In Philly, prospective LGBTQ+ parents receive guidance on adoption, other issues from local experts

The annual Paths to Parenthood program, put on by Philadelphia Family Pride, runs until July 27

By: - July 9, 2023 6:30 am

Attendees at a Paths to Parenthood Sessions (Philadelphia Gay News photo).

By Michele Zipkin 

PHILADELPHIA — Prospective LGBTQ+ parents still have opportunities to attend in-person sessions on adoption, how to get pregnant with donor sperm, becoming an LGBTQ+ foster parent, the legality around starting a family as a queer parent and more.

Philadelphia Family Pride’s (PFP) annual Paths to Parenthood series started June 29 and continues through July 27. In addition to educational materials, attendees can take advantage of social sessions to interact with other prospective parents.

“Paths to Parenthood provides LGBTQ+ individuals with an opportunity to interface with local ‘experts’ on various avenues to becoming parents, to hear from current parents about their experiences, and to build community with other queer people in the greater Philadelphia area,” said Charlotte Masters, a summer intern at PFP. “It provides a space for dialogue around the nuances and intricacies of queer parenthood that is difficult to find elsewhere and fosters an inclusive environment in which individuals can both share and exchange knowledge with others.”

Upcoming sessions include “Achieving Pregnancy with Donor Sperm,” led by Dr. Jackie Gutmann of Reproductive Medicine Associates (RMA) Philadelphia and Victoria Dean of Refuge Midwifery, scheduled for July 11; and “Becoming an LGBTQIA+ Foster Parent,” led by Dionne Showell, staffer at the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, is coming up on July 13. Both sessions will be held at galaei.

At least two other upcoming sessions will be held at Penn LGBT Center. These include “Choosing a Sperm Donor” on July 18, and “Legal Considerations for Building Your LGBTQIA+ Family,” with Rebecca Nayak — PFP board member and adoption and assisted reproduction attorney at Jerner Law Group — facilitating the latter.

The session “Adoption Options,” led by Tiffany Byrd, interim executive vice president of A Second Chance, and an end of summer party and debrief are scheduled for July 25 and 27, respectively, with locations to be determined.

Upcoming Paths to Parenthood Sessions

All sessions take place 5:30-7 p.m. in various locations. For the full schedule, click here.

July 11 — Achieving Pregnancy with Donor Sperm

July 13 — Becoming an LGBTQIA+ Foster Parent

July 18 — Choosing a Sperm Donor

July 20 — Legal Considerations for Building Your LGBTQIA+ Family

July 25 — Adoption Options

July 27 — End of Summer Party/Debrief

A dozen people attended the Paths to Parenthood introduction and welcome session on June 29, where they discussed sessions they were planning to attend and what they hoped to take away from them.

“Having a session reserved entirely for introductions and a preview of the summer is a new feature of the Paths to Parenthood program and allowed for people to start building connections with other folks in all stages of their parenthood journey,” Masters said. “Overall, I felt that it helped set a positive and empowering tone for the program and leaned into this year’s goal of community-building. If folks missed the intro session, they are still encouraged to attend any or all of the other sessions.”

The Paths to Parenthood series has been running in various forms for more than 10 years, starting with occasional one-off sessions as part of Equality Forum, Philly Black Pride and PFP’s yearly Family Matters Conference. It became its own, stand-alone series in 2015. Paths to Parenthood ran virtually during the first three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are looking to do more community building now that we are back in person this year,” Masters added. “That was a challenge with the virtual classes on Zoom the last three summers. Parents who connected in the classes years ago are still friends and whose kids play together. We have board members who started with PFP in these classes.”

Sessions are free to attend, thanks to sponsorship from RMA. Plus, guests will be entered into a raffle to win a $2,990 gift certificate for services from California Cryobank or a known donor agreement from Nayak at Jerner Law Group. More prizes are also in the works.

Michele Zipkin is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared

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