My heart goes out to this Australian couple who have just had their babies through surrogacy in Ukraine. Unfortunately, the babies have been born very prematurely and the parents are now trying to manage the care of their twins in a foreign country, negotiating in a language they don’t understand and with medical insurance that apparently hasn’t really covered their current needs. This is probably the worst possible outcome of cross-border surrogacy I could imagine. https://www.facebook.com/7NewsBrisbane/videos/264865640843154/UzpfSTEzMDczNjM3NjkzOTIyMzoyMjEzMTExOTc1MzY4MzA5/
This story is so amazing and wonderful: it is a real breakthrough for transgender people becoming parents. Transgender Health has described how a 30-year-old transgender woman has been able to breastfeed her child, the first ever case of induced lactation in a transgender woman to be documented in academic literature.This article in The Guardian explains more https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/feb/14/transgender-woman-breastfeed-health
Implications of the recent interpretation of who is a “parent” by the Australian Family Court in cross border surrogacy matters are starting to become more clear. For this family, who were living in the USA at the time that they engaged in a surrogacy arrangement, the parents are Australian citizens (and therefore can only live in the USA for a limited period) but their children were born as US citizens (and therefore can only enter Australia on tourist visas).
We are bound to see more and more of these beuqacratic disasters in the coming months, and it only reinforces the importance of really seriously considering the implications of heading overseas for surrogacy. It also really reinforces the importance of the Australian government revisiting the structure under which surrogacy can be done at home For the full storyhttp://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-21/australian-surrogacy-laws-leave-6-month-old-twins-in-legal-limbo/9047246?pfmredir=sm
We have been patiently waiting to learn the outcome of the legal trial of Tammy Davis-Charles, the Australian nurse who was working in Cambodia arranging surrogacy pregnancies for Australians and other foreign nationals, prior to the Cambodian Government crackdown on the practice late last year. Well, the sentences came down a couple of days ago, and the news is not good for Tammy and her colleagues – each have been fined and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
What will also be interesting in the months to come is the impact of this finding for families considering surrogacy in countries newly emerging into the Asian surrogacy industry such as Vietnam and Laos. Surely, this should be a final nail in the coffin of “cheap” illegal surrogacy? You can read the complete story in this article from the Cambodia Daily newspaper https://www.cambodiadaily.com/news/tammy-davis-charles-2-others-handed-18-months-prison-surrogacy-133207/
I know I share a lot of articles and information on this blog – because that’s the primary reason I started it. But this morning I thought it might be nice to make it a little more personal and show that (at least some of the time) I do try to practice what I preach. And on a terribly sad day, with yet another terror attack in the news, I really felt the need to get out there and engage in some mindfulness practice and also get some exercise. So here I am, after my morning coffee and an hour into a walk around my local suburb with one of my beautiful girls (this is Bella, she’s 8, my other dog was too busy playing to get into the photo). And for those of you in far away places, in Brisbane at the moment, we are in winter, and yes, even though it is 8am at the time I took the photo, it is a stunning day, about 20degrees celsius, and yes, I am just wearing a t-shirt, no jumper. I was able to sit in the park near my house and take this photo and feel safe. I have a lot to feel grateful for.
Its is beginning to feel like every time we turn on the TV, radio or social media, there is another terrible event being reported, and with the advent of 24 hour, 7day a week news services, it is a little inescapable. All of this bad news can feel terrible for adults, but for kids the effects can be even worse. The Australian Psychological Society has developed this tip sheet to help parents work out how to support their kids and open a conversation about these distressing events – maybe it will help if a little (or not so little) person you know is struggling to cope.Tips for talking to kids
Our understanding of the link between what we eat and how we feel is really not new (and I have previously posted about the food-mood link), but this article clearly describes some of the recent research findings in this area. I like these simple “rules” for eating that may assist with managing anxiety and depression symptoms. Doesn’t it make sense to make these simple changes to our lifestyles – it keeps our bodies healthy and helps us feel better in our mood also!
The golden rules
Along with their healthy recipes, Kelly and Macintosh’s work led them to devise a list of 10 rules to shape dietary behaviour and help with mental health:
- Eat mostly plants. Veggies and legumes are nutrient and fibre rich.
- Use plenty of herbs and spices. Particularly turmeric and saffron — the rules aren’t called “golden” for nothing.
- Go nuts! Kelly points to research that says nuts help with your mood. (And the play on words is irresistible.)
- Eating for your gut. That is, managing the bacterial balance in your stomach and intestines — keep that second brain happy and healthy.
- Fats are your friend. Healthy fats, like the aforementioned omega-3s, are thought to have a positive influence on parts of the brain linked to depression.
- Getting the right balance of protein. Kelly suggests that we throw our lot in with good proteins like fish and lean meat and avoid highly processed meat products.
- Avoid sweeteners and additives. Again, highly processed food has been linked to poor mental health.
- Keep an eye on your blood sugar. This has all kinds of benefits and is never remiss.
- Vary your diet. The average Western diet consists of around 20 ingredients, whereas ancestral humans probably ate more like 150.
- Relax and enjoy. We can’t forget the benefits of eating as a social and recreational activity — there’s a reason pretty much every culture focuses their celebrations around food.
It sounds like science fiction, but this just might be a breakthrough for fertility preservation. Wow!
Scientists have used 3D-printed ovaries to successfully restore fertility for the first time in what they call “the holy grail of bioengineering for regenerative medicine”.
A female mouse’s ovaries were removed and replaced with 3D printed bioprosthetic ones using gelatin as the “ink” and using eggs from different mice — enabling it to ovulate, conceive pups and give birth, the United States researchers said.
Read the incredible story here http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-17/3d-printed-ovaries-successfully-restore-fertility/8532108?smid=Page:+ABC+News-Facebook_Organic&WT.tsrc=Facebook_Organic&sf79404899=1
This recent USA case raises some incredibly important issues about the level of screening undertaken on potential egg and sperm donors, and the consequences for recipient families and children when the donor physical/medical/psychological screening is not done properly. http://www.11alive.com/mb/news/local/investigations/judge-families-can-sue-ga-sperm-bank-company-for-negligence/426354700
This article from the weekend West Australian newspaper discusses the complexity of domestic surrogacy, and how this is serving as a disincentive for people to find a surrogate within Australia. In my view it is complete madness to create a system which actually makes people view cross border surrogacy as being the easiest choice, and thereby cause them to potentially make emotionally, physically and financially risky decisions in their family creation. It is seriously overdue that Australia creates consistent and streamlined surrogacy processes, and families were terribly let down by the 2016 Federal review into surrogacy led by MP George Christensen. https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/mums-surrogacy-process-plea-ng-b88426015z