Monday, October 31, 2005

Are we in limerance yet?

This essay came to me from a apparently originated by a man named David in the U.K.

Most of us have had several 6 month to 1 year relationships that failed to leap over limerance. What does it take to bridge that gap from limerance to lasting love?

> Distinguishing Limerance & Love
> Love is as critical for our minds and bodies as oxygen. The more connected
> we are, the healthier we are both physically and emotionally. The less
> connected we are, the more we are at risk. It is also true that the less
> love we have, the more depression we are likely to experience in our lives.
> Love is probably the best antidepressant there is because one of the most
> common sources of depression is feeling unloved. Family provides this to a
> degree but a being in a loving spousal/partner relationship is the core need
> for most people.
> There is a mythology in our culture that love just happens. As a result, the
> depressed often sit around passively waiting for someone to love them. But
> love doesn't work that way. To get love and keep love you have to go out and
> be active and learn a variety of specific skills. Most of us get our ideas
> of love from popular culture. We come to believe that love is something that
> sweeps us off our feet. But the pop-culture ideal of love consists of
> unrealistic images created for entertainment. We think it is love when it's
> simply distraction and infatuation. One consequence is that when we hit real
> love we become upset and disappointed because there are many things that do
> not fit the cultural ideal. It is then necessary to change one's approach to
> love. Follow these strategies to get more of what you want out of life--to
> love and be loved.
> (1) Recognize the difference between limerance and love. Limerance is the
> psychological state of deep infatuation. It feels good but rarely lasts.
> Limerance is that first stage of mad attraction whereby all the hormones are
> flowing and things feel so right. Limerance lasts, on average, six months.
> It can progress to love. Most love in fact starts out as limerance, but most
> limerance never evolves into love.
> (2) Know that love is a learned skill, not something that comes from
> hormones or emotion particularly. Erich Fromm called it "an act of will."
> (3) Learn good communication skills. They are a means by which (face-to-face
> and email) you develop trust and intensify connection.
> There are always core differences between two people, no matter how good or
> close you are, and if the relationship is going right those differences
> surface. The issue then is to identify the differences and negotiate about
> them so that they don't untowardly distance you. You might be able to do
> that by understanding where the other person is coming from, who that person
> is, and by being able to represent yourself, gently. When the differences
> are known you must be able to negotiate and compromise on them so that, if
> possible, you find that common ground that works for both.
> (4) Focus on the other person. Rather than focus on what you are getting and
> how you are being treated, read your partner's need. What does this person
> really need for his/her own well-being?
> (5) Develop the ability to accommodate "simultaneous reality". The loved
> one's reality is as important as your own, and you need to be as aware of it
> as of your own. What are they really saying, what are they really needing?
> (6) Actively dispute within yourself internal messages of inadequacy.
> Sensitivity to rejection is a cardinal feature to address and
> circum-navigate.
> Recognize that the internal voice is strong ----- but it's not "real". Talk
> back to it. "I'm not really being rejected, this isn't really evidence of
> inadequacy". "I made a mistake." Or "this isn't about me, this is something
> I just didn't know how to do and now I'll learn." When you reframe the
> situation to something more adequate, you can act again in an effective way
> and you can perhaps find and also sustain the enduring love that you seek.
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I'm so busted.

The first time I posted "I'm recycling myself" on the Internet, it was a lot more scathing than the version you're reading today. Devon, my ex, was portrayed as a "high rent computer nerd with a heart of cold." Unfairly, and I admit, it was strictly to get sympathy from my readers, I painted him as a pale, sunlight deprived nerd, with bulging eyes and a thin hairline, heartless, self centered and driven.

None of that is really true. But when a man just trickles off and doesn't have the cojones to break up with you, and when he cheerfully announces that he's already spending the day with another woman (had sex with her on the first date), what's a broken hearted gal to do? We're emotional creatures, and we tend to respond viscerally, fight or flight.

Devon doesn't call me much anymore, (nowhere near as often as he used to, back when we had the "when the battery dies on the phone we'll hang up" agreement) but there he was, calling me, smack in the middle of his work day, just minutes after that post went out into the cyber ether.

I was on my daily workout walk, hyperventilating when he called. And somehow (come on, girl, you know you wanted him to read it) I said something about the fact that I was having a technical problem on my blog.

"Oh, let me fix it," Devon said.

"No, no, that's's fine. You don't need to fix it now," I said.

"No, really. Where is it? I can't remember the URL..."

Oh no. I am so BUSTED.

I heard keys frantically clicking in the background.

"No really, I don't want you to read it right now."

I was about 1/4 mile away from my computer at this point, and I turned around and started running.

"Devon, what are you doing?"

"I'm in Google, looking for your blog."

"You'll never find it in Google. It's anonymous."

Shit. This guy's so smart. Any other man would have taken weeks to find it but no...

I'm running back to the house now. I'm panting. Sweat is running down my sides.


He's laughing. "Wait, I'm in Technorati now.....

"Devon? Don't go there...not yet...I haven't finished it yet...I just posted it...."



"Devon? Devon? DEVON!"

The guy reads very very fast.

"Hey, I think I need to go now," he said.

"Devon, talk to me. Devon?"

Monday, October 24, 2005

I'm recycling myself. Yet another Hefty Bag Relationship (TM)

It began on the Internet as love affairs always begin. Innocently. With hope.

"If I could be anywhere...," I wrote in my online profile. "I'd be swimming hand in hand with my lover in clear blue water while the technicolor fish dance around us."

"If I could be anywhere, we would be feeling the dark, the sensuous flow of warm water, the vibrant colors of nightlife while diving amongst the reefs deep at night in Bonaire," he wrote. "... sun sparkling with the lapping waves, my mind devoid of all thought, emoting tranquility…"

A few emails, a telephone call, a dinner I'll remember forever. We snuggled in front of the fireplace until the waitstaff kicked us out, and then stumbled to Sausalito and danced under the stars. Within weeks we were on an exotic trip overseas, he was introducing me to family, it felt like love.

We were there for each other, in a sweet way, like family. It was a year of helping him buy towels at Target on a Saturday night, coaxing him to try on a hipper pair of jeans, patiently waiting as he rebuilt himself after a divorce. It was a year where he coached me through my job challenges, helped me navigate the mysteries of buying a new computer, encouraged me, in a way no man had before, to express myself in words, to be my most authentic self. Almost every night, we called each other and spoke before we went to sleep, sometimes until dawn. It was a relationship of extreme disclosure, at times too much.

And just when Devon was hitting his stride, when everything finally seemed to fall in place in his life, the space for me was smaller. He needed that space to grow, to become his own authentic self, a journey he feared would be limited by one woman and perhaps more exhilirating with several.

I had to say goodbye.

So we clicked on the next profile.

Yet another Hefty Bag Relationship (TM). Here I am, neatly tied up and tossed into the personal ad recycling bin, with my Internet profile spiffed up with a new headline and ready for the next potential suitor (who has just resurfaced after ditching or being ditched by his last.)

And so it goes. We recycle ourselves back into the online personals. And once in a great while someone gets married and goes off the market (semi)permanently. But all too often, we just swap one profile for another, trying new people on like clothes, wearing them to a party without clipping out the price tags and then returning them with the complaint: "This one just didn't fit right."

Every time we had a fight, a fear, a doubt, Devon or I would retreat to the comfort zone of The Profile, and it would come out of hiding. Then, after one particularly mediocre date, or when the indecision waned, we'd shut the profiles away again, and crawl back to each other with open arms. It was an on again, off again thing, in a way that the Internet encouraged. Before Internet dating became so widespread, my relationships had always either been "on" or "off" -- not constantly hovering back and forth between the two.

Was it this way even ten years ago, before it was so easy to find someone you might love? Now it's easier to retreat from every roadblock and argument, squabble and fear. And how many of us were doing it -- the married couples who surreptitiously correspond with strangers from afar, the straight men who dally with gay men from the safety of a screen? How many relationships had ended prematurely, senselessly, simply because there were now so many options that the pain of working things out, accomodating change, facing our demons, was no longer necessary?

It's the relationship equivalent of being downsized. We used to have permanent jobs, permanent loves. Now we are reduced to this constant cycle of being independent contractors working in the temporary agency of relationships, with our resume always out there on the web -- just in case we get laid off.

Out of curiousity I went to the place we met nearly one year ago. Revisiting the personal ad is now the modern day equivalent of walking beneath the tree where we might have kissed the first time and reading the initials a lover carved into the bark. I wanted to see what his ad looked like, now that I had officially broken up with him.

My heart sank into my bowels and I let out a cry.

"Oh no....not that one."

It was photograph of Devon I took just four weeks earlier, while we shared a precious, and to me, intimate moment on the beach. Our vacation. The last time I ever saw him.

Finally we were there, in that place we would be if we could be anywhere. We spent our day swimming hand in hand, a moment of entrusting everything to him in the waves, immersed in psychedellic beauty. He draped a pearl necklace around me while I was almost sleeping, and kissed the nape of my neck. We ate fish tacos at a little stand on the roadside. He had a shaved ice that turned his tongue blue. I coaxed him out on a perfect crescent of clean white sand at Makena beach, coaxed him out of his clothes. I beckoned to him, playfully, come into the water with me.

"Come's beautiful. It's so warm!"

But he remained on shore as I ran, squealing with laughter, splashing the water toward him, as I ran into the body temperature waves and danced with the tide.

Click. Click. Click. Devon, ever behind the screen, beamed his digital camera at me from shore and captured me in the waves.

Our relationship had been slowly dying since he moved away, I knew, but at that moment I took his picture I thought, perhaps, that we weren't breathing the fumes of a love affair's last gasp. It seemed too perfect, that moment, not to continue forever.

I imagined him in a future we might share, visiting all of those places we'd be if we could be anywhere, his agile mind, his love of history, his deep knowledge of the written word, the perfect tour guide to explore a new life. I imagined him, finally in his element, and wondered if I had to let him swim there alone, or if it was possible to reach that place together.

This almost perfect moment was ours alone, one of those pearls in life that I would always cherish. I wouldn't dream of sharing it with millions of strangers on the Internet, or using it to market it myself to someone new, just as I'd never wear that pearl necklace on a date. It had sentimental value. But then, that's me. Pictures hold magic for me. Objects have power. I don't open up immediately, or share my magic with others casually, recklessly.

But now here he was taking that perfect moment frozen in time, a moment that would be one of my most precious memories in life, and posting it on the Internet so he could attract another girl. To me, it was the ultimate slap in the face, the worst thing a man could possibly do to say: "It didn't mean anything to me."

Devon, can you just twist the tines of that fork in my heart and turn it one more time so it really hurts?

It doesn't hurt enough to spend thousands of hours together talking through a man's transitions, and then have him say "I don't want what you want," -- that he needs to go away in order to find himself, and that you're getting in the way.

But to have one of our last moments together captured digitally and used this way, as an advertisement on, it's just plain...tacky.

I picked up the phone and called him and vented to his voice mail. (The late 20th century new millenium way to communicate with your long distance lover.)

"You asshole!"

"What were you thinking? Did it for one moment occur to you that you might hurt my feelings by posting photographs from OUR VACATION in your personal ad? What would other women think of you if they knew the context in which that photograph was taken? Would they respect you? Of course not. Have you considered the karma of your actions?"

Ok. To his credit, at least he didn't take a photograph of us, together, and white out my face, or blur me out, or chop off my body leaving my hand dangling and a few stray hairs on his shoulder. We've all seen this so many times before on Internet personal ads and it's become a cliche.

"Please take those photos out. Now. Please."

Devon eventually called me back, and defended himself, logically.

"No. That was my vacation too. I have a right to those photographs as much as you do."

"It was a private moment!"

"We were on a beach for crying out loud. There were a hundred people there too."

"The body wasn't even cold yet."

Logically, I have to admit, it made sense. But the heart is not about logic, it's about empathy. It's about listening to the hurt in someone's voice and remembering that you once loved them. It's about caring about how they feel, even if they are no longer part of your day-to-day life.

Weeks later, the photographs are still there, photographs of Devon smiling at me on the beach in Maui, advertising him to hopeful Seattle babes who want to meet an ambitious globe-trotting man who so adroitly caresses the written word and wants to swim with her at night in the dark tropical waters of Bonaire. The words are the same ones that seduced me a year ago, the pictures, thanks to me, are a little better now.

Was any woman stupid enough, really, to believe that this image of a man, seemingly naked, similing coyly, laughing in the sun, was taken by anyone but his ex? It's sure not a photo his buddy would have taken.

What would the woman clickhng on that photograph think if she knew the truth? Or did anyone care anymore? I mean, maybe she herself is using photos taken by her ex on their honeymoon, or maybe she's really married and just looking for a fling, or maybe she's just so desperately eager to get her hands on a solvent, single, child-free mid-40s man that the photo doesn't matter at all.

I asked my friend Steven what he thought about it, a guy's point of view. Was I out of line for getting so upset?

"You have every right to feel the way you do," Steven said. "He did this to you before, remember the time you had a fight and he put your photos from your first trip together in his ad when you had just started going out? There was that one of your scarf on a chair, staring right up at you on the Internet. Only you weren't in the chair? He knew it bothered you and now he did it again. I'm so glad you finally broke up. Why are you still stuck on him?"

But sadly, Devon and I are not the only victims of the Hefty Bag Phenemenon out there, not by far. Jake, a guy I had been talking to, again, now that our profiles were both back up out of hiding, had just been recycled. And he wasn't even dating on the Internet.

"I met her at work, at the company picnic. We were just dating casually, sort of a friends with benefits thing. At first, neither one of us thought it had potential. But after time, I developed strong feelings for her.

"And then, one day, she just called me and said: 'I met someone on the Internet, we've been on one date, and I just know he's the love of my life.' And she left me, just like that. I was very hurt. I'm still hurt."

Eric had been divorced for a year, one child, actively looking for an adventurous woman to ski and hike with. But then, during our first (and last) lunch, he somehow let it slip that he had been dating for three years.

"I thought you had been divorced for only one year," I said.

"Well, actually," he admitted, "My wife were best friends, buddies, and we wanted to stay together for our daughter, but I was never in love with her, and over time, the pain of that was unbearable. I was meeting women on Craigslist and having affairs. At first, I was terrified, thinking, what kind of diseased woman would be out here looking for sex? But I was astonished -- these were beautiful, desirable, interesting, educated, high-caliber married women. I had some fantastic experiences -- I even fell in love with one for a while. But now I'm divorced and, to be honest, dating hasn't been as fun." This one definitely belongs in the Hefty Bag, I thought, as I clicked on to the next.

Another recycled man I spoke to, Arthur, was recoiling from the loss of his 20-year marriage. His wife was studying French and would practice her language skills in chat rooms. His wife started taking trips, alone, to visit her new friends in Paris. It turned out that one of her new "friends" was a hunky French fireman (tres chaud!) (who else was up after midnight when it was still mid-afternoon in America?) and she'd been carrying on the steamy affair for months.

It seems to me that even five years ago, couples negotiated these transitions -- when you couldn't just order up a new date like a book on But now that Internet dating has become so widespread, so pervasive, you can just punch in your requirements -- age, zip code, hobbies. There's always someone new to try on for fun, to take to a party, just click on the next profile, and she's there.

And you can test the waters from the privacy of your own home -- right under your girlfriend or spouse's nose -- and then jump immediately from the comfort of one relationship to the next without ever having to endure the painful self reflection that might happen if "you tried to work things out in therapy together" or if you had to endure the loneliness of even one day of downtime between your relationships.

Is anything private anymore? Do moments from our most intimate life have any meaning? Or are they as Devon says, just images that we have a right to. Just photographs. Or just words in a blog like this one.

It's time for a new copyright: "This is an image from my life and you can't use it to meet a new woman. All rights reserved."

But if that was true, then would there be the corrolary: "This is a moment from my life, and you can't write about it, or I'll sue your ass."

Would all of the world's literature suddenly dry up? And as Devon says, does it really matter who took that photograph, or when? It's just a picture. It's just the past. This moment, and the next are the only ones that matter. It's just four million pixels, pinpoints of light, ephemeral, fleeting.

Obviously my feelings are no longer as important at the value that photograph now has in attracting the next woman. After all, smart marketing is what it's all about these days when you're a product competing on the overcrowded shelves in the Internet love superstore. And Devon, ever the saavy Internet guy, has even turned himself into the human equivalent of an "endcap" in Fry's -- paying a little more money for a "Gold" membership so his profile would show up as the first hit in his zip code.

Our last moment together is here in an personal ad, beckoning to new women to fill my void. It's a fitting beginning and ending for love in 2005. It's a world created by computer geniuses like Devon, a world they can confidently conquer and excel in, where smart, articulate men with computer skills finally have an edge over the jocks, where artistic and tech savvy women who are handy with Photoshop have an edge over the genuinely beautiful ones, where ad copywriting skills matter more than flirtatious charm, where we have all reduced ourselves to a commodity that can be rated like a movie, or auctioned off like someone's old toaster on eBay.

But that door is closed now. Find an open one. Just click on the next recycled profile. And maybe, just maybe, one woman's discarded Hefty Bag man will be my new treasure.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Trailer trash quickies

I found this in the "RANTS AND RAVES" section of Craiglist. Was this guy serious about taking his online "No Strings Attached" personal ad hookup into an RV sales lot for a quickie?

He seems to really know what he's talking about...

Re: Where can two people go to have a sex affair?

Well, there are a lot of places depending on how brave you are. I used to go to RV sales lots. You need to find one that has a lot of RVs. Pick one that is on the outskirts of the lot and is either used or dirty but open. You then go in, lock the door and have a quickie. 15 minutes is that max that I would do. If someone tries the door, then you have about 5 minutes before they return--takes them that long to walk back to the office and find the key and come back.

Have done that about 10 times and only got noticed about once. Never got caught, just noticed as we were returning from the waaaay corner of the lot.

Another place is tract homes that are almost finished have doors on them, but not locked. You need to take a blanket for that. Go upstairs to the bathroom and find one that already has hardware on the door and lock it.

Another great place is industrial parks on Saturdays and Sundays, there are plenty that have very little traffic around them, so the back seat will work just fine.

Friday, October 14, 2005

I just want your seeds

The replies to my faux Sperm Donor post were all over the map -- from the most sincere nice guys -- to over the top narcisists. Here are a few:

(Identifying characteristics were changed to protect the identities of these men, who are all too eager to share their DNA.)

Nice guy in San Francisco

I'm 48, 5'11'', SWM, no kids. I tried a similar thing with a Lesbian girl, but she couldn't have kids.

This sounds great, but it would be even better if we hit it off and really could have a loving relationship to share with a child!!!

Mr. Larger than Average

Hey you've described me well enough:

- age 40

- caucasian, or at least 50% Caucasian/European

- height 6'1

- high IQ, well-educated, or very bright -- one conversation is all you'll need to confirm this.

- we find each other sexually attractive -- cuddly boob man, w/a larger than average penis

I have been a child support target once, and have a 9 year old boy to adopted parents. The mother was a "Elite" hacker groupie in the early 90's back when hacking was truly a fun frontier on the net, and I was the sex icon of the hacker gropies, (However, not promiscuous.)

I am an independant software consultant and precocious to a painful degree with the wrong environment to foster my talents. IQ was rated 155 in pre-teen years, and certain numerical tests and reflex tests score off the charts. The Big Lebowski scenario is quite fascinating to me. I have references, for good bad or otherwise; fun in bed.

The GQ Guy

Well first can we start with a picture befor any thing else. (sic)

(Attached was a nude pic entitled "GQ GUY")


Greetings and salutations, that is quite a posting, I can say that I believe that I meet and possibly exceed the qualities and traits you are looking for, I'm very confident that I do. Real life chemistry is really important I have come to learn, it's part of what they call "the dance".

To take part in your selection would be an experience to be sure. I know you are going to pick to someone who you feel is best, I'm open to talking, meeting and getting aquainted. Here is a small first step, this letter to you. I feel willing to give it go. As Marlon Brando says in On The Water Front 'I coulda been a contender'.


You sound just wonderful...

I'm mature, 50, 5'10, 180lbs, brown/green, European born WM - very potent and very fertile...

I'm in quest to find open minded, healthy, responsible and fertile
woman for discreet intimate friendship +...I'd be happy to send you on a way to motherhood right away...

(I bet he'd be happy to send me on my way -- right after ejaculating.)


A brief glimpse of what I'd bring to our gene pool:

Handsome, tall, cultivated 42 yr old Englishman.

Classical musician at highest professional level Martial artist and interest in Eastern philosophy

Well educated and emotionally intelligent

Clean and compassionate spirit

And (just for you) rest assured that I'm a considerate and accomplished lover *smile*

(This man's email address was, ironically, "Shag bolter." I guess he likes to shag and run!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sounds like a male fantasy to me.

I was shocked to find that 40 responses to my faux Craigslist ad flooded my in box almost immediately after I posted the ad. I actually removed the post to staunch the deluge, feeling a little guilty about the fact that it was an experiment rather than a real request.

I'm not sure if the result was disappointing -- or disillusioning. At first, I was invigorated by the kindness and thoughtfulness of many of the replies -- some from men urging me to find a real father for my child. And then an email arrived from a familiar ex-boyfriend.

He was someone I liked a lot -- but who mysteriously stopped contacting me after a few wonderful dates. It made me sad to think this man was unable to be a boyfriend, but willing to be an anonymous sperm donor.

My first message was from "Al Baby":

Sounds like a male fantasy to me. I'm all of the above, but 47. Good luck.


My reply:

Yes, the ad was somewhat an experiment for me to post. And I have been astonished by the response. Many top tier, well educated, handsome men. Oddly enough, one of them is a man I was dating for several months!

It is sad however to see that the very same men who are terrified by the idea of a commitment with me have no problem at all with the idea of a non commitment. It's this realization that makes me realize that what I really want is a man who will love me first and foremost, and an active father. Without that, it is unfair to bring a child into the world.

Al Baby wrote:

This year when I was teaching English to 9th-graders, and when we did our unit on poetry several of the Latinas (they're not many white kids at the school in which I teach) wrote some heart-wrenching poems about fathers leaving, mothers weeping, and their own sense of isolation and helplessness.

Men can and often do turn their back on children. I myself get my paternal instincts out at school with emotionally-needy children. Committment and change is a real fear to the men of my generation; most of us have had real difficulties in becoming mature adults. You really sound like a decent person whose heart's in the right place. Good call on the kid.

My reply:

So true that commitment is a real fear for men of your generation.

Possibly because so many of them were abandoned by one or both parents, either emotionally, or via divorce.

I think of the film the Ice Storm, which is reminiscent in some ways of my own experience as a kid in upper middle class suburbs with parents who sometimes seemed to have no clue what their kids were up to.

Al wrote:

I've never seen the Ice Storm, but I'm reminded of the best-seller of about 25 years ago The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch. Many in our generation became self-absorbed, greedy, and materialistic. When I read it so many years ago (I was a senior in college), I didn't agree with his notion of a breakdown in parental authority causing our personal and societal deficits, as well as his solution of back to basics (including the family). Now I reluctantly tend to agree with his solution that individually and collectively we needed a return to a work ethic, and a strong family unit. In sum (cause I'm rambling), we wanted to avoid the pain of growing up. I don't know if this makes sense, but your experiment offered men an incredible stroking of their ego, as well as a painless accomplishment, because at this point in our lives society tells us we are supposed to have fathered a child. It is a sad fact that most of us are not self-aware and need society to define who we are.

But there still are decent men out there...Good luck in your search

This one was even non-committal about being non-committal.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Should women have the right to have children without even having sex?

This post appeared today on Dialogic. While I don't believe that it is right for women to raise children without the influence of a father, I certainly believe it is a woman's right to make this choice. This is yet another outrageous attempt by the "Moral Majority" to restrict the reproductive freedom of women--particularly lesbians.

Ironically, having sex as an unmarried woman in order to get pregnant will still be legal. But if this boneheaded legislation actually passes, could making sex before marriage illegal be next?

- bd

New Proposed Law in Indiana to Bar Unmarried Women From Having Artifically Inseminated Children

This would make a crime! You know just when you think it can't get any worse...(Courtesy of Melissa Purdue and the Democratic Underground)

We just got a heads up about an upcoming article in NUVO, regarding a draft of the legislation which, among other things, bars unmarried people from having children by articifial means is here

Here's a draft of the story that is running this week. It will be my cover story in two weeks also.

Feel free to pass this info along to every one you know. This has to be stopped! Keep fighting the good fight!

The Crime of "Unauthorized Reproduction": New law will require marriage as a legal condition of motherhood

By Laura McPhee

Republican lawmakers are drafting new legislation that will make marriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana, including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who do become pregnant "by means other than sexual intercourse."According to a draft of the recommended change in state law, every woman in Indiana seeking to become a mother through assisted reproduction therapy such as in vitro fertilization, sperm donation, and egg donation, must first file for a "petition for parentage" in their local county probate court. Only women who are married will be considered for the "gestational certificate" that must be presented to any doctor who facilitates the pregnancy. Further, the "gestational certificate" will only be given to married couples that successfully complete the same screening process currently required by law of adoptive parents.

As the draft of the new law reads now, an intended parent "who knowingly or willingly participates in an artificial reproduction procedure" without court approval, "commits unauthorized reproduction, a Class B misdemeanor." The criminal charges will be the same for physicians who commit "unauthorized practice ofartificial reproduction."

The change in Indiana law to require marriage as a condition for motherhood and criminalizing "unauthorized reproduction" was introduced at a summer meeting of the Indiana General Assembly's Health Finance Commission on September 29 and a final version of the bill will come up for a vote at the next meeting at the end of this month. Republican Senator Patricia Miller is both the Health Finance Commission Chair and the sponsor of the bill. She believes the new law will protect children in the state of Indiana and make parenting laws more explicit.

According to Sen. Miller, the laws prohibiting surrogacy in the state of Indiana are currently too vague and unenforceable, and that is the purpose of the new legislation."But it's not just surrogacy," Miller told NUVO. " The law is vague on all types of extraordinary types of infertility treatment, and we wanted to address that as well."

"Ordinary treatment would be the mother's egg and the father's sperm. But now there are a lot of extraordinary things that raise issues of who has legal rights as parents," she explained when asked what she considers "extraordinary" infertility treatment.

Sen. Miller believes the requirement of marriage for parenting is for the benefit of the children that result from infertility treatments." We did want to address the issue of whether or not the law should allow single people to be parents. Studies have shown that a child raised by both parents – a mother and a father – do better. So, we do want to have laws that protect the children," she explained.

When asked specifically if she believes marriage should be a requirement for motherhood, and if that is part of the bill's intention, Sen. Miller responded, "Yes. Yes, I do."A draft of the legislation is available HERE The next meeting of the Health Finance Commission will be held at the Statehouse on October 20, 2005 at 10 am in Senate Chambers and is open to the public.

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