This Week in Queer Parenting

Whoa! You go on holidays for a week and everything explodes — wouldn’t you know it. Quite a bit happened in the world of LGBT parenting while I was away. Here’s a quick recap for the week of September 8 – 15, 2013.

Back in February, I mentioned a new TV series in Canada called Seed. It’s about a sperm donor named Harry and his interactions with several of his donor families, including a lesbian couple. Good news! The series has now been picked up for US distribution on the CW Network. No word yet on when it will air down south. Here in Canada, where the show airs on the City TV network, the second season begins filming this fall. Seed is the highest-rated comedy in City TV’s history.

Survivor winner Richard Hatch revealed he – gasp! – donated regularly to the Cryobank sperm bank when he was in university and – gasp! – is now the biological father to many children. The mainstream media seem to find this fact titillating though what’s so scandalous about it is beyond me. Men donate to sperm banks, women use the sperm — that’s how it works. Anyway, a couple of Hatch’s bio kids have tracked him down through the Donor Sibling Registry. There’s a picture of two of them here.

A German became the first transgender man to give birth in Europe, the Telegraph reported. The man, who used a sperm donor to get pregnant, had the baby at home so he could be added to the child’s birth certificate as father. (If he’d given birth in the hospital, he would have been listed as the child’s mother on the birth certificate.)

In Japan, a trans man has been denied a legal parental claim to his son. The man’s wife conceived the child with donor sperm, so under Japanese law, the child was registered at birth as being born out of wedlock even though his parents are legally married.

Despite recently legalizing gay marriage, it seems New Zealand has a ways to go when it comes to protections and rights for its LGBT citizens. Two gay Kiwis, who’ve been together for 20 years and have three kids by an American surrogate, are being told their kids can’t have New Zealand citizenship. The country’s surrogacy laws, which haven’t been updated since 1969, state that a surrogate and her partner are a child’s legal parents.

In Australia, where commercial surrogacy is illegal and even going overseas for surrogacy risks fines and imprisonment, the number of hopeful parents going to India and Thailand for surrogates is soaring. While only straight couples can access surrogacy in India now, the service is still available to gay couples in Thailand. Surrogacy in Thailand is not well regulated and most procedures fly under the radar. However, that may soon change as the Medical Council of Thailand is currently considering revisions to the country’s laws. Meanwhile, over in India, the women and child development ministry is proposing that surrogacy be available to everyone, whether they’re married or not. There was no mention of whether the proposed shift in the regulations would once again allow gay couples to access surrogate services in the country.

In Sweden, doctors are preparing an IVF procedure for a young woman. The reason it’s making headlines? Her womb was donated by her mother and implanted in her a year ago. It’s not an LGBT story, but I thought the reproductive science was interesting.

2 thoughts on “This Week in Queer Parenting

  1. Kavanaugh says:

    Somehow I doubt the German father is the first trans man to give birth in Europe… just the first one the media has picked up. I remember vividly Thomas Beatie being hailed as the first pregnant man, when I know or know of trans men who gave birth before him; they just didn’t pursue media attention (and went out of their way to avoid it). Not that the German dad seems to be seeking the spotlight like that–far from it! But now that people are aware that trans men sometimes give birth, it’s harder to fly under the radar. I dislike the way the media often sensationalizes the issue as if trans people having children is not a perfectly natural biological phenomenon.

    1. Qparent Qparent says:

      You raise a good point. Thomas Beatie is generally cited as the first — but if you know of others before him, then there were probably others in Europe before the German man. Thanks for your comment.

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