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Hasidah has opened a new cycle and is currently accepting applications for in vitro fertilization (IVF) grants and loans. Funding is available for people in the Jewish community, throughout the United States, who require IVF in order to have children and need financial assistance for treatment. The deadline for applications is Thursday, March 30. Interested parties should visit https://hasidah.org/financial-resources/grants-and-loans/ for application information.

Hasidah is the voice of hope and compassion that raises awareness of infertility, connects people to support, and reduces financial barriers to treatment in the Jewish community. Now in its third year of operation, Hasidah has previously completed four cycles of funding for families combating infertility in the Jewish community. The organization also offers support networks for struggling families, advocacy training for clergy and online resources of news in the fertility realm.

Hasidah is the Hebrew word for stork. The root of the word (Hesed) means loving-kindness. Hasidah was founded on the belief that one of the greatest gifts of loving-kindness is helping couples struggling with infertility to become parents. Hasidah believes that Jewish families are the core of Jewish life and children are the source of our future, and therefore is dedicated to the work of addressing infertility, financially supporting treatment, and promoting awareness in our community. Building Jewish families is existentially important for our future. Hasidah understands that having Jewish children is a birthright and the community has a responsibility to help make that happen.

Contact: Rabbi Idit Solomon, (415) 323-3226, Idit@Hasidah.org

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Hasidah’s founder and CEO, Rabbi Idit Solomon,  has an article published in Kveller. Many people assume that once someone is pregnant the pain of infertility is gone. This well received post explores how the effects of infertility continue even after pregnancy is achieved

For more information on the topic and additional support resources, see this wonderful article at OurBodiesOurselves.

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Pack your bags! Is it the beach, the mountains, the slopes, the amusement park, or the ranch? Maybe the spa? How about the clinic…

More and more people are traveling to seek medical treatment and infertility is no exception at all. Someone recently asked us about infertility in the US and around the world and how much travel people do for treatment. Considering there is no international data collection, it is difficult to answer. However, a recent article came out exploring that very question. Here are some facts about ReproTourism around the world.

  • Belgium – first for their invention of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) which helped address male factors
  • Spain – best country for egg donation
  • Latin America – two major hubs for tourism
  • India – over 500 clinics (but debatable hub for surrogacy now)

Another trend is that medical tourism used to be from poorer regions to wealthier countries. ReproTravel is often the opposite. Treatment has become much easier and costs in less developed countries make it attractive.

Biggest reason for travel besides costs? Friendlier legislation. You can only have a treatment if the procedure is legal.

See the full article.

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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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We are thrilled to be launching our website and beginning the work needed to establish the Hasidah Foundation. There are many support groups and resources for people experiencing infertility, but we are starting with a simple focus – financial support for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).  The Jewish tradition values family building highly and for many people the financial roadblock to benefit from ART can be insurmountable.  We want to help.

This blog will provide updates about our progress as we establish Hasidah and share insights into the world of infertility and treatment.

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