Who is the ParentA recent article in the NY Post shows the growing legal complications of assisted reproductive technologies when it involves third party parenting.  The focus is on same sex couples and specifically when the relationships break up. Ironically the gender bias for custody is complicated if not ironically gone. The child traditionally going to the mother? Not so fast! Which one?  Which dad? The legal situation of custody can get more complicated when 4 people are claiming parenting rights.

While the focus on same sex couple is warranted, the article is correct in saying the legal outcomes will influence heterosexual couples as well. The article identifies three types of parents: biological parents, legal parents, or parents through the “assumption of legitimacy,” or in other words the person who is doing the parenting. Multiple categories are always the case for same sex couples, but are also the case with heterosexual couples any time third party reproduction is involved.

Judaism also has a similar spread of parenting definitions although they have different implications. In recent Jewish legal rulings, terms such as “intended parents” before the birth and “social parents” after the fact have surfaced to try to capture the on-the-ground “legitimacy” of parents who assume that role by living it. It is complicated enough, and sometimes sensitive enough, to be reminded of the definitions when one is not a biological parent whether a Jewish or a secular issue. Things are certain to get tricky when the legal system has to make the judgement of “legitimacy” without explicit predetermined definitions and multiple people are claiming the legitimacy.

One item missing from the article is the ability for same sex couples to adopt a non-biological child they are parenting. The article implies that this would solve a lot of problems. However, some couples do not adopt because it is/was legally difficult or impossible. The difficulty is usually not the case for heterosexual couples, although the laws are unclear and vary between states for third party reproduction.

Hasidah often gets asked about criteria for choosing a fertility clinic. Considering the clinic’s legal coverage is an answer that surprises people when we say it should be a consideration. Often the intentions seem obvious and the legality seems unnecessary to people when they are going through the process of insemination or IVF with a donor.   The “intended parents” for sure have true intentions and complications down the road can seem to distant or hard to believe in the midst of a dealing with infertility and focusing so much on just trying to have a child.

True intentions may be the case at the start, but life happens and people change their minds.

This article points out an important lesson: if a third party is involved in the reproduction process, make sure the legal aspects are considered and addressed. Before the fact.

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Can you tell which one is "real" and which is "synthetic"?

Can you tell which one is “real” and which is “synthetic”?

Recently Dolce & Gabbana made some comments that were less than kind to the ears of anyone who has struggled to have a child. Make that anyone who thought about parenting, appreciates parenting, is a parent, has a parent. Add in anyone who cares about having babies or appreciates children. Make that just anyone.

Dolce said, “I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog.”

A New York Times article shared some of the comments,  reactions, and eerie silence that ensued.  As an organization founded to support those who want to be parents and can benefit from IVF, Hasidah is very clear about who we serve, why and for what greater good. Here are some of the problems with D&G’s comments:

1) Unenlightened – Do they know that sometimes IVF is due to chemotherapy, genetic diseases, or other instances when the “world as it should be” has shown itself to be cruel and unforgiving?

2) Highly insensitive – Many of the couples who undergo IVF have experienced numerous losses, financial strain, and deep emotional pain in their paths to become parents. This is not political incorrectness. This delegitimizes their yearning for parenthood, their authenticity as parents, and the trials they went through to bring a real living soul into this world. And on that note…

3) Even more highly insensitive – It is extreme thoughtlessness and its own form of cruelty to suggest that these children are “less than” in any way. Those parents who have been through IVF would have a case to argue quite the opposite.  Would they look at an 8 year old boy along with his desperately grateful parents and tell him he was synthetic? That he is somehow less a child of God than any other?

To backtrack and say this is their opinion and it’s fine for others to feel differently does not undo their characterization. It is not an apology in anyway and cannot repair the insult to the parents and the children they offended.

The upshot? We just received our first contribution to help fund couples in need of IVF “in honour of Dolce & Gabbana.” Feel free to join.


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The costs of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be a serious roadblock for many who might benefit from their use. Helping defray those costs is our goal. Below are a couple recent articles in the news about the costs of IVF:




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