is also a popular choice for international couples because the baby can easily travel home with them with a U.S. passport.
Pennsylvania, in particular, is a popular place for surrogates because there are no state laws governing surrogacy, Hutchison said, which simplifies the process into a simple court order similar to an adoption process.
Expensive babies: While America may be simplifying the process, it's not a cheap proposition for hopeful parents.

 http://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/health/2016/02/13/gestational-carriers-surrogates-rise-york/80056316/

Portuguese Parliament has liberalized the country’s abortion laws

Left prevails in Portugal with gay adoption and easy abortion

LISBON, Portugal, February 12, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The Socialist-Communist majority in the Portuguese Parliament has liberalized the country’s abortion laws granted same-sex couples the ability to adopt children. It had to override the presidential veto to do it.
The Socialist government of Prime Minister Antonio Costa which took office in November made it a priority to legalize adoption by same-sex couples.
Parliament has also removed a requirement that women receive counselling before aborting their children, and that they pay for the procedure from their own pocket.
When the government's coalition with Communists and other parties of the Left passed legislation to that effect in January, President Anibal Cavaco Silva vetoed both. It took a second vote pushed through by Costa this week to obtain the added votes needed to override the president.
Cavaco Silva explained his veto by asking parliamentarians to consider “the child’s best interest” rather than “equality between different and same-sex couples.” He also called for more public debate on such a “sensitive social topic.”
Costa’s Socialists actually got fewer votes than the Centre-Right Portugal Forward coalition of Pedro Passos Coelho in last fall’s general election, but was able to oust the man who governed Portugal since 2011 by uniting the Left in Parliament against his unpopular austerity policies.
In 2014 the conservative majority defeated a move to legalize adoption by same-sex couples, though adoption by individuals of any sexual persuasion was already legal.
Cavaco Silva must sign the amendments into law in a few days. This spring he will retire from office.
The arguments for same-sex adoption are not sustained by objective research, according to Simon Fraser University economist Douglas Allen. Allen told LifeSiteNews that though many studies argue the case that same-sex couples make as good parents, they all suffer from serious methodological weaknesses, especially in biased sampling. In many cases, for example, same-sex couples are self-selected by placing advertisements in gay periodicals or on bulletin boards in gay community clubs. Homosexual couples who are happy with the job they are doing as parents are far more likely to volunteer for such studies than those who are not, heavily skewing the outcome.
Allen’s own study, based simply on correlating the responses of Canadians to the 2006 national census, showed children from same-sex households had two thirds the high school graduation rate of children in heterosexual families.
A second study by Allen and Shih En Lu, published last year as “Marriage and Children: Differences Across Sexual Orientations,” showed Canadian male and female homosexuals marry at a much lower rate than heterosexuals. Surveying government data on 65,000 people, he told LifeSiteNews, “we find that about 12.2% of lesbians are married, 4.5% of gays, and 48.8% of heterosexuals. These numbers are similar to numbers found in Europe. Despite the rhetoric, gays and lesbians do not take up marriage in large numbers.” Since married couples stay together much more than non-marrieds, their children will be both happier and more successful.
 
 https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/left-prevails-in-portugal-with-gay-adoption-and-easy-abortion
 

adopting our daughter from a Ukrainian orphanage


After adopting our daughter from a Ukrainian orphanage in 2002, my family made a commitment to do whatever we can to improve the lives of orphans and homeless children through humanitarian relief efforts, community outreach, and adoption advocacy programs. We do this out of love and because in Matthew 25, Jesus is very clear about his expectations for his followers. Feed the hungry, provide drinks for the thirsty, give clothing to the needy, care for strangers, visit those who are sick or in prison.

Our next journey will take us halfway around the world to Moa Wharf in Sierra Leone. It is a slum where hundreds of children have been made orphans in the wake of the Ebola crisis horror.
Sleeping on piles of rotting clothes and heaping garbage, these young children are vulnerable to disease, physical abuse and exploitation — all danger at its truest form. Girls as young as 5 are the sexual property of wicked men. The orphans are stigmatized and discarded in their own communities.
The children deserve a better life. They have no voice except for yours and mine, and they need us to act on their behalf.
My son Michael and I are making plans to travel to Sierra Leone in July on a humanitarian aid mission as representatives of Embracing Children Adoption Services based in Plymouth.
If your heart leads you to help the Ebola orphans, we would gladly accept your support in the following ways:
  • Humanitarian aid: We're accepting donations of new clothing and shoes for children of all ages, first aid supplies, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and other items that can be packed in checked luggage. (No books, liquids, or battery-operated items, please.)
  • Financial contributions: A GoFundMe page, https://www.gofundme.com/robinchance, has been set up to provide funding for an interim foster care home for Ebola orphans and for in-country food and medical care, and to help with travel costs.
 
 

difficult questions about the ethics of the surrogacy

A battle over triplets raises difficult questions about the ethics of the surrogacy industry and the meaning of parenthood.


160212_DX_Surrogacy
Photo illustration by Lisa Larson-Walker. Photos by Thinkstock.
Last year, a 47-year-old California woman named Melissa Cook decided to become a commercial surrogate. Cook is a mother of four, including a set of triplets, and had served as a surrogate once before, delivering a baby for a couple in 2013. According to her lawyer, Harold Cassidy, she’d found it to be a rewarding way to supplement the salary she earned at her office job. “Like other women in this situation, she was motivated by two things: One, it was a good thing to do for people, and two, she needed some money,” Cassidy says.

Michelle Goldberg Michelle Goldberg
Michelle Goldberg is a columnist for Slate and the author, most recently, of The Goddess Pose.

For her second surrogacy, Cook signed up with a broker called Surrogacy International. Robert Walmsley, a fertility attorney and part owner of the firm, says he was initially reluctant to work with her because of her age, but relented after she presented a clean bill of health from her doctor. Eventually, Surrogacy International matched her with a would-be father, known in court filings as C.M.
According to a lawsuit filed on Cook’s behalf in United States District Court in Los Angeles earlier this month, C.M. is a 50-year-old single man, a postal worker who lives with his elderly parents in Georgia. Cook never met him in person, and because C.M. is deaf, Cassidy says the two never spoke on the phone or communicated in any way except via email. In May, Cook signed a contract promising her $33,000 to carry a pregnancy, plus a $6,000 bonus in case of multiples. In August, Jeffrey Steinberg, a high-profile fertility doctor, used in vitro fertilization to implant Cook with three male embryos that were created using C.M.’s sperm and a donor egg. (According to the lawsuit, the gender selection was done at C.M.’s request.) When an egg donor is under 35, as C.M.’s was, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine strongly recommends implanting only one embryo to avoid a multiple pregnancy, but some clinics will implant more to increase the chances that at least one will prove viable. In this case, they all survived. For the second time in her life, Cook was pregnant with triplets. And soon, the virtual relationship she had with their father would fall apart.
Cook and C.M. are still strangers to each other, but they are locked in a legal battle over both the future of the children she’s going to bear and the institution of surrogacy itself. Because she’s come under pressure to abort one of the fetuses, Cook’s case has garnered some conservative media attention. This story, however, is about much more than the abortion wars. It illustrates some of the thorniest issues plaguing the fertility industry: the creation of high-risk multiple pregnancies, the lack of screening of intended parents, the financial vulnerability of surrogates, and the almost complete lack of regulation around surrogacy in many states.
The United States is one of the few developed countries where commercial, or paid, surrogacy is allowed—it is illegal in Canada and most of Europe. In the U.S., it’s governed by a patchwork of contradictory state laws. Eight states expressly authorize it. Four statesNew York, New Jersey, Washington, and Michigan—as well as the District of Columbia prohibit it. In the remaining states, there’s either no law at all on commercial surrogacy or it is allowed with restrictions.
California is considered a particularly friendly place for surrogacy arrangements. In 1993, a California Supreme Court ruling, Johnson v. Calvert, denied the attempts of a gestational surrogate named Anna Johnson to assert maternal rights. (A gestational surrogate is one like Cook who has no genetic relationship to the fetus or fetuses she caries.) What mattered in determining maternity, the court ruled, were the intentions of the various parties going into the pregnancy: “Because two women each have presented acceptable proof of maternity, we do not believe this case can be decided without enquiring into the parties’ intentions as manifested in the surrogacy agreement,” the court said. It was a victory for Walmsley, who represented the couple who’d hired Johnson as their surrogate.

A 2012 California law, which went into effect this year, codifies procedures for surrogacy agreements; among other things, it specifies that both surrogates and intended parents must have their own lawyers. If a contract is executed in accordance with the law, then a gestational surrogate relinquishes any claim to legal parenthood.
“Surrogacy’s been distinguished as something completely different from adoption,” says Lisa Ikemoto, a UC Davis School of Law professor who specializes in reproductive rights and bioethics. Unlike in adoption, there’s no legally required screening of intended parents. A pregnant woman who offers to give her baby up for adoption can reconsider her decision; in California, a pregnant surrogate cannot. To a large extent, the law “puts a lot of trust in a surrogacy center to make sure that these things are carried out appropriately,” Ikemoto says. “It’s very industry-friendly, and by ‘industry,’ I’m referring to the fertility industry.”
In California, that industry is known for pushing boundaries. It is the state that gave us the so-called Octomom, Nadya Suleman, who gave birth to octuplets in 2009 after her fertility doctor implanted her with 12 embryos. Also in 2009, the Modesto-based surrogacy agency SurroGenesis was revealed to have defrauded clients of millions of dollars, leaving some intended parents unable to pay the surrogates who were carrying their children. The New York Times reported that one surrogate, pregnant with twins and confined to bed rest, received an eviction notice after the couple who had hired her were unable to reimburse her for lost wages.
Three years later, in 2012, a prominent California surrogacy broker named Theresa Erickson was sentenced to prison for leading an international baby-selling ring. Erickson, a former board member of the American Fertility Association, recruited surrogates and sent them to Ukraine, where they were implanted with embryos created from donated eggs and sperm. She put the resulting babies up for adoption, telling prospective parents that they were the result of surrogacies in which the original intended parents had backed out. Erickson collected between $100,000 and $150,000 for each baby. After she was sentenced, she told NBC San Diego that her case represented the “tip of the iceberg” of a corrupt industry.
Even when it’s not corrupt, the industry often tests the limits of bioethics. Steinberg, the doctor who performed Cook’s embryo transfer, was last in the news for marketing embryo screening for hair, eye, and skin color. “This is cosmetic medicine,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “Others are frightened by the criticism but we have no problems with it.” He was a pioneer in the use of IVF for sex selection, and his clinic draws clients from countries around the world where the practice is banned.
“We don’t have good oversight of the whole fertility industry,” says Marcy Darnovsky, executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society in Berkeley, California, and a longtime women’s health advocate. “It’s very underregulated, and we need to be taking that really seriously. California is a surrogacy-friendly state and thinks that it’s doing surrogacy the right way. But there have been enough problems in California that clearly something is not right.”
* * *
From the beginning, the arrangement between Cook and C.M. appears to have been plagued by miscommunication. Cassidy acknowledges that Cook only gave a cursory read to the 75-page surrogacy contract before signing it. Walmsley of Surrogacy International drafted the contract; he is also serving as C.M.’s attorney. (At the time, Cook was being represented by a lawyer named Lesa Slaughter, paid for by C.M.) Cook contends that she didn’t know about the contract’s provision, common in surrogacy agreements, allowing C.M. to request a selective reduction, in which one or more of the fetuses in a multiple pregnancy is aborted. (In reporting this story, I had multiple conversations with Cassidy and Walmsley, but neither allowed me to interview their clients directly.)
According to Cook’s lawsuit, before the embryo transfer, C.M. assured her via email that he could accept responsibility for all the children that might result. But while C.M. had been prepared for twins, he didn’t want triplets. Indeed, her suit says, soon after her pregnancy was confirmed, it became clear that C.M. had exhausted his savings, and wasn’t sure he could care for more than one baby.

planning to use a surrogate mother in Ukraine

Marie* explains why she and her husband are planning to use a surrogate mother in Ukraine:

I was diagnosed with a chronic heart and lung condition a few years ago and, while the news in itself was devastating, I was also shattered by the fact that I would not be able to get pregnant. There is an estimated 30-50 per cent mortality rate for both mother and baby if I was to give birth.
I went from being a normal woman in my mid-20s, working full-time and doing a postgraduate degree by night with all sorts of dreams, to someone who would be fortunate to work part-time and likely require a lung transplant in the future.
From that moment, myself and my boyfriend (now my husband) knew we would go down the road of surrogacy, as adoption is effectively at a standstill in this country.
We had assumed that legislation would be in by now. After the Government chose to remove surrogacy from the Bill last year we decided we could not wait on politicians’ promises any longer. The time is right for us.

Costs

Obviously finances are a consideration and limit where we can go to do the surrogacy. The US is the most straightforward route but it is financially prohibitive – anywhere from €130,000-€170,000 due to the medical and insurance costs there.
As it is, we will probably need to remortgage our home to fund surrogacy in Ukraine.
Emotionally, I think we will struggle through the pregnancy and when we go over to Ukraine to bring our baby home. It’ll be difficult being sent scans and having Skype calls, looking at our surrogate’s bump without really feeling any sense of control or connection.
We have excellent legal advice here and an excellent lawyer in Ukraine so, should there be any hiccups, we will be reassured by the fact that they will be there to help us.
Ethically, we don’t really have any hesitations. We do not feel that women are exploited just to be wombs for rent.
As well as generous compensation, the surrogates receive lots of support and counselling and enter into the agreement of their own free will. That is a choice a woman should be allowed to make for herself, it’s her body.
We really admire anyone who is willing to do that for another couple. This woman will nurture our baby for nine months and we will be forever grateful.

Medication

Medically, we had some reservations but not enough to stop us. I am on a lot of medication and one is dangerous to foetuses so I think I will need to stop this while I take the IVF drugs to stimulate my eggs for egg retrieval.
Online, we have met lots of couples who have had babies through surrogacy and others who are in the middle of their journey.
We attended some surrogacy support meetings held by the National Infertility Support and Information Group too.
We have been very open with family and friends. They understand that this is what we need to do to complete our family.
As well as remortgaging our house, we will also have to factor in the cost of me not working for the first few months – I won’t get maternity leave – as well as legal costs. We will also need to travel to Ukraine three to four times and will need to stay there for five to six weeks around the time of the birth.
Ukraine is attractive as its surrogacy programmes start at approximately €33,000 and legislation is protective of the intended parents: we will be named on the Ukrainian birth certificate and there will be no mention of the surrogate mother.
The contracts are binding and the surrogate cannot change her mind.
The lack of legislation in Ireland is frustrating because surrogacy is happening – a lot – and is increasing.

Birth cert

As we will be using our own genetic material – my eggs and my husband’s sperm – we should be recognised as the sole parents of our child.
Even though we will be on a Ukrainian birth cert, I will never get to go on the Irish birth cert as my baby’s mother.
Another advantage of legislation would be that Irish couples could openly do the IVF, egg retrieval and freezing of embryos here.
Our biggest hope is that by next year we will be expecting our own child.
I’m scared about being on our own away from our families in a foreign country with a new baby waiting to get home. It’s not how I ever imagined spending my first few weeks of motherhood.
Name has been changed. Story as told to Sheila Wayman
Filling surrogacy support gap
Families Through Surrogacy, which is running the Dublin conference in March, was founded by Australian Sam Everingham after he experienced at first hand the lack of support for intended parents.
“My partner and I had a very tough road to parenthood through surrogacy in India, experiencing the loss of twin boys, Zac and Ben, when they were born premature at 28 weeks,” he says. “Ben survived just seven weeks in a New Delhi hospital; Zac was stillborn.”
On returning home to deal with this loss, it soon became clear there were no support networks or organisations equipped to assist and advise surrogates and intended parents alike. To fill this gap, Everingham set up Surrogacy Australia in 2011 and, two years later, founded Families Through Surrogacy, which he describes as “a non-profit, global, consumer- based organisation”.
Meanwhile, he and his partner, Phil Copland, “found the strength to continue our own journey and had two girls, Zoe and Ruby, via two separate surrogates in India”.
They are now both four and a half years old.
Families Through Surrogacy focuses, he explains, on providing up-to-date resources on surrogacy options around the globe – “no mean feat as this is an area in constant flux. We have seen India, Thailand and Nepal close their borders to foreigners seeking surrogacy in the recent past.”
As to what countries Irish intended parents should consider, he points out that certain US states such as California, Nevada and Oregon have long experience of surrogacy (30-plus years).
“This experience means surrogate screening, matching and care is second to none. However, the US system can be pricey,” he acknowledges.
“Canada is emerging as a somewhat more affordable, yet still reliable, option and in Europe, Ukraine has been offering legal, well-run surrogacy programmes to heterosexuals for 15 years.”


суббота, 6 февраля 2016 г.

Children Adoption in Ukraine



Children Adoption in Ukraine

The history of Ukraine adoption this is the rare example where the private initiative of the organization changed the system in the state. Children Adoption in Ukraine is one of the main initiatives and efforts in the fight against abandonment of children and most importantly give a family to a child instead of the boarding schools and orphanages.
I firmly believe that orphanages in Ukraine should not exist as a long term solution, every child should have a family and the only job of state orphanage should be to help find adoptive parents for the waiting children, who left with no parental care for whatever life’ reason.
The political will to help every child to find family and to abandon old system of Ukraine orphanages. The motto word for Ukraine adoption policy should be “Every child needs a family” and it shall become official state policy in the Ukraine adoption field. To take the best of international practice and policies, and to make it a working practice in Ukraine, to change Ukraine adoption policy in accordance to the best accepted standard in Europe and America, to live up to highest standards of what is best for the child, that we a country can do. And then each child in Ukraine will have a chance for a family, a chance for the future, a chance for the happiness. Lets at least try our best.
thanks to the Internet, Ukrainian information and news on Ukraine adoption through the blogs and news portal like Ukraine adoption gets out to news partners in all-Ukrainian public organization facilitating adoption in Ukraine. The war reveals all the problems and the number of children-orphans who deprived of parental care is growing. This applies to both the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, and in the whole of Ukraine. For the first 9 months of 2015 have been adopted and taken into foster care 513 children (last year during the same period, were 760 children transferred to orphanages.

The Family, which everyone needs



The Family, which everyone needs

Why have we chosen assistance to Ukraine orphanages of family type specifically not the general orphanage house but specific family-type orphanages ? Because we believe: children need a family. Of course, boarding schools, also requires help and assistance in every way but we believe the primal concept is different here, family -type orphanages has the key word that other type of government care for abandoned children do not have, it s the Family. Family type should bring to every orphan in its care something what every orphan needs the most is the Family. Every orphan kid likewise any other kid needs needs many other things as well but what he is deprived of is family care. It is certain we must provide all orphan children with what they need like food and clothing, sport gears and equipment, furniture, school belonging etc , and we will to the extent finances will permit us to do so, but what we can not provide is a Family. This is the new national policy of Ukraine on the public domain of Ukraine adoption: Family is a priority. Therefore under new Ukraine adoption  policies domestic and international adoption are set forth as prerogative in any decision on the fate of the abandoned children and only in those case where adoption of a child into a family is no longer an option then other state care solution should be considered. Family-type orphanage come into option of a secondary priority option in determining the future of abandoned child. It is also announced that before 2020 all or at least majority of school boards orphanages should be closed as outlive old state care facilities in upbringing orphan children. It is sure a daring statement on the part of the government, the goal is set too high almost at non-achievable level, but at least if we do only half the work government set out to do, we still going to achieve a great deal of good dead. So we will try. This is national policy towards Ukraine adoption practice set forth right now in Ukraine. The objective – children’s homes of family type as the Large adoptive family.
Family-type orphanages first appeared in Ukraine in 1989, but until 2008 were not favored nor actively present in Ukraine. It was only when state actively involved in the work of developing such approach it not not become a common solution to the problem of orphanage children. There were units all over Ukraine, in these orphanages were raised just 4 thousand children, in comparison in boarding schools were raise around 30 thousand in the same period of time. In Donetsk region were set up first family-type orphanages back in 2008 and later since 2011 in Ukraine.
In 2011 new project “Family for child”, and we started with the Dnepropetrovsk region, where new approach was developed of family forms of care, supported foster families, helped orphanages of family type. It turned out that in the Dnepropetrovsk region children quite readily accept the education. There were many such families created in Dnepropetrovsk region. As the result, today in the orphanages of Dnepropetrovsk region are somewhere around 500 orphans only, and you can assume that eventually we will find families for everyone!