Tag Archives: Gays

Indian IVF bill may stop gay couple surrogacy

In the name of the fathers ... John Allen-Drury, left, and his partner, Darren, nurse their son, Noah, who was born in India using a surrogate mother. Photo: Graham Crouch

If the parents of newborn Noah Allen-Drury are lucky, their son will sleep through the noise as their flight from India lands in Sydney this morning.

Noah’s gay parents, however, are aware of legal turbulence that could prohibit the surrogacy arrangements that fulfilled their wish for a child.

A growing number of male couples from Australia and other Western countries are hiring surrogates in India to bear children, but that might no longer be possible if a draft bill to regulate IVF in India becomes law.

R.S. Sharma, the secretary of the committee writing a bill to govern assisted reproductive technology (ART), told the Herald that unless gay and lesbian relationships are legalised in India, gay couples would be excluded from hiring surrogates.

Delhi’s High Court recently overturned a 150-year-old section of the country’s penal code that outlawed ”carnal intercourse against the order of nature”.

However, gay activists warn this ruling, which in effect decriminalised sodomy, does not legalise gay relationships, leaving the status of such relationships unclear.

“If our government does not permit gay relationships, then it certainly will not be permitted for foreign gay couples to come to this country and have a [surrogacy] agreement,” said Dr Sharma, who is the deputy director-general of the reproductive health and nutrition division at the India Council of Medical Research.

John and Darren Allen-Drury, who live in the Blue Mountains, raced to India earlier this month when their surrogate mother entered labour. She gave birth to Noah on April 8. John Allen-Drury said changes to India’s laws would be a great disappointment, if passed.

”It would prevent a lot of same-sex couples from coming here,” he said.

Although some gay couples sought surrogate mothers in the United States and Thailand, ”India really is the closest country to Australia that offers affordable surrogacy,” he said.

The draft bill could make it difficult for all Australian couples to use Indian surrogates.

One stumbling block would be a requirement that foreign countries guarantee they will accept the surrogate child as a citizen – before a surrogacy could begin.

Dr Sharma said foreign couples would have to obtain a document from their embassy or foreign ministry pledging the surrogate child citizenship of their country. “Only then will they be entitled to sign an agreement with a surrogate or an ART clinic,” he said.

Parents using a surrogate would also be obliged to accept the baby even if it was born with abnormalities.

”Under the Australian Citizenship Act, there are no guarantees,” a spokesman for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said on Friday. ”What you can infer from this is that while it’s not illegal, we certainly wouldn’t be encouraging it by giving a rubber stamp to anyone who entered into such an agreement.”

Mr Allen-Drury said surrogacy in the US cost $200,000 or more. In India the arrangements could be made for $40,000 to $50,000. Thailand’s laws were changed last year to stop surrogacies for same-sex couples, although it remains legal for single males.

Mr Allen-Drury said a requirement for the Australian government to guarantee citizenship before a surrogacy could begin was impractical. ”That would just close the door,” he said.

Trevor Elwell and his partner, Peter West, have twin girls, Evelyn and Gaia, from a surrogate mother in Mumbai. Mr Elwell predicted parliamentary inertia meant the Indian laws were months or years off. But he was concerned that interim guidelines could be adopted and, in effect, exclude same-sex couples.

Mr Elwell said the citizenship proposal could pose an insurmountable hurdle.

”If you want to do that process earlier and confirm citizenship, you’re going to have to have a government process upfront,” he said.

The demand for a guarantee of citizenship meant the Australian government would have to grant it on the basis of a contract it did not recognise.

”It is a bit of a tangle, so it might affect heterosexual couples in the long run,” Mr Elwell said.

Since the publicity after they got their twins, Mr Elwell and Mr West say they have helped more than 100 couples – some gay, some straight – arrange a surrogate mother in India.

”The tip of the iceberg may have been us.”

 Source: The Sydney Morning Herald (26 April, 2010)

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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Tel Aviv Nights, But Were Afraid To Ask!

Let me tell you a fascinating bed-time story:) The story of my night out with Erez & Evyatar (my guides) exploring the night life in Tel Aviv, last month. This was a unique new tour started by Dan Knassim for individuals or groups wanting to experience the fabled night life first-hand in sizzling Tel Aviv! The Tel Aviv night-life culture is one of the biggest night cultures in the world. Tel-Aviv is one of the only cities that is awake & throbbing with life 24x7x365.
I went to Tel Aviv for my routine teaching assignment as visiting Faculty to the University of Tel Aviv, Sackler School of Medicine at the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. I was interviewed on channel 2 at their Jerusalem studios as part of the Gay Family – Surrogacy story being lapped up by the Israeli media. India was suddenly in the news with Surrogacy being written about in all major newspapers. I was told that a film by Zippi Brand on Surrogacy in India was also beamed on a major TV channel the same month.

A typical night in the weekend (Thursday-Friday-Saturday) can start at 22:00 hours with a cocktail with friends continuing to a party at 01:00 hours and then finish with a crackling after-party that starts at 6:00 am and finishes that night at 22:00 hours. Twenty four hours of non-stop partying is a way of life for youngsters over the weekend!In most of the bars and night-clubs you will find a burly bouncer-type person who is sitting at the entrance usually with a pretty woman. The woman points out discreetly to the bouncer who does not go in. This decision is based entirely on this screening woman who decides first on ethnicity, next on looks & many a times just to maintain the “exclusivity” of the club by refusing youngsters in.There is a law in Israel that prohibits those under 16 from entering these night-clubs & it is this screening-siren that decides who goes in. I saw youngsters break down in front of this security-screening duo at a couple of night-clubs because they were refused permission to get in. My guides told me that this is sometimes considered such a big insult to a youngster who has brought his date to the bar on a week-end & is not allowed in; these incidents lead to peer-pressure psychological disturbances & nervous break-downs.

In Tel Aviv there are various types of parties.I was getting bored in the hotel room & a common friend suggested Erez take me out for a night-life exclusive tour beginning at 23:00 hours & ending at dawn! Lima Lima was our first stop since our night club expert Evyatar heard of a wild Gay party on at Lima Lima. Lets talk about the Gay party scene in Tel Aviv. The Gay parties & the Gay community are very well known in Tel Aviv. The orthodox Jewish state turns a blind eye – to them the Gay community does not exist- It is another world – unseen & unheard to the orthodox Jew! Every single night there is a different gay party in the city with different music and crowd. There are very open Gay parties, very erotic, very open… as if you can feel the sex in the air and hungry searching eyes all around. Seeing is believing! I attended one such party at Lima Lima, which is one of the oldest night-clubs in Tel Aviv. Every Monday, you have a Gay party where singles come to find partners & couples to rock the night away(see pictures!) And then there are more relaxed parties where everyone knows everyone else; at such parties there are more gay couples partying out with their friends; where everyone is busy socializing, gossiping and here the music is a little muted in the background with lots of drinks going around.The focus is on camaderie & chilling out with friends.

There is another set of parties in Tel Aviv which are zoned according to ethnicity. Like the Ethiopian parties – This is like mini-Africa and you find most of the time just Ethiopian-Israeli immigrants rocking the night away. All you get to dance to here is Ethiopian music(sometimes hip hop music too!). And then there are the Eastern parties – not by the Chinese or Singaporeans but the immigrants who have migrated from Morocoo or Iraq – here you will find just “Mizrahit” music & clusters of only-Easterns(see Video!)

And then there are the regular night-clubs with teen-agers & youngsters in their 20’s dancing the night away. What is interesting is that these night-clubs have a gentry from a particular type of social set. You see only expensive cars outside a particular night club & the patrons of this night-club are usually children of very rich parents. Very subtly, there is a clear demarcation of social class in the night-clubbing scene in Tel Aviv. From Lima Lima which had a steamy gay party going on till the wee hours of morning, we went to Amazonia which was obviously a “rich-kid” night club with all the expensive frills.

After spending time in an Ethiopian & an Eastern night-club, we had the sun-peeking over our heads by the time we decided to return home. I had seen night-life in Mumbai, London, New York, Mexico City, Munich, Singapore, Tokyo, Dubai and Cancun… but everything paled in comparison to the sights & sounds of the night-life in Tel Aviv. Lechhaiim!!!!Picture 1

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‘Gay’ penguins rear a chick in German zoo

Two homosexual penguins have successfully hatched an egg and are now proudly rearing the chick, a German zoo has said. The zoo, in Bremerhaven, northern Germany, says the adult males – Z and Vielpunkt – were given an egg which was rejected by its biological parents.

It says the couple are now happily rearing the chick, which has reached four weeks old.

“Z and Vielpunkt, both males, gladly accepted their ‘Easter present’ and began straight away with hatching the egg,” said a statement from the zoo.

“Since the chick arrived they are behaving in the same way as one would expect a heterosexual couple to do. Both happy fathers are now diligently handling the everyday care … of their adopted offspring,” the zoo said.

Z and Vielpunkt are part of a six-strong gay community among the zoo’s collection of endangered Humboldt penguins who rose to fame in 2005 when four Swedish females were brought in an unsuccessful, and controversial, attempt to “cure” them.

Three pairs of male penguins had been seen attempting to mate with each other and trying to hatch offspring from stones.

“Homosexuality is nothing unusual among animals,” the zoo said. “Sex and coupling up in our world do not necessarily have anything to do with reproduction.”

The Humboldt penguin is normally found on the coast of Chile and Peru, but numbers have dropped to between 12,000 and 20,000 as industrial fishing methods have led to dwindling stocks of the anchovies on which they feed.

There have been previous reports of exclusive male-to-male pairings among penguins, some of which have also included the rearing of chicks.

Other animals may simply exhibit a “drive to mate”, while others may, like humans, enjoy non-procreative sexual activity.Picture 1

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Single men turning to surrogates

NEW YORK (CNN) — Jeff Walker says from as far back as he can remember, he always wanted to be a father.

Alexandra. 

Walker decided to father a second child through surrogacy after he and his parner split. The result: Alexandra.picture-1

“It was always something I knew, from the time I was a child.” Just like his 3-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, who says she wants to be a mommy someday, Jeff says, “I knew I wanted to be a daddy.”

Walker, a Manhattan music executive, says he and his partner had talked about adopting a baby years ago. But after three emotionally draining, failed attempts at adoption, they decided to turn to surrogacy. They contacted Circle Surrogacy, a Boston agency that specializes in gay clients. Their child was conceived with a donor egg, and then the embryo implanted in the surrogate, or carrier.

After Elizabeth was born, Walker and his partner separated. He then made a critical decision — to become a dad again, single, and by choice.

“I realized my family, my two-dad family was going to look different than I thought it was going to look,” he said. Without a partner, he would face even steeper challenges raising Elizabeth and a sibling alone. Walker says he gave the decision a lot of thought.

“That was the only part that was really controversial, because I do think there are a lot of challenges that single parents face, but at the same time I felt I was capable of handling those challenges,” he said.

His second daughter, Alexandra, was born two years ago to the same surrogate, implanted with an egg from a different donor.

Walker, 45, is one of a growing number of single men — both gay and straight — who are opting to become fathers alone, with the help of gestational surrogacy.

Surrogacy experts say because the practice is not regulated, many surrogacy arrangements are handled privately by individuals. Precise figures are hard to come by, but experts say there’s no doubt the United States is experiencing a surrogacy baby boom.

Celebrities like Ricky Martin and Clay Aiken announced this year they had had babies with the help of surrogates and the the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, representing scores of reproductive clinics, reports that the number of gestational surrogate births in the country quadrupled between 1996 and 2006. 

Surrogacy experts say gestational surrogacy has increased steadily since the advent of in vitro fertilization in the early 1980s, because it provides an extra layer of emotional and legal protection for the client. The egg donor usually does not even know the client, and unlike the legally contentious “Baby M” case from the 1980s, the surrogate is not giving birth to her genetic child.

“It rises as an issue far less frequently with gestational surrogacy, because women never see it as their child to begin with,” said John Weltman, president of Circle Surrogacy.

His agency, which expects more than 70 babies to be born in 2009, has seen a 50 percent growth in the number of single male clients over the past year.

Walker and other men are willing to pay well over $100,000 to have a baby through surrogacy — the final cost depending on the number of IVF treatments necessary and how much is paid by insurance.

Circle is not the only major surrogacy provider experiencing a single-dad surge. At Growing Generations, a Los Angeles, California, agency that facilitates about 100 births a year, the number of single men seeking surrogates has doubled in the past three years, spokeswoman Erica Bowers said.

Although most of their single male clients are gay, surrogacy providers say a smaller but growing number are straight. Steven Harris, a New York malpractice and personal-injury attorney, says he gave up trying to get married when he realized his primary motive was to start a family.

Harris, 54, says he knew he made the right decision after 21-month old Ben was born.

“I thought getting married was the only way to go, because I did want a family. But having Ben, I feel complete now,” Harris says. 

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Yonatan, Omer & Evyatar Gher

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Israeli_gay_couple_gets_a_son/articleshow/3724754.cms

 

 

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