Archive for the ‘The Surrogacy SOURCE’ Category
November 13th, 2013
Not too long ago the Huffington Post ran a great article about what you shouldn’t ever say to a gestational surrogate. The article talked about what a lovely act of love and kindness gestational surrogates do for intended parents – and how dismayed the author was to read the following comment:
“And just think of all the money you’ll get.”
Aside from this being a rude and inappropriate comment it’s clear that some don’t understand the real reasons behind the motivation of gestational carriers. And it’s certainly not about money.
There are many reason that women have for wanting to become a surrogate mother. The first and foremost is they want to give to another intended parent what they have – the gift of life. They want to make it possible for other parents to know and feel that utter bliss of become a mom or a dad.
• For some it’s a vocation or a calling.
• For others it’s a way to give back – they want to make a difference in the world in a meaningful way.
• It’s a gift of love. It’s a gift of joy. These mom’s love their babies, they love being mothers, and they want to simply share their gift with others.
• They may know someone who is faced with infertility and this is their way of helping.
It’s never really about the money – there’s a lot more to it than that.
To find out more about becoming a surrogate mother, or to search our database of available surrogate mothers, please visit Fertility SOURCE Companies surrogacy website at: http://www.TheSurrogacySOURCE.com
October 29th, 2013
Intended parents, industry professionals and most importantly gestational carriers might have concerns about what a gestational surrogate may experience after the baby they have been carrying for someone else for the past nine months – and rightly so. This is a big deal, it’s a huge responsibility and there are many emotions involved.
We know that many intended parents have a positive, healthy, and great relationship with their gestational surrogate. It’s normal for them to worry about her after the baby is born. How is she going to feel? With there be feelings of attachment to the baby? Will their gestational surrogate want to bond with the baby? With them? Their family? Because many women experience post-partum depression after pregnancy will this possibly hit her harder because she gave the baby she was carrying back to the intended parents? And last but not least – is she going to feel lonely, unsupported, maybe even used? These are all real worries that most intended parents have when embarking upon their surrogacy journey.
Yes, a gestational surrogacy pregnancy is different than having a baby of your own. However, a pregnancy is a pregnancy is a pregnancy and post-partum depression still happens and those feelings can be increased through surrogacy. Why? Lots of reasons – if the gestational surrogate isn’t worried about the feelings of attachment or even detachment from the baby – she might feel alone, lonely for her intended parents. After all, she’s spent a lot of time with her intended parents communicating with them – and so has her family. She and her family might have had daily contact with their intended parents talking about all kinds of things – personal things. Let’s face it nothing is more personal than having a baby right? For some gestational surrogates the intended parents accompany her to the embryo transfer, the ultrasound, OBGYN appointments and delivery.
Emotions after delivery often run deep and it’s understandable how a gestational surrogate might feel sad, confused, or even abandoned. These are all normal kinds of feelings to have. Sharon LaMothe gestational surrogacy industry professional is spot on with her analysis:
“The message has been sent that feeling detached at birth is a good thing which, by human nature, is not a normal emotion when a baby is brought into this world. We want moms and babies to bond…but in this case it isn’t what the Intended Parents want to have happen unless it’s them doing the bonding! Add on top of this the fact that the Surrogate has become very attached to her Intended Parents. Because communication usually ramps up near the end of the pregnancy, with more phone calls, appointments and plans, IPs and their surrogate can be closer emotionally than ever before. Although the Surrogate is preparing her family for the eventful day and the Intended Parents are checking their list to make sure all is in order on their end, the possibility of some sort of depression or even regret sneaking in can take everyone involved by surprise.”
What we do know about post-partum depression (PPD) occurs in roughly 15-20% of women anywhere from 4-8 weeks after delivery. Women who often have a tougher time with PPD are those who have experienced PMS, who have undergone major emotional stressors in their life, lack of family or social support during pregnancy, or have had previous anxiety issues.
What does PPD feel like? It can come in many forms – bouts of crying or tearfulness, not being able to sleep, excessive tiredness (more than what’s to be expected after giving birth), not being able to concentrate, suicidal thoughts, feeling depressed, not wanting to get out of bed, change in appetite, feeling inadequate, the inability to enjoy things you used to. Not being able to care for your family.
The causes of PPD don’t change because of gestational surrogacy they are the same for every woman who’s given birth but there are different factors to consider regarding surrogacy. Aside from the normal drastic change in hormone levels in the body ( estrogen, progesterone and cortisol decreasing rapidly and considerably after delivery), maybe not feeling great, pain if she’s had a c-section, feeling less attractive in all areas the gestational surrogate is not going to be taking a baby home to care for. That baby has been handed over to the intended parents which can be overwhelming for anyone.
So what can a gestational carrier do for self-care?
Eat well, rest well, let your family care for you, and accept help. This isn’t a time to curl up and avoid the world – embrace the world, don’t isolate, reach out to other gestational surrogates and talk to them about their experiences, write about it and seek professional help if necessary. Above all don’t push yourself – remember you’ve just had a baby, given a set of intended parents with one of the most precious gift of all their child – so yes, you are super woman but that doesn’t mean you have to wear the cape all the time!
To learn more about The Surrogacy SOURCE and their gestational carrier program, please visit us at http://thesurrogacysource.com, one of our experienced caring staff will be happy to assist you in your journey to parenthood, or help you to become a surrogate mother.
October 24th, 2013
In light of the new Nevada bill, passed into law October 1, 2013, expanding parental rights to the LGBT community and to unmarried individuals, The Surrogacy SOURCE recently began actively recruiting gestational carriers in Las Vegas and Reno.
“This is a very exciting milestone in the fight for equal parenting rights within the LGBT community. We are finally able to assist Nevada LGBT intended parents with Nevada gestational carriers.” Says Susan Bloom, Director of Donor Recruitment and Marketing
In addition to expanding parental rights, the new law allows for compensation to be paid to gestational carriers, and also permits pre and post birth instructions for surrogate mothers. The bill also includes modifications to the rights of donated egg and embryo recipients.
The new law, written and lobbied by Kimberly Surratt of Surratt Law Practice in Reno, NV, includes neutral language regarding the gender and marital status of intended parents through the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). While the state’s previous law narrowly defined intended parents as legally married heterosexual couples, the new law recognizes the rights of single individuals, unmarried couples and domestic partners, paving the way for the LGBT community to realize their dreams of becoming parents!
For more information or to fill out an application to become a surrogate mother, please click here: http://www.thesurrogacysource.com/sg_about.htm.
The Surrogacy SOURCE has available surrogate mothers ready to match. To search our roster, please click here: https://www.thesurrogacysource.com/search_results.php
For information on our LGBT Surrogacy Program, click here: http://www.thesurrogacysource.com/lgbt_surrogacy.htm?type=Intended Parent
For more information and the full text of the new law, go to http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/77th2013/Bills/AB/AB421_EN.pdf.
September 18th, 2013
By: Tricia Turner, Manager of Surrogacy Case Management
The Surrogacy SOURCE http://www.thesurrogacySOURCE.com
A division of Fertility SOURCE Companies http://www.fertilitySOURCEcompanies.com
The Stork, a rainbow, “the Birds and the Bees”; these are a few stories used to answer “where do babies come from?” As adults, we understand where babies come from and the fact that sometimes, babies don’t come that way either. Adults are able to understand the struggles intended parents go through, for the chance to have their family. We understand, because we understand the Birds and The Bees. But, what happens when you have to stray form that story and add in the factor of surrogacy to make a baby for someone?
“What will you tell your children?” is a question asked most times when surrogate mothers and intended parents meet for the first time. Intended parents fear their may be a bond made between the child and the baby. Telling children about surrogacy may be a delicate situation. It is easy for us to reach out and want to help, but making sure the children understand is something to take into consideration. The “broken tummy” story seems to go over well with young children. “Ms. Jane’s tummy is broken. They put her baby in Mommy’s tummy to grow, and then we will give it back to Ms. Jane”. They seem to understand that their mommy is helping someone have a baby, and it is not going to be there brother or sister. They are proud to make the announcement to other Family members and Teachers that their Mommy is having a baby and it is not their Daddy’s. Further explanation from an adult at that time will be necessary of course.
Having the children meet the intended parents is also a good way to help them understand how their family is helping another Family. The children know how happy they are with their parents and siblings and want to know they are helping someone else to have that happiness. They will run up to the intended parents showing off their Mommy’s belly to make sure they know it is their baby that is in there. They will talk to the baby as Ms. Jane’s baby and not as their sibling.
Delivery can be a time for closure for the children of a surrogate mother. If they are able to come to the hospital and witness the reunion of Baby and Family, it is a great way for them to see what everyone has worked for all this time. They will understand that every step of the journey was to make a Family. They will see happy new parents leaving with their baby and they will get to take their Mommy home with them. If they are old enough to remember what their Mommy did for someone, they will continue to tell their story of how their Family helped create another Family
Please feel free to share your experiences!
August 15th, 2013
Another bundle of joy is delivered into the world with a little help from the team at The Surrogacy SOURCE.
(PRWEB) August 13, 2013
After just seven years of making the dreams of hopeful parents come true, The Surrogacy SOURCE has helped deliver its 200th baby. This momentous feat signals the rapid growth of one of the nation’s leading surrogacy agencies, and more importantly, brings extraordinary joy to yet another happy family.
The Surrogacy SOURCE, a division of Fertility SOURCE Companies, is a surrogacy agency headquartered in Irvine, California. Together with The Donor SOURCE, the company now operates from seven locations around the United States. Recent growth at the company has led to several international partnerships, including initiatives in Israel and China. With a staff dedicated to giving hope and life to many would-be parents, The Surrogacy SOURCE’s partnerships in this country and in others have helped mothers and fathers know happiness in a way they never thought possible.
For full story click here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/8/prweb11019949.htm
May 15th, 2013
Lots of intended parents look at gestational surrogacy purely as a business arrangement, while it is a business arrangement it’s also something much more. Let’s face it when intended parents embark upon a gestational surrogacy cycle its new for them – there’s so much unchartered territory to navigate through. Aside from all that it’s downright expensive so heck yes keeping your mind on the dollars part of this is normal.
I can’t help but think that the contract and business piece of this arrangement is just the beginning much like conception of a pregnancy! Yes, the Gestational Surrogate is being compensated for her time, trouble, pain and inconvenience to herself as well as her family; however, the many surrogate mothers I have talked to over the years tell me that they do this because they want to help. Their own pregnancies have been easy and seamless and this seems like a great way to help another family who can’t do what she’s able to do and also perhaps help her family.
Think of it like this – while your Surrogate Mother will form a bond with your baby she is also creating a lifelong bond with you! Carrying a baby for you is what’s making her very happy and just think how joyful she’s going to feel when that baby is placed in your arms.
When you select a gestational surrogate to carry a baby on your behalf you are going to be forging a lifetime relationship. It’s important for you to think about the type of personal involvement you visualize with your surrogate mother – during the IVF cycle, throughout the pregnancy and of course after your baby is born and as your child grows older.
What kind of a person are you? Are you a person who’s going to want a relationship with your surrogate mother? Are you for instance a “hands on” person who’s going to want to have regular interaction with your gestational surrogate in addition to regular updates about the pregnancy and her prenatal care? Many surrogate mothers enjoy regular contact from their intended parents. It helps make the process more personal. What kind of relationship do you want to have with your surrogate mother even after your baby is born? What kind of role do you want your surrogate mother to play in your child’s life? When you explore the above and can answer those questions it’s going to help you decide what kind of relationship you might embark upon with your surrogate mother it and becomes easier to identify the surrogate mother who is going to be most compatible with your family-building ideals and child-raising values.
First thing’s first – talk, talk, and then talk some more. You can’t talk too much when you are in the discovery phase of selecting a gestational surrogate. Once your surrogate mother is selected treat her how you’d like to be treated. Learn about her likes, her dislikes, what bugs her, what causes her anxiety, what makes her happy. Much like you. Regardless of how we look at this – selecting an egg donor or a gestational surrogate is much like dating, this is all about cultivating a forming a relationship.
See a therapist who specializes in fertility – I can’t emphasize that piece enough. A therapist will help you through those portions of the cycle that you both might feel weird about. For instance you might want to know how the surrogate mother is going to feel when she has the baby and the baby is then given to you. Maybe you might feel weird asking that question.
And again, I know this sounds like a broken record but talk, talk and talk some more. It goes both ways the line of communication need to remain open for all parties to be on the same page.
Remember your surrogate mother is wanting nothing more than to make you, the intended parent, happy and feeling good and secure about the choice they made in contracting with her to carry your baby. Again, because this is much like dating sometimes intended parents don’t really know what to say or how to break the ice. This is a woman you don’t know, who is a stranger who’s going to open up her life, her family and her uterus for you so you can become a parent. Kind of intimidating yes?
Skype, call or if you can go see her. Meet her in person. Bring her a small gift, hug her, and send her a card. Let her know how appreciative of her you are. Its super important you are compatible with her and feel comfortable exchanging information and communicating with her.
Schedule regular meetings with her – once a week at least to see how she’s doing or if just to see if she needs anything. This is a great way to show your support. Now I know no one likes anyone looking over their shoulder or micromanaged – these women have been pregnant before they know what it’s like to be pregnant so keep in mind there’s a fine balance! While you don’t want her to feel like she’s a bug under a microscope you don’t want her to feel all alone either.
There’s a lot of trust that goes into this process. Your surrogate mother has common sense and you have to trust her to use it – that means you have to trust her regarding what she eats, how much she sleeps, her overall health, her ability to make her OB appointments and other medical testing that goes with pregnancy.
It’s all about letting go – and relinquishing control which is really hard for anyone to do especially infertility patients who have had to already let go of so much control already regarding their reproductive choices. However, this is imperative if you are going to stay sane throughout this entire process and maintain a positive relationship with your gestational carrier.
The Surrogacy SOURCE staff is here to help guide you through the process, from start to finish (choosing a surrogate mother to joining you at her delivery of your baby).
For more information on The Surrogacy SOURCE, or to view our roster of available surrogates, please visit us at : http://www.TheSurrogacySOURCE.com
April 17th, 2013
Regardless of whether you are carrying your own pregnancy or are a gestational surrogate being prepared for a baby should begin at least three months before conception occurs. It’s kind of like scouting – “Always be prepared!” The results are better for you and the baby – healthy you means healthy baby.
This means interview and visit the OBGYN that will be following you through your pregnancy. At this time you will discuss your personal health history, your families personal health history – like how were your mother’s pregnancies, how were her deliveries, did every female in your family deliver early, or require a C-section, or develop gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. This is also the time to make sure all your vaccines are up to date, especially rubella and chicken pox. These vaccines can’t be given during pregnancy and its bad news to contract these two diseases while pregnant. Your OBGYN might talk to you about things like – if you have a cat someone else will need to change the litter due to a bug in cat poop called toxoplasmosis. If you contract that during pregnancy it can be life-threatening to little developing babies – and because of that pregnant women are advised to wear gloves when we garden and not to eat meat that’s undercooked – it won’t kill you to eat medium well steak throughout your pregnancy – honest. You might talk about potential weight gain, receive a prescription for prenatal vitamins and be advised to see the dentist before conception – this makes sure your teeth are ship-shape.
Okay so the day has come and the pregnancy test is positive – now what?
Keep it simple, and keep your stress at bay. We hear about stress all the time – how much is too much? There’s good stress and bad stress. Deciding how much is too much is a hard call. We live in a world today that requires so much out of us – careers, family demands, going to school, navigating through infertility, it all adds up. And let’s face it those of us career gals – changing careers or leaving our career to have a baby can really do a number on our stress levels. Can I hear an Amen to that?
It’s going to seem like forever before you meet your baby – we have been working towards and waiting for this goal for a very long time. But there’s a reason we don’t conceive and have a child in 7 days. Our bodies AND minds need to prepare and get ready. Things like being anxious about something as elementary as being a parent – you have 9 months to work that out. And take it from me – it’s a never ending worry – so you might as well get used to it. If you are worried about pregnancy or childbirth, again, you have 9 months to work through those anxieties, and work it out. You have 9 months to think about your career, and the other adjustments you will have to make about becoming a parent.
Most importantly we also know that chronic stress weakens our immune systems, can cause low birth weight, and in some instances can cause premature labor – so create boundaries that will work for you, stay Zen, mediate, see a therapist, lean on family or friends, but the bottom line do what you need to do to make your pregnancy as stress free as possible.
Eating right and eating well
While pregnancy isn’t the time to diet – it’s not the time to go overboard and disregard healthy eating. You have a baby on board – and the thought to always remember – what you eat the baby eats. So if you reach for the pop, candy, chips, and junk, you are feeding your baby that directly.
A balanced diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein and carbs will provide your baby with the nutrients they need to grow inside your belly. And don’t rely on just your prenatal vitamin to cover your nutritional needs – you need to combine your prenatal vitamin and a good diet to carry you through your pregnancy.
This means there are some no-no items that you should never ingest when you are pregnant. Anything that could possibly contain Listeria which is a bacteria that can cross the placenta and cause miscarriage. For instance any cheese that is NOT made from pasteurized milk don’t eat it. There are imported cheeses like brie, feta or camembert – if they are not pasteurized again don’t eat them. Read the package. Don’t eat raw eggs, raw milk, or any other kind of meat that’s raw. Steak tartar is a no-no. Leave the sashimi alone for 9 months, don’t eat homemade ice cream (raw eggs), and then there’s different kinds of fish and seafood which have high levels of mercury – you don’t eat those very often, and you read your labels.
This should be a no-brainer – do not drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes or use illegal or recreational drugs. When you smoke your baby smokes. When you drink your baby drinks. Now the jury’s out on coffee – we know that caffeine does go right to the baby’s blood stream lots of women continue to drink coffee throughout their pregnancy. Check with your doctor to learn what he or she thinks is an okay amount to drink.
Here is my PSA on water – 96 ounces of water a day keeps pre-term labor away. Dehydration is the leading cause of pre-term labor. Water is the body’s transportation system. It transports vitamins, nutrition and a whole bunch of other great things to your baby during pregnancy. So drink your water, eat water filled fruits and vegetables – watermelon, cucumbers, celery. Drink caffeine free herbal teas cleared by your doctor – and drink low fat milk. Just stay hydrated.
Let’s talk about over the counter meds for second
Before you start reaching for the Tylenol, allergy meds, or ibuprofen check with your doctor first. Again whatever you ingest goes right to the baby. I am sure you are wondering which medication is safe during pregnancy. Well here’s the deal – there’s no easy answer to all of this. The FDA labels the safety of prescription medication with the labels of A, B, C, D, or X. (Category A medications have not shown any risk to the fetus. Category B medications, which include ibuprofen, also are not believed to pose a risk to the fetus. Category C medications may cause complications for a baby in utero but haven’t really been studied in people. Category D medications, which include chemotherapy agents, present distinct health risks but may still be used in some instances. Category X drugs are known to cause birth defects and should never be used during pregnancy)
When in doubt call your OBGYN and ask.
Move that body of yours.
Once you get the green light from your doctor to exercise – like Nike says “Just do it” – not only is it safe it’s a fabulous idea! Why? Because 30 minutes of exercise each day really does help annoying things like constipation, backaches, it helps you sleep better, it improves your mood, and helps with fatigue. All of those common complaints of pregnancy. When we work out during pregnancy we are helping improve our strength and our muscle tone. This not only helps you with labor and delivery which is the equivalent of a half marathon it helps us pace ourselves, cope with the pain of the above and cuts our recovery time in half from delivery. In some cases exercise can help alleviate morning sickness.
Things like yoga, walking, and swimming help with blood pressure. Regardless of the kinds of exercise you choose to do whether you are a runner, or a weight lifter don’t overdo it – and check with your doctor.
Speaking of over doing it – we know when we are pregnant we don’t turn into these fragile flowers that will crumble the moment we break a sweat. But this isn’t the time to become “She-Ra” either. We know that just because we are pregnant life doesn’t just stop and say “Okay we will wait until morning sickness and fatigue are over” and many of us begin to make those “to do” lists and tackle those things we’ve been putting off. Regardless of what project you decide to take on, whether it be decorating a new nursery, cleaning out closets, reorganizing, or moving your house around learn to recognize when you are over doing it. For instance, if you being to feel faint or dizzy – STOP AND REST – HELLO? When that happens your body is telling you it needs more of that all-important oxygen rich blood because your body isn’t keeping up. Some of us get short of breath because the baby takes up space and our lungs squish – but if you have to catch your breath then you need to ease up on your activity level. The Mayo Clinic says don’t let your heart rate go above 140 beats per minute, and rest until it returns to normal.
And above all – STAY HYDRATED. If you are thirsty it’s your body’s way of saying “I am dehydrated!” So drink up.
Let’s talk about cravings
We all get them – they are a necessary evil of pregnancy! For a lot of pregnant women cravings of food that’s not wonderful for our body happens. You know the kind – stuff with lots of fat, rich foods, loads of sugar, high in carbs and salt? This isn’t a time to feel guilty – give in once in a while and indulge yourself with a treat. It’s really okay to have that chip, or cake, or macaroni and cheese –but make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet first.
When is a craving not a craving but something to talk to your doctor about? Sometimes women who crave ice cubes are really anemic. While ice cubes don’t do a thing for anemia many women who crave ice cubes are anemic. If you want salt it’s because your body is balancing the extra fluid it’s creating to host a pregnancy. If you crave non-food stuff like dirt, toothpaste, chalk or charcoal that’s something called “Pica”. This means that your body might be not getting enough of a specific vitamin or a mineral. Don’t give into those kinds of cravings – so don’t eat the above, talk to your doctor and see if you can troubleshoot the problem.
Get your Zzzzzz’s
The first trimester of pregnancy is infamous for exhaustion. We could easily sleep round the clock and then some. And rightly so – our body is going through so many changes, and let’s not forget about those pesky hormones. So sleep early and often – or when your body says to sleep, sleep.
During the second trimester we get a reprieve – albeit a small and brief one, but we do get a reprieve. While you may feel like you can conquer the world during this trimester, still bank on 8-9 hours of much needed sleep each night because by the time you hit the third trimester you are going to find that sleeping is harder to do especially during long stretches of time. For instance if you were a stomach sleeper, you can forget that. Now it’s on your right or left side – as sleeping on your back won’t work either because of the Vena Cava that runs down the underside of your uterus. Compressing that cuts off the blood supply to your baby and can make you feel dizzy or faint. Side sleeping is what you will need to do.
Insomnia is typical during pregnancy, our body is preparing to feed a new life every 2 hours. So Mother Nature was brilliant in designing our bodies to wake up frequently during the third trimester to prepare. That means you might be more tired and fatigued during the day. Rest anytime you can – nap during your lunch hour, or after work, or whenever – your body and mind will thank you later.
It’s okay to complain – no really it is.
It may have taken something short of a miracle to conceive but now that we are pregnant it doesn’t mean that we feel great all the time. It’s really feel thankful AND complain. The #1 ranking complaint – heartburn. This bad boy strikes any time during pregnancy but it will rear its ugly head as your belly gets bigger. Progesterone is a hormone that loosen the ligaments in our body to help our pelvis and uterus to expand to accommodate the baby. This also hormone also slows down digestion causing constipation, it also loosens the valve that keeps your stomach acids from coming back up through the esophagus causing GERD.
Keeping heartburn at bay we find that eating small meals during the day, sitting upright for an hour after a meal helps. Medications that your doctor says are okay help. If heartburn happens at night use extra pillows to prop your body up and allow you to sleep in a reclined position.
How about those leg cramps? Don’t you just love them – Not! These happen during the second and third trimesters the most. The reasons for leg cramps are vast – however, dehydration as well as the baby growing and putting pressure on our spine is the #1 cause. You can combat leg cramps with a preemptive strike — stretching, but don’t point your toes because that can cause a cramp. Walking helps, massaging your legs help, heating pads can help, so can a warm bath (but not too warm).
If your back hurts you – check out your foot wear. I know that high heels are cute, but get rid of them at least during your pregnancy. Wear a shoe that’s supportive. Now may also be the time to hit your partner up for a new bed. This would also be a great time to keep your posture in check, don’t sit at your desk for too long, stretch, walk around, move your body and circulate your blood.
During pregnancy we can be moody – with a capital “M”. We cry more easily, we are often anxious, overwhelmed and sometimes things just don’t make sense. This is the time when we need to be reaching out to friends, family, our care providers and those we trust for help.
Just remember – there are those before you who have gone through the same thing, and there will be those after you going through the same thing. You are not alone – you can do this – you are doing this – and whether you are a gestational surrogate or a first time mom – what you are experiencing is an amazing rite of passage – embrace it and savor it because you are amazing!
April 1st, 2013
The terms Surrogate Mother and Gestational Carrier are often intermixed and sometimes that’s confusing. They are both women who choose to carry a pregnancy for those who cannot carry a pregnancy to term without help. I am going to use the term “surrogate mother” for traditional surrogacy and the term “gestational carrier” for surrogacy where there is no genetic connection on the part of the surrogate for my blog post to keep the confusion at bay.
Did you know there are two kinds of surrogates?
There are traditional surrogates. These are women who use their own egg and are artificially inseminated by the intended fathers or donor sperm. The surrogate mother carries the baby, delivers that baby and then gives that baby to the parents to raise. The traditional surrogate mother is the baby’s biological mother because it’s her egg that was fertilized by the intended father’s sperm.
Now day’s gestational surrogacy is used for most of the surrogacy cycles in the USA. This is a woman who carries a baby that has been conceived using the egg of the intended mother, or an egg donor and sperm from the intended father or a sperm donor. A gestational surrogate mother has no genetic connection to the baby because it wasn’t the gestational surrogate’s egg that was used during the IVF cycle.
These cycles occur with the procedure called in vitro fertilization (IVF). A gestational surrogate is referred to as the birth mother because she carried the baby and in traditional surrogacy the surrogate mother is referred to as the biological mother because her egg was used.
In both situations the baby is carried to term and then the baby is released to the intended parents for them to raise as their child.
Everything you read now says that in the United States gestational surrogacy is not as complex legally, and while that might be true it’s still a complex process that requires lawyers and often a surrogacy agency to help intended parents navigate through uncharted waters.
Did you know about 1400 babies are born yearly through gestational surrogacy? Surrogacy is becoming more common for intended mothers who can’t carry a pregnancy herself due to uterine issues, or the intended mother may have undergone a hysterectomy, or other health issues that might make a pregnancy for the intended mother risky. Sometimes intended mothers use a surrogate when their infertility is unexplained, or they have endured several miscarriages and getting pregnant and carrying to term hasn’t been successful for them. Sometimes couples use a surrogate due to their ages, or their sexual orientation. Surrogates often help gay men create a family either through traditional surrogacy or gestational surrogacy. Sometimes, a single Intended Father will use a surrogate mother and an egg donor. The surrogate carries the baby, gives birth and releases the baby to the intended couple or father.
When gay men choose traditional surrogacy one of the men uses his sperm to fertilize the surrogate mothers egg through artificial insemination (AI). The surrogate mother then carries the baby to term, has the baby and releases the baby to the couple. If a gay couple chooses an egg donor, the donated egg is fertilized in a lab, the embryo(s) are transferred back into the gestational surrogate, and the surrogate carries the baby to term, has the baby and releases the baby to the intended couple.
Whew! Are you still with me?
All different kinds of women choose to be surrogate mothers or gestational carriers. Some women are family members (Mom’s sisters, Aunts, or cousins or in-laws), that are asked to be a surrogate for them. Other women are friends. Because these kinds of arrangements are typically altruistic (no money exchanged and not commercial) the industry views them as somewhat controversial. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) supports and accepts specific family ties that are acceptable for surrogates. However, ASRM doesn’t support surrogacy if the baby would carry the same genes as a child born of incest between first-degree relatives.
There are also women who are commercial surrogates, which means they carry a baby for intended parents for a fee. The majority of surrogates are found through surrogacy agencies. The majority of intended parents seek out a surrogacy agency because these agencies arranged gestational surrogacy. The agency is the liaison between the gestational surrogate and the intended parent. The agency helps the intended parents find the right gestational surrogate for them, they make all the necessary arrangements, collect the monies needed for the cycle, disperse those monies, and manage the surrogacy cycle making sure the surrogate complies with her contract, as well as making sure the surrogate’s needs are met during the pregnancy while keeping the intended parents informed and in the loop along the way.
As of date there are no legal regulations that state who can and can’t be a surrogate mother. The industry has established standards and all experts agree on specific criteria in regards to who should be and who should not be a surrogate.
All surrogate mothers should be the minimum age of 21 years old and have already given birth to at least one healthy baby, and has at least one child under the age of 18 still living in the household. This is so the surrogate understands what pregnancy and childbirth are about, what it means to have a baby, and be a parent.
The surrogate must be deemed healthy physically and mentally. Surrogates must always pass a psychological screening by a mental health professional. This is so the MHP can explore or uncover any sort of potential emotional issues the surrogate may have regarding releasing a baby to the intended parents after birth.
ASRM advocates that all surrogates have a complete medical evaluation as well as a pregnancy history to assess the likelihood of a healthy, full-term pregnancy. ASRM also recommends screening for infectious diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HIV, cytomegalovirus, and hepatitis B and C along with being screened for immunity to measles and rubella as well as the chicken pox. Potential surrogate mothers will also undergo a GYN exam to ensure the uterus is normal to make sure that the potential to carry a pregnancy and also the surrogate has her own OBGYN, not the same physician as the intended mother.
Please feel free to post your comments or questions. Or, just share your experience as a surrogate or intended parent.
Whether you are a woman looking to be a gestational surrogate mother, or an Intended Parent looking for more information on utilizing a surrogate mother with or with/out donor eggs…please visit our website at: http://www.TheSurrogacySOURCE.com and http://www.TheDonorSOURCE.com
February 18th, 2013
In a day of E-mail, Facebook, Pinterest, Blogging, and LinkedIn the lines of privacy are blurred. The reality is nothing and I mean nothing that is posted, sent, or shared over the Internet is private, safe, or secure.
What’s considered personal information when embarking upon a surrogacy cycle as an intended parent? Never ever give out social security numbers, your physical address, telephone numbers, places of work, release of medical information, to anyone but your attorney, IVF clinic, or your psychologist – especially before the legal contract is in place, signed, sealed and delivered between both parties.
You might be thinking “Well no kidding, everyone knows that!” However, you’d be surprised how naïve some can be on both sides of the party.
Unfortunately in the world of egg donation and especially surrogacy there are those who are unscrupulous who will attempt to scam intended parents as well as those who are posing as intended parents but in actuality are looking for a way to steal your identity. It happens every day.
This business is emotional – you are excited to finally get the ball rolling, begin your family, you are excited to be matched both as a surrogate mother and as an intended parent. But you need to remember that your safety comes first and you need to protect yourself and your family.
Like we tell our kids when they are online don’t give out your personal information. Intended parents don’t need to know your social security number, your driver’s license number, place of work, date of birth, or where you live. This goes the same for surrogate mothers – they don’t need to know this information either.
The IVF clinic and your attorney are the only parties who should have access to your personal identity information and who would have access to your medical records. Even your attorney would need a signed release from you releasing your medical records to him or her. The psychologist who will be hired during your surrogacy cycle will only have access to the information you allow him or her to have access to. It’s not just cart blanche for anyone to see.
This is all about being aware, learning about who you will be working with during your surrogacy cycle, how much you know about them and establishing a relationship of trust.
Your identity is incredibly important – don’t risk it for anyone.
If you have any words of wisdom for intended parents or surrogate mothers, please feel free to share, we’d love to hear from you!
December 3rd, 2012
The US is an international destination for surrogacy, because of the many advantages available such as highly regulated medical care, fertility friendly laws and favorable exchange rates. With agency locations in California and throughout the US, The Surrogacy SOURCE is a convenient destination for travelers from Japan, China, Australia and other nearby countries. Many hopeful parents come to the US for surrogacy, from places as far as India, drawn here for the unparalleled medical expertise available.
The first step in the international surrogacy process is a phone consultation with The Surrogacy SOURCE. To date 170 babies have been born through our surrogacy agency and we currently have 23 surrogates expecting!
Learn more about international surrogacy »
November 6th, 2012
Yes, you read that right…go with your gut, go with your instincts, go with your feelings…Do NOT just push ahead without acknowledging that something has given you pause in your surrogacy journey!
Too many Intended Parents, desperate as most are when they reach the decision to move ahead with a surrogacy situation, IGNORE crucial facts and gut feelings that are staring them in the face. They have met their potential surrogate mother online or through a friend…BUT….its the BUT that needs to be explored. BUT the woman / surrogate mother is on medicaid, But she is 19, But she doesn’t have transportation, But her husband, boyfriend/significant other is against the arrangement OR pushing for more money, But she has put ALL 3 of her children up for adoption, But she is hard to contact, But she is slow to make appointments…it can go on and on…what is THAT telling YOU? It is telling you, Intended Parent, to move on! Surrogacy is not something to jump into, take lightly or think money will cure these issues. Make sure that you have a comfort level you can live with before you sign that contract.
A surrogacy agency might be the answer for you! Contact The Surrogacy SOURCE. They can offer expert guidance and advice. You may never be 100% comfortable but YOU can be reassured that moving in the same direction with the right agency will alleviate most of the”But” factors.
September 4th, 2012
Wouldn’t it be great to have a crystal ball and know what your future holds for you and your new potential Intended Parents?
It may seem easy once you make the decision to become a surrogate mother. You read profiles, letters and pick a likely candidate. You might exchange e-mails or talk on the phone. You hear stories of hopes, dreams, complications and confusion. You share your values and lifestyle. And then perhaps a date…lunch? Dinner? Ahhhh the glow, the euphoria of finding the “right” match. And then drip – drip – drip it starts to rain on the parade…just a drizzle at first. Nothing to stop the momentum, you can still see a slice of blue sky, but you get out the umbrella anyway. Perhaps this happens during contract negations. The IP’s who were once so grateful for finding you want you to lower your “fee”. (by 25% and Heavens! NO! they do not want to use an escrow agent!!) They want you to promise not to work during the pregnancy but they don’t want to pay you for lost wages either. They want you to use your insurance at the fertility clinic so that they don’t have to pay for the medications. (Thankfully most clinics won’t do this any longer.) They want you to go to Florida or Illinois for the transfer but don’t want to pay child care for YOUR KIDS while you are gone. Hummmmmm, If this pattern is starting now, during the contract phase, what’s to say that it will be any different when you are pregnant? Maybe it’s time to rethink this surrogacy match.
I know of many women who just WANT to be surrogate mothers SO BADLY they are willing to overlook a multitude of red flags. They start out on their own, in order to save their IP’s money. But when things start to go south, you can say no. You can back that train up and get OFF. Before you commit to medical testing (where the IP’s start to spend money on the relationship they are building with you), PLEASE make it clear what YOUR expectations are.
This is why a great agency would benefit you! Your first conversation with them would be where you stand on your base fees, benefits, selective reduction, abortion and everything that is near and dear to your heart. They would find Intended Parents who would be the right fit for you. A great agency like The Surrogacy Source would do your homework with you…supporting you every step of the way. Give us a call today and see how we can work together to make your dreams come true!
Toll free: 877-375-8888 or visit our website: http://www.thesurrogacysource.com
August 3rd, 2012
How many times have you heard, as a surrogate, that “you are playing God!”? The common phrase here is “Basically if God wanted intended parents to have children they would get pregnant on their own. If that wasn’t a possibility then they should adopt.” ‘Surrogacy’ was preventing them from looking at adoption as an option by offering a healthy body to carry their child. Some child out there would be homeless because of surrogacy! A stunning conclusion, I know. Comments like that may make you think…but often it will not change minds.
So here are some personal views on the GOD issue. Surrogate mothers are not playing God. Egg donors are not preventing adoptions from taking place. Reproductive endocrinologists and embryologists are NOT pretending to be God (although some may act God-like).
We are all using the gifts that God gave us. We are using our brains and our bodies to make and give life. If you are really, REALLY, religious then are we not making another follower of God? A Catholic? Baptist? Jew? Methodist? Add your religion here_______! What about all the other medical marvels happening in the world? Heart transplants? Kidney donations? Bone marrow donations? How about blood transfusions? Are these not prolonging life; enhancing life? Doesn’t a new human being, a very much wanted baby, make a life complete for those parents who desire to enhance THEIR own existence?
One last thought…would any God really allow anyone to take the credit for our own creation? I think not!
These are just personal views of the writer, and are not by any means meant to offend anyone with different views.
Please feel free to comment on this blog post with your own views.
June 28th, 2012
You read right!
The Surrogate Mother’s Husband…or ‘YOUR’ surrogate Mother’s husband plays an important, if not understated, role in the entire surrogacy journey. From the start he must get his mind wrapped around the fact that HIS woman wants to carry another man’s child. The same woman who may have stated “That’s IT! We are NOT having any MORE CHILDREN!!” (this often happens when 2 children under the age of 4 are hanging on her legs screaming for a snack and the one in her arms is spitting up formula) Once he understands that her statement perhaps meant that she doesn’t want to raise any more children of her own but carrying one for 9 months is fine, then he may relax a little…until he finds out that HE needs to be psychologically tested…and tested for STD’s (how long IS that cotton swap for a Chlamydia test?) AND sign a contract agreeing to all sorts of things that he wouldn’t normally think about..(allowing Intended Parents (IP’s) to put HIS partner on life support if necessary?) He may not realize that although he agreed to support his wife/significant other in her quest to be a surrogate mother, that HE may have to step in when the IP’s call when she isn’t feeling well, that HE will have to take care of their children when she is on bed rest after her egg transfer, or at appointments, that HE will have to give multitude of shots loaded with hormones that turn HER into a Witch (whom he has to actually live with!), that HE will have to miss work when she is in the hospital giving birth, that HE will have to hold her when she is sick, tired, scared, crying, that he can’t have any sexual intercourse (for HOW long??)…all because of this surrogacy that SHE wanted to do! Ahhh the unsung heroes!
Intended parents out there….Intended DAD’s especially, should step up NOW and thank the God above for these men who are the main support of your wonderful surrogate mother. Without them, these surrogate mom’s may end up on YOUR door step at 2 am for ice cream and pickles and a foot rub….or just to complain!
If you have a story about a special surrogate Dad who rose to heights you never imagined during your surrogate journey, please share with us!
May 22nd, 2012
this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Dr. Samuel Pang the Medical Director of the Reproductive Science Center of New England. A pioneer in helping lesbians and gay men become parents, RSC has been serving clients throughout the United States and Europe. Gay couples can become parents by the same assisted reproductive technologies that enable infertile heterosexual couples to have babies and the good news is that it is possible to have your own biological child. Dr. Pang and his husband have two sons through IVF with donor eggs and gestational surrogacy. We talked to Dr. Pang about these procedures and issues facing our LGBT community.
When asked how he became involved with reproductive services for gay and lesbian couples Dr. Pang stated, “I joined the practice in 1993 as the Associate Medical Director and in 1997 I was appointed to be the Medical Director of the Third Party Reproduction team which specializes in treating people who need either an egg donor or a gestational surrogate or both, to become parents. Now in 1997, all of the patients who required egg donation or surrogacy were heterosexual but in 1998 we were first approached by a male couple who sought to become parents through egg donation and gestational surrogacy. At that time no other fertility clinic in the area would agree to provide them with assisted reproduction services but we welcomed them immediately. Over the next five years we went on to help this couple have a total of three children through egg donation and gestational surrogacy. And in the past fifteen years, we have gone on to help many other male couples become parents through egg donation and gestational surrogacy. With a few rare exceptions, virtually all male couples who have gone through this process have been successful and some have even returned to have a second or third baby. Now getting back to the reproductive services for lesbians we have always provided donor insemination services for lesbians since our practice opened our doors in 1988. In the mid to late 1990’s I treated a few lesbian couples in which one of them wanted to conceive but was unable to do so because of ovarian failure so her partner would provide eggs for her to conceive with through a process that mimics egg donation. While most lesbians continue to use alternative insemination with donor sperm to have children, recently, some have opted to do what I have come to refer to as reciprocal IVF where one partner provides the eggs which are inseminated with donor sperm, and the other partner gestates the pregnancy. Now this is an interesting concept because these lesbian couples are not doing it because of medical necessity but electively by choice. Because this was a new concept which didn’t have a name, I coined the term “reciprocal IVF” to describe this elective IVF process. Reciprocal IVF allows both women in the relationship to be part of the process of having their child or children together.”
RSC is holding an LGBT Open House on June 13th. This is an opportunity to learn more about the assisted reproductive services provided for gay and lesbian couples in addition to fertility preservation consultations and services for transgender persons. Open House includes a facility tour and Q&A time with Dr. Pang. This event is free but registration is required. To RSVP….
For More Info: gayivf.com
May 15th, 2012
Q: I was wondering how many times is too many to be a surrogate mother? I have a friend who is going on her 5th time and I wonder if that’s healthy especially when she has already had 4 kids of her own!
A: This is a very good question but one for the IVF clinics rather than a surrogacy agency. Needless to say there are many factors to be taken into consideration. If a woman has a great track record of easy pregnancies and births, has not had more then 3 c-sections and is not over the age of 40 then she may still be a good candidate for surrogacy. We would certainly screen her as we do all of our surrogate mothers but we would leave the health issue up to the IVF doctors to decide. The surrogate mother’s health ALWAYS comes first and we would never do anything to jeopardize that! We keep in mind that our intended parents are spending a lot of money on the surrogacy process and we want the very best, healthiest and dedicated women for our IPs.
April 27th, 2012
Every Intended Parent wants the very best for their child as it grows from an embryo to a baby. They want the best uterus, (which might be why they needed a surrogate mother), the best eggs, the best sperm and the best doctors. However Intended Parents have little control over the diet of their growing baby. The best nutrition is very important to all parents but when one has no say in what their own baby is ‘eating’ it can be quite frustrating.
When interviewing surrogate mothers, some parents- right off the bat, ask about their diets and if they can change what they eat in some way. Some Jewish IPs want someone who will adhere to their strict dietary kosher guidelines while others want someone who will eat all organic and natural meats. Perhaps a vitamin regiment is also required above and beyond the prenatal supplements. OB’s often have a list of their own restrictions for all pregnant mothers to follow which limits the intake of caffeine, certain fish that contain mercury and luncheon meats that may cause listeria. Every contract states that a surrogate mother will follow medical guidelines given to her by her doctor so she is already following a certain dietary requirement. But when do diet requests go too far?
Surrogate mothers want to please their Intended Parents. However, one can only ask so much. When a surrogate Mother is in the early months of the pregnancy she may not be able to eat as well as she would normally. Some of the foods she would like to eat maybe the very foods that make her run to the bathroom. Just keeping down her vitamins maybe a monumental task! A surrogate mother who has agreed to eat all organic foods will have a higher grocery bill then if she were to keep with her regular shopping list. If an intended parent wants their surrogate to be on a special diet then they should offer to pay for that by supplementing her grocery bill. They will also have to keep in mind that the surrogate mother shops for her own family and she is not the only one who will be eating that free range chicken! She can’t feed her husband mac and cheese and eat her all natural organic meal in the living room so the entire family food budget needs to be taken into consideration.
If a surrogate mother agrees to stick to a certain diet she is then on the honor system as it can’t be demanded in the contract that she eat all of her vegetables. She needs to understand that this is just one more thing that she can do for her IPs and the baby she is carrying. They will be forever grateful to her for her dedication to having the healthiest baby possible.
Have you ever been asked to change your diet? How did that work for you and your IPs? What types of things were you asked to eat or to avoid? We would love to hear from you!
April 17th, 2012
Irvine, California – Fertility SOURCE Companies (The Donor SOURCE and The Surrogacy SOURCE) is proud to announce yet another record-breaking month for matching intended parents with egg donors and surrogate mothers. In the month of March, Fertility SOURCE Companies facilitated 40 egg donation matches, and 8 surrogacy matches.
The recent success of Fertility SOURCE Companies (FSC), one of the largest egg donor and surrogacy agencies in the United States, is attributed to their high quality services, dedicated staff and new business development strategies.
“The staff at FSC genuinely care about what they do. They don’t view their jobs as just work. Every staff member has a personal story in their past that makes them passionate about helping intended parents realize their dream of parenthood.” – Susan Bloom, Director of Marketing and Donor Recruitment
Read the Full Press Release »
April 3rd, 2012
PARENTS and INTENDED PARENTS – Please take a moment to fill out this brief survey on your experience with your Egg Donor and/or Surrogacy Agency. Your feedback will help us improve our programs for parents and parents to be:
Copy and paste this link into your browser to take the 3 minute survey: http://www.menhavingbabies.org/surveys/
March 20th, 2012
When a woman first thinks about becoming a surrogate mother, often times the thing that comes to mind is how easy it was for HER to have become pregnant and given birth to her own child/ren. We often hear a woman state “my husband just has to look at me and I become pregnant” or “we just talked about adding to our family and the next thing we knew, we were expecting number 4!”. But we all know that is not how surrogacy works! (and if you don’t then just read on!)
First of all a surrogate mother’s husband is not involved in getting her pregnant! His sperm has nothing to do with the process so if the intended parents are having male factor issues, that right there could mean a long haul for everyone involved. For a Gestational Surrogate (also referred to as Gestational Carrier), her eggs are not being used in this process either so if egg quality is a factor that could mean failed transfers as well. For a woman, the new surrogate mother, who has never experienced failure when attempting to become pregnant, this could be an unwelcome experience!
Second, becoming pregnant via IVF is no picnic. As many intended mothers can tell you, the pills, shots, creams, blood draws and appointments can get old fast! It is a huge responsibility to agree to become a surrogate mother for someone else and agree to put your own life and, lets face it, physical comfort on hold while you attempt to become pregnant with someone else’s child.
Third, your family also is impacted by whatever happens during the surrogacy journey. No matter if the process goes relatively smoothly or if there are canceled transfers, chemical pregnancies, miscarriages or a rift in the relationship, families are always involved and effected.
All of these issues can be minimalized by having a great surrogacy agency by your side. The initial phone call should educate a woman who wants to become a surrogate mother to all of the responsibilities that she needs to be aware of within the surrogacy process. And these responsibilities will be repeated throughout the matching and contract phase of the program. No surrogate mother should have any question about what is expected of her or where she can turn for answers and support!
This is just the tip of the iceberg and we want to hear your comments!
What were your biggest surprises when you first looked into surrogacy? What are some of the things you wish you knew when you started the process of becoming a surrogate mother?
Please share your best advice! We want to hear from you!!
March 9th, 2012
Relationships are tricky no matter what type they are; marriage, co-workers, and family all have certain expectations when it comes to how a relationship should be between the people involved. Society may have one general expectation but each individual, race and religion also has their own thoughts and feelings on the subject as well. It’s very complicated when you really think about all of the different relationships out there. So let’s fold in surrogacy where one woman is carrying a baby for another person or couple. What is that relationship supposed to be like? How is it all ‘managed’?
Society still is having problems with their thinking on this subject! Just read the news where the focus is the ‘womb for rent’ or ‘selling body parts’ or the ‘exploitation of women’ when the subject of surrogacy arises. The reality is that there is a very real relationship between the Intended Parent(s) and the surrogate mother and her family. What needs to be acknowledged is the fact that the communication that happens is not between the growing fetus and the surrogate but between the Intended Parent(s) and their surrogate mother. This working together toward a shared goal, building a family, is a great foundation for a wonderful relationship between all parties…and not a superficial one either. An evolving relationship which will take some work, and guidance at times.
This is where a good agency can come into play. A surrogacy agency is the backbone of any great intended parent / surrogate mother relationship. The case manager knows all parties involved and works closely with everyone. From the first introduction, through the signing of the contracts and the embryo transfer, a good manager will be supporting the relationship between surrogate mother and intended parent(s) in every way she can. During the pregnancy, birth and even after the baby arrives safely home, the surrogacy agency is there to share, guide and lead, if necessary, the surrogate mother and intended parents through the process of building a relationship that could potentially last many years to come.
We will be touching on the subject of surrogacy and the relationships that come out of such an interesting pairing as our blog matures. We would love to hear how your surrogacy relationship came to be and any advice you would like to share.
All comments welcomed!
March 9th, 2012
We are so excited to share with you news and information from the fertility community as well as from within The Surrogacy SOURCE family! There is so much to know and experience and who better to write all about it other than the members of The Surrogacy SOURCE team?
We invite you to participate in any way you feel comfortable by sending in your questions, commenting on our articles or sharing your own surrogacy related issues and concerns. We will do our very best to answer you. Some of our upcoming posts will cover the topics of staying stress free during your surrogacy journey, emotions involved after the birth, insurance and surrogacy, plus the financial aspects Intended Parents can expect when starting on their own family building plan via gestational carrier surrogacy.
All of us at The Surrogacy SOURCE are so happy to be in the position to assist women who are called upon to give the greatest gift…The hope of a family. We are here to guide Intended parents who are looking for that special surrogate mother to help them and to support those surrogate mothers and Intended Parents through our very thorough and successful surrogate mother program.
We welcome you!