Fairfax Cryobank offers a large selection of high quality sperm donors

April 23, 2015 15:16 by PrideAngelAdmin
sperm donor Fairfax Cryobank, Inc. has provided the highest quality donor sperm that has led to the creation of many happy healthy families for 30 years. We believe in and stand behind the exceptional quality of the donor sperm we make available to our clients. We are committed to providing the highest quality, most tested donor sperm; at Fairfax Cryobank we perform more testing than any other Cryobank in the United States.

Fairfax Cryobank offers a large selection of high quality sperm donors; only 1 in 200 applicants make it through our rigorous screening process to become donors. We perform the most extensive genetic and infectious disease testing of all sperm banks. We are dedicated to supplying updated medical and personal information on our donors.

We are accredited by the AATB (American Association of Tissue Banks) and fully compliant with FDA regulations governing reproductive tissue banks. We strive to create the best possible experience for our clients. It is important to us that your interactions with us are excellent: from your experience browsing the website to calling customer service, from the service you receive during purchase, storage or shipping, to the reporting of the birth of your child.

We have a caring, sensitive and knowledgeable Client Services Team ready to assist you in your choices. Fairfax Cryobank provides a variety of services that will support your process of selecting your perfect donor match including photo matching and a clear and user friendly donor search. We appreciate the importance of finding the right match, the total package, and so we offer incentives that allow you to purchase donor sperm and accompanying products at reduced cost.

We have a long-standing reputation of excellence with almost three decades of satisfied physicians and patients. Trust, credibility, and quality are the basis of our success.

Advertorial: 23rd April 2015 www.fairfaxcryobank.com

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Fertility & IVF Information Evening in Cheshire

April 18, 2015 12:55 by PrideAngelAdmin
A Fertility and IVF information evening is being held this Wednesday evening at the Centre for Reproductive Health in Cheshire. If you are considering the option of creating your family by IVF or donor conception then this is an ideal opportunity to gain some extra information, ask questions and have a guided tour of the clinic.

The seminar is free to attend - All we ask is that you register for the event as places are limited. You can register online here.

Programme of talks:

6.00pm Welcome and Introduction Luciano Nardo, Consultant Gynaecologist & IVF Specialist

6.05pm – 6.30pm The IVF journey Ruth Arnesen, Senior Embryologist

6.30pm - 7.00pm Embryology update – what difference does time lapse make? Caroline Watkins, Embryologist

7.00pm – 7.30pm Creating a family through donor conception Karen Carmichael, Pride Angel

7.30pm – 7.45pm Q & A

7.45pm – 8.30pm Tour of the clinic

When and where:

Wednesday 22nd April 2015
6pm – 8.30pm

Centre for Reproductive Health
Daresbury Park, Cheshire, WA4 4GE

Article: 18th April 2015 wwww.reproductivehealthgroup.co.uk

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Study suggest pesticides in diet may affect sperm quality

April 13, 2015 16:19 by PrideAngelAdmin
fruit and vegetables A recent study suggests that exposure to pesticide residue through diet may affect sperm quality.

Men who consumed the greatest amount of fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue had 49 percent lower sperm count and 32 percent lower normal sperm than men who ate the least amount of produce with high pesticide residue.

However, the scientists from Harvard University's TH Chan School of Public Health say that further research is needed, and that men should not reduce the amount of fruit and vegetables in their diet on the basis of their findings.

Dr Jorge Chavarro, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology and lead author of the study, said: 'These findings should not discourage the consumption of fruit and vegetables in general. In fact, we found that total intake of fruit and vegetables was completely unrelated to semen quality.'

He added: 'This suggests that implementing strategies specifically targeted at avoiding pesticide residues, such as consuming organically grown produce or avoiding produce known to have large amounts of residues, may be the way to go.'

The study, published in Human Reproduction, analysed 338 semen samples from 155 men aged 18 to 55, presenting at fertility centres between 2007 and 2012. The men also completed a food frequency questionnaire to assess how often and how many portions of fruit and vegetables they consumed.

Fruits and vegetables were classified as having high, medium or low pesticide residues, according to the US Department of Agriculture pesticide data programme. Produce considered high in pesticide residue included, among others, apples, pears, strawberries, spinach and peppers. Produce considered low in pesticide residue included peas, beans, grapefruit and onions.

The men were grouped into four categories according to pesticide exposure from fruit and vegetables, ranging from high (1.5 servings per day) to low (less than half a serving per day). Men in the high-exposure group had 86 million sperm per ejaculation and 5 percent normally formed sperm, compared to 171 million sperm per ejaculation and 7.5 percent normally formed sperm in the low-exposure group.

The authors acknowledge a number of limitations to the small observational study. Men who present at fertility clinics are more likely to have problems with sperm quality than men in the general population. Diet was only assessed once during the study, and pesticide exposure from diet was not directly measured in individual participants.

In a Science Media Centre briefing, Professor Sheena Lewis of Queen's University Belfast, who was not involved in the research, noted that the sperm counts of men in both the high- and low-exposure groups were still within the normal range according to the World Health Organization.

She added that therefore 'the authors' conclusion is correct that more studies are needed, NOT that we should stop eating our 5-a-day'.

Article: 13th April 2015 Appeared in BioNews 797 www.bionews.org.uk

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Co-parenting Journey: Seven months pregnant and basking in our glow

April 9, 2015 22:50 by PrideAngelAdmin
Both my wife and I have had unanimously positive reactions to our pregnancy. The only confusion for people who don’t know our relationship background is working out what my wife means when she says “We’re seven months pregnant”. It takes a second or two for people of average intelligence to look her up and down, ascertain that she isn’t pregnant herself, and, if they reach the right conclusion unprompted, think of the possibility that she means her wife. People are getting there with it, they really are. Of course our friends and colleagues already know and are being amazing and kind, asking us how it is all going and grinning knowingly. We’ve had baby equipment donations, gifts from distant colleagues in far flung offices, hugs, smiles and the ultimate compliment, “You’re glowing!”

Pregnancy is like joining a special club. It breaks down barriers. People see my football-shaped belly from 100 paces and zone in on me with nuggets of advice, questions (‘When’s it due? Do you know what it is?’), and a general urge to stand a little closer, perhaps touch me, as a fount of life. The best opener I’ve had so far has been “If you need to be induced, go and do reflexology instead – it might make you go into labour.” This was in a cinema. And this morning, kindly encouragement from the milk shop cashier: “Try to push, don’t let them cut you.” I find myself doing it too. Zeroing in on other expectant mothers with the same excited (albeit slightly banal) need to engage: “Ooh that’s a big bump.” Yes, I actually said that to someone. In all, I’ve never spoken to so many kind friendly strangers as since my baby bump has been noticeable.

Reactions from animals are much the same; cats snuggle up to my belly. Another literally sprang on to it, kneading, pawing and purring (it was a cat-nip kind of moment). On googling it I didn’t find a concrete link other than ‘they just know’ – clearly it’s such a primordial, instinctive, deeply animal thing to humans and animals alike.

I offered my wife the chance to pen some words about how she’s feeling as the ‘un-pregnant parent’. Being a stereotypical scientist, this did not go down too well and as is oft the case, I am left to mine, extract and interpret her thoughts and feelings. All the signs are good; she’s talking and singing to my belly, engaging in the purchasing of baby things. She’s got the room painted and most importantly assists in tricky leaning forward tasks – standing up, stairs, anything to do with feet, socks, shoes and laces. With the aid of her earplugs, she sure isn’t losing sleep.

Inevitably the perceptions and reactions of others comes into it. How do our families feel? Well no one, partially estranged or otherwise, has even breathed the old humdinger of biological fact that the baby ‘isn’t hers’. This is great as it has been known to crop up in even the most loving family circles to fly in the face of couples’ obvious focus on their baby for all the reasons it is both of theirs (just sayin). In other situations it’s slighted the sturdiest emotional house of cards in response to same-sex parenting and a collective preoccupation with the baby’s ‘origin’. Thank goodness not in our case, perhaps my greatest fear unrealised, we’re lucky, loved and loving it.

On the plus side, being a scientist (of questionable emotional depth), my wife can ever be relied upon for taking the simple, instinctive approach to non-scientific questions. We’re seven months pregnant and our daughter is soon to change our lives forever.

Article: Two excited mums to be 9th April 2015 www.prideangel.com

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Documentary for Channel 4 on Co-parenting - Can you help?

April 4, 2015 20:23 by PrideAngelAdmin
My name is Jasleen and I’m researching a documentary for Channel 4 on co-parenting.

Are you considering having a child with someone you aren’t in a relationship with? Or do you have a child with someone who you have never been in a romantic relationship with, where you both share the parenting, or perhaps you know someone who is going through this process?

I’m working with Minnow Films, researching a sensitive and thoughtful documentary about platonic co-parenting and the changing shape of contemporary families and would love to hear from people at all stages of co-parenting about their experiences.

I really want this to be a film that helps raise understanding of co-parenting as just one of the options that people have to start the families they want. I would be very grateful for the chance to speak to you in confidence in order to inform our research and ensure we make the best programme possible on the subject. Speaking to me in no way obliges you to take part in any filming.

Just to give you a bit more info about us, Minnow Films is Bafta award-winning production company and we make lots of programmes about sensitive subjects. There are some examples of our work on our website here: www.minnowfilms.co.uk

If you are interested in sharing your experiences, being involved, or would just like to have an informal chat to find out more, please contact me at:

Jasleen at E: Jasleen@minnowfilms.co.uk M: 07984 195 606

Thank You! Jasleen Kaur Sethi Director

Article: by Jasleen at minnowfilms 4th April 2014

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Pride Angel Journey | The World of Pink Plastic

April 1, 2015 22:46 by PrideAngelAdmin
‘Welcome to the world of pink plastic!’ A friend texted (mother of two girls), congratulating me on the birth of Luna. Even then, bleary-eyed with a newborn in my arms, I grimaced at the thought. How wrong you are, Friend – that’s a world I’ll never inhabit.

Nevertheless, over the next couple of weeks as the generosity of our friends and relations demonstrated itself in parcels arriving at our front door, a wardrobe of miniature pink and rather frilly clothes was starting to pile up.

We called into Mothercare and I recoiled at the division. Baby clothes rails of pastel pink and of pastel blue. For older children, the rails of pink, purple, flowers, butterflies and hearts. And the rows of green, blue, red, brown, dinosaurs, trucks and animals. It continued in the toy department with pictures of girls on the boxes of pink dolls and pink kitchens. And pictures of boys on the boxes of brightly-coloured cars and trains. A simple marketing ploy to tell us we need to buy separate toys for our girls and boys. To buy more. But at what cost – surely a greater one than just the price label on the box?

By the time she was two months old, Luna loved to explore the stuff of life: a wooden spoon, a small stainless steel ladle, a wooden-cased mirror. So I made her a treasure basket of real-life objects. No plastic, no pink.

In fact it wasn’t until her first birthday that it arrived. A pushchair, a doll, a ride-on truck. All pink, all plastic. We cringed; she loved it.

She’s nearly two now and she’s probably done three or four marathons with the pushchair, up and down our hall. In fact, I went out and bought another one, after its third crash was declared a write-off. She also loves her cars, trains and football. Her obsession with bikes will make her second-birthday gift an easy decision. She still wears a lot of pink – because there’s no getting round the fact that girls’ clothes are pink. And the shop assistant really struggled with me buying a ‘boys’’ puddlesuit for her (red with green, yellow and blue cars on).

And now at 10 months, little brother Willow has worn his fair share of pink: sleepsuits, swim suit, leg warmers (we did draw a line at the dresses). His toothbrush is pink, because that’s what Luna chose for him (she wanted the blue one for herself).

When we go to the park, already Luna stands out – with flowers on her boots and cars on her coat, she confuses people. I expect there’s going to come a time pretty soon when she wants to wear flowers and pink, like the other girls. Not because she likes flowers and pink, but because she wants to be like all the other girls. And because society and the marketing industry will have told her that’s what she should like.

But for now, she’s oblivious to this grown-up nonsense, so we’ll just let her be.

Article: 1st April 2015 by Lindsey, West Yorkshire Read more Lesbian parenting blogs at www.prideangel.com

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Confessions of a Fertility Doctor

March 28, 2015 14:50 by PrideAngelAdmin
Ever wonder why someone would work with eggs and sperm for a living? Or what funny things happen at the fertility clinic? Five reproductive endocrinologists reveal their behind-the-scenes stories.

“It’s someone’s job to stock porn!”

“We see patients at their best and their worst. I know if they stick with it, they’ll walk out with their family. The best part of my job is calling patients with positive pregnancy test results. I do the biggest fist pump in the world. But it’s not just inspiring moments like that—there are also some pretty funny moments too. I’ve had patients who wanted to lie down for three weeks after the procedure—they were afraid the implanted embryo would fall out! And let’s not forget the guys. Let’s put it this way: When you have eggs, you need sperm. The guys go in the ‘production room’ and everyone knows what goes on in there. We used to have DVDs and guys would invariably steal them and take them home. There was a series of Jenna Jameson videos I remember that had to keep getting reordered—and yes, there was one person whose job it was to keep porn in stock. The guys would take the disc and leave the case, so we had all these empty cases around. We changed over to streaming videos and solved that problem!” —Joshua Hurwitz, MD, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (pictured above, far left)

“No one wants to use donor eggs right away, but they come around.”

“One of the hardest things is telling patients their ovarian reserve is so low their only hope for pregnancy is to use donor eggs. That is devastating. If you think about it, most women, from the time they were young girls, wanted to have babies. Initially no one wants to use donor eggs. People come in saying, ‘I know how old I am but I know there’s one good egg in there and I want to find it.’ But women run out of eggs at a pretty rapid rate. When I tell them, they’ll say, ‘But I just read that a Hollywood star was 48 and had twins!’ Sometimes those [celebs] don’t say they used donor eggs because their publicist wants everyone to think they’re a superstar. A lot of times these women get upset with me and go see someone else. It’s like getting a cancer diagnosis in a way. They don’t want to accept it at first. They’re grieving the ability to have their own genetic child—they’ve got to go through a process. And often they’ll come back to me.

The amazing thing with donor eggs is that there’s no rejection. If you get a kidney transplant, there’s a 50 percent chance of rejection and you need to take anti-rejection medication. But there’s no need for that kind of medication with a donor egg. We don’t know why but they essentially work better than a woman’s own eggs. And no woman has come to me after using a donor egg saying she doesn’t think of the baby as her own. Some of them even say that sometimes they forget! We like to joke with our patients that we don’t have a return policy. But no one wants to exercise it anyway, so it all works out great.” —Kaylen Silverberg, MD, Texas Fertility Center (pictured above, second from left)

More from The Bump: Why It’s Harder Than Ever to Get Pregnant

“I think mental health and infertility have a similar stigma.”

“I have two daughters, and while I have no personal experience involving infertility treatment, I do understand what my patients are going through, just being married and being a father. I know how important the biologic need to have children and an offspring is. Next to food, it’s the most primordial urge you have. I look at fertility and I think there’s a stigma. Sort of how some people think about mental health—these are more taboo problems. They’re not quantified by, ‘I have pain, so something must be wrong.’ If you look at the statistics, you see that most people with fertility problems don’t seek help—only a small fraction do. In some cultures, fertility treatments might be frowned upon, or they might worry it could hurt their marriage, and that their partner wouldn’t accept them if they were infertile. Some people just don’t want to know there’s a problem because they see it as a personal weakness. But it’s uncontrollable of course. It’s just like if you had a broken arm, kidney damage or liver failure—you need medical treatment to help you overcome it, and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. One thing we commonly hear when people finally do become pregnant is that their biggest regret is they didn’t start sooner.” —Jesse Hade, MD, Boston IVF - The Arizona Center (pictured above, center)

“It was a little awkward being pregnant while seeing patients.”

“I’m a mom and it’s a very interesting experience to be pregnant at the same time as helping others trying to get pregnant. When I was pregnant, I was very careful about not talking about it. Most of my patients didn’t say anything, but a few felt comfortable enough to ask about it, especially late in the pregnancy. I respect that some wanted to talk about it. Fertility treatment is really hard to go through. There are sometimes injections, and many times patients cry. I make sure they feel they can share everything or ask me anything. If they did bring up my belly, I’d just say, ‘Well, I’ll try to do the same for you!’ I always make it about the patient, not about me. The focus should never be on the doctor—only on the patient. As a mom, I understand the urgency of wanting to have a child for infertile patients. It’s a very interesting dynamic.” —Janelle Luk, MD, Neway Fertility (pictured above, second from right)

“I switched careers from music to medicine.”

“I had a very different experience than most people. I was not personally devoted to becoming a doctor early in life. I was a musician, [but] I realized making a career in music was a hazardous direction to go in, so I went to medical school. I was interested in the fine art of the little things that go a long way, like interaction with patients, so this is the perfect field for me. I get to make a lot of judgment calls about what is the right treatment for each patient. Everyone is different and I love figuring out that puzzle: What can I fix in each patient’s situation that’s going to solve the problem? I also love that this field is so advanced in technology. We’ve been riding the wave of technology for the past 20 years, and it shows no sign of slowing down. A lot of my patients work in the dot-com world and it’s great to help people who are into technology reach their goals using technology. The new chromosomal screening for IVF is a very valuable one that helps us find and use the healthiest embryos. It offers a pregnancy success rate of 70 to 75 percent, and people are able to save embryos for a future pregnancy. Egg storing has grown tremendously as well. Probably about twice as many people are doing it this year compared with last year. Facebook and Apple decided to cover the cost of their employees freezing eggs, and I look forward to taking care of those people and helping them through the process. It’s been wonderful helping patients build families. I’ve never had more fun than I’m having today.” —Philip Chenette, MD, Pacific Fertility Center

Article: 28th March 2015 www.yahoo.com/parenting/

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Boost your fertility - what foods to eat and why

March 23, 2015 20:08 by PrideAngelAdmin
diet for fertility An organic, plant-based diet could help keep hormones in check and boost women’s fertility, experts have said. Stephanie Karl, a nutritionist at the Dubai-based JTS Medical Center, added that “a normal low-glycemic eating plan” is a “good idea.”

The diet, based on foods that have a minimal change in circulating glucose levels, “reduces inflammation in the body, and gives the opportunity to eat all foods that have antioxidants to keep your liver functioning well,” said Karl.

“Inflammation is like a slow-burning fire - your body will always be stressed. As far as fertility is concerned, you don’t want that, as it can alter hormones and not just the reproductive ones.”

Whole-grain and high-fiber vegetables such as cruciferous kale, broccoli and cabbage, and other vegetables such as onion and garlic, are “supportive of the pancreatic function, liver, gallbladder,” and keep “inflammation down.”

These “processing organs” - the pancreas, liver and gallbladder - need to be kept healthy with the right food.

“Whenever a person comes to see me regarding fertility, I focus on getting digestion sorted,” she said, recommending “having a lot of sulfur-rich vegetables, good vitamin C, good oils and fats, and fiber.”

Kim Ross, a New York-based nutritionist, recommends the “optimal fertility” diet, which “for most people would consist of a whole-food natural diet that’s organic and plant-based.”

Ross, who helped on the nutrition side of “The Whole Life Fertility Plan” book released in January, said: “It doesn’t mean vegan or vegetarian, but means it’s mostly food from the earth such as fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and healthy fat such as avocado and nuts.” If it is meat, fish or dairy, they should be “organic and free-range.”

Women should avoid low-fat dairy products. A U.S. study published in the journal Human Reproduction in 2007 said eating low-fat dairy everyday can reduce a woman’s fertility by affecting ovulation.

The study showed that women who ate more than two portions a day of low-fat dairy were 85 percent more likely to be infertile due to ovulatory disorders than those who ate it less than once a week.

Karl described “nuts, avocado, coconut and olive oil as probably the best fats,” and recommended a “whole-food and plant-based diet” instead of sugars and carbohydrates.

Oxidative stress is essentially an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants.

“Oxidative stress in female reproduction has been associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis. Needless to say, these pathologies negatively affect pregnancy rates and IVF outcomes,” read the article “Power of Proteomics in Linking Oxidative Stress and Female Infertility,” published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

Endometriosis, PCOS and unexplained infertility are the most common diseases rendering large numbers of women infertile worldwide.

“Either way you try, whether by natural or alternatives methods such as IVF, nutrition plays an important role,” Ross said. Women’s weight should not be “too heavy or too thin. When they get to the appropriate weight with a healthy diet, they can conceive a very healthy baby.”

Hormones, PH

Keeping hormones in check is vital. One way to boost estrogen naturally is through peppermint tea. “A lot of research involves drinking peppermint tea, two cups a day, and taking a supplement called inositol, which used to be a vitamin but now is a stand-alone molecule,” Karl said, also recommending “fruits, vegetables, green tea, ginger, turmeric, and some spices and herbs.”

Sustaining a balanced body PH, including creating a friendlier cervical mucus, is also key. “There’s a balance between acidic and alkaline that we need to maintain. The standard American diet tends to be more acidic because of processed food,” Ross said. “People who eat a lot of animal products tend to have acidic bodies.”

Coffee, alcohol

Studies have linked too much caffeine with lowered fertility and increased risk of miscarriage. The general conception is that alcohol affects the baby only after a woman is pregnant, but it can also affect women’s fertility.

“There’s a link between drinking and fertility, although exactly how alcohol makes women less fertile isn’t understood clearly,” said Dr Anthony Rutherford, a consultant in reproductive medicine and chairman of the British Fertility Society. “Many studies have shown that even drinking lightly can have an effect.”

A 2009 study, done at Harvard University, of couples undergoing IVF showed that women who drank more than six units of alcohol per week were 18 percent less likely to conceive.

Stress, pollutants

“Not worrying, having time to de-stress is important. Often people with fertility issue are quite stressed,” Karl said, also recommending food that is as “unadulterated as possible, not salted, not roasted, not deep fried.”

Ross advised against “putting a laptop on one’s lap, or using creams or artificial chemicals because it goes directly in the pores.” She recommended house plants to clear the air.

“When you’re worried and too busy, that can affect fertility level. Meditate, practice yoga, do some visualizations, create a loving, calm, quiet space for a child to come in.”

Article: 24th March 2015 www.english.alarabiya.net

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Desperate couple who sold valuables to try for a baby won IVF

March 19, 2015 20:11 by PrideAngelAdmin
baby A couple sold ALL their valuables to fund costly fertility treatment - then 'won' a baby by simply writing a letter.

After almost a decade of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant, Chris and Amanda Schlatter will celebrate their son Noah’s second birthday this week, thanks to the life-changing prize. The couple spent eight years trying to conceive naturally, and even experimented with fertility boosting yoga and hanging upside down after intercourse.

But after visiting a fertility clinic in December 2009, tests found Mr Schlatter had low testosterone levels and Mrs Schlatter was diagnosed with endometriosis, a polycystic ovary and a blocked fallopian tube.

The couple started IUI – intrauterine insemination – which involves separating out the fastest moving sperm and placing them in the womb. But the costly treatment meant they were forced to sell possessions in their home to cover the $10,000 (£6,000) cost.

“With each treatment I hoped we’d get pregnant,” Mrs Schlatter, 30, said. “And when each one failed we’d pin our hopes on the next. "We became so desperate to get pregnant we sold everything of value in our home, to fund the IUI. "But we had six goes and none of them were successful.

“I felt bitter that other people had children and felt sad and jealous when friends started having babies. “In the end our doctor said: ‘Any further treatment along these lines would be a waste of money’. “IVF became our only option after this, but we knew it would be expensive, and we’d run out of things to sell by this point.”

Amazingly, it was Mr Schlatter’s magical words that saw them get pregnant after they beat 99 other couples to win funding for IVF treatment. After researching treatment options online, the couple, from Nevada, USA, came across a charity, Baby Quest Foundation, which was granting struggling couples the funding for IVF.

So Mr Schlatter, 34, applied, explaining why he and his wife would make perfect parents, and should receive the help. “His letter was so heartfelt,” Mrs Schlatter explained. “He wrote about our struggle to conceive and about how heart-breaking it had been for us with every negative pregnancy test.”

Incredibly, two months later, in April 2012, the couple got the call to say they’d won the funding. And less than a year later, in March 2013, their son Noah was born. Mrs Schlatter said: “When the doctor said the words I never thought I’d hear – ‘you’re pregnant’ I couldn’t stop smiling.

Article: 19th March 2015 www.mirror.co.uk

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Pride Angel Journey - The Sleeper

March 14, 2015 21:02 by PrideAngelAdmin
Willow was a sleeper. For the first three months of his life, nobody saw much of him really, other than Sal, on whom and with whom he slept. He woke every two or three hours for a quick feed of course, but there was barely time for a swift change of nappy before he was back in the sling (daytime) or bed (nighttime) nodding off again.

I was enjoying the school holidays, chasing round the garden after fourteen-month-old Luna; ducking under the washing line sagging with soggy nappies – a full line of them every day now (how would we manage two children in cloth nappies through the winter?). ‘Boh!’ Luna would shout, spotting the football – a Brazil 2014 ball, complete with Armadillo mascot pictured on it. England had already been eliminated and our cheap ball didn’t bounce straight, but our little footballer wasn’t bothered and she tottered across the mossy lawn giving it little left-foot taps every so often. And Willow slept on.

‘Car’ was another of Luna’s favourite words. ‘Car, car!’ She’d exclaim excitedly as one went past. And another and another. She didn’t differentiate between vehicles – they were all ‘cars’ from motorised wheelchairs circling the pond in the park to articulated lorries hurtling down the M62. ‘Car, car!’ I walked through a car park with her one day and she labelled every single motor we passed in the same tone of surprise and joy: ‘car!’.

And Willow – well, Willow slept on. One day I would get to know this little boy who didn’t feed from me, didn’t sleep with me, didn’t come from my body, but who was my son. My Son, the sleeper.

Article: 14th February 2015 by Lindsey, West Yorkshire

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