Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"They are wrong" - words of wisdom

It's not always easy being the International Surrogacy advocate in the US surrounded by so many domestic agencies, many of whom are adamantly opposed to surrogacy in India and Thailand.  As I walk around ASRM this week, I'm learning that some of this is motivated by financial concerns in general competition for clients, but some is really lack of education about the safe opportunities that do exist in some clinics abroad.  I maintain the belief that there are more people interested in surrogacy than we can even collectively assist - there are enough clients to go around, and it's our job as facilitators to provide the very best information for positive outcomes, considering the budgetary and time constraints that many of us have, particularly here in the US.  This often means heading overseas, and I want to help those people who are brave enough to do what it is they personally need to do to get to family within the bounds of ethics and laws. This comes with a degree of needing and developing some pretty thick skin and strong conviction.

I had the enormous pleasure of meeting a woman at Men Having Babies last week who made an immediate impact on my life and my outlook - Dr. Ann Keissling of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation.  Dr. Keissling, among many other things, has developed a program called SPAR for Special Program of Assisted Reproduction to assist men with special needs, including HIV who wish to become fathers.   Of course being a pioneer in something as controversial as AIDS and HIV, not to mention combined with family building, comes with a lot of criticism, a lot of "no's", and the need for tenacity and a fundamental belief in what you are doing is absolutely the right thing.   Dr. Keissling has such tenacity and core belief system - she KNOWS she is right.  I asked her how she has handled the negativity she's encountered over her long and distinguished career.  She told me that one must move forward with the belief that he/she is right, and others are just wrong.  Period.   That simple.  I had never thought of it that way, and as I made my way back from the Boston Convention center after a rather strong discussion with a domestic agency really opposed to what I am personally doing - I kept repeating Ann's words in my head, "They are wrong".  And, they are!

No one said this was going to be easy, and I accept that.   But I know I'm doing the right thing, I am digging in to find the best ways to handle legal situations, clinic choices, ethical considerations, etc.  I know that I am able to help people, and I know that I am being honest in my approach.   It's going to come with negative words about me, and I'm finding those words to be, simply, "WRONG".   So, thank you Dr. Keissling for that philosophy - you have made my journey as I weed through all that is international surrogacy abroad so much easier.   I have made many changes these past several months and have come to many realizations, the most important being: if one shoe doesn't fit, it's simply the wrong size and move to the shoe that does fit.  It might take a couple of tries along the way, and it might not be Jimmy Choo, but it's important that you know that you are comfortable with your selection, and that your feet and toes aren't going to have blisters at the end of a long night.  JC might be the right fit for some, I'm not disparaging Choo, but if it's not fitting, check out the TOMS.

For MORE information on options for the SPAR program for HIV+ people interested in family building, click http://sementesting.org/

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure who said this, but I love the quote, "Other people's opinion of me is none of my business." People have the right to disagree with me, but I don't have the obligation to make them comfortable with my decisions.


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