Most people are past the point of believing that GLBT people can’t have children – it’s no longer a radical idea that families can be made up of two mums, two dads and other family members who wish to be involved in the raising of a child. express loves to publish success stories of happy GLBT families raising kids. But what happens if finding the right people to start a family with just isn’t happening for you?
A new group called Alternative Families has set itself up through an online network called “Meet Up”. Alternative Families is open to people who want to create children for themselves or for others – whether you’re a potential co-parent, donor, recipient or surrogate, Alternative Families wants to hear from you.
Group spokesperson Maria says the group has been up and running since last year and has helped bring together people who want to pursue being parents but need to find an alternative route to fulfilling that dream.
“The group is quite a diverse mixture and includes both gay and straight members,” says Maria. “We meet for casual gatherings where people can get to know each other, share their experiences and get ideas on what options might be available to them.”
Maria says, “Despite being brought up with the idea that life is about meeting the ‘right’ person and living happily ever after with a house and kids and a pet…. most of us now see that, for many, this is not happening as often as we’d hope, for many reasons. For those who long to have children, it can be tempting to despair of this being possible.
“There is also the combined concern of finding the perfect partner who is not only in it for the long haul, but also who is ready and suitable to be a parent. Not to mention the challenges with managing ‘alternative’ ways of making babies and also increased fertility problems in the population.”
Despite these challenges, modern medical technology has advanced markedly in the past ten years, particularly in the territory of ‘Assisted Reproductive Technology’ (ART). There have also been major changes in the laws related to this, which has made many other options available to New Zealanders.
Maria says, “In the spirit of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, we can see that sincere people can link up and put together the pieces necessary to not just create a child, but potentially contribute to its life and future. ‘Co-parenting’ arrangements allow those who have the love and commitment to give to a child to create an ‘alternative family’ where the child’s needs are a priority.
“It seems that with ART there will be increasing numbers of children being conceived outside the ‘nuclear family’ context and these new families will be part of our changing communities. We think it is important that people can learn about these new potentials so they can understand and support them in the community.”
If you would like to know more about Alternative Families, visit www.meetup.com/alternative-family.