Change the World

Is Informal Milk Sharing Safe? What Gay Dads Need to Know

You’ve fallen in love and now you’re planning a family. Or you’ve decided that becoming a loving parent just can’t be put off any longer. You’ve googled "male lactation" (or maybe not?) but in any case you are completely sold on wanting breast milk for your new baby.

Congratulations! You are about to embark on one of the more challenging and confusing decisions of your lifetime. Why? Because it doesn’t just impact you. It’s about your child. This information is intended to help you navigate your choices and make a decision that is right for you and your family.

Obtaining human milk for your baby can be achieved through either formal or informal sources. The FDA and the medical community universally condemn the practice of obtaining milk through informal methods. Because of this, there is very little information about how to navigate this option and minimize risk.

“Informal milk sharing” refers to the process of  obtaining milk from a lactating woman and encompasses a wide variety of situations. Whether you are buying breast milk online from an unknown donor with no testing, or obtaining milk from someone you know, mitigating risks is vital to your decision. The four major risks of using raw milk from an informal source are as follows:

#1) Blood borne infectious diseases can be ruled out with blood tests given every 6 months. The donor should be blood tested for HIV 1 and 2, HTLV I and II, HPV, HCV, Syphilis and (optionally) West Nile Virus and Chagas Disease. If an online donor provides a blood test result, it is vital that you obtain proof that the blood test is from the same person who provided the milk. If your donor is a relative or close friend, it is easier to ensure that the milk they are offering is their own and that the blood test results they are providing are their own.

Caution: There have been reports of unethical people selling milk online and providing their blood test results, but the milk they are offering has been obtained from someone else.

#2) Bacterial contamination occurs when a collection kit or storage container is contaminated with biofilms. For most healthy babies, the risk is minimal. But if your baby is born early or with a compromised immune system, bacterial contamination can present a risk. Excellent hygiene, especially after changing diapers or using the restroom is a must or there is a risk of transferring e. coli, coliforms or enterobacteria into the pumped milk.

Caution: Milk that has already been pumped and stored may have quality problems such as bacterial contamination or may be much older than what the donor claims. Off flavors and off tastes may indicate spoilage bacteria but the absence of such flavors and tastes does not ensure wholesomeness.

#3) Adulteration or dilution with other types of milk is harder to detect and provides an excellent reason to utilize a donor that is known to you or your close circle of friends.

Caution: Dilution with water or other kinds of milk can cause malnutrition which can trigger failure to thrive, serious illness and death.

#4) Prescription drugs, recreational drugs or alcohol use can lead to the presence of these substances in the milk. There is a relatively relaxed attitude regarding recreational drug use and breastfeeding, especially since the legalization of marijuana in many states. But with the increase in drug usage, including research chemicals, the risk to your baby is real. Prescription drugs may be approved by a doctor for a breastfeeding mother, but only if her baby is observed carefully for side effects. Because of this, a donor may choose not to mention her prescription drug use when selling her milk. Alcohol consumption is another consideration.

Caution: Being familiar with the donor’s lifestyle and potential for the use of drugs and alcohol is advisable but is not a guarantee that her milk is drug or alcohol free.

***


Parents often reason that if the donor’s own baby is healthy, her milk must be wholesome and suitable for sharing. One clear exception involves CMV (cytomegalovirus), which is common in the general population. Babies born to CMV positive mothers may have antibodies to protect them contracting the disease. But if your baby does not have the antibody and receives milk from a CMV positive donor, it puts your baby at risk. Please review the information provided by the CDC by visiting this website. https://www.cdc.gov/cmv/congenital-infection.html

If you choose to obtain milk from informal sources, these guidelines may help you. To assure the safety of your donor milk, ready to feed commercially sterile donor milk can be obtained from Medolac Laboratories, A Public Benefit Corporation. www.medolac.com.

 

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Change the World

Your Marriage Should Be Gayer, Says the New York Times

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," lists the many insights LGBTQ marriages can offer straight ones.

According to a fascinating op-ed in the New York Times this week by Stephanie Coontz, author of "Marriage: a History," turns out the people convinced marriage equality — legal across the United States for five years now — would usher in the complete breakdown of civil society should be more worried about the health of their own marriages.

In the article, Coontz details the results of research that followed 756 "midlife" straight marriages, and 378 gay marriages, and found same-sex couples reporting the lowest levels of physiological distress — with male gay couples reporting the lowest. The reason for this, the author said, is pretty simple — misogyny. The idea that men and women should strive for parity in a relationship is still a fairly new idea, Coontz said, and traditional gender roles are still pervasive. Gay couples, meanwhile, are free from such presumptions, which often results in happier, healthier relationships.

The most interesting findings in the research relate to parenting. While gender norms tend to be even more emphasized among straight people once they have children, with the bulk of the childrearing falling to mothers, same-sex couples — once again freed from the stereotypes of the male/female divide — parent more equitably. As the author notes, "A 2015 survey found that almost half of dual-earner, same-sex couples shared laundry duties, compared with just under a third of different-sex couples. And a whopping 74 percent of same-sex couples shared routine child care, compared with only 38 percent of straight couples."

When it comes to time spent with children, men in straight marriages spent the least amount of time and the lowest proportion of "nonwork" time, with their children — while men in same-sex marriages spent just as much time with their children as women in a straight relationship. "The result?" Coontz writes, "Children living with same-sex parents experienced, on average, three and a half hours of parenting time per day, compared with two and a half for children living with a heterosexual couple."

Straight fathers devote the least amount of time — about 55 minutes a day — on their children, which includes things like physical needs, reading, playing, and homework. Gay mothers spent an additional 18 minutes each and straight mothers an additional 23 minutes. Gay fathers spent the most time with their children, the study found, an average of an additional 28 minutes a day.

Taken together, straight couples spend an average of 2 hours and 14 minutes on their children. Lesbian moms spend an additional 13 minutes, while gay men spend 33 more minutes than straight couples.

One factor, the author notes, that can help explain this difference is this: gay parents rarely end up with an unintended or unwanted child, whereas a full 45% percent of pregnancies in straight relationships in 2011 (the last year data is available) were unintended, and 18% were unwanted.

But right. Gay people shouldn't be parents.

Change the World

Uber Driver Accuses Gay Dads of Child Trafficking

An Uber driver in San Diego reportedly accused two gay dads of child trafficking because their child "didn't have a mother."

[An update on this story as of February 17, 2020: Uber Support has still yet to respond to James Moed and his multiple requests from further comment. The driver who falsely accused the gay dads of kidnaping their own child, in fact, continues to "drive around with a "Pro Diamond" status with a 4.93 rating," James said in a recent Tweet.]

On January 29 of this year, James Moed took an Uber with his husband, and their newborn son, to the Marriott Marina hotel in the San Diego area. As their newborn son cried in the backseat of the car, the family's driver offered this piece of helpful advice:

The baby just needs his mother.

Any queer dad has been through this scenario a million times — the dreaded "Where's the Mommy?" question. But even when the dads explained that their son had two fathers, not a mother, the driver "didn't back down," Moed said via Twitter.

Little did the couple realize just how perplexed the driver actually was. At 1:30am in the morning, the couple was greeted by a loud knock on their hotel door. Officers from the Port of San Diego Harbor Police Department were on the other side, demanding to see the couple's identification — and their son's.


"It turns out the Uber driver who had taken us to the hotel had called the cops – accusing us of child trafficking? Endangerment?" Moed wrote on Twitter. Though the situation was quickly resolved, the couple was nonetheless — and understandably — "freaked out."

"What if we hadn't had his passport?" Moed wrote. "Where can my queer family travel safely?"

The couple took their complaints to Uber. In response — they were refunded $10. "Keep your $10," Moed wrote. "We want proof you keep your LGBTQ riders safe."

After Pink News requested further comment from Uber, the company gave the following canned response:

"As soon as we learned of this incident we launched an investigation. Our Community Guidelines make clear that we do not tolerate discrimination."

The dads, however, are keeping up the fights, demanding evidence of some sort of LGBTQ sensitivity training their drivers must undergo. We'll keep you posted as we learn more.

Politics

New Report Finds Paid Family Leave Rising Among Top Employers

PL+US report has found paid family and medical leave policies more popular than ever among nation's top employers

PL+US, an organization that advocates for paid family leave policies for all families, released a report that showed paid family and medical leave policies gaining steam among the nation's top employers. In a first, the non-profit expanded its research this year to examine the largest employment sectors in the country to help show what policies look like for workers in different sectors.

Among the report's main findings:

Keep reading...
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

Keep reading...
Surrogacy for Gay Men

Campaign to Legalize Surrogacy in New York Heats Up with Competing Bills

Two competing bills — one backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo and another by Senator Liz Krueger with stricter provisions — are aiming to legalize surrogacy in New York.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York is once again attempting to legalize commercial surrogacy in the state, which is still just one of three states in the country to forbid the practice.

"This antiquated law is repugnant to our values and we must repeal it once and for all and enact the nation's strongest protections for surrogates and parents choosing to take part in the surrogacy process," Governor Cuomo said in a statement in announcing a broader effort called Love Makes a Family. "This year we must pass gestational surrogacy and expedite the second parent adoption process to complete marriage and family equality."

Keep reading...
Gay Dad Photo Essays

How Single Dads Are Celebrating Valentine's Day This Year

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers! We caught up with 8 single gay dads to see how they plan to celebrate Valentine's Day with this year.

Valentine's Day is not just for lovers; it's also a day to celebrate our loved ones. And that's exactly what these single dads are doing.

Within our community, GWK has a large group of admirable, active, and awesome (!) single dads and we want to honor them! On Valentine's Day, they and their kids celebrate their family unit in the sweetest possible ways. We asked the dads to share these moments with us, and, where possible, one of the most heartwarming things they've experienced with their kids on Valentine's Day to date.

Hear their stories below.

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Gay Dad Photo Essays

11 Gay Couples Share Secrets to Their Long-Term Relationships This Valentine's Day

This Valentine's Day, we spoke with 11 gay dad couples who've been together for almost a decade or longer to learn what's made their relationships last

You're the peanut butter to my jelly, the gin to my tonic, the strawberries to my cream, the Mr. to my Mr.!

Happy Valentine's Day folks! We're excited to celebrate this day of lurrrrvvve by featuring a few dads in our community who've been together for almost a decade or more! And they're ready to share their secrets to a successful relationship and parenting partnership.

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

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