Woman’s Facebook rant about Fertility gets shared by 40,000 people

Emily Bingham has received praise from many young women after a Facebook post she wrote about women and fertility became wildly popular.

The freelance writer, based in Michigan, America, made the point that people should stop incessantly asking fertility-aged women when they are having children.

The post was shared nearly 40,000 times, with scores of women applauding her for what she said. She shared an ultrasound image she found on the internet, and wrote a long post about fertility expectations.

It said: “Hey everyone!!! Now that I got your attention with this RANDOM ULTRASOUND PHOTO I grabbed from a Google image search, this is just a friendly P.S.A. that people’s reproductive and procreative plans and decisions are none of your business. NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

“Before you ask the young married couple that has been together for seemingly forever when they are finally gonna start a family … before you ask the parents of an only-child toddler when a Little Brother or Little Sister will be in the works … before you ask a single 30-something if/when s/he plans on having children because, you know, clock’s ticking … just stop. Please stop.

“You don’t know who is struggling with infertility or grieving a miscarriage or dealing with health issues. You don’t know who is having relationship problems or is under a lot of stress or the timing just isn’t right. You don’t know who is on the fence about having kids or having more kids. You don’t know who has decided it’s not for them right now, or not for them ever.

“You don’t know how your seemingly innocent question might cause someone grief, pain, stress or frustration. Sure, for some people those questions may not cause any fraught feelings — but I can tell you, from my own experiences and hearing about many friends’ experiences — it more than likely does.

“Bottom line: Whether you are a wanna-be grandparent or a well-intentioned friend or family member or a nosy neighbor, it’s absolutely none of your business. Ask someone what they’re excited about right now. Ask them what the best part of their day was.

“If a person wants to let you in on something as personal as their plans to have or not have children, they will tell you. If you’re curious, just sit back and wait and let them do so by their own choosing, if and when they are ready.”

She clarified in a further comment that the rant was inspired in part by a friend of hers, who struggled for a year with fertility treatment to get pregnant, and then was asked a mere month after her child was born, when ‘baby number two’ was coming.

Women really liked the post, leaving positive comments. Seraphina Maria commented: “I love you so much. People asking me about my child bearing plans drives me up a tree. Be they my parents or PERFECT STRANGERS, because that happens all too often.”

Lindsay VanHulle wrote: “Can I like this a million times?”

This follows Kim Catrell’s speech on Women’s Hour, where she questioned the term ‘childless’. “The ‘less’ in childless,” she argued, “sounds like you’re ‘less’ [of a woman] because you haven’t got a child.” She argued that there is too much of a pressure on women to have children.

Article: 28th September 2015 http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Read more about Fertility and finding a sperm donor at http://www.prideangel.com

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Pride Angel Journey – Wearing Pink Pyjamas

In the 70’s when I grew up my mum tells me that for purchasing baby and toddler clothes, there was only really Mothercare. I guess they sold dresses and stuff, but when I look back at old family albums, for the most part I seem to be pottering around (with my pageboy hairstyle) wearing brown or blue dungarees. And when you flick ahead, there he is, my brother wearing the very same clothes two years later.

Now, however, Everywhere sells baby and toddler clothes. And Everywhere is well aware that if you polarise them by gender, as long as enough people have both a boy AND a girl, you can sell double the quantity. Same as for toys.

So it’s pastel with a heavy smattering of pink frills – flowers, butterflies and Peppa Pig. Or primary colours with diggers, tractors, and Thomas the Tank Engine.

Now, within weeks of Luna’s birth we quickly realised he speed at which clothes are outgrown. And whilst after the first year or so, the outgrowing panic settles a little as they stop growing ten centimetres every time you turn your head, having ‘one of each’ wasn’t going to stop us getting a bit more wear out of those clothes.

So Willow wears Luna’s pink sleepsuits, pink inflatable swimming costume and the odd floral t-shirt when the digger ones are in the wash.

It’s not just the money and waste though. Luna’s puddle suit and wellies have lorries and concrete mixers on – her current obsession. ‘Boys’’ dungarees can be more practical for exploring the garden. But a dress is handy when you’re potty learning…

Nevertheless, the pink sleepsuits in particular haven’t gone unnoticed by one or two male family members. I’m not immune to ‘what people think’ and I’m sure as our children get older, they won’t be either. And I understand that people have concerns about lesbian mummies raising boys (for some reason raising girls seems to be less of an issue). It’s true that we do need to take responsibility for making sure that in years to come, Willow knows how to be a man, and I’m aware that as he grows older we need to think about how we can put him in the path of suitable male role models: there is much to being a man, and I know little of it. But I’m fairly sure it has very little to do with the colour of your pyjamas, pink or otherwise.

Article: by Lindsey, West Yorkshire 14th September 2015

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Are couples being conned into IVF fertility treatment?

Fertility pioneer ROBERT WINSTON delivers a devastating attack that will send shockwaves through the health service

• Professor Robert Winston has worked in fertility for 40 years
• Says many couples are being exploited by a grasping, unethical industry
• He believes that the government and NHS are not doing enough to help

Babies are noisy, deprive you of sleep, destroy free time and are extremely expensive. Yet we feel like melting when we see them: their wide, gummy smiles, the adorable way they curl their tiny fingers around your thumb. This is not rational – it’s in our genes. The urge to reproduce is burnt into human consciousness. It is innate, instinctual, essentially programmed through evolution.

But what if you are infertile? I have spent nearly 40 years talking and listening to people devastated by their lack of offspring, believing they are not ‘proper’ women or not ‘proper’ men. We have made considerable strides in fertility treatment. But the sad fact is that more and more infertile couples are being exploited by an increasingly grasping industry that frequently ignores ethical standards. And neither the Government nor the NHS are doing nearly enough to help.

It is not only some doctors who are responsible. Many commercial practices, run by people who have little or no professional training, are offering homespun treatments that simply do not work.

As a doctor who has been so closely involved with fertility treatment, I deeply regret that in vitro fertilisation (IVF) has become so commercial. I had thought practitioners would be sensitive enough to realise that they were dealing with people at their most fragile.

Such is my anger that I felt compelled to write a book. It will no doubt be very unpopular with some of my colleagues because it is critical of so much medical practice. But my aim is purely to help people to ask their doctors the right questions and to understand the treatment they are offered.

I am proud that Britain led the way in pioneering IVF. But it has become immensely profitable – and the truth about its success rates is frequently hidden. Each IVF treatment is, on average, only successful in under one-third of cases. Of course, it can be repeated – at great cost, often with much anxiety. But people are led to believe that it is the only treatment available to them – and the most successful. This is utterly wrong.

There is excellent evidence that more than half of those referred to IVF could be treated as or more successfully by far cheaper alternatives. If you went to your doctor complaining of chest pain and were immediately referred for open-heart surgery without proper investigation you would think: ‘What a dreadful doctor!’ That pain might be due to indigestion, chest disease, a sore rib, or a viral infection.

But now the chances are that if you complain of infertility, you will be referred straight to an IVF clinic – where there may be no proper attempt at making a diagnosis.

To fail to find the cause of any symptom is bad, irresponsible medicine. Each cause of infertility – and there are many – may need a different course of action. IVF most frequently fails when the underlying cause is not first established.

The NHS is much to blame. So often, it does not take infertility seriously. The guidelines for treatment are laughable. As soon as possible, patients are shunted into the private sector.

Then there is the cost: unquestionably, IVF should not cost nearly as much as what is commonly charged – anywhere up to £5,000. Even NHS hospitals frequently make a profit that goes to support other services.

Read more …

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Join us at Manchester Pride this Weekend

Join us at this years Manchester Pride, for celebrations in Manchester’s world famous Gay Village as we mark the 25th anniversary of charity fundraising events celebrating LGBT life in Manchester.* From full Big Weekend Tickets and Day Tickets to Children’s Tickets and Platinum Passes, there’s a ticket with your name all over it!

There’s a fanastic line up this year, with Texas performing Friday evening, Alesha Dixon and DJ Fresh on Saturday, Danni Minogue and Atomic Kitten on Sunday and Union J on Monday, along with many more fantastic performers.

The Pride Parade will set off at 1pm on the Saturday. The theme for this year is ‘Devotion.’ Manchester is a city devoted to embracing and celebrating diversity, especially the LGBT communities that have helped shaped Manchester’s cultural heritage and landscape over the centuries. We want people to celebrate the fact that Manchester is proud of its LGBT history and shares in its future. We want people to shout about who or what they are ‘Devoted to…’ For example ‘I’m Devoted to my wife or girlfriend,’ ‘Manchester is devoted to showing its support to its LGBT community,’ whoever or whatever you’re devoted to – the Manchester Pride Parade is the perfect platform to show your ‘Devotion!’

The Expo provides you with the opportunity to get up-close and personal with visitors to Manchester Pride. Situated in the in-door arena this hugely popular community space gives exhibitors the chance to showcase their organisation, spend face-to face time with visitors, promote goods or services and carry out consultations.

The expo is ideal for local community groups, public sector organisations and commercial businesses, and is open over The Big Weekend from Saturday – Monday between 11:00am and 5:00pm.

Why not visit Pride Angel at the Expo to chat over your parenting options.

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Donor conceived need to find the truth about their sperm donor’s identity

Sperm donation is a topic that makes some people uncomfortable. For me, any qualms about discussing sperm vanished when I began producing a documentary about donor-conceived adults for the ABC. Sperm became a constant topic of conversation as we tried to unpack why in the past, sperm donation was anonymous and shrouded in secrecy.

In making our film Sperm Donors Anonymous we are hoping to reach the thousands of men who donated sperm anonymously and say: please watch these stories of children conceived with anonymous sperm. Many are growing into adults, finding out the truth about their conception, and many would like to know about their biological fathers. They have a right to know.

Laws need to be passed in Australia giving them this right. It’s time to put an end to the secrecy and the lack of openness that has surrounded donor-conception. Anonymity is a flawed process causing distress and grief for children, parents and sperm donors themselves.

When we started our project, director Lucy Paplinska and I made contact with sperm donors and donor-conceived adults through the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (Varta).

We met Michael Griffiths, 40, a musical theatre performer who, at 28, found out by accident that he was donor-conceived when he read it in his mother’s unpublished autobiography. This revelation had a profound impact on him, causing a great deal of soul searching. Unfortunately, Michael was conceived in South Australia where many donor records were deliberately destroyed, but he was determined to discover his donor’s identity to complete the picture of his own identity.

At a group meeting in Melbourne, we met Ian Smith, a donor from the Madmen (Melbourne Anonymous Donors). Ian spoke about how he felt for the seven children he had fathered but never met. He and other donors at the meeting revealed a side to this story we hadn’t heard before. Here were guys who donated sperm more than 30 years ago, who at the time of donating thought little about “offspring”. But now they were open to contact, and in doing so, were supporting the donor-conceived people they knew who were fighting for the right to identifying information about their donor.

Lucy and I often asked ourselves what the fertility doctors who used anonymous sperm for almost 40 years were thinking. But it is estimated that the majority of the 60,000 donor-conceived people in Australia don’t know they are donor-conceived. Their parents haven’t told them, the clinics won’t tell them, and it’s not recorded on their birth certificates.

The clinics, in order to get on with the business of creating babies for infertile couples, made a decision in the 1970s that anonymous sperm donation was the only way society could deal with this new fertility treatment. This plan works as long as children don’t find out they are donor-conceived, and parents can shoulder the burden of keeping their secret.

Ross Hunter, who we also met in Melbourne, found out he was donor conceived at age 33. He wants to find his donor but his conception records are still to be located and his donor is not on a voluntary register or DNA database. Along with a group of other donor conceived folk, Ross started a campaign called RUDC? (Are you donor conceived?), encouraging children to ask their parents this question. But encouraging kids to ask also means encouraging parents to tell the truth. Parents are more likely to do this if they think their children will be able to find their donor.

The research to date isn’t conclusive on how many donors are open to contact. However it’s clear from our research that many donors are open to contact. We were fortunate two of our participants located their donors during filming and both were open to contact.

We followed Michael Griffiths as he returned to Adelaide looking for information about his donor. One donor came forward after reading a newspaper article but wanted to remain anonymous to Michael until a DNA test could prove paternity. A few weeks later, I went to visit the donor to ask if he would participate in our documentary.

I discovered he donated as a student. Seeing Michael’s face in a newspaper sent a jolt through him and he became determined to find out about the children he had fathered. He rang and emailed everyone he could think of – clinics, government, doctors. He showed me the file he kept tracking the correspondence; it was huge.

Here was a man coming to terms with the fact that he had children out there. He was willing to do a DNA test and go on a register, but no organisation in South Australia would facilitate a test, or give him information. When he told me his family was very musical (Michael is a singer and pianist), it was hard to hold back the tears. I could see clearly that the power of biological connection was going both ways, it wasn’t just the children who had a need to know.

Victorian clinics like Monash IVF now write to donors when requested by their biological children, as they have kept identity profiles. Some donors reject contact, and when they do, the clinic cannot give the children any identifying information. This rejection is painful. I know that making contact and handing over identifying information isn’t what anonymous donors signed up for, but there are real children out there.

I stayed in contact with the anonymous donor in Adelaide, and through the process of his DNA test with Michael. While waiting for the results of the test, he was on tenterhooks. He said he felt like an expectant father waiting for the birth of a child.

Article: 17th August 2015 http://www.theguardian.com

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Thousands expected for Brighton’s 25th Annual Pride Event 1st August 15

Some 160,000 people are expected to line the streets of Brighton and Hove for the 25th annual Pride event later, the organisers have said.

The parade, including dance troupes, drag queens and campaigning groups and other organisations such as Sussex Police, will start at Hove Lawns.

The colourful procession, starting at about 11:00 BST, will arrive in Preston Park a couple of hours later. Road closures will affect bus routes and other traffic in the area. In previous years, the parade has set off from Madeira Drive.

The LGBT parade, on the theme of Carnival of Diversity, will make its way from Hove Lawns, along King’s Road before joining the previous route of West Street, North Street and London Road. Paul Kemp, the director of Pride Brighton, said: “It’s a celebration and it brings in a lot of people from all over the world.

“Economically, it’s very good for the city and brings in £3.5m. “Behind the celebrations it highlights LGBT campaigns all over the world. There’s a long way to go globally to bring about equality.” On Thursday, six people were injured in a stabbing at the Gay Pride parade in Jerusalem.

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade said: “Pride is many things to many people. There are people who are straight who have got families who go along to celebrate the diversity of our city.”

Brighton DJ Fatboy Slim will be playing in the Wild Fruit dance tent in Preston Park, and the cabaret tent will be hosted by Lola Lasagne.

Other acts appearing include The Human League, Ruby Rose and Ella Henderson.

Article: 1st August 2015 http://www.bbc.co.uk

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Testimonial from a new Dad ‘Thank you Pride Angel’

Dear Pride Angel,

I have been wanting to write for a long time but finally I have taken the time to do it. Thanks to this website I am now a dad. Ethan was born 17 July 2014. He lives with his two amazing mums Jane and Sarah. I can’t believe how lucky we are. We feel so blessed! Legally they are the parents and Ethan is very lucky having the two best mums in the world! Ethan will always know that I am the dad and will call me dad. I think it’s important for all children to know where they come from. That was what I wanted from the day I posted my initial profile here on Pride Angel and I was lucky to find Jane and Sarah who wanted the same as me.

I did find another couple on Pride Angel before Jane and Sarah and we tried 11 times to get pregnant but it didn’t work out. It was a hard decision to tell them I didn’t think it would work. I almost gave up becoming a dad but my paternal instincts were so strong so I tried to find another lesbian couple through Pride Angel. I couldn’t believe my luck when I heard from Sarah and Jane- that lived just 10 minutes walk away! We met up many times, we had to build a lot of trust and shared our values and lives. After a while Jane and Sarah trusted me, and I trusted them that they wouldn’t cut me off after Ethan was born. I think we tried the artificial insemination at their home 4 times before Ethan was conceived. The following 9 months felt like 9 years, we were so excited.

Realizing I was gay at 15 years old, I never thought I was going to be a dad. So to see Sarah pregnant knowing that another human being was inside her, with half of my DNA felt both amazing and surreal. Towards the end I truly realized the magnitude of what Jane, Sarah and I had done- creating a child! Many thoughts went through my head, were we selfish putting this child into a world that wasn’t ‘normal’? Was our child going to be bullied? Were we playing God creating babies artificially? Now looking back all those questions seem silly but right there and then, that was what I thought about. When I saw the photo of a new born Ethan and the happy face of his two mums, I felt a sense of piece, my life felt so accomplished. This was what I wanted for such a long time; to help a lesbian couple having a family and somehow passing on my own legacy. It’s hard to explain with words how happy I was. Ethan is the most amazing little kid I have ever met, he’s so sociable and confident. It shows what an amazing job Jane and Sarah are doing, they give him so much love. Ethan is also surrounded by their amazing family and friends making him feel even more loved.

I see Ethan about every two to three weeks, sometimes more, sometimes less. But only when it feels natural for all of us. There’s no pressure. Jane and Sarah have become my two soul mates, they know everything about me. I sometimes come and tell them all my love or family problems and they always listen, they are amazing people. I’m so lucky. And I guess they are lucky too but foremost, Ethan is lucky to come in to this world with so much love. And if it wasn’t for your website, he wouldn’t be here today. So a huge thank you from Jane, Sarah, Ethan and I.

Kind regards, Andrew

PS. The first couple that I met through Pride Angel was in the end also lucky to have a baby called Jude. They had to do it a bit more complicated with the help of a clinic, they took an egg from one of the mums and planted it into the other mum that didn’t have any eggs. A friend of theirs is the donor. So they also had a happy ending and we are all so grateful for each other. maybe one day Ethan and Jake can play together.

Article: 26th July 2015 by Andrew – excited new dad Read more about finding a sperm donor or co-parent at http://www.prideangel.com

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Donor conceived man wants to change his birth certificate

An Adelaide man, who was conceived with anonymous donor sperm, believes the “donor-conceived community is perhaps the last group of disenfranchised people” after a court ruled he cannot change his birth certificate.

Damien Adams, 40, who wanted to have his father’s name changed to “unknown” on his birth certificate, said the laws preventing the change were discriminatory and should be reviewed.

Mr Adams does not know who his biological father is and wants his birth certificate to be as honest as possible.

“So it wasn’t just for me, it was also for my children and my descendants. So if anybody ever conducted genealogy in the future, that they wouldn’t be led down the wrong path,” Mr Adams said.

“So it’s not about anything untoward, my dad who raised me who I love very much; it’s just a matter of having something that is truthful and accurate.”

Earlier this year a magistrate ruled she did not have the authority to make the change.

“I don’t obviously hold anything against the magistrate; she can only do what she’s entitled to do by law, but I find that it’s highly discriminatory that everybody else in South Australian society is allowed to rebut paternity except donor conceived people.”

The problem is a law in South Australia deems the husband of a woman who received the treatment as the legal father.

Mr Adams has conceded he has limited options left open to pursue the case.

“One is that I can try and appeal and take my case to a higher court, to see if they have the power to do what I am seeking. Although that is obviously going to be very cost prohibitive. Or the only other option is to try and seek a change in the legislation.

“I think that law is very anachronistic; it’s part of the bygone era.

“When it was originally set up so that the man who was the husband of the wife or the partner couldn’t shirk any responsibilities later on if he decided he didn’t want anything to do with the child.

“But particularly as an adult myself of 40 years of age, there is none of that sort of welfare issue to be dealt with.

“It’s a matter of not hiding or concealing the truth, because at the moment we basically enshrined deception into the law.”

Mr Adams said governments needed to be doing more to address the problem.

Read more…

‘This begs the question whether there should be a change in the law, to allow the ability to add the sperm donor or egg donor details as well as legal parents details. Or in the case of co-parenting, the ability to add three legal parents to the birth certificate, for example the two mums along with the biological father?’ Pride Angel

Article: 20th July 2015 http://www.mobile.abc.net.au

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Pride Angel Journey – Milkies

It started when she was eighteen hours old. And ended when she was thirty hours old: a twelve-hour milky marathon. When I say it was just the start of things to come, I don’t mean it was often as extreme as that, but rather, Luna was always very keen for her milk – breastmilk that is – she never took to a bottle, even of expressed. In those early days when she woke or fussed and fretted, it was all about working out what she wanted…and we worked out gradually that all she really wanted was ‘milky’. So, feeling lucky with our smooth start to breastfeeding and a baby who wanted little else, I settled down with a book while she fed for hours and hours and hours…

Luna is two now – almost 26 months. She’s fast asleep next to me as I type; half an hour ago, I fed her to sleep. In place of the breasts I once had, I have ‘milkies’: the left one is (apparently) green and the right one purple. And these are some of the most common phrases I hear: “Milkies, want milkies.” “Two out. Get two out.” “Change sides. Want other side. Best turn around.”

It seems unthinkable that she will ever want to stop breastfeeding, which is a perturbing thought – but also, of course, not true; friends with older children assure me that it will just gradually not be her favourite thing any more, and then just not be her thing at all, by which point of course she might be around three or four years old.

So what is the huge advantage lesbian parents have over heterosexual parents? An extra pair of breasts and thus, potentially, a second lactating parent. Of course lactation isn’t essential for parenthood at all…but it is a very handy tool if you happen to have it.

It didn’t go down well with the nurse at my local GP practice last week when, asked how old the baby I as breastfeeding was, I answered, “well there’s my two-year-old and also my twelve-month-old – the biological child of my partner.” I’m not sure whether she disapproved of the LGBT family, the extended breastfeeding, or the combination. I don’t really care. I’m just glad that when one of our babies is a bit sleepy, or sad…or thirsty…or just wants mummy cuddles, there’s always plenty of milky to go around.

Article: by Lindsey, West Yorkshire 3rd July 2015

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Pride Angel Journey – The Car

“Milkies! MILKIES!”

“We can’t while we’re in the car, Luna – we’ll be home soon for Milkies.” “MILKIES!” [sob] “Sorry my little one, not yet.”

But there was a time not so long ago when I would have performed car-seat breastfeeding acrobatics. Back then refusing ‘milky’ wasn’t an option. Now, at almost two she’s disappointed, but there’s potential for moving the conversation on, for a while at least.

“Look, what’s jangly sheep doing?” “Bouncing! Jangy seep bouncing!” “Uh uh uh uh!” “Oh Willow, you’ve lost all your toys – look here’s kitten…” “Luna kitten, Luna kitten, KITTEN!” “Shall we sing again? Oh the grand old duke of…” “Sun bwind off. Too bwight! TOO BWIGHT! … MILKIES!”

When Willow was born people kept referring to some advert on telly where a parent is driving round getting a baby to sleep and every time the car stops at traffic lights, the baby wakes up. “You’ll know about this!” They said.

But we didn’t. We had two children under fifteen months: we hadn’t watched telly in…well…fifteen months. And as for that myth of children going to sleep in car seats…?

One day I’ll have my front passenger seat back. I’ll sit back and relax and our biggest crisis as we head down the M1 will be a splash of tea escaping from my travel mug as we hit a pothole. Or that we’ve lost our place in the latest Sarah Waters novel on audiobook.

But for now, here I am in the middle back seat between two huge, rearward facing Isofix contraptions. I’m partially buried under a mound of crinkly, fluorescent Lamaze creatures all with terrifyingly huge eyes and at least two limbs joined together by a teething bar. I will replace the four sun blinds with suction-lacking suckers around 47 times during this 2-hour journey.

I will sing ‘Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star’ repeatedly for twenty minutes while eyelids flicker and it seems they might just drop off. And I WILL enjoy this chaotic, noisy muddle of a journey, because when I’m back in that front passenger seat, I’ll surely miss it.

Article: 15th May 2015 by Lindsey, West Yorkshire

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