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Come Meet Us In Australia If You Are Interested In Surrogacy!

We are heading to the Land Down Under to speak at the Families Through Surrogacy Conference on June 4th and 5th in Brisbane, Australia. We will also be available for private, one-on-one consultations in Melbourne on Thursday, June 2nd and in Sydney on Monday, June 6th.

If you are interested in meeting with our team of professionals for either a meet and greet or private consultation, please email Erick at erick@vmfirm.com.

Look forward to seeing you in Australia!

Nepal Bans Surrogacy, Leaving Hopeful Parents With Few Low-Cost Options

The New York Times takes a look at the dwindling options available to Intended Parents seeking to start a family:

Surrogacy may be the only way for some couples to have biological children by implanting an embryo into a woman who carries the child for them. But many cannot afford the process in developed countries like the United States or Canada and have looked for cheaper options in less-regulated countries like Nepal, India and Thailand. Now, one by one, these nations have shut their doors amid concerns over exploitation of the surrogates, oversight and safety, leaving people of less means without many choices.

You can read the rest of the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/03/world/asia/nepal-bans-surrogacy-leaving-couples-with-few-low-cost-options.html

Lawsuit Imminent After Families Learn Of Sperm Donor’s Failure To Disclose Mental Health Issues

The Toronto Star is reporting that one or more lawsuits will soon be filed against Xytex, a U.S.based sperm bank, alleging fraud and negligent misrepresentation. According to news accounts, at least 26 families have received sperm from Chris Aggeles, now a 39-year-old man from Georgia, who has struggled with schizophrenia, bipolar and narcissistic personality disorders. He also allegedly has served time in jail. The families allege that they were never made aware of this information.

According to the allegations, Mr. Aggeles’ sperm has been used to create 36 children: 19 boys and 17 girls from 26 families. According to the Toronto Star:

Angie Collins opened her laptop one evening in June 2014 to a Facebook message she says “made her heart sink like a lead ball into my stomach.”

It was from a woman in the United States who had used the same sperm donor as she had to get pregnant. They knew each other from an online forum that connects donor-conceived families.

The woman wrote she had learned some unsettling information about their supposedly anonymous donor. He was not the healthy man advertised on his sperm-bank profile. She had discovered he has schizophrenia, a serious mental illness that, according to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, occurs in 10 per cent of people who have a parent with it.

Collins, mother of a then 6-year-old son, and other moms who used the donor’s sperm frantically took to the Internet in search of information they hoped would disprove the revelation.

Instead, “it just kept getting worse and worse,” she recounts in her first exclusive interview since her case made headlines around the world a year ago.

The donor was nothing like the perfectly healthy man — aside from some colour blindness on his dad’s side — touted on the sperm bank’s website. Nor was he working on a PhD in neuroscience engineering en route to becoming a professor of biomedical robotics at a medical school….

As early as this week, she and her partner, Beth Hanson, intend to file a lawsuit against Xytex from Toronto, Hersh says, noting they have retained local legal counsel. More Canadian families may join the legal action.

As well, Hersh says she intends to file additional lawsuits in the United States on behalf of affected American and British families within the next two months.

Allegations against Xytex, which include fraud and negligent misrepresentation, have not been proven in court and the company denies any wrongdoing.

In a recent email, Xytex lawyer Ted Lavender says the company has been in compliance with industry standards. Xytex will “vigorously defend” itself against any new lawsuits and seek to have them dismissed, he writes, adding that he has no further comment at this time.

California Court Of Appeal Issues Temporary Stay Preventing Father From Moving Triplets Out of State

In a surprise ruling, the California Court of Appeal has just issued a temporary stay, preventing a Georgia father from relocating his children out of California:

Melissa Cook – the California surrogate mom at the center of a custody battle over triplets she delivered last month – has been granted a temporary stay on a Los Angeles Court’s ruling that previously granted custody of her newborn triplets to their biological father. The new development prohibits the father, who is based in Georgia, from removing the children from California.

Per the court’s ruling, the infants will remain in California until a new decision has been made by the court. Cook, a Woodland Hills mother of four, filed lawsuits against the triplets’ biological father, asking for custody of the three baby boys and to have California’s surrogacy law declared unconstitutional.

I’ll have more thoughts on this once the ruling becomes available. Needless to say, this is an unexpected development. However, without the benefit of the court’s full ruling, I’d caution against reading too much into this temporary stay.

What A Dad Does

My son sent me this yesterday. And, of course, I cried.

Thank you, Dad.

Donald Trump: History or Human Nature Repeating Itself?

John Toland said, “[I]t was that there are no simple lessons in history, that it is human nature that repeats itself, not history.”


Washington Post: Donald Trump Presents A Threat To American Democracy

The Washington Post has just eviscerated Donald Trump. I do not think I have ever seen a major newspaper issue an editorial like this:

The editorial concludes with this:

There are some Americans, Democrats in particular, who are happy to watch the Republican Party self-destruct with Mr. Trump at the helm. We cannot share in their equanimity. For one thing, though Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, would be heavily favored, a Trump defeat is far from sure. For another, the country needs two healthy parties and, ideally, a contest of ideas and ideology — not a slugfest of insults and bigotry. Mr. Trump’s emergence already has done grave damage to American civility at home and prestige abroad. The cost of a Trump nomination would be far higher.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump offered what was meant as an argument for his nomination. If he reaches the convention with a lead short of an outright majority, and then fails to win, “I think you’d have riots,” Mr. Trump said. “I think you’d have problems like you’ve never seen before. I think bad things would happen.”

A democrat disavows violence, a demagogue wields it as a threat. The Republican Party should recognize the difference, and act on it before it is too late.

Donald Trump’s Campaign Strategy In One Word: Negging

Last night, sitting around the dinner table, I played this video of some of Donald Trump’s most misogynistic comments regarding women. My 20 year old son, who was only listening to the audio, immediately said that he is “negging women”. I had no clue what “negging” was so I took a look.

According to Wikipedia, negging is a rhetorical strategy whereby a person makes a deliberate backhanded compliment or otherwise insulting remark to another person in order to undermine his or her confidence in a way that gains approval. The term was coined and proscribed by the seduction community. The New Statesman describes it as:

Negging, as it is called, is in essence a trick. The idea is to undermine a woman’s confidence by making backhanded or snide remarks – give a compliment with one hand, and take away with the other. It is about control, putting the man in charge of the interaction by pushing the woman to earn his approval….

Here are a few lines that women I interview have had used on them. “You look amazing. What have you done?” “If your face was as good as your legs I’d have to marry you.” “Nice eyes – even though one is bigger than the other.” “How brave of you to wear an outfit like that,” and even: “You have a great body. Are you bulimic?” (The last interviewee adds that she was, at the time, bulimic.)

The New Statesman further describes the origins of negging:

The internet age taught the nerdy kid who was picked on at school that the world was theirs for the taking. The geek shall inherit the earth. Women, who retained an untamed sense of mystery, didn’t fit the matrix. So this community turned the opposite sex into a logical problem which could be solved. These men went online and started comparing notes and running experiments. They stole aspects of neuro-linguistic programming, evolutionary psychology, and some of the techniques of the salesman – the “close”, and so on. Then they hit “the field” looking for “targets”. They wrote field reports detailing what worked, and what didn’t. From this, the early pick-up artists were born.

It fits Donald Trump’s campaign strategy to a tee. The only difference is he has expanded the concept of negging to attack men and women equally. Remember what he said about Mexicans – “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

Negging preys upon people with low self-esteem. People seeking validation. It reduces the victim to strive for validation from the person negging them. And, in doing so, transfers power to the person demeaning them.

And that is how Donald Trump is seducing his supporters. He is nothing more than a repulsive, alpha male pick-up artist, preying upon people’s insecurities.

Donald Trump: ‘Women, You Gotta Treat ‘Em Like Shit’

How could any sober adult, let alone a woman, husband or a parent of a daughter vote for this misogynist? I’m not sure what is worse – his vile rhetoric or the fact that my question isn’t rhetorical.

Donald Trump & Racism In America — Has Anything Really Changed?

I thought we had progressed as a country. But the similarities cannot be ignored. I never thought another African-American girl would have to endure what Elizabeth Eckford did back in 1957 when she simply wanted to attend Little Rock Central High School.


This should be the most important news story in the country. I will not stop beating this drum until Donald Trump and the Republican Party disavow and condemn their racist supporters.

Kudos to Shaun King (@shaunking) for his relentless coverage of this appalling incident.


  • We are re-tooling the blog by giving it a complete face lift. So please excuse the mess as we are updating it. #

Welcome to The Spin Doctor

Blogging about the legal, social and political issues of the day with an emphasis on reproductive rights and bioethics.

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