Archive for the ‘Anthony Wood’ Category

Relaxing Sunday Lunch at Lee & Tony’s Place (Blessington)

January 4, 2009 Leave a comment

Today the weather was perfect and the company equally so! Jeff, Ethan and I ventured to Lee and Tony’s home in St Kilda for a relaxing Sunday afternoon lunch and for some a swim. Doug & Brett together with the twins (Leah and Daniel), Jason and Ruben (unfortunately Adrian had to work), Lee & Tony together with Xan and Luci. We had a great time and the kids got on great. The highlight for me was seeing Luci and Leah on the bed together chatting and playing together like teenage girls! Cute and a wonderful sight. Ethan didn’t eat (as usual) but we all had a great time. Lee and Tony are always such generous hosts!


Melbourne Leader – "Life’s Indian Givers" by Hamish Heard

October 1, 2008 Leave a comment

AN increasing number of homosexual Melbourne men are flying to India to save money on the cost of having babies, a gay parents’ organisation says.

Gay Dads Australia spokesman Rodney Cruise said gay Melburnians could save about $90,000 by using Indian surrogate mothers.

It is illegal for gay couples to have babies via surrogacy in Australia. But during the past seven years many have flown to the US or Canada where they pay about $120,000.

“Gay couples who previously wouldn’t have been able to have children because California is too expensive can take up the Indian option for basically a quarter of the cost,” Mr Cruise said.

“We’re seeing more and more couples take up the Indian option,” he said.

Mr Cruise said surrogacy cost only $30,000 in India.

Most of the money is paid to the surrogate, a woman who agrees to carry an embryo in her womb for the term of the pregnancy before giving birth and handing over the baby. Mr Cruise said couples could conceive using anonymous donor eggs or eggs donated by a relative or friend.

“Mostly it’s gestational, where the surrogate carries an embryo that has been created outside the womb. The surrogate rarely would use their own egg,” Mr Cruise said.

Until couples cottoned on to Indian surrogacy, only older, better-off couples could afford children.
“Generally people have been mortgaging their homes to fund this, and that’s fine for people who are in that position, but it can be heartbreaking for those without the resources to do so,” Mr Cruise said.
He said the “vast majority” of Australians using overseas surrogates were from Melbourne.

“There’s probably 40 couples that I know that have had children via surrogacy.” He said many gay couples had been inspired by a 2003 documentary called Man Made: Two Men and a Baby, about Tony Wood and Lee Matthews, a Melbourne couple who became one of the first Australia to produce a baby using an overseas surrogate.

“Maybe Melbourne is just a town where people settle down, or it could be the fact that the pioneering couples were from Melbourne and that’s had an effect of inspiring others around them,” Mr Cruise said.

[Link: Original Article ]

The Age – "The Surrogacy Journey Must be Respected" by Jenny Sinclair

September 16, 2008 Leave a comment

Victoria’s legislation promises ethical and medical support.

WHEN the Victorian Government finally tabled its legislation for assisted reproductive technology last week, legal surrogate pregnancy came one step closer, along with access to IVF for gays, lesbians and single people.

Both major parties have said they will allow a conscience vote on the legislation, which is based on an extensive Law Reform Commission process.

While the MPs examine their consciences, they might like to consider what’s gone on in mine, and those of people like me, over the past four years. That’s how long I’ve been waiting for those documents to hit the table in Spring Street. Four years ago this November, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The news came on the first birthday of my son, himself an IVF baby. Our plans for a second child were thrown into disarray as I plunged into

surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and long-term hormonal treatment. But unlike many women with cancer, I was lucky enough to already have eight embryos in storage from my IVF treatment. The door remained open.

Those embryos, stored in a supercooled vat in East Melbourne, have been hostages to the political process ever since. (The commission began looking at the issue way back in June 2002.)

My treatment — and the continuing doubt over the role of hormones in triggering a recurrence — put a five-year and possibly permanent bar on my carrying a baby myself. As the mother of a small child, I don’t have the right to increase the risk to my life; I have a duty to survive. But I was getting older — I’m now 42 — and the gap between my son and any siblings was growing daily.

Surrogacy seemed like the obvious solution, but as the Law Reform Commission observed, Victoria’s laws were inconsistent to say the least. A surrogate would have to be infertile herself, with an infertile partner, and technically, moving the embryos interstate or overseas for treatment would be illegal if the purpose of the move was surrogacy.

If the legislation now before the State Parliament passes, I will be able, if I can find the right person, to “commission” a surrogate pregnancy — to bring one of those frozen embryos into the light legally.

But even when the new laws take effect, I’m not sure that I’ll do it. Because I have, in reality, had the option of surrogacy all along.

For those four years, I’ve been noticing something: even with the laws as they are, people do it. A gay male Victorian couple who took a filmmaker to the US to document their “journey” did it (and have gone back for a second child). A senior federal Labor senator and his wife went from Victoria to NSW to do it, although their particular circumstances differed from mine.

People do it all the time: people with money, that is. Paid surrogacy is a reality in not only the United States, but in shadier operations in Eastern Europe and the Third World. And on the altruistic side, some women are carrying “traditional” surrogacies via self-insemination, often under the radar of the authorities. When it doesn’t require government resources and hospitals, you can get away with that.

My IVF experience, not to mention experiencing cancer, has taught me one thing: it’s futile to compare one person’s pain and needs with another’s. But when I think about using a surrogate — the usual term is “commission” but I can’t shy away from the knowledge that we’d be using another person to produce our child — I also think about the risks.

In Australia, surrogates are generally women who already have children, and I am all too aware of the horror of a child losing its mother. Under the proposed Victorian law, surrogates cannot be paid (apart from defined expenses), and while I would only want to work with someone who had altruistic reasons for helping me, I would, frankly, prefer to be able to pay some amount, if only to allow her to take enough time off work, to hire a cleaner, have help with her own kids, and to use private medical facilities.

Pregnancy is hard work. This is not Baby Mama: this is real life.

What the proposed Victorian legislation does is to recognise that surrogacy is something that is already happening, and to bring it into our excellent assisted reproductive technology system, with its ethics committees, dedicated counsellors and stringent medical standards.

But the decision to be, or commission, a surrogate, will still be made one person at a time.

The proposed laws will open up access to assisted reproductive technology, not just to married heterosexuals like us, but to gays, lesbians and single people. I welcome this because I believe they have the right to that access, and I welcome it all the more because their battle has become my battle too.

At some level, too, I am pleased that this Government, after years of this issue being on the backburner, has had the political will to reject the campaigners who tried to dog-whistle homophobia by focusing on the “gay IVF” angle and pushing my family’s situation, and those of other heterosexual families, aside.

Conscience, as the MPs well know, is an individual thing. Allowing people to act according to their consciences is to treat them as adults, and adults who can be trusted to make the right decision. The lower house of the Victorian Parliament has already paid Victorian women and their partners this compliment in regard to abortion law reform. When it comes to deciding on surrogacy, I look forward to the honourable members extending the same respect to me, my husband and to others in our situation.

Jenny Sinclair is a Melbourne writer.

[Link: Original Article]

SBS TV – "Two Men & Two Babies" by Emma Cummings

January 29, 2008 Leave a comment

“It is five years since Alexander’s birth, and Tony and Lee now have a second child, Lucinda through surrogacy. Same egg donor, same surrogate. The sequel documents the intervening years since Alexander’s birth and provides a unique insight into the world of this alternative family”.

Two Men & Two Babies – “A follow-up documentary that takes audiences back into the lives of Tony Wood and Lee Matthews, one of the first Australian gay male couples to take what was then, the controversial step of creating a new family through commercial surrogacy in the United States”

Man Made: The Story Of Two Men & A Baby “explored Tony and Lee’s overwhelming desire to have a child, their decision to pursue commercial surrogacy, and their fraught journey to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to experience the birth of their son Alexander to a surrogate, Junoa”.

The Age Green Guide – "Dads Double Their Brood" by Larry Schwartz

January 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Dads double their brood – Larry Schwartz revisits two men and their second child and film.

TWO Melbourne men, featured in a 2003 documentary showing how they turned to a Los Angeles agency to have a baby because commercial surrogacy is illegal here, were looking forward to a second child.

Tony Wood and partner Lee Matthews faced a new challenge. “When we found out that our second child was a girl, we were delighted,” says Wood, an employment lawyer at a large city firm. “But in a sense a boy would have been easier because we understand boys and we know how men work.

“I’ll tell you, having a girl’s the most enlightening experience. As much as you might want to say, ‘I’m not going to gender-stereotype this child’, she bloody well loves pink dresses and dolls and all that kind of stuff. It’s amazing. It’s a wonderful experience. We love her to pieces.”

Lucinda, whose arrival is featured in the follow-up documentary, Two Men and Two Babies (part of SBS’ Future Families series) is two years and three months old. She was born to Junoa, who also gave birth to her five-year-old brother, Alexander.

When I interviewed the couple almost five years ago before the screening of the first documentary, Man Made: The Story of Two Men and a Baby, Matthews, a businessman now in his late 30s, said he hoped Alexander would grow up to be straight so that he would have “one less hurdle to jump”.

“We just want them to be fulfilled in their own desires and their own expectations,” says Wood, reminded of this comment. “And they will be what they will be.”

They are among the first gay men in Australia to have children this way. Wood says they now know of about 20 children born through commercial surrogacy.

But two men and a pram is still a relatively unfamiliar sight and some people ask questions. “They say, ‘Where’s mum?”‘ says Wood. “And you say, ‘There is no mum. There are two dads.”‘

While laws in most Australian states and territories are restrictive, the ACT permits altruistic (non-commercial) surrogacy. Wood says he and Matthews would have preferred to adopt but this is not permitted here.

In the new documentary, he says commercial surrogacy “can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars” and he regrets that it can be prohibitive.

He says he and Matthews agreed to the second documentary despite “a high degree of ambivalence”, partly because director Emma Crimmings, who received an Inside Film Award and Logie nomination for the first Man Made, is a friend.

They reasoned also that the early documentary had helped inform gay men and educate others. “I think ultimately our intention is to break down discrimination and prejudice,” Wood says.

In the new film, Wood’s mother talks of her early misgivings about his homosexuality and the way he and Matthews planned to have a child. Thanks largely to encouragement from her friends after the first film, he says, she is now a doting grandmother. “In a sense she’s received the same kind of positive feedback that we have had. That’s wonderful to her.”

They are determined to be as open as possible with both children. “Alexander knows that his circumstances are not usual. Yet he also knows lots of other kids with two mums or two dads.”

They say they will not have another child and there will not be a third film. “It was filmed on and off over a period of more than six months,” Wood says of the second, “and, as much as you are friends of the filmmaker, you end up becoming at times less than best friends and very protective of your own personal time and space.”

He notes there are fewer unguarded moments in the second film and suspects you “become a less-interesting subject for a documentary the more familiar you become with the process.”

Was there anything he would have preferred not to see in the new film? “I would have made a very different documentary if I was editing it and there are certainly aspects that I would prefer weren’t included and there were obviously aspects I wish were better reflected in the film,” Wood says.

Filmmaker Crimmings met the couple socially through her partner, who worked with Wood. She says Wood and Matthews had “some contractual control. Ultimately they didn’t have final veto,” she says.

“But there was control in that when we got to the point where they would view the final outcome.

“If there were things there they took umbrage to and thought were not balanced and fair, then they would be reviewed and removed whatever the compromise was.”

[Link: Original Article]

Joy 94.9 Breakfast Show – Anthony Wood talks about "Two Men & Two Babies" to Andy and Adrian

January 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Tony Matthews talks to Joy 94.9 Gay and Lesbian Radio’s Breakfast show about the upcoming documentary “Two Men & Two Babies”. To listen to the audio, click here.

ABC Radio – "Live Interview with Lee Matthews & Tony Wood and Josh Fergeus" with John Faine

January 22, 2008 Leave a comment

Six years ago, prevented from adopting a child, or accessing IVF facilities or commercial surrogacy in Australia, Tony Wood and Lee Matthews embarked on an international surrogacy arrangement that would take them to Iowa, America, for the birth of their son. This resulted in the film, Man Made: Two Men and Baby. Five years on, Lee and Tony have a second child, Lucy who is 2 years old. A second film Two Men and Two Babies airs on 29th January on SBS TV.

Josh Fergeus is 22 years old today. He was accredited as a foster carer 3 ½ years ago. His mother has been a carer since 2001, and together with his mother and brother they fostered 21 different children. Josh works for Anglicare Victoria in Training & Recruitment for Home-Based Care. This involves publicising foster care and recruiting, assessing, training and supporting carers and volunteers. He has been involved in Victorian Government’s new systems for training and assessing carers, training staff and carers in it’s use since early 2007. He is a member of the Victorian Government’s Home Education Advisory Committee and holds two Bachelor’s Degrees in Arts and Teaching (Secondary), and I am currently studying my Masters in Social Work.

To here the entire interview, click here.