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In the War on Fertility, its the result that should count – the IVF child

Happy Children’s Day where two lovely IVF siblings were born through compassion of others but are willfully separated and have NEVER met. Let us hope this children’s day the rights of a child are placed FIRST and they are protected from misintended adults who want to abuse and deny them their rights for the selfish benefit of an adult. A child is a child but the laws are different for “natural born” Vs. “IVF” child and we are forced to talk about it separately. In an ideal world, all children are equal, when will this be true for an IVF child?

Lets dedicate an IVF children’s day to people like Dr. Subhash Mukherjee, India’s first doctor to successfully deliver an IVF child and the world’s second doctor (missing it by 67 days) to achieve the same. Both him and the Nobel Laureatte, World’s first doctor, Dr. Robert Edwards to deliver an IVF child are both about GIVING a child and NOT TAKING a child. Let us place child’s rights ahead of everyone else including misintentioned adults who commit crimes. Taking candy from a baby is easy but what have you proven? Denying the rights of an IVF child is easy but have you made it better or worse for others to follow?Equal Rights for IVF Children

What if you are attempting to build a family through IVF, is it a crime?

What if you have multiple IVF failed attempts, will you keep trying to have an IVF child?

What if after all those attempts, financial, emotional ups and downs, you have a lovely IVF child, will you abandon them?

Welcome to the world of IVF. Roughly, a little over 1% of all births are through IVF as per CDC. There are no known statistics on how many IVF births are abroad for a US parent. The point is its a minority and therefore very few people know about it. With changing lifestyles, people attempting IVF is only going to increase. Are the laws equipped to handle the IVF scenarios? More importantly, are innocent, voiceless IVF children protected under the laws from some misintended adults? Some clarifications on IVF :

1) As per US laws, all children born abroad are subjected to US Immigration laws.

2) A “genetic link” is required between a child born abroad and the US parent. So how do infertile people who cannot have a genetic link bring a child born outside the US legally? Kinda reminds me of the French revolution when the king said, “If they can’t afford bread, let them have cake”. Should infertile Americans be forced to break laws and convert unsuspecting fertile individuals into criminals?

3) The lack of laws for IVF children affects everyone – straight, gay, lesbian, intersex, white, black, hispanic, asian, other races, male, female, married, single, anyone trying to have a child through IVF! The worst affected is the innocent IVF child.

Use Cases :

1) If you are in an infertile marriage, as a heterosexual couple if you are to have an IVF child, depending on the infertility situation, you may use your “genetic” material as the laws define, either your own sperm or your own egg. What if it gets SWAPPED? Both intended parents are US Citizens, one is infertile, and the other who gave their “genetic material” accidentally got swapped by the IVF clinic abroad. This is NO fault of the IVF child, the US parents. But the law says, one of the US parents MUST have a “genetic link” to the child. Really? Do the parents care? Does the child care? Isn’t it just about being able to love and hold a child and raise them with love and care? Isn’t that enough?

2) If you are single, biologically, you need your own “genetic material” as per laws to have a child. What if you are infertile and single, SOL as per laws.

3) If you are gay or lesbian or intersex couple, biologically, only one can contribute, and if there is a DNA mismatch or the”genetic parent” abandoning the IVF child then the “left-behind parent” is SOL as per laws. Even if a “non-genetic parent” wants to love and raise a child, the law will ask them to do it in exile outside the US because they lack a “genetic link” with the chid.

There are some more use cases. The most important use case is the legal status of the IVF child. Regardless of how we get there, the result is a “stateless” IVF child. Does the child have rights? Can they live freely and have a legal identity? Was the every intention of the intended parent to bring the child to the US and raise them with love and care as a proud American? Then why this torture based on archaic 20th century laws?

We can pontificate on ethics of IVF, we can pontificate on US Immigration laws, we can pontificate on LGBTI marriages, we can pontificate on straight marriages, we can pontificate on racial discrimination, but we CANNOT continue to pontificate while we continue to discriminate against innocent IVF children and families. We CANNOT pontificate while we continue to discriminate against innocent IVF children for actions of their parent(s) – that is casteist. We CANNOT pontificate while innocent, voiceless IVF children are languishing in legal limbo with no justice. We CAN pontificate on rights of a child (any child including IVF) once the innocent child’s welfare and rights have been restored. To ignore the issues of an IVF child is to ignore the best in humanity – compassion of others to bring about the IVF child into this wonderful world.

Resolve to Know More…

This week happens to be the National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). In the spirit of helping myself, my IVF children and others who have IVF 2014-niaw-resolve-to-knowchildren or are planning to build a family either through adoption or fertility treatment, we write this blog.

Dealing with infertility has several aspects – emotional, financial, legal, and of course the biological aspect. There are infertile couples and there are dysfertile people or couples like a gay, lesbian couple or a single person wanting to be a parent. Individually they are able to have a child biologically but need assistance of either a donor and/or surrogate to completely build out their family. Here are top 10 reasons to RESOLVE in dealing with fertility issues.

  1. Having a child is a human right –  learn it, accept it. Everyone has the right to try to have a child. Sometimes we may not be as blessed or lucky to have a child then we have to learn to accept it. The pain stays but learn to manage the pain. Pace yourself and don’t let anyone tell you whether you should have a child or not – thats your decision.
  2. Secrecy and stigma are the biggest culprits. Help yourself over this and help others over this because change only happens when you change yourself.
  3. Advocacy – The intent is to spread awareness and educate everyone. While awareness of fertility issues is on the rise, number of people affected by fertility issues is still a minority even though a sizeable one. So it is important to advocate every welcome opportunity you get so that we can get more support even from unaffected voters because that’s how democracy works.
  4. Support – You will be surprised to know how many people have to deal with fertility issues either directly or indirectly through a close family member or friend. Once you are comfortable in speaking out, you will have lot of support. You can also be a support person for someone else.  You may build great friendships as a result regardless of whether you have a child or not.
  5. Financial Support – While fertility treatments are costly, hopefully through advocacy and laws we can get more assistance from health care providers to cover costs. In the meantime, just like planning a monthly budget, plan your financial resources adequately to meet the costs. Do not run yourself dry or get wrapped up in the single theme of having a child at any cost. Having a healthy life is equally important.
  6. Legal Support – Laws are still evolving on this subject. Each case is considered differently based on your jurisdiction and the kind of treatment sought. Be very precise and accurate about your situation and the applicable laws. For example, what may have worked for one person in Massachusetts, the same outcome may not be possible in Texas.
  7. International Laws – If you plan to have an IVF child abroad, the US laws require a “genetic link” between US parent and the IVF child. If you are infertile that means legally you cannot bring a child back to the US legally. Understand your options very clearly before embarking on this journey. The only thing WORSE than not having a child is the trauma of having an IVF child abroad but not being able to bring the IVF child back to the US due to lack of laws.
  8. Child options – Whether you plan to have a child through adoption or through fertility treatments, always follow the laws. While the journey of having a child is entrenched in emotions and compassion of others, the laws are not based on emotions. And our lives are ruled by laws. While an adult can fool the laws for the sake of the child, having faulty documentation for a child can create legal issues for the innocent child in the future.
  9. Rare condition – There is no condition nor situation which is extremely rare. There is always someone who is rarer, you just have not met them or they have not met you. In the community of fertility issues, you will come across many “rare conditions” and see the courage and strength of people to overcome. That is the biggest lesson – to learn from others regardless whether you have a child or not.
  10. Humanity – Anyone who is dealing with fertility issues is inherently a good human. It works because of compassion for a fellow human being – be it adoption or donor or surrogate. And this is the best gift that you can give a fellow human being. So let us celebrate the humanity and the good in the people as we deal with fertility issues.

One way Street – Cannibalizing Human Rights

In a recent policy decision, the US DOJ announced equal benefits for same-sex spouses and extending benefits provided the marriage occurred in a state international-human-rightswhere the marriage was done legally. This is good news for human rights and a welcome message for the 21st century. The question is are human rights a one-way street? Can someone achieve human rights by cannibalizing the rights of others? What if someone who habitually lies, frauds and other criminal acts including violence and abuse of innocent children? Just like murderers and criminals can be of any race, religion, caste, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, they are first a criminal; someone who breaks laws.

The policy decision in 2014 proves that these rights were not extended before. Does that mean if someone lied, cheated and frauded someone before 2014 broke the laws? Is intersex marriage a same-sex marriage or heterosexual marriage? More importantly, is it legal marriage and were laws followed where performed? Was there deliberate and intentional fraud and violation of laws? If intersex people are women then why do they have a legally recognized “third gender”? Let there be no doubt, there should be equal rights for intersex people but do spouses and IVF children of an illegal intersex marriage have rights? Do they exist legally or are their human rights being cannibalized? Are there false allegations and a thousand lies to hide a lie? Do intersex spouses have rights to the special medical needs of an intersex spouse or are they mere sacrificial lambs and guinea pigs? In the best interest of an intersex marriage and equal rights of the spouse and children of an illegal intersex marriage, should a medical professional lie on a medical record or say the truth?

If a child was born during the illegal intersex marriage, does the innocent child deserve basic human rights, dignity and respect?

Since now same-sex spouse rights exist, will it also include rights to domestic abuse and violence? Does this mean if a spouse in an illegal intersex marriage is a victim of domestic violence and abuse can now report it and be afforded equal rights? Or are there only one- way rights for the intersex person?

If a spouse in an illegal intersex marriage afforded rights to an intersex person where laws itself fall short, what are the safeguards and protections afforded for their human rights? Since the laws did not exist, does that mean the abuse and laws did not occur? Are human rights a one-way street or does every human being deserve equal rights?

Follow Science in Best Interest of Child

Intersex is an umbrella term for certain medical conditions and some consider themselves male, some female and some want a “third gender”. A personscience-intersex-ivf has every right to feel what they do as long as it is not abusing and/or hurting anyone else.

A spouse of intersex has experienced the very same events as the intersex person and if there is trauma for intersex person, is there any trauma for spouse who experienced the same event with secrecy, lies, misinformation?

The beauty of following science is it relies on facts – something both the medical and legal worlds are based on. While experiencing the intersex surgery and the after-effects of the same and the medical mistreatment, common sense tells you it’s wrong and unnecessary. But how dare a non-medical youngster challenge a triple MD and a decades old malpractice? Finally in 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture proved the gut feeling by calling for a STOP to such intersex surgeries. Maybe innocent IVF children can have an opportunity to grow up together had this come a decade ago.

A medical record is the language of communication between doctors and should always be based on science and facts. If a doctor does intersex surgery and claims “removal of ovaries” when in fact it was “removal of testes”, it sets of an inadvertent chain reaction. First you just taught the patient and family to lie and the system will institutionally support the lies. Next when the patient goes to fertility specialist to have a child, the medical decision is based on erroneous facts. Next when the patient goes to a lactation consultant to breastfeed an infant, the subject matter expert gives medical advise based on erroneous facts. Next when the patient goes to a pediatrician to breastfeed an infant, the doctor gives medical advise again based on erroneous facts and placing an innocent child, her patient, at risk and is abused. More importantly, the infant gets no milk and is abused despite access to best subject matter experts.

There is no issue in intersex people feeling male or female or third gender. But instead of forcing that philosophy on innocent children in silence, first get the medical literature changed and also get the laws changed to allow legal marriage, immigration and fertility rights for infertile people. Why abuse innocent children for all this? Intersex is rare. Caster Semenaya was given an Olympic medal first in the women category, then rescinded, then reinstated as a woman. This affects her physically. The message affects several other intersex people globally. However is it different when  medical decisions are taken similarly that affects both the patient AND others physically including innocent children? Do others have rights too? Or do they deserve to be abused simply because they were forced into silence?

Follow the Science :
1) Not all intersex people have the surgery done. Of those intersex people who have surgery done, most have it performed either as a child or in puberty. Very trace amounts are done after 21. Almost none are done during a relationship or marriage. Is there a scientific study to understand the effects of intersex surgery during marriage?

2) Intersex people who are genetically male may be able to breastfeed. Adoptive mothers who are genetically female have been able to breastfeed. However, not all have had success with lactation due to different reasons. Biological mothers who also take hormones to breastfeed are not always successful. It’s traumatic but a scientific fact. Is it an apples and apples comparison from a scientific standpoint? Is there a scientific study on breastfeeding by intersex genetic males or are we using innocent infants as guinea pigs and abusing them? Would you give your infant for this study?

3) An intersex person who has the surgery done needs to go on hormonal therapy and take estrogens. Lactation comes from a separate hormone, prolactin. Is there a scientific study on the effects of taking both hormones simultaneously? Are they competing? More importantly, if the medical records are fraud and subject matter experts are also frauded as a result, is the innocent infant at risk? Is the child being abused and forced to breastfeed and incessantly cry when there is NO milk?

People who want to live honestly and follow the laws have a problem including honest intersex people. Like asking the court to allow male to female surgery or have it covered by insurance. Liars, criminals who break laws do not have this problem. For them secrecy, lies, cheating, fraud worked and the system helped and they didn’t get abused, others are being abused including innocent children, where is the problem?

Trauma for Intersex, What is the Trauma for Spouse and IVF Children?

Its 2014 but intersex is a taboo subject and not many people know about it. As per NIH, intersex is a medical condition that affects about 1 in 2000 births cropped-IVF-Spouse-Rights-Updated-e1372912834694.pngand some more rarer form of intersex are 1 in 20000 births. Historically it has been dealt with secrecy and lies somehow thinking that is a “good solution”. Shoving issues under the carpet is not an answer especially involving innocent, voiceless children. Due to decades if not centuries of repeated lies and secrecy, there has been little education or awareness about the subject. As a result, there are NO laws to address the rights of intersex people and families. In addition to the medical condition which is dealt with secrecy and lies, intersex families also have to deal with remaining “legally invisible”. This fosters an environment of social and legal ostracization which is formalized and legalized. Due to the dual complications of the medical and legal secrecy and lies, there is severe trauma, depression, stigma, etc. If this is true for an intersex person, what is it like for a spouse of intersex and his IVF children of an intersex family? Have the lack of laws and medical issues compounded? Is it a “linear” or an “exponential” compounding meaning have the complications quadrupled or is it sixteen times more complicated? Secrecy and stigma are the biggest culprits.

If an intersex person deserves basic rights then where are the laws to support the statement? If an intersex person deserves basic rights then do immigrant, IVF fathers deserve them too? Do immigrant IVF children of immigrant, IVF fathers deserve rights too? How many laws and people’s rights have to be violated in order to hide a lie?

Wanting children is a human right but having children is a legal issue. Wanting to marry whom you love is a human right but having all marriages recognized legally is not. Wanting to provide human rights when laws itself fall short is good but having relief for victims or any sense of justice is not. How can one pray for relief if there are no laws? It is barbaric just like barbarians existed when no laws were there. If an intersex person suffers from severe trauma, what are the needs of a spouse of intersex who has been abused and forced into silence under threats and what are the needs of IVF siblings who have never met each other because LAWS do not exist for them? Legally, intersex people cannot marry and biologically they cannot have children while US immigration laws require a “genetic lick” between a US parent and a foreign born child like an IVF child. Legally, a spouse of intersex spouse who has an IVF child during an intersex marriage, the child is considered as “child born out of wedlock” – there is a deragatory word for it in the English language. Is there a marriage? Should the spouse NOT have remained in the marriage? Does this mean that any intersex spouse who attempts to have a child in an intersex marriage will end up labeling their child as “born out of wedlock”?

It is important for a child to be born during a marriage from a legal perspective as they are protected and have access to services and provisions under the laws. The society we have created works on “norms” and an immigrant, IVF, intersex family in 2014 is anything but “normal”. If a child is NOT born during a marriage, they are placed in inadvertent legal limbo ruining several lives. It has long-term and lifetime implications for the innocent child. Is this the intent of bringing an IVF child into the world only to place them in legal limbo? The right answer is NOT banning IVF technology, the right answer is NOT banning intersex families, the right answer is NOT banning immigrants, the right answer is NOT punishing innocent IVF children who have committed no crimes, the right answer is NOT to use the voicelessness of innocent children into SILENCING them, the right answer is NOT to abandon innocent IVF children and denying them the basic human dignity and respect, the right answer is NOT continuing to lie, fraud and break the laws, the right answer is to discuss and pass EQUAL rights. If anti-IVF laws did not exist, could someone have used them against innocent IVF siblings to split them just so that they can have a child? Having two IVF children on two continents and siblings who have never met due to no fault of theirs is barbaric. How do we move forward from here – continue to be abused in silence or speak up and ask for a change in the best interest of the children?

The Fertility Wars

To the ones who pontificate on infertility or dysfertility, if you have done the deeds then you will know the needs of an infertile or honesty-lies-ivfdysfertile family.

Wars have always been fought amongst humans. There is a fertility war going on right now where lack of laws leads people to do things which is hurting innocent children. What is better – to give a life or diminish a life? By placing innocent children in legal limbo it is attacking their basic human dignity and respect. It is a crime against humanity from the innocent child’s perspective because people with no legal identity have no legal rights – they are legally invisible yet have to survive physically in this same world.

Just like any other war, there are wounds, scars, destruction of lives, innocent children who are voiceless victims, the fertility wars of immigrant, IVF, intersex family in 2000s. Is it time for a change?

There are lot of ways to solve infertility but to create an IVF child and then to abandon the child is NOT a solution to fertility issues. The innocent child deserves equal respect as a human being. The compassionate surrogate who agreed to help and carry the child deserves equal respect as a human being and not to be left stranded with a child she agreed to carry for someone else.

It is one thing to have an IVF child as an infertile person but what is it to use anti-IVF laws, anti-gay laws, anti-intersex laws to use against an IVF family and children who are IVF siblings?

During the baby scoop era in the US, children were taken away from their “biological mothers” because their only fault was to be born to a “single mother” which was socially unacceptable at the time. Is the same philosophy and stereotypes being repeated with IVF parents, families are being discriminated based on biology and gender of a parent to a child? Or do we have the strength and courage as a society to face the facts if not for the adults sake then at least for the sake of innocent, voiceless IVF children?

Are only women allowed to grieve and have sympathy for infertility? Or is wanting to have a child a “human” trait and a man may also want a child just as dearly? Stereotypes are just that stereotypes but they ruin lives in so many ways because laws reflect stereotypes.

What if an interracial couple in the US had a child together pre-1967, does that mean the child deserves no legal identity? Or does that mean the child deserves the love of only one parent? What if gay parents had a child pre-2013, does that mean the child deserves no legal identity? Or does that mean the child deserves the love of only one parent?

What if a gay couple have a child together in 2014 born outside the US and there is a DNA mismatch, does that mean the child deserves to be abandoned? Or does that mean the gay parents should have to give up their life in the US and live in exile with their child outside the US?

What if an infertile person wants to have a child but is born outside the US in 2014, how can they legally bring the child to the US with no genetic link?

In an infertile marriage, is it only the infertile spouse who is suffering the trauma of being childless or does it affect both spouses? Surely the fertile spouse could just leave but then given the prevailing laws, how would the left-behind infertile spouse legally have a child?

If an IVF child was born using the father’s sperm, anonymous egg donor and surrogate, and the father was the primary care provider for the child during the tender years due to ongoing medical treatment of the spouse, who is the stereotypical traditional “mother”. Between gay parents, who is the “mother”? Or do we talk about “primary care provider” to convey the same message?

Is infertility so shameful and secretive that the fertile spouse has to be forced into silence from the joy and celebration of his first born child because no one can know about the infertility in the marriage? We have to pretend that the child born is the “biological child” of both parents? If infertility is so shameful and secretive, what is it doing to the fertile spouse and their emotions? Are they humans also? Is it a crime to be born fertile?

If it is the love and character of a parent which counts and not the biology or gender than why lie or suppress facts to the courts and legal authorities? Is it because laws have not caught up yet? And is it wrong to use the inadequacy in the laws to split a primary care provider and a child?

Is the only way to have a child is to abandon another child?

Infertility is very traumatic – both for the infertile person AND the fertile spouse when infertility is dealt jointly in a marriage. The lack of laws are remnants of decades, centuries if not millenias of stereotypes. Certainly not something which can change overnight but in the meantime innocent children are being hurt. Gays will continue to have children even if laws have not caught up. Intersex families will continue to have children even if laws have not caught up. As a society, how do we address the needs of such children who may be placed in legal limbo? Is their welfare being endangered without a valid legal identity? Are the innocent children being made “legally invisible”? Is shoving them under the carpet and pretending they do not exist valuing their “human life”? As a parent, no one wants their child to be called ugly. But as an IVF parent, thats what is happening to my IVF children due to lack of laws. How dare as a fertile person I thought of having an IVF child as an immigrant, intersex spouse? Now my IVF children must be condemned and punished for this horrific crimes…really, thats our reality but is it the right reality? The right answer is to change the laws and not break the laws. The right answer is to save children and not abandon them.

Eunuch’s lies and its Domino Effects

It is one thing to have anti-IVF laws, anti-gay laws, anti-intersex laws but to use them to split innocent IVF brother and sister and place them in domino effect of lies IVF childrenlegal limbo is a heinous crime against the children. As a parent, an adult would go through anything for a child including abuse but to have the same abuse repeated on your children, will you stand by quietly or will you speak up for their rights? Every human being deserves a child but the reproductive rights and laws are discriminatory, is that an individual’s issue or the government? Every child deserves equal rights including IVF children but the laws are discriminatory, is that an IVF parent’s issue or the government’s issue to resolve? As a binational immigrant, intersex, IVF family – is that our issue or the lack of laws issues is for the governments? As a young, male, spouse caregiver of Eunuch and being a binational, immigrant IVF father, is it wrong to deal with trauma after trauma after trauma after trauma (domino effects) in dealing with the issues (lack of laws) of a Eunuch family? We start our journey in India because that’s where it all began – marriage to an Eunuch, IVF children born in India to Eunuch marriage and the lies of a Eunuch resulting in making everyone else in the family effectively living neither here nor there. Thanks to the love and support of the family that we are still alive and have an opportunity to speak the truth. We seek inspiration from people like Rosa Parks, Susan Anthony, Edie Windsor, Tony Briffa, Jaclyn Schultz (Miss Michigan 2013), Nina Davuluri (Miss America 2013) who have the strength and courage to speak the truth and allow people to accept who they are and not use a continuing web of secrecy and lies which violates rights of other people. If an Eunuch deserves compassion, does an innocent IVF child deserve compassion?

India has long recognized Eunuchs legally, the third gender. Other countries like Nepal, Australia, New Zealand and several other Asian countries do so also. Germany, the first “western” country started offering the third gender. Non-conforming to the binary gender provides an opportunity for people to be HONEST and not be forced to lie whether they are male or female. This provides an opportunity to address real concerns of an Eunuch family – like being able to have children legally.

  • We have the first IVF child born in a Eunuch family in India and quite possibly the world – instead of celebrating, we are living in secrecy and lies.
  • We have the first IVF sibling in a Eunuch family – instead of celebrating and providing the love of a sibling to an IVF brother, we are living in secrecy and lies.
  • Given the prevailing laws, could an Eunuch have gained custody of an international IVF child without violating any laws? Could this have been achieved without abandoning another IVF sibling and denying them the due process? Is it a crime against humanity from the child’s perspective? Did the donor and surrogate agree to share their humanity only for the IVF child to be abandoned and to be given up to an orphanage?
  • When an IVF journey results in a successful IVF child, it is a time to celebrate and announce the birth of a child and not a time to be forced into secrecy and lies to convenience someone so that they can break the laws.
  • By not stating the facts that a child is IVF, we are disrespecting the best of humanity – compassionate women like the donors and surrogates. We are also teaching innocent children to lie for personal benefit. Secrecy, lies, fraud is not a world a parent wants for their child. Instead we should be celebrating the donors and surrogates and the selfless humanity they have exhibited resulting in two wonderful IVF children for this family.
  • If only mothers are allowed to be parents, how do we explain gay parents and single fathers who equally love their children? If we can celebrate gay parenting and single fatherhood, why can’t we celebrate IVF fatherhood based on merits and facts?
  • It is one thing to lie to the court about the facts to gain custody of a child by an infertile person but does that change the facts? The DNA tests will still fail, the truth will be exposed and the lies will not stand the test of time and placing innocent children at risk of legal limbo.
  • An unemotional male as stereotyped cannot go through something like this. We can agree that different lobbies will try to malign, defame, falsely accuse, etc a binational, immigrant IVF father AND a young, male, spouse care giver of Eunuch for their political and social agendas. However, it would be impossible for an unemotional, inhumane person to actually live through this and survive to talk about it. It is about the IVF children and their rights to equality – a wish of any parent for their child to have a better world than theirs.
  • Mothers deserve all the love and praise, they sacrifice a lot for their child, they are at every beck and call of the child, for this they have to be physically available, mentally be available, emotionally be available. A person who is in depression and severe trauma on medications and under medical treatment is not a candidate for this. Instead of lying about the facts, we should be saying the truth so that NO other child has to undergo the abuse again. For the record, we did stay silent and above all took care of the innocent child as a primary care provider during these times, however we were punished for our silence and societal stereotypes were used to split the innocent child from his family and his primary care provider.
  • Medical conditions are nothing new, it is about how we handle them. We look to Angelina Jolie and Amy Robach for inspiration on dealing with life changing medical events with truth, strength and love of family and friends. Due to their celebrity and public persona they can help if only one person. What good would it do by living in secrecy and lies? Why miss a learning opportunity due to secrecy and lies? Hiding the trauma and abuse of a recovering Eunuch patient may place future innocent children and spouses at risk. The right answer is to accept the facts, wait for Eunuchs to stabilize as they undergo medical treatment and then have a child. We look forward to a world when we can discuss the issues of Eunuch surgery and its effects same as breast cancer without any secrecy, stigma and arrive at real solutions. Secrecy and lies are not the way to handle any traumatic situations.
  • Eunuchs cannot legally marry, Eunuchs cannot legally immigrate with children, Eunuchs cannot legally immigrate based on marriage. Instead of celebrating someone who has managed to achieve all this apparently without breaking any laws, we are forced into secrecy and lies. How will this help other Eunuchs and their families or are they also forced to lie and break the laws?
  • There are lots of positives to be learned from a young, male, spouse caregiver of intersex AND a binational immigrant IVF father – instead we have to force him into secrecy and lies and defamation and false allegations. Why can’t we celebrate the values of “till death do us apart”? Instead of celebrating the fact that a person was presented with the fact he was married to an Eunuch, the spouse did not leave, went through an unprecedented Eunuch surgery, the spouse did not leave, infertility exists in an Eunuch marriage, the spouse did not leave, the male spouse became the primary care provider for his son due to the ongoing medical treatment and resulting physical and mental unavailability of the other spouse, both agreed to a second IVF child only to abandon the IVF child when born, the spouse, the biological parent did not leave the second IVF child. It is very traumatic for the Eunuch but is the trauma any less for the spouse. Thanks to the love and support of the family, miraculously the spouse is alive. Which one of the values that he exhibited are unworthy of sharing with children? Is it wrong to show love and compassion? Is it wrong to help another human being? Is it wrong to expect truth? Is it wrong to expect basic human decency and respect for your children if not equal?

The right answer is to change the laws. As you read this today or read it a 100 hundred years from now – the young, male spouse caregiver of Eunuch and a binational, immigrant IVF father had his heart in the right place and always had the bigger picture in mind – every human counts. What cannot count is the secrecy, lies, fraud, abuse, torture which are human-made. An IVF father, a parent only wishes to tell his children that do not break anyone’s heart even though someone breaks your heart. I will teach you strength and courage to help yourself and ALSO help the person who broke your heart – the same thing my parents taught me. Equal rights for IVF children and families, equal caregiver rights are themes relevant today and will remain relevant till equal rights are granted – whether today or a 100 years from now.

IVF in 2014, Could this be You?

The gap in IVF laws is like placing a staircase in front of a wheelchair bound person. 

We are turning a page from 2013 to 2014 with our own wish list as IVF families. Most people say that changing the laws is very long and a very laboriousIVF 2014 laws change process but it is worth it for innocent children. We do not expect miracles but we do expect equality in the America we know and want. If you are planning for IVF, welcome you are part of the IVFHood but could this happen to you if you attempt affordable IVF outside the US or should you remain childless as a middle-class infertile or dysfertile American?

1) What if the sample is accidentally swapped in the IVF clinic outside the US resulting in a DNA mismatch?

2) What if you are  a US citizen woman who uses donor sperm and egg and her own womb to have IVF children outside the US? You carry the IVF children to term in your own womb for 9 months, you love and care for the IVF children like any mother but you have no “genetic link” as per the US laws.

3) What if you are an immigrant father who uses his biological sperm, egg donor and surrogate to have IVF children outside the US? You have a “genetic link” but “no US mother” since both the donor and surrogates are foreigners.

US immigration laws which are discriminatory and based on biology and gender of a parent rather than the love and character of a parent. The innocent IVF child cannot come to the US without a “genetic link”, what will you do as an IVF parent? The innocent IVF child has been rendered stateless and may face being given away to an orphanage simply because we as humans cannot agree on laws. Dehumanizing innocent children is not the answer.

  • You may not care whether the IVF child is not “genetically linked” to you as a parent but the laws and government do.
  • Will you bring the IVF child illegally to the US using smuggling routes?
  • Will you relocate to a foreign country were your IVF child is land-locked and raise them with love and care?
  • Will you abandon the IVF child in a foreign country and return to the US disappointed and depressed?
  • Such stateless/forcefully abandoned IVF children end up in orphanages, do they have human and child rights?
  • Will you join the fight to change the laws with the times and have equal rights for IVF children and families?

The gap in IVF laws is like placing a staircase in front of a wheelchair bound person. 

There are both sides of the debate. Some people (mostly who are fertile) say one should adopt rather than go for IVF. Maybe they are not aware of the stringent adoption laws just like they may not be aware of lack of IVF laws. Some people may say if you are born infertile maybe a divine power had a reason and should remain childless. But what if you are in an infertile marriage, should the other spouse who is fertile also remain childless? Is it wrong to help a fellow human being who is infertile? Some people maybe anti-IVF, to them we ask once the IVF child is born, should all children be treated equally and not be discriminated on their birth type? Should we punish innocent IVF children for crimes they did not commit?

2013 has been a great year for the LGBTI movement but there is lot more work to do. DOMA was struck down. Several states are approving laws to allow same-sex marriages. US Immigration laws allows same-sex couples to sponsor for their spousal immigration. The next logical step is to have children in a marriage. While as per CDC data, 1 in 6 couples are infertile in the US, 100% of all LGBTI couples and single parents can only have a child through adoption or IVF and only one parent may have a “genetic link” with the child as required by US Immigration laws. These instances of lack of laws for IVF children will only increase, where are the laws to protect the welfare of the innocent IVF children? Or should LGBTI families be denied children? Let us hope 2014 marks a beginning of a new era where the laws have caught up with technology and social acceptance. Let us hope “baby scoop era” is not repeated due to “social inacceptance”. Let us hope the humanitarians of the 20th century, Mahatma, MLK, Jr. and Madiba taught us a small slice in humanity for the 21st century.

You Don’t Know Until It Happens To You – Could it be You?

Teach your child to never betray someone they truly love. Whether its your parents, siblings, spouse, children or others, if you truly love them then do not abuse, lie, and force secrecy. Its love, but not for someone else, its love for thyself which is not a crime but breaking laws, abuse, violence, fraud, cheating, lying are crimes. After a continued life of secrecy and lies having to watch your children suffer due to the secrecy and lies; it is not fair to them and the millions of other children like them.

You don’t know until it happens to you. Maybe the age-old saying does have some truth to it after all. Less than 16% of couples IVF mattersexperience infertility while 50% of marriages end up in divorce. So most people may have knowledge about the family law system but far fewer know about fertility in a marriage. Add the secrecy and stigma to fertility issues and there is hardly a chance of the “word getting out”. If we continue to live in secrecy, how will we usher in change? How will we make it a better place for others and our children? Any person who is trying to have a child – straight, single, gay, DSD/intersex, lesbian – this could have been you being separated from your IVF child because of lack of laws.

Most Americans we know are conscientious, compassionate and want to know the truth. USA is a nation of immigrants. But majority of the population has not experienced immigration first hand. And so the “ongoing lot” of immigrants are again a minority and most people would not know the immigration laws until it happens to them. Statistically, there are 1 in 2000 people who are intersex/DSD and people with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (CAIS) are 1 in 20000 – again another rare minority. Now imagine if a family had to experience all these four minorities combined together? Imagine doing it in silence. Imagine no one being able to understand what it means to go through this and be able to survive and be alive. Imagine the children of such a family and their fate? Where do we even begin to make sense and how many “layers” of lack of laws, human rights, equitable justice, etc, etc etc do we have to go through before people begin to understand the several complications. Not to mention, the secrecy and lies does NO HELP in the education and awareness process.

There is no doubt that people who are CAIS and undergo a surgery (which has been called for a STOP by the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture) are under severe trauma and depression. Do they need time to recoperate? How much time? Can a person under severe trauma and depression enough to be called torture also be a primary care provider for an infant? What about the abuse and violence that was perpetrated on innocent victims during this stabilization process? There are studies, recommendations which are now coming out for people with Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD), are there any studies for spouse and children of DSD who also suffered through the surgery and its treatment in silence? Is there any trauma for them? There is a lack of laws situation for people with DSD including not being able to marry legally, or being able to immigrate as a spouse, or being able to legally have a child through IVF. So does it make it OK to lie, cheat and fraud an unsuspecting spouse into a fraud marriage? get immigration illegally? get a IVF child illegally? Since the laws have NOT changed, other DSD people still cannot repeat this. Since the laws have NOT changed, the innocent IVF children are placed in legal limbo due to the suppression of the facts. Since the laws have not changed, the fertility rights for LGBTI families are non-existant. If there is domestic violence against a male spouse in a LGBTI marriage, are there any laws to protect them?

The right thing is to teach our children to love and show compassion to fellow human beings no matter what. Becoming a family caregiver instead of walking away is a proud moment to be celebrated most importantly for the parents of the caregiver because they raised their child right. It is better than parents who teach children to lie, fraud an unsuspecting spouse. It is better than someone splitting innocent and defenseless IVF siblings just because they cannot have a child. It is better than someone who abandons an IVF child, a deliberate pregnancy. The question is not if someone can become a good parent, the question is WHEN? And how much abuse and violence was endured by others during the ongoing medical treatment under severe depression and trauma?

You don’t know until it happens to you – intersex, immigration, infertility, invisibility. And then to have the same secrecy and lies repeated on your innocent, defenseless IVF children. The actions to support equal human rights never stopped. It was limited to intersex and immigration earlier. Now we have added IVF children and families. And all can benefit by the truth, not secrecy and lies as we have already experienced. In a few years from now, when the IVF children are grown and are adults, maybe we will live in a world where gay marriage is NOT taboo, IVF families are NOT taboo, DSD/intersex is NOT taboo. And so correspondingly there will also be laws to represent the societal needs. What will the IVF children want – truth or lies?

Offending IVF Parents and Families

“Let’s NOT OFFEND, let’s GO FEND our basic human emotion for a child.”Equal IVF Child Rights Tshirt

As a culture we are beginning to become more constructive of others from civil rights, interracial marriages, gay rights, women rights, fertility rights. The word, “tolerance” was not used purposefully because as a society we need to look at situations positively rather than “tolerating” someone for who they are. Too often, infertile or dysfertile parents are offended by others for well, just being them. Somehow as a society we have “normalized” and numbed ourselves with how we treat (discrimination) infertile or dysfertile families and children born out of fertility treatments like IVF.

To be clear:

  1. It is NOT OK to ask someone about the fertility issues even in the best of intent. If the person feels comfortable with you, they will confide.
  2. It is NOT OK to say have you tried adoption instead of IVF? There are so many kids in the world who could use adoption. It shows lack of ground realities and the stringent adoption laws which may make it impossible for some folks to adopt – like single fathers, gays, intersex, age of married couple, etc. Adoption laws are based on archaic stereotypes and not the ground reality of 21st century where love of a parent counts and not their biology, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Most of us when we wake up every morning would like to solve world hunger but still there are millions who go to bed every night hungry. Why? Making ignorant statements like have you tried adoption instead of IVF is like have you solved world hunger because it does not capture the complexities and the ground realities.
  3. It is NOT OK to say well thats how nature made you and should remain childless. Every human has a right to life including innocent IVF children.
  4. It is NOT OK to have situations where innocent, voiceless IVF children are placed in legal limbo due to no fault of their own and simply due to lack of laws. Each infertility journey is unique in its own way and every infertile or dysfertile parent is very strong to have overcome with or without a child. Wanting a child is a basic human emotion – CANNOT DENY that. When an infertile or dysfertile parent is blessed with a child, they have already traveled a long journey only about to begin on another long journey of love and affection with the child.

To be clear:

  1. It is OFFENSIVE to separate an IVF child from a parent and saying “that’s the law”. Laws are made for our society by the people, of the people and for the people – change the laws with changing ground realities.
  2. It is OFFENSIVE to treat an IVF child like property or an asset to have them abandoned or given up for adoption due to a DNA mismatch or a parent abandoning the IVF pregnancy. Again, change the laws to provide relief for these exceptions.
  3. It is OFFENSIVE to use language like “illegitimate child born out of wedlock” when defining legal parent-child relationship between IVF child and parent. Ask any IVF parent and they will tell you, their IVF child is NOT “illegitimate”.
  4. It is OFFENSIVE to have your IVF child treated with NO legal identity, NO legal rights, and worse protection to their human and child rights than cats and dogs as pets.
  5. It is OFFENSIVE to say to an IVF parent with an IVF child in legal limbo that “you should have known better” or “you deserve it”. Does the innocent IVF child deserve it? Did the innocent IVF child know any better or asked to be born? Why take out the punishment of the parent onto an innocent child?
  6. It is OFFENSIVE to take this abuse and violation of basic human rights of IVF children and families and only to be silenced when asking for change in laws. It is OFFENSIVE to have continued stereotyping in treatment of IVF children and families.

Its 2013 and its a new era. If not today, one day in the future, there will be a day when IVF children will deserve basic human respect and dignity if not equal rights. This is the NEXT social justice fight of our 21st century.

Let’s NOT OFFEND, let’s GO FEND our basic human emotion for a child.