People Have Been Adopting Leftover Frozen In Vitro Embryos; and Bringing Them to Life

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There are now well over one million embryos frozen in storage in the United States, many left over by people who have completed their families through IVF. Rather than discarding the frozen embryos or donating them to science, many families are now choosing to put their embryos up for adoption to give them a chance at life.

Embryo adoption is the newest nationwide trend in adoption and is gaining a lot of popularity.  In fact, the 500th baby was born last month to a loving and adoptive family as part of the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program. This program allows couple to adopt embryos, some of which have been frozen for more than a decade, to become healthy, happy babies and children!


Couples who have used donated embryos to achieve pregnancy have learned that genetics really don’t matter at all, says Kimberly Tyson, director of the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program.  What matters is they experienced what it was like to be pregnant and give birth to their child, the child they adopted just nine months earlier than ‘normal’.

The babies born this unique and special way to their adoptive parents are known as “Snowflake Babies“.  The Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program is celebrating its 20th anniversary since being first established in 1997 as the first program of its kind in the world.

Since that time, more than 1,400 babies have been born to families following an embryo adoption model. Working with fertility clinics, the program allows couples to place their remaining embryos from their in vitro fertilization treatment with a family of their choice, just like with traditional adoption of a live child.

The difference is actually a bonus: the woman who gives birth to this non-genetic child is declared the legal mother of the child on the birth certificate and the man to whom she is married is declared the father.  No court finalizations are necessary to affirm parentage, as with adoption.

There is a higher cost than  simple frozen embryo transfer at a clinic.

“That’s because the adoption agency is providing both families with security of the placement,” Tyson declares.  “The agency is encouraging an open relationship between two families who are both parenting full genetic siblings. The agency is helping the right two families connect with one another.  No secrecy.”

Many embryo adoption organizations have embryos waiting for families to adopt them, she adds.  “Families placing their embryos for adoption are attracted to the fact they can have some control regarding who receives their embryo gift.”

If you are interested in learning more about embryo adoption visit www.embryoadoption.org or www.snowflakes.org.

Editor’s note: In vitro fertilization, surrogacy and other artificial means of impregnating a woman who eventually gives birth to a human child are excellent ways for couples struggling to have a baby achieve their dream.

However, these processes are also controversial for Catholics, pro-lifers, like myself, and others who struggle over the fact that fertilized eggs that would otherwise develop into a human child, but are leftover or unwanted are destroyed every year.

Embryo adoption provides some comfort in knowing that the leftover eggs are saved and donated to other couples who cannot conceive on their own; or women who want a baby but are without a partner. Bravo!

10 Easy Valentine’s Day Activities Your Kids will Love

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Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and soon you’ll be scrambling to find activities for your little ones to do while celebrating the day together! Here are a few ideas to get you going.

  1. Make heart shaped pancakes – Make heart shaped pancakes for breakfast! Put pancake batter into a squeeze bottle and draw heart pancakes on the griddle! You can also cut sandwiches, deli meats, and fruits into heart shapes using cookie cutters. Creating heart shaped cupcakes or muffins is simple, just drop a marble or rolled up piece of tinfoil between the baking liner and muffin tin before baking to create an indent in the finished product, it will look just like a heart!
  2. Create a conversation heart wreath – Cut the middle out of a paper plate to create a ring. Have your children help you cut out hearts and write short messages on them such as “I love you” or “You rock” and glue the hearts onto the ring to create a conversation heart wreath. Be creative with your phrases and make them special to your family.
  3. Make your own valentines – Younger children will usually have a party in their classroom to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their classmates, so take some time to help your child create their own cards. They don’t have to be fancy, all you need is some construction paper, glitter glue, stickers, doilies, and adhesive to jump start the creativity in your child. Encourage your child to be creative and let them create whatever they want to, the cards don’t all have to be the same as long as there is one for every child in their class.
  4. Valentine’s Day scramble – Post a piece of paper on the wall that has the words “Valentine’s Day” on it and see how many words you can create from those letters, adjusting to the age of the children around you. How many words can you find? You could also add the traditional candy heart phrases and see what additional words you can make using those letters.
  5. Hold a Valentine’s Day dance party – Invite your neighbors over for a fun, family friendly dance party! Decorate the room with streamers and balloons, choose a few fun songs together, and get ready to dance!
  6. Themed worksheets – A quick search online will turn up dozens of Valentine’s Day themed worksheets, from math sheets to crosswords, so you can easily find something meet your child’s needs.
  7. Love themed books – Hit up the library for books with a Valentine’s Day or love theme; most libraries will have seasonally appropriate books on a separate shelf, which makes finding them easy. Check a few out and read them together!
  8. Create coupon books for family members – Talk about what love is and what it means and then discuss various coupons you could create to show family members that you care about them. Offer to walk the dog for free, give a back rub, have one on one time, play a game together or offer to sweep the floor. The receiver can then choose when to redeem the coupons. Coupon books are a great way for kids to be able to give back to the family without a monetary contribution.
  9. Go pink and red! – Create a pink and red theme! Pink lemonade, strawberry milk, cupcakes with pink frosting, watermelon, beets, strawberries, and apples are all great pink and red foods to offer for snack time.
  10. Make a paper heart chain – Use your cutting and gluing skills to create a chain of hearts to hang up in your house! You can either create a chain by cutting hearts out like you would with paper dolls or cut out hearts together and tape or staple them together to create a chain of unique hearts. Hang them where everyone can enjoy them.

Children love to celebrate holidays and Valentine’s Day is an especially fun holiday to celebrate together. It’s a great time to discuss what love and family means and why it’s so important to recognize it together.


reprinted with permission

This weekend: Stock Up on $2.99 Gymboree Play Clothes: FREE Shipping!

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Great news for my planning parents out there who bulk shop for clothes one season ahead! This weekend, Gymbortee.com, one of THE best sources for top quality, long-lasting, fashionable baby and kids’ clothing, are having a big sale!

And the best thing is that shoppers get to This Weekend, something  FREE!

This Weekend, enjoy FREE SHIPPING ON All ORDERS at Gymboree



kids-clothes-baby-clothes-toddler-clothes-at-gymboree3 Shipping on all orders This Weekend, enjoy kids-clothes-baby-clothes-toddler-clothes-at-gymboreeFREE SHIPPING at Gymboree

Pley’s Disney Princess Monthly Subscription Box is Here!

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With the decline of retailers (more than 1,600 stores  set to close this year) and the growth of online shopping, subscription box services are on the rise – offering wine, cosmetics and even beard lotion to your doorstep.

Now, our little princesses can finally get in on the fun! This month, toy subscription box company Pley launched a brand-new limited edition, Disney Princess subscription, mystery box designed to empower girls.


For just $24.99 you’ll get a mystery box containing between 4-8 Disney Princess toys, activities and fashion accessories (all have $50+ retail value).

Each bi-monthly box tells the story of a new princess and, like a rags-to-riches princess story, the shipping box magically transforms into a castle, boat, or tower that can be decorated and played with, both reducing waste and increasing play value.

Little girls everywhere will anxiously await the sound of the doorbell, announcing their Disney Princess Pley Box delivery.

“Instead of throwing the packaging away, our physical shipping boxes become a part of the princesses’ story. Each box has instructions that transform the shipping box into a playable toy such as a castle, boat or a carriage that can be decorated and played with,” said Pley CEO Ranan Lachman. “We call it ‘Pleycycle,” and are proud to be a leader in reducing the environmental footprint of toy packaging.”

The box will be offered at a limited quantity and timed for delivery with the new Beauty and the Beast movie, a live-action retelling of the Disney classic coming to theaters in March!

See the trailer below:

Three Things For Kids I am Really Digging Right Now!

cereal-1444495_960_720-1I was telling a friend today that I am in constant awe of all of the new inventive contraptions and inventions that are available to modern parents

I receive tons of email informing me of all the great new products on shelves and services.

Here are just three I’m digging:

1


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The fact that Epic, the proverbial “Netflix of Children’s Books” is offering two months free of their services to celebrate the month of love & friendship.

For like $5 a month, your kid gets access to thousands of children’s titles they can access on a tablet, computer or some other mobile device.

2

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These slap watches with a variety of fun collectible designs by Watchitude.

Because they go on like a slap bracelet, your little time-teller from age 4 to 12 doesn’t have to worry about buckles and adjusting straps for their tiny wrists. My 9 and 11 year old tried a donut and water-designed watches and loved them!

They are water resistant, splash proof, withstands rain, sweat and splashing and starting around $21, you cannot beat the price!

3

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In these hectic times, helping kids adjust and cope with life and given that 95% of our behavioral patterns are established by age 6, it’s essential that we start molding kids from a young age

Couple this with the fact that we all experience with rudeness, road rage, bullying, angry airplane passengers, and insults to people of differing views – it’s clear we need to start early to regain our nation’s values and civility.

To make changes, we must teach our children, and brain science tells us that the best time to teach children is from birth to age seven — or even in utero, since babies recognize words, sounds and feelings while in the womb.

There’s a new series of cute board books featuring easy-to-remember rhymes for little ones featuring Max, his little sister Molly and other adorable animal characters.

Written by Todd and Jackie Courtney to create a positive belief system and positive self-image, they even call the books “self-help books for toddlers!”

I checked out “Be Responsibile like Max” and am loving it. I plan to gift it to a special little kid I know.

Even Though Dads Are Stepping Up, Moms Still Parent More

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Many believe parenting has improved in recent years as roles, responsibilities and duties between the mother and father have changed. Experts say dads today are more involved in their kids’ lives and doing more parenting than ever but has the pressure lessened among mothers? Does equal parenting really exist?

Psychologist Sarah Schoppe-Sullivan explores the question on equal parenting in The Conversation. She did a research on families with moms and dads who are together and who both juggle jobs and parenting duties.


She acknowledged there is some progress as a dad’s role in the family has shifted based on a Pew Research analysis. It stated the number of stay-at-home fathers is increasing and dads today spend an average of seven hours on child-care compared to two and a half hours among dads in the ’60s.

Even with that promising data, however, the role of moms have not been reduced. In fact, mothers have also taken on the role as family providers like dads. Moms have also been doing more multitasking, managing and organizing than ever before as the children’s swirl of activities increase.

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Here are 72 Parenting Blogs To Bookmark and Follow

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If you are on the hunt for more awesome mom blogs to check out, then head over to ParentsNeed.com which has curated a list of 72. Bellyitch is among the other informative, entertaining and worthwhile blogs listed.

About Bellyitch, ParentsNeed wrote:


Are you a mom to be, and you and your partner still haven’t decided on a name for the baby? Do you want to be part of the stylish parent community? Well, this is definitely the site for you! From red carpet, to parenting, to stylish clothes for you as well as your little one, it is all right here! The best thing is that there is plenty of advice about pregnant women and new parents which will help you in every aspect on raising up your precious little one. It is one blog with is definitely worth taking a peek at!

We’re flattered and honored to be included!

Check out the entire list here!

STUDY: Smoke While Pregnant and Your Kid May Become Schizophrenic

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A study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York State Psychiatric Institute and colleagues in Finland reports an association between smoking during pregnancy and increased risk for schizophrenia in children.

Results show that a higher maternal nicotine level in the mother’s blood was associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia among their offspring.


Findings are published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The paper evaluated nearly 1,000 cases of schizophrenia and matched controls among offspring born in Finland from 1983-1998 who were ascertained from the country’s national registry.

Heavy maternal nicotine exposure was associated with a 38-percent increased odds of schizophrenia.

The findings persisted after adjusting for factors, including maternal and parental psychiatric history, socioeconomic status, and maternal age.

“To our knowledge, this is the first biomarker-based study to show a relationship between fetal nicotine exposure and schizophrenia,” said Alan Brown, MD, MPH, senior author and Mailman School professor of Epidemiology and professor of Psychiatry at CUMC.

“We employed a nationwide sample with the highest number of schizophrenia cases to date in a study of this type.”

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Help Your Child Cope With Your Impending Divorce With These Tips (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Divorce is a painful ordeal, not just for the couple that endures it but also for any children of a fractured union. Kids are strong but divorce can leave them uncertain, angry, frightened and depressed.

Parents want to ease the pain and assure their children that all will be well in the end. The folks at Browells put together an Infographic with ideas on how to reduce a child’s pain while enduring their well-being during the transition:




by Browell Smith & Co

Western Parenting Styles Influence the World, But ‘Tiger Mom’ Style Is Now Enticing

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Historically, Western societies’ methods of parenting have managed to influence the child-rearing habits of other parts of the world, in particular, Asia, but the tide is shifting as more parents in America and Europe begin to adopt the “Tiger Mom” structure.

So says University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education Professor of Applied Psychology Dr Xinyin Chen who analyzed the parenting styles in the West which encourages individualism to the parenting styles in the East which emphasizes collectivism.


“In most Western societies, such as Europe and the US, individualism, independence and self-orientation are viewed as important,” Chen writes in an article published today in Child and Family Blog. “Parents encourage their children to develop skills that support these values, such as assertiveness, self-confidence, self-expression and autonomy. They want their children to develop a positive sense of self and personal worth.”

In the piece titled, “East and West May be Reshaping Each Other’s Parenting,” Chen compared more westernized parenting styles to those of Eastern world nations.

“In more collectivist cultures, such China and Korea, parents are expected to assume greater responsibilities in child development,” Chen wrote. “To fulfill that expectation, they tend to be highly involved in child rearing and child education, sometimes using ‘high power’ strategies.”

Where American parents may engage children more, Asian and Eastern parents do not as much.

“They may order their children to do certain things, providing little explanation or reasoning. They want their children to obey them, so they emphasize compliance and obedience.” Chen states.  “In a ‘high power’ approach, if children don’t listen, parents may use force or punishment. This approach reflects the parents’ goals: to develop children who listen and who learn qualities such as cooperation, compliance and self-control, which could be useful for adapting to the society.”

But each model has its own benefits, he argues.

“The US emphasizes individuality and self-confidence, which have been seen as cornerstones of economic success,” writes Chen. “But the message from Japan, China and Korea is that their traditional values—self-control, modesty and compliance—might lead to greater achievement.”

He credits globalization and industrialization for the infusion of Westernization of Asian, African and South American cultures with these societies growing “more individualistic, and parents are adapting their child-rearing styles and values.”

And as parents rely less on their children to care for them in their older years, Chen notices that “parents say they are raising children more for enjoyment. They want their children to develop independent skills and positive self-esteem.”

Likewise, teens in China are reporting that “over the past 15 years, parents have become less authoritarian and less power-assertive, as well as more sensitive to their feelings and needs, encouraging them to exercise greater independence and autonomy.”

But in the same vein, in the West, attention to “Tiger Moms” and because of immigration, and the growing multiculturalism of the West, parents in America and Europe are getting exposed to the child rearing habits of people from Asian, Africa and South America. Peer group interactions contribute to a melting pot of values where children learn from peers with different cultural values, and parents, too,  “also have increasing opportunities to learn about new values through their interactions with families of different backgrounds,” Chen notes.

“In the West, concerns about the importance of education have made parents ready for fresh thinking” he adds. “They’re open to the idea that pushing their children hard to achieve academically may have something more to offer than laissez-faire Western approaches that have failed some children.”

Read Chen’s blog article HERE