Monthly Archives: June 2017
All families are special in their own ways. All of them have their good and bad times, some live in harmony while others may struggle to balance their relationship.The families we are going to mention, are not special and inspiring only because they consist of two fathers, but because they give a perfect example of what parenthood is really about – loving, caring, educating and respecting.
Following gay dads teach us that does not matter single or married, heterosexual or homosexual, every person and couple can create a happy and caring atmosphere for their children. Where there is a will, there is always a power too. Society has to support diverse families and prioritize children’s happiness and loving environment over parents’ orientation.
Two dads, Rob and Chris Taylor do not have a typical family – together with their two sons, they spend most of their time travelling. Rob and Chris are better known on social media as 2TravelDads. As they explore the world with their beautiful children, fathers give them a broad view of the world, let them explore different cultures and traditions.
Apart from lively and vivid social media accounts, 2TravelDads have a blog, where they share parenthood stories and travel tips, making an amazing guide for venturing families.
“Traveling with kids over the years has become increasingly important in shaping how they look at the world when we’re at home, from their flexibility to their ability to observe and learn about life.” – Mention 2TravelDads on their blog.
The real dads of Melbourne
Jarrad and Michael Duggan-Tierney live in Melbourne, Australia. The couple has been together for 16 years already and have a son, Reid, who is going to be 7 very soon. Family has Instagram account only, which was not initially created with the intention to gain such a popularity. However, gradually, as the real dads of Melbourne shared their precious and inspiring moments together, their Instagram page attracted thousands of followers.
Family enjoys socializing with friends, going to the theater and spending time at local parks. Together with Reid, family’s life is full of joy and happiness.
Instagram – @the_real_dads_of_Melbourne
2 Dads with Baggage
Triton and John have been together for 20 years. Before living as a couple, Triton and John have known each other since they were mere children. Most of their adult lives, couple has dreamed of being fathers and today are dads of beautiful daughters, Sophia(15) and Ava(13). Cherishing every single moment of their children’s birth and growth, Triton and Jon would never want to image their life any other way. Fathers mention that having two teen girls can have its challenging moments. However, as a family, they deal with all of them together.
Traveling is one family’s favorite activities – “As a family, we love to travel and have visited more than a dozen countries around the world and many places across the US. Growing up in San Diego, Sophia and Ava are beach lovers and enjoy visiting other places with legendary beaches like Hawaii, Greece, Costa Rica and the Italian coast. Jon is partial to cultural destinations like London, Paris, New York and Tokyo, and Triton likes Provence, Amalfi, San Francisco – pretty much anyplace that serves up a stellar chocolate croissant. No matter where we go, we have a blast as a family and come home with hilarious stories and interesting experiences learning about other people and cultures.”
- Blog – 2dadswithbaggage.com
- Facebook – @2dadswithbaggage
- Twitter – @2DadsWBaggage
- Instagram – @2dadswithbaggage
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a kind of a virus that attacks immune system. Immune system is body’s way of fighting illnesses, bacteria, any unknown or threatening viruses. As HIV destroys the immune system, more concretely the cell called T-helper, body becomes gradually less capable to deal with infections and diseases.
HIV and surrogacy
HIV is found in breast milk, vaginal fluids and blood. For that reason, when we talk about HIV and surrogacy,in sake of safety, we refer to intended biological fathers only. As for males, HIV is found in semen, but after a procedure called ”sperm washing”, it is safe to proceed with IVF. Sperm itself, is resistant to HIV virus.
During sperm washing, sperm is separated from semen. The procedure removes dead sperm, debris, white blood cells and other chemicals that may lead to unexpected or undesired reactions and results during IVF. Sperm washing is performed not only in case of HIV, but also when males have lower sperm count or decreased sperm mobility, even when they experience unexplained infertility.
Sperm wash is usually performed in IVF clinics. The method may vary according to the clinic and individual characteristics of each case. Techniques include: centrifugation wash, density gradient wash and swim up technique.
After the molecular based sperm wash is performed, the clinic will usually double check the sample on HIV virus. After completing and confirming the procedure successfully, there is practically no chance of transmitting the HIV either to carrier(intended mother/ surrogate) or to the baby.
As sperm washing requires special equipment, different facilities and strong skills. Surrogacy agencies will usually charge a different fee for the HIV programs.
Requirements and communication with a surrogacy agency
Result oriented and professional surrogacy agencies, have requirements before they admit an HIV positive father to a program. In order for the IVF to make sense and be successful, it is essential to be under a treatment. Antiretroviral therapy is used to control the virus. Agencies will also require results of the tests that confirm that viral load is undetectable. The test should not be performed earlier than 6 months and should be followed by the second one at the time of going to the agency. Surrogacy agency will require additional medical tests such as HIV in semen, HBV/HCV in semen and so on.
If the viral load is too high, agencies will not be able to currently accept an intended dad to the program.
Assisted reproductive technologies(ART) have undoubtedly reached a high level of development.Thanks to medical breakthroughs, more and more people are becoming able to enjoy the magnificent joy of parenthood. Before choosing a surrogacy agency, we would recommend to have a very detailed conversation, because the case of HIV and surrogacy is still different from other IVF cases. Make sure that the agency supports you, understands your case and has a very specific action plan.
HIV positive dads should not feel confused or offended if the agency asks for too much details or tests. Vice versa, this is all done in order to ensure baby’s safety.
In sake of a healthy pregnancy, it is essential to avoid or completely limit alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Excessive amounts of alcohol can lead to miscarriage or a baby being born with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) – a very severe kind of disorder.
About Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
When a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, it follows the bloodstream and reaches a baby via placenta. As baby’s body is not able to process alcohol, concentration of alcohol in baby’s blood becomes very high. Delivery of oxygen and nutrients becomes limited and accordingly interferes with fetal growth and development. As a result, permanent brain damage can be developed.
Baby’s blood vessels and organs start to develop in the first weeks of pregnancy. Taking alcohol is the most threatening in the first trimester. Baby can be damaged even if mother does not yet know about her pregnancy. However, this does not mean that alcohol is not going to be harmful in second and third trimesters. Alcohol is harmful anytime during pregnancy.
Baby’s facial features, organs, bones, central nervous system can be damaged or deformed as a result of alcohol consumption during gestation.
Fetal alcohol syndrome is a severe condition. Although symptoms can vary from mild to severe, they can interfere with appearance and cognitive abilities anyway. Unfortunately, the damage is usually permanent.
Physically distinguishable symptoms of FAS :
- Small head
- Thin upper lip
- Smooth skin between nose and lip
- Low weight
- Height below average
- Deformation of fingers, limbs or joints
- Slow growth
FAS can be reflected on intellectual and cognitive abilities and cause :
- Inability to focus
- Coordination problems
- Poor social skills
- Memorizing disabilities
- Mood swings
Finally, FAS can affect health:
- Kidney defects
- Heart problems
- Hearing problems
- Vision problems
Treatment and prevention
There is no cure for fetal alcohol syndrome, however, medication can be used to neutralize some of the symptoms. For example, doctor may prescribe medication such as antidepressants to deal with stress and sadness, or stimulants to aid concentration.Specialist visits are usually helpful while learning to speak.
If parents suspect that a baby is born with fetal alcohol syndrome, they should visit a doctor immediately. FAS can gradually get worse if not diagnosed on time.
When a woman has been drinking during pregnancy it is essential to tell a doctor about it.
Fetal alcohol syndrome can be avoided by :
- Not drinking during pregnancy
- Not drinking while planning/trying to get pregnant
Surrogate pregnancy is a very emotional journey. On one hand, there are intended parents who have finally fulfilled their dream of becoming parents. In most cases, they have already gone through a lot of stress, disappointment, fear and struggle. On the other hand there is a surrogate mother, who independent from her motivation goes on a complicated journey of pregnancy and makes the dream of intended parents come true.
Surrogacy agency is responsible for informing intended parents about every single aspect of pregnancy : results of prenatal tests, condition of a surrogate mother, overall evaluation of course of pregnancy. While the information exchange process has to be regular, surrogacy agency should not be the only one having communication with surrogate mother. Intended parents too, should be involved in the pregnancy process. We have provided several reasons why parents might want to have communication with surrogate mother:
During pregnancy, surrogate mother may not be feeling well. She might have nausea, lack of energy, change in appetite and mood swings. While this kind of discomfort is common during pregnancy, intended parents should express their appreciation that surrogate goes through this for them and their baby. Surrogate mothers need to be supported, know that their commitment is not taken for granted and that their health and condition matter a lot too. People are always more encouraged and motivated when their dedication has a value.
Why not double check?
While intended parents are getting all essential information from the agency, it is a good practice to ask surrogate directly. Intended parents might want to know how is she feeling, whether she has everything she needs. It is important to trust a surrogacy agency, however, hearing the same from surrogate is more calming and sometimes more valuable.
Discuss postnatal issues
After the delivery surrogate can be experiencing discomfort and weakness. This is not the best time for discussing issues that are needed to complete the surrogacy journey. For example parents might want a surrogate to breastfeed a baby for even a short period of time. This has to be clarified in advance because surrogate might be planning to dry up her milk with medication.
On the other hand, in some countries, completing the journey is only possible when the surrogate gives her consent and signs documents that confirm the parenthood rights of intended parents. For example in Russia,where surrogacy is not regulated by law , there have been several court cases because of a surrogate refusing to abandon her parenthood rights and her role as a mother. Earlier communication with surrogate can help to avoid similar issues.
Often there establishes such a strong bond between parents and surrogate, that they stay in touch even long after the delivery.
There are several factors that may hinder the communication with surrogate mother. For example, it happens that surrogate is several countries away and intended parents can not visit her often. Parents should not be scared of distance and should arrange Skype/phone calls with their surrogate. Another issue that may arise is that surrogate and intended parents do not always speak the same language fluently. However, this should never be an obstacle. Sometimes just seeing and feeling that surrogate is doing good and baby is gradually growing in the belly can be as exciting as an hours of conversation and communication.
Intended parents should trust their surrogacy agencies, request and clarify all the information they need. However, at the same time, they should remember that establishing a communication with surrogate is always a step forward to having a good surrogacy experience. One more advice would be to keep the agency posted about the relationship with surrogate mother and arrange meeting through their mediation.