Pride Angel Journey - The Trials of Travel

May 8, 2016 14:12 by PrideAngelAdmin
“Tell me again – from the start!”

“Car then aeroplane then…no actually, car then bus, then aeroplane, then train, cross the road, then another train and then another train…” The children scooted back up the hall on their Trunkis, whooping with excitement as I asked myself firstly how a cheap flight to visit a friend in Switzerland had morphed into a six vehicle trek across Europe. And secondly how feasible it was to get two mummies, two suitcases, two Trunkis and two toddlers from West Yorkshire to a small village on the outskirts of Lausanne with everyone’s sanity intact.

We knew that helping the children understand what to expect from this new experience would help the travelling day to run smoothly. And it soon became apparent that, after repeated readings of Miffy Goes Flying, Luna imagined aeroplanes to be two-seater and open-top – she was hoping she might get the chance to drive it as well, if possible.

A whole bedroom was designated as the child-free packing room. And when they did manage to break in at one point, with cries of “we’ll help you pack!”, toiletries and underwear were scattered everywhere within seconds, and a random collection of possessions including a small plastic unicorn and a garlic press had found their way into the suitcases.

On the morning of departure, we had to leave the house at 5am. And remarkably, the journey actually went fairly calmly. There were precarious points, notably the Trunki crisis when, at Geneva airport, just as our train was about to leave, Luna realised in horror and fury that Willow was halfway down the platform, riding off on her ladybird, and not the Gruffalo he should have been on. (The ladybird had to be returned promptly to the exact spot from which it had been taken before the journey could continue.)

Then when toddler tiredness and busy city bustle both peaked at the same time, we got the pair of them strapped to our backs in their slings and suddenly everything was easier.

And we made it. And a week later we made it back again – they were pros by then. And a week later still, I was tearing my hair out over getting children plus nappy bag in the car for toddler group round the corner.

Article: by Lindsey, West Yorkshire 8th May 2016

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Sperm donation - Does it need Federal Regulation?

April 30, 2016 21:47 by PrideAngelAdmin
Access to critical information — and honesty of donors — must be a rule

Recent reports of parents suing a large U.S. sperm bank, Xytex, because their donor was found to have a case of unreported schizophrenia as well as an unreported criminal history that included jail time have raised a lot of questions: Do these families have the right to be upset with the donor? Should he have self-reported his updated medical information and criminal record with the sperm bank? Should the burden be placed on the sperm bank?

This case highlights the lack of regulation and oversight in the sperm-donor industry. These parents only learned of the donor’s past by connecting with other families on the Donor Sibling Registry, of which I am the director, and on Xytex’s own website. How long will we continue to see the repercussions of an industry that exhibits a lack of accountability, ethics and responsibility that we would normally expect in any other medical arena?

All too frequently, the Donor Sibling Registry counsels children of sperm donors who inherit undisclosed genetic disorders, discover that their donor was dishonest about his medical history, or find that the sperm bank didn’t notify them about reported illness or amend their donor’s medical profile. These types of situations have been reported for decades.

The number and severity of these incidences is discomfiting. Families clearly need to be warned about possible hereditary disorders.

Since donors can father many offspring, donors can potentially transmit disease to scores of children. Currently, many sperm banks either refuse to update donor/offspring medical information, or, even if they accept updates, are unable to share the information, as many do not have an accurate accounting of all children born from any one donor. Sometimes they can make the process of reporting so complex or expensive that donors and recipients simply cannot afford to comply.

According to Donor Sibling Registry research, 84% of its sperm donors surveyed were never contacted for medical updates, and almost a quarter of them said they or close family members had health issues that would have been important for families to know about.

Too often the medical profile of a sperm donor is merely a snapshot of one day in the life of a healthy young man. It often doesn’t reveal what will happen five or 10 years down the road to the donor or to members of his immediate family.

The Food and Drug Administration requires sperm banks to test for STDs and a small handful of other diseases. Most sperm banks also obtain a self-reported personal and family medical history in order to identify any recurring issues that may be genetic in origin. And some conduct basic testing to detect specific mutations of specific genes and check for carrier status of the most common genetic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy.

But without full genome sequencing, it is impossible to know about the thousands of other genetic conditions that have been discovered so far. And since many diseases, like schizophrenia, often do not affect people until they are adults, without a clear channel for communicating and updating medical information among families and donors, we will continue to hear about stories like this one.

This is an international issue. The large U.S. and Danish sperm banks claim to ship sperm to clinics in more than 40 and 50 countries worldwide. To protect donors, recipients and offspring, we must implement oversight and regulation by an independent authority. Its first orders of business should be to require accurate record keeping, limits on the number of children born for any one donor, and compulsory genetic and psychological testing of all donors.

Article:by Wendy Kramer 27/04/16 www.huffingtonpost.com

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Pride Angel Journey - Food

April 10, 2016 21:58 by PrideAngelAdmin
lesbian parenting With babies, food is simple: it’s just very messy. We did baby-led-weaning which means avoiding spooning mush into them and pretty much letting them feed themselves with whatever we happened to be making for ourselves that meal. They fed themselves, their bibs, their chairs, the table, the floor and anything within a 2-metre radius. Messy.

With toddlers, food is less messy, but it is complicated. As the messiness subsides, the complicatedness increases – mathematically, it is a case of negative correlation.

For us, it probably started with a mild unwillingness to try new foods. But other issues arose. Like the problem of foods mixing on the plate or contaminating each other. Porridge must be served flat. VERY flat. Where relevant, food items should be served whole: chopping constituent parts to cool them or prevent them being a choking hazard can be hazardous in itself.

Some foods are always edible. Butter, for example, which is best consumed in isolation and in quantity, ideally straight from the packet in large bites. I would consider placing a bet on Willow’s ability, given fifteen minutes to locate (and consume) a raisin in any room. Chips trump anything and the wily toddler having finished his or her own portion in seconds, will develop a range of tactics designed to separate other, more naïve diners from their own share. I’m sure it wasn’t coincidence that a fairly rare occurrence of the word ‘please’ arose in the sentence “Willow, please may I have your chips?’ Willow meanwhile, fearing their imminent loss, rammed all five chips on his plate into his mouth at once.

All of this is further complicated by friends and relatives occasionally coming out with ridiculous old classics like “you can’t have any pudding until you’ve eaten your main course”, as if pudding is some sort of reward for making it through the drudgery of savoury food.

And amidst the imperious demands of “I want…!” and the horror-stricken cries of “Don’t cut it up…!”, I wonder…messy, then complicated…then calm and straightforward? Somehow I doubt it.

Article: by Lindsey, West Yorkshire 10th April 2016

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Co-parenting Journey: Boob and chain what they don’t tell you about breastfeeding

April 3, 2016 18:09 by PrideAngelAdmin
After a busy Co-Co-Co-parenting Christmas our then 6 month old is a very busy very opinionated nearly mobile nearly 9 months. As I type there’s a heavy breathing/ panting and clanging noise coming from the dangerous corner of the living room. Yup, where the tv and electricals are. Sigh. She hasn’t napped. Nor has she stilled. She cried at lunch until I made her favourite fruit and yogurt. How did I know that’s what she wanted? Something about a little finger with a frazzled mummy wrapped around it…

Most significantly she WILL NOT take bottle. This is the crisis of the hour. And yet another small but important possibility that no one warns you about. We’d assumed that because she took bottle as a baby we could re-introduce it at any time. Well she’s not having a bar of it and I fear we’ve left it too late now, not least because she likes to have things her way - so be warned prospective Pride Angel parents!

Turns out Munchkin was teething. But how do you ever know. A friend pointed out the bulges in her gums, “We had that, her teeth will be through soon.” And sure enough there they were, two widely spaced little top teeth poking through not two days later.

She’s recently been referred to as a toddler. Perhaps a little prematurely but that’s how it’s beginning to feel. Her newly conquered milestones seem a lot this month; mobility - a form of crawling but she’s more interested in standing/walking, showing excitement, dancing (a vigorous head shake), first actual tantrum not wanting to go to sleep, pointing to her sippy cup when she wants a drink, longer spells of concentration and engagement at baby classes, more talking, lots of nose-picking, the list goes on. Probably there were long lists at each previous month and perhaps I’ve said it before but we’ve really got a little person on our hands.

With this comes the inevitable planning for regaining mummy’s former life. Do I want it back? Or do I want to be with my girl? I keep telling myself it will be good for her to start nursery and learn to look after herself. Best of all there’s no doubt she appears to have the independent self-sufficient spirit that will see her thrive. But… it’s just another transition in the parenting journey.

Like every other parent we’re tormenting ourselves with the notion of upsizing. “Let’s move to the country, it’ll be better for the baby!” Really? Isn’t commuting going to be tough enough for the next few years, sprinting, literally, from nursery to work and back. Every minute without her is going to feel like it counts. So for now it’s little steps and a lot of ‘let’s see’.

As for co-parenting, we’re wangling a day off work a week per parenting set; our girl will get a daddy day and a mummy day each week. This is a very much hoped for arrangement coming to fruition. Her day with her dad will hopefully provide the benefits of regular one-on-one access - what a treat a whole day just the two of them!

Article: by Two excited mums 3rd April 2016

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Funded fertility treatment for lesbian couples near impossible in Northern Ireland

March 25, 2016 21:03 by PrideAngelAdmin
A lesbian couple who cannot get free fertility treatment claim they are being indirectly discriminated against because of their sexuality.

The women were initially told by health professionals they could be treated by the National Health Service (NHS). But they were "devastated" when that changed.

The Department of Health said same-sex couples had "the same eligibility to publicly funded specialist infertility treatment as other couples". According to criteria set out by the department, a couple has to be trying to conceive for three years unsuccessfully or have a medical condition before they are entitled to one free cycle of fertility treatment from the health service. The same criteria applies to heterosexual couples.

But the women argue that it is impossible for them to meet the criteria used by the regional fertility centre in Northern Ireland. They said the criteria were drawn up with only a man and woman in mind.

The rules need to change as has happened in Scotland, the women said, to accommodate same-sex couples. The couple told the BBC that they cannot afford private treatment. They had approached their GPs and Belfast's regional fertility clinic.

"Initially we were jumping around the room, we were so excited that we were going to be put on the waiting list," one of the women, who did not want to be named, said.

Conflicting

"When we did go to the hospital [we were] told it was only available for heterosexuals and they couldn't fund us. "We felt they were saying: 'No, you are lesbians, there was no equality, we won't help you.'"

The women said they approached the BBC because of the conflicting information they received from GPs and other health professionals. They are also accusing the Department of Health of indirect discrimination.

'Committed'

"We shouldn't be treated any differently," one of the women said. "It is offered on the NHS to people who are infertile - in a way, we are infertile as we can't have a baby in the way nature intended. "That is through no fault of our own."

The woman's partner said they are committed to each other and are in a stable relationship. "We love each other, we want to build a life together and should not be discriminated against," she said.

Changing

The number of same-sex couples attempting to get pregnant in Northern Ireland is growing. In 2013, about 60 couples sought fertility treatment privately. In the past 18 months that figure has jumped to more than 200. Agenda

Tracey McDowell of Here NI, an independent support group for gay and bisexual women, said achieving reproductive rights for same-sex couples is the next stage in their fight for equality. "It is yet another barrier that we have to face and try and overcome," Ms McDowell said.

Read more...

Article: 22nd March 2016 www.bbc.co.uk

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Pride Angel Journey - Digger working mummy!

March 10, 2016 20:34 by PrideAngelAdmin
A burst of excitement inside me. A transporter carrying a tractor! And then I remember that I’m driving to work, alone. A wasted sighting and, quite frankly, a wasted transporter and tractor out on these commuter roads at 7.30am. The proper place for such vehicles is of course en route to toddler group or the park at around 9.30am. Along with the dustbin lorries, diggers and fire engines. Woe betides the heavy goods vehicle which has purposes other than the diversion of my small children.

Ideally, we want them to love nature: to watch entranced as the blue tits make their nest in the bird box; to leave no stone unturned in their quest to differentiate a millipede from a centipede; to roam and trudge and stamp and splodge in mud and puddles and miry earth day after rainy day. But whilst they are undeniably happy out there pottering through woodland, climbing on tree stumps and dragging large sticks around, it is only when the thunderous clumsy rumble of a tractor saws through the tranquillity of the countryside that they respond with the delirious excitement of well…a child in a sweet shop? Perhaps it’s time we changed that old idiom to the child in the digger shop…

So, we brush away the ideals, because there are many things where there are small children, like joy and chaos and mess and fun – but ideals? No, never. It’s time to embrace the digger love: on hearing the familiar grumble in street, we dash to the bedroom window every Tuesday at 7am to watch the emptying of the wheelie bins. We tell stories of broken cars and transporters driving around mouths in an effort to get teeth brushed. And we take pleasure in the mile after mile of 50mph roadworks on the M62, knowing that there’s a good chance we might catch sight of “digger working, Mummy!”

Article: by Lindsey, West Yorkshire 10th March 2016

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Buying fertility on the internet: fair play or risky business?

February 29, 2016 23:16 by PrideAngelAdmin
buying sperm Your voice is needed!

On Tuesday 8 March, UCL is hosting a panel debate entitled ‘Buying fertility on the internet: fair play or risky business?’

The evening will be dedicated to the topic of accessing fertility outside of the regulated UK IVF clinics, and will feature Laura Witjens, CEO of the National Gamete Donation Trust and Lucy Van de Wiel, a Cambridge sociologist specialising in issues in fertility. Chaired by Dan Reisel, research associate at UCL’s Institute for Women’s Health, the debate will cover the pros and cons of buying fertility on the internet.

However, there is a voice missing in this debate, and that is the experience of people who have actually done this themselves. As the chair of the debate, I feel strongly that the evening would do the topic a disservice unless someone whose life had been affected by ex-clinic donations was part of the conversation.

In particular, it would be important to ensure that we had represented on the panel LGBT people and their experience of accessing fertility services. There are structural inequalities and discriminatory processes that mean that same-gender couples have to pay considerably more at present, and this is one of the main drivers for excellent internet sites such as prideangel.com. In healthcare there is a motto, ‘no decision about me without me’ and this applies to the policy debates concerning assisted fertility as well.

The debate is free and open to the public, and will be followed by drinks at UCL’s venerable North Cloisters. Please come along to attend and, if you feel able to, please contact Dan Reisel (d.reisel@ucl.ac.uk) if you want to join us as a panellist. Your personal story is vital and would enrich the panel immeasurably.

Article: 29th February 2016 www.eventbrite.co.uk

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Co-parenting TV documentary wants to hear from you

February 25, 2016 22:12 by PrideAngelAdmin
co-parenting Are you considering co-parenting? If so TV production company want to hear from you.

Award winning independent production company Ponda Films are working with a leading UK broadcaster to produce a documentary series about co-parenting.

We are currently looking to speak to UK based individuals who are currently looking into or going through the beginnings of the selection process, who are at the start of their journey to finding a co-parent.

Our aim is to make a frank and intelligent documentary that allows those going through the co-parenting process to speak openly about their experiences, treating them with honesty and sensitivity.

If you are currently looking to co-parent and would like to find out more about the documentary please get in touch with Fozia at fozia@ponda.tv. Our conversation would be an opportunity for us to explain more about the project, and learn more from you. All correspondence is entirely confidential, with no obligation to take part.

We have extensive experience in making sensitive and intelligent programmes on a variety of topics – for more information please visit www.ponda.tv

Article: 25th February 2016 www.ponda.tv

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Pride Angel Journey - Music

February 14, 2016 18:43 by PrideAngelAdmin
Luna was born to Morcheeba playing ‘Part of the Process’. I’d been in labour for about thirty-six hours and had, within seconds, just given birth to my first child, but I remember distinctly thinking to note the song: I would want to know that later.

But from then on the music changed. How did it start? A soft lullaby sung to a sleeping baby in the rocking chair, back and forth? Or listening again, thirty years on, to the now digitally remastered folky nursery rhyme album (with Tim Hart and Maddy Prior) that I had as a child? Or the desperate repetition of ‘Twinkle twinkle, little star’ barely audible over the inconsolable cries of the new-born in the car seat on the main road with nowhere to pull over for another 8 seconds at least…?

We certainly got used to the Tim Hart album. It became the default, comfortable one the children knew backwards. It went round and round and round and we thought it would drive us to insanity.

Until imperious cries of ‘Grand Duke of York!’ and ‘Again!’ came from the back of the car and the one track went round and round and round and we thought that would drive us to insanity.

Until imperious cries of ‘Again!’ were challenged with ‘No, don’t want that one! Want Ba Ba sheep!’ and then our brains just went round and round and round and we reached the insanity anyone with two or more toddlers must reach at some point.

We have sung endless verses of ‘Here we go round the mulberry bush’ because sometimes ‘This is the way we change the nappy, brush the teeth, put on clothes, [insert daily routine…]’ is the only way we have half a chance of getting out of the house before lunchtime.

We do action songs, silly voices, loud, soft, quickly, slowly. We bang drums, clap hands, shake shakers. We have spent nearly three years singing, singing, singing. I like to think that even if it is ‘The wheels on the bus’, it’s still good for our souls.

A musician I know said, ‘you sing to them every day? Then you’ll get it all back, you know’. And I realised he was right when, at two-and-a-half, Luna sat at the piano and sang and played ‘Baa baa, black sheep’ all the way through. She does the same on her ukulele – singing and strumming through one nursery rhyme or another. She’s playing her own choice of notes – maybe one day she or her brother will play the traditional tunes. And maybe not.

But if muddling through the first few years of our children’s lives is some sort of ‘process’, then I can safely say that repeatedly singing a very narrow range of the simplest and oldest and seemingly most nonsensical tunes has been a major ‘Part of the Process’. And perhaps in the end it will be what saves our sanity.

Article: by Lindsey, West Yorkshire 14th February 2016

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Lesbian non-bio mum wins IVF daughter appeal

February 5, 2016 13:40 by PrideAngelAdmin
lesbian parenting The girl was taken to Pakistan after a relationship ended - but now a court could work to bring the seven-year-old back to the UK.

A lesbian woman battling with her ex-partner for the return of her IVF-born daughter from Pakistan has been given hope by a Supreme Court ruling. The girl’s biological mother and sole legal parent took her out of the UK in 2014, three years after their relationship ended.

But the woman who won today’s decision also considers herself a de facto parent to the seven-year-old - who was conceived by IVF in 2008. Her efforts to force her former partner to bring the girl back to the UK had been blocked by the High Court and Court of Appeal.

They said they could not intervene because the girl was not habitually resident in Britain when the legal action started. However, Supreme Court justices have now overturned those rulings - deciding she had been resident and allowing the woman’s appeal.

The case now goes back to the High Court for a judge to reconsider whether to take steps to bring the girl back from Pakistan. Lawyers say the ruling has important implications.

Maria Wright, from Freemans Solicitors, said: "The consequence of the Supreme Court's decision is that the English court can properly consider what is in (the child's) best interests and, if appropriate, order contact or (the child's) return to England."

Article: 3rd February 2016 www.news.sky.com

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