Monday, February 9, 2009

First Impressions

My first impressions of both the Third Party Parenting Network (TPPN) and NYC Gatherings are definitely both positive impressions.


I attended, individually sans spouse, the TPPN meeting last month in January at the home of Elizabeth Silk, one of the group's two moderators. The group was primarily composed of women who have either used donor egg or are considering using DE. There were a few donor sperm participants but we were in the minority. The featured speaker was a former New Yorker and mom to twin boys via DE who lives in Australia but who conceived her boys here in NYC during several months where she returned to NYC for that purpose. She spoke to us about the differences between donor conception practices here in the US versus that in Australia.

Overall the meeting was run much like many group sessions I have been part where the attendees introduce themselves around a circle indicating what brought them to the meeting. The questions & issues raised were generally brought up by the participants perhaps with a little clarification from either Elizabeth Silk or Nancy Kaufman and the answers being provided by other participants.

Hopefully I did not talk too much but I know it was important to me to bring up certain issues regarding the rights of the children we create via donor conception. Certainly of the issues discussed the issue of disclosure to the children was of importance to everyone that attended. In addition the issues age, selecting donors and DE programs were of importance to the group.

There was only man in attendance and he was there also regarding DE and was there for both his and his wife’s benefit. I give him a lot of credit for showing up by himself. My goal is to hopefully bring more men to the group and more participation by donor sperm families.

NYC Gatherings

This past Sunday we attended our first NYC Gathering meeting on the Upper West Side as organized by Sara Axel. We were not totally sure what to expect as I was told the meetings with kids are less structured and that is what we found. The kids were running around in the space provided and rather than all the parents participating in a large discussion circle the parents were basically engaged in several smaller discussions much like any large play date.

Again like the TPPN meeting the bulk of the attendees were donor egg and there were also two couples who were attending who did not have children who were looking to speak with other parents to educate themselves about the relevant issues.

This was my wife's first donor conception related meeting of any kind and other than having discussed the issues with friends or the few individuals / families we know personally I give her credit for being able to jump right in and be so involved in the varied discussions. Like many bio parents she wil be the first to admit she at times would like to simply move on from donor conception as she generally sees it as a non-issue (from her perspective) although she has heard me speak enough to understand this is hardly the case as the issue is about the kids and how they will later process their stories and our decisions.

Again like the TPPN, each of the individuals we met were very nice and all obviously struggled with infertility and found themselves at this juncture. As opposed to the individuals at the TPPN meeting where disclosure issues were clearly discussed the NYC Gathering meeting was more about the social connections between the families and the kids.

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