Archive for the ‘Surrogacy’ Category
March 6th, 2014
Please read… This is a clear example of why it is so necessary to utilize the help of a surrogacy agency in lieu of finding a surrogate mother on your own.
By Louise Eccles
PUBLISHED: 16:43 EST, 5 March 2014 | UPDATED: 21:00 EST, 5 March 2014
Unable to have children of her own, a woman had done a deal with a close friend who was ‘artificially inseminated at home’ with her husband’s sperm.
Legal chaos ensued after the couple’s relationship broke down within months of the little boy’s birth, the High Court heard.
Now, in a case serving as a warning against illegal private surrogacy deals, the woman has been refused recognition as the boy’s legal mother
A judge has warned of the dangers of informal surrogacy agreements after a woman found she had no parental rights to the baby she had asked her friend to conceive with her husband.
The ‘do it yourself’-style surrogate pregnancy ended in the High Court after the boy, now three, was effectively left with two mothers.
Unable to have children of her own, a woman asked a close friend to be artificially inseminated at home with her husband’s sperm.
But when the woman’s marriage broke down months after the birth of the child, she found she had no parental rights because she was not the boy’s legal or biological mother.
Yesterday, she was granted a residency order to care for the child, but the judge warned against anyone considering an informal surrogacy agreement, rather than through a professional agency.
Describing the case as a ‘cautionary tale’, Mrs Justice Eleanor King underlined the ‘real dangers’ of private surrogacy agreements and urged couples to use licensed and regulated fertility clinics.
Even then, surrogacy contracts are not enforceable and a gestational mother can always change her mind about handing the child to the couple.
The father and surrogate mother were named on the toddler’s birth certificate and, in the eyes of the law, they are his parents.
The judge said medics had spotted something was amiss when the surrogate mother booked herself in at the Leicester Royal Infirmary to give birth.
Doctors insisted on seeing a formal surrogacy agreement and the couple went to a firm of solicitors, who drafted an agreement.
Mrs Justice King said the solicitors unwittingly committed a crime when they drafted it, because they charged for the preparation of the agreement, which is in breach of the Surrogacy Arrangements Act 1985.
The couple’s relationship broke down soon after the birth and they have since divorced. The court heard they made a second legal error when they failed to seek court recognition of the woman’s parenthood within six months of the birth.
The judge said the time limit was mandatory and making a parental order in the woman’s favour was ‘not an option’.
Read more: Do it yourself surrogate pregnancy
The Surrogacy SOURCE has warm, compassionate case managers (many of whom have been surrogate mothers themselves) ready to help you in your journey. We have available surrogates pre-screened; personally met and ready to match. Contact us today! (949) 872-2800 or Toll free in the US (877) 375-8888 or visit us at http://www.TheSurrogacySOURCE.com
January 22nd, 2014
Compliments of The Jerusalam Post.
Over 50 picketers demonstrated against Israel’s refusal to issue passports to 65 infants born, or soon to be born, to surrogate mothers in Thailand.
Over 50 picketers demonstrating against Israel’s refusal to issue passports to 65 infants born, or soon to be born, to surrogate mothers in Thailand assembled outside Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s Tel Aviv home on Tuesday.
An official statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday explained the denial, saying that according to Thai law these babies are citizens of Thailand, and their extraction would be illegal. The Israeli government is investigating the situation and is in contact with the proper authorities.
Of the infants in question, 90% are to homosexual Israeli couples, said a spokesman for the campaign that organized the demonstration “Gideon, your baby is home. Ours are not!” The organization holds Sa’ar responsible for refusing to issue their infants Israeli passports.
The spokesman said Sa’ar and the government are “stalling” to prevent same-sex couples from raising children in Israel, adding that their organization “tried to make it a general issue.” But it feels like the government “is trying to exhaust homosexuals from having children in Israel.”
Read the full story here: http://www.jpost.com/National-News/Protesters-gather-outside-Saars-home-to-demand-Israeli-surrogacy-in-Thailand-be-recognized-338967
December 14th, 2013
With Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and other social media platforms we now have the ability to communicate “real time” now more than ever. This also means that whatever you post has the ability to get into the wrong hands.
What exactly are we talking about?
• Spring break photos – and the crazy antics that often go with!
• That new tattoo you just got.
• Sexy “Selfies”
• That awkward 7th grade photo – you know the one, zits, braces, and awful hair
• A rant about anything political, religious, or otherwise
• Jokes and remarks that aren’t politically correct – they may be funny to you but to others not so much.
• Again – photos you wouldn’t want your parents to see
Its human nature to want to learn more about the egg donors and gestational surrogates intended parents select. With technology the way it is these days you are easy to look up. It just takes a little detective work. Most gestational surrogates exchange name, address, and email with their intended parents – and in some instances egg donors are open and have given the intended parents their first name – that along with a photo is the tools they need to find you on social media.
Remember this is a job! Would you want your boss at your day job to see the above? Probably not – same goes for the intended parents that selected you to help create their family.
So think before you post and adjust your privacy settings accordingly.
To learn more about becoming a surrogate mother, or if you’d like to apply to become an egg donor please visit us at: www.thesurrogacysoure.com or www.thedonorsource.com
December 14th, 2013
Covering the cost of surrogacy or surrogacy with an egg donation cycle requires financial planning. As you embark upon your surrogacy journey remember that in addition to compensating your gestational surrogate, egg donor, or fertility clinic there may be other expenses that you need to plan for such as:
• Agency fees that are paid to the agency who will coordinate your cycle, pay your surrogate, pay your egg donor, pay
the IVF clinic and other cycle expenses.
• Attorney fees that are paid to your attorney to create the egg donor and gestational carrier legal agreements.
Also your lawyer will help you with any pre-birth orders, or parental right contracts.
• Any and all medical and insurance expenses or costs. Gestational surrogate medical screening, egg donor screening,
patient medical screening (intended father).
• Psychological screening and testing
• Stipend for maternity clothing
• Childcare costs in the event bed rest is ordered by a doctor
• Housekeeping costs in the even bed rest is ordered by a doctor
• Lost wages that are determined on an individual basis
• Other legitimate miscellaneous costs that may occur during the pregnancy.
It’s all about planning and being prepared.
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!
September 16th, 2013
After selecting a surrogacy or egg donor agency, the knee jerk reaction might be “Sure why not” However, that isn’t correct. The answer should be – You always need a lawyer who specializes in third party reproduction to create a legal agreement between you and your egg donor or gestational surrogate.
It makes common sense – no two lawyers are created alike. Granted all lawyers go to law school to earn a Juris Doctorate. However, each lawyer chooses a specialty to practice. Some lawyers choose family law, while others choose things like patent law, business law, real estate law, international law, criminal lawyers, tax lawyers, insurance lawyers, divorce lawyer, etc..
You get the idea.
Catherine Tucker from The Law Office of Catherine Tucker shared with us:
“I get asked this question a lot, and I definitely do not recommend trying to handle the legal piece yourself. A properly constructed legal agreement is simply the best way to protect yourself and your family. Egg donation is an extremely complex and technical area of the law that draws upon concepts from many different legal areas, such as presumptions of maternity and paternity, property law, general contract principles, medical malpractice and liability, and choice of law principles. Unless you are well-versed in how all of these specific areas of the law interplay with regards to an egg donation arrangement, you cannot competently prepare a comprehensive egg donation agreement, nor can you competently review an agreement prepared by the other party. While I absolutely understand that egg donation is a very expensive undertaking, the legal fees are relatively reasonable in the grand scheme of all the expenses involved.”
Let’s translate this into finding a physician. You are seeking the assistance of a Reproductive Endocrinologist to help you have a child via egg donation. Would you see a brain surgeon, an internist, a psychiatrist, or a cardiologist to help you have a baby?
No, of course not. They are all doctors but they all have their own specialties just like lawyers.
You wouldn’t defend yourself in court regardless of whether you are a trial lawyer or not. Most lawyers will tell you that the conventional wisdom dictates that representing yourself in court which is known as pro se representation, is a bad idea. There’s a really old saying that a person who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. In fact, The Supreme Court quoted a law professor’s statement that “a pro se defense is usually a bad defense.
The same thing goes for physicians – they don’t treat themselves or their family members they go to other doctors for things like that.
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
July 18th, 2013
Surrogacy is expensive – incredibly expensive and it’s also complicated. That’s why it’s important to employ a professional surrogacy agency, a great IVF clinic and an excellent reproductive lawyer to help navigate through uncharted waters. However, it’s important to remember that during our quest to become parents we can feel extremely vulnerable, overwhelmed and sometimes downright desperate.
Here are a few tips of what not to do if you are going to create a gestational surrogacy arrangement on your own.
• Don’t ever enter into a surrogacy arrangement without a legal contract. That also means do not under any circumstance download a contract from the internet. Even if you are a lawyer yourself have someone else draft the contract.
• Don’t ever work with a potential gestational surrogate who’s never given birth to a child of her own. It’s important the GS have a child of her own, knows what it means to parent, and what pregnancy is like.
• In the same breath don’t work with a woman under 21. This is a big deal and a huge responsibility and many IVF clinics will tell you that they require any surrogate mother to be at least 21 years of age.
• If you are a single mother by choice – make sure you obtain sperm from a trusted source like a sperm bank. This isn’t a time to make nice with a former spouse, boyfriend or partner. It’s going to cause many headaches in the future and again regardless of who you obtain sperm from two words: LEGAL CONTRACT.
• Make sure the gestational carrier (surrogate mother) you work with lives in a state where surrogacy is not only legal but lives in a state where commercial surrogacy contracts are enforceable.
• For goodness sake please don’t ever do home inseminations with a turkey baster. Have all of your treatment conducted at a fertility clinic.
• You both need to undergo a visit with a reproductive psychologist. You to talk about any grief issues that you might not have addressed and how you are feeling about relying on another to carry your baby. And even more importantly your gestational surrogate needs to undergo a psychological evaluation which will consist of a test administered by a therapist and then the psychological interview. Listen to your therapist’s outcome.
• Regarding paying bills – pay them ALL ON TIME and always use an escrow service. Don’t pay them yourself.
• Spell it all out in your legal contract – from A to Z. That’s why it’s so incredibly important to hire a lawyer.
• Many say don’t ever have your gestational surrogate come live with you for more than ten days at a time.
From my point of view braving it on your own and creating your own surrogacy arrangement is crazy. This isn’t like buying a house, car or a boat. This is about becoming a parent using third party assisted reproduction, and there’s lots that goes into that and it can be really complicated. That’s why it’s important to hire professionals along the way to create a team for you, and to set you all up for success with a great outcome.
July 16th, 2013
One of the most selfless things one woman can do for another is to become a gestational surrogate. This isn’t a walk in the park, it’s not easy, and you are going to need a lot of support from friends and family. However, it’s going to rate right up there as one of the most fulfilling things you will ever embark on aside from having your own children. That’s why it’s incredibly important to remember that the support you receive from your friends and family are going to be what helps you those most in dealing with all of those crazy emotions you might feel during pregnancy.
Education is going to be your best tool when deciding to become a surrogate. Educating yourself, your husband (or partner), your folks, your siblings, your kids all about surrogacy will help as you go through the process.
So when should you tell?
We think the best time to tell your immediate family about your choice to become a surrogate mother is when you yourself have decided that this is something you really want to do and you’ve made a firm decision to become a surrogate. Write down your reasons so they are clear in your head so you can see in black and white the purpose of your choice and what made you decide to want to become a surrogate mother. Honesty is always the best policy always when talking to your family about your desire – because they all need to be on board for this to work the way it’s supposed to.
When you talk to your kids about your choice to become a surrogate mother teach them that its going to take time – 9 months most likely. It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight, next week, or even next month. Share with them that it took them 9 months to be born and that all great things take time to make and this is no exception. Like anything important when we talk to our kids we need to realize that it’s all in the presentation. If you don’t make it weird, if you treat is with sensitivity your kids will respond in kind. And whatever you do don’t just dump your decision on them the week before you have an embryo transfer. No one likes or appreciates information overload – and your kids are no different. Introduce the idea of you becoming a surrogate over a period of time. You might for instance what to have them meet the intended parents if that’s possible or maybe a Skype session with them. During this time both parties can talk about families and how all different kinds of families are made and how you are going to help this set of parents become a Mommy and Daddy like you and your partner letting your kids take the lead and ask the questions they need to ask to become comfortable.
Regarding your friends and family – there’s two schools of thought on this. One school of thought is to not let your choice be known to be a surrogate right away. Many say that it’s best to let your decision to carry a pregnancy for another come up in conversation naturally – be happy, at ease, and confident about your choice. Again, if you aren’t weird about it the reception of others around you won’t be either. If you are scared, or nervous about how they might react they are going to sense that and odds are they are going to worry about the effect this might have on you and question your decision.
The other school of thought is to begin sharing your desire to become a gestational surrogate right away with your family and close friends. That you can talk through your reasons and motivations in carrying a baby for another who can’t carry on their own. This way you can garner support early on and that these kinds of conversations are helpful and beneficial in the decision making process.
Now keep in mind that it’s possible that you might find some resistance – and some won’t accept or agree with your choice to become a surrogate mother. If this is something you are set on doing then don’t allow their opinions to sway your choice.
Will your surrogate pregnancy affect those around you who are closest to you? Of course it will and if you think it won’t you are fooling yourself. That’s why is really important for your friends and family to be educated, prepared and supportive of you. Their support is going to play a big factor in the success of the cycle and pregnancy.
What about the baby they might ask. It should be made clear and understood the baby you are having is for another family not your family. This baby will never be a member of your family. It’s not going to be a cousin, a brother, a sister, niece, nephew, or a grandchild. We can’t emphasize enough that your children need to realize clearly they aren’t going to get another baby sister or baby brother and what you are doing is for someone else that can’t have a baby on their own.
Lean on your surrogacy agency, your care provider, friends, family or therapist to help you with the explanation of some of this information – it can sometimes be complicated.
Being a gestational surrogate is going to be one of the most generous acts of kindness you will ever give to another. You will be creating new bonds during this time that will affect your entire family and support circle. It’s a time to rejoice that you are helping someone else become a mother or a father.
June 5th, 2013
As an intended parent one of the most important decisions you are going to be making as you embark upon gestational surrogacy is who will carry and deliver your baby. It can be a scary time. It can be a happy time as well as an overwhelming time – and many who have gone before you will tell you it’s truly an adventure of a life time!
Your partners in all of this are going to be your surrogacy agency, your lawyer, and most importantly your Reproductive Endocrinologist. Your doctor is going to look over and screen your potential gestational surrogate’s entire medical history. Your IVF doctor will be looking for anything that would suggest your gestational surrogate / gestational carrier (GS / GC) might be a risk for complications during pregnancy, miscarriage risks, or anything that would indicate that she wouldn’t be a good candidate for gestational surrogacy. Your doctor is going to want to know if the potential GS is able to carry twins. Would she have any sort of medical issues that would cause the pregnancy to be a risk. Things like that.
Next the potential GS will have a physical exam as well as other kinds of testing. Her uterus will be examined, she will undergo blood work. If she’s married or partnered her partner will have his or her own blood work for infectious disease screening. The GS will have her previous pregnancy history examined to look for things like miscarriage, premature delivery, gestational diabetes, how her delivery went, bleeding issues etc… The doctor will leave no stone unturned as he or she will review everything focusing on any sort of risk factors.
What’s the ideal gestational surrogate? A woman who’s had at least one successful pregnancy before that’s gone full term without any complications. It helps if the GS has carried for other parents and shown she can carry a baby healthily and safely with having no emotional issues with giving the baby(s) to you the intended parent and then move on with whatever relationship both parties have intended. The potential GS will also meet with a psychologist or therapist to talk about potential emotional issues and if the GS is emotionally prepared to take on the huge responsibility of carrying your baby, the ability to carry the baby safely and healthily and last but not least the ability to give your baby to you after delivery in a healthy way.
When we think of gestational surrogates we have this woman in mind that is height and weight appropriate – healthy, has easy pregnancies and even easier deliveries. Intended parents are looking for that “something” that’s going to tell them equivocally that this GS is “the one” someone who stands apart from everyone else they may have interviewed.
As you wade through profiles and finally move on to interviews you might want to keep this list handy and in the back of your mind when talking to potential gestational surrogates.
• Does this GS demonstrate that she’s committed 100000% to the cycle, pregnancy and the entire surrogacy process?
• How easily do you think or your agency think she will be to communicate with? For instance how easy is she to reach? Does she have more than one method of communication that as intended parents you can reach her by?
• This might seem elementary (no pun intended) but how well can the GS follow the directions given to her by her doctor? Or agency? Or yourself? How proactive is she to call her doctor if she has ANY questions or if there is ANYTHING she doesn’t understand?
• What does she tell you about her diet? Is she a person who eats good, healthy food? Drinks plenty of water and tries to stay away from fast-food, junk food, and stuff that’s not great for her?
• What’s her take about cigarette smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy? The answer should be “I am not a smoker and I do not drink any alcohol as well as limit my caffeine use during pregnancy” If she says anything other than that – pass.
• Will she put your needs and your babies needs first in front of her during the pregnancy? How does she feel about selective reduction or termination of a pregnancy?
• Does the GS like to be healthy, active, and exercise? Being in the best shape possible is incredibly important during pregnancy.
• What kind of family support does the GS have? Does she have a good support network besides yourself, the agency, and her doctor?
• It’s been said over and over a good gestational surrogate doesn’t need the money she is going to earn by carrying your baby. What’s your GS say about the money part of things. Is the extra money just for a rainy day or is the money she is depending upon. That’s something you want to iron out early before you commit.
• How educated is your GS about the whole process. How does she feel about talking to others about what she’s doing and educating them about what she’s doing?
The relationship you will have with your GS is going to last a lifetime. This will always be someone who will have a special place in your heart as well as your children’s life. That’s why it’s incredibly important that when you select a GS you choose wisely and choose a GS that’s going to be a great fit within your family.
Another way to look at this is selecting a GS is sort of like dating – Dating you say? Yes, dating, in that when we date another we are doing what? Gathering information about the other person. Discovering what we have in common. Are they a good fit? Do they mesh with my belief systems? Are they a good person? How many times in your life have you met someone you thought was amazing but shortly thereafter found they weren’t as amazing as you might have liked?
Granted you are not going to have a romantic relationship with your gestational surrogate – but you are going to be involved intimately in each other’s life – and when we say intimately we don’t mean again in any sort of romantic way we mean this person is going to be carrying your baby and there’s nothing more intimate than that –seriously.
There’s so much to talk about – How much involvement do you plan to have with your GS during the cycle, pregnancy and after your children are born? Are you going to want frequent interaction? Do you want regular updates? How hands-on are you going to want to be? The majority of gestational surrogates welcome, and encourage their intended parents to be hands-on. They love to share with their intended parent’s weekly progress – they love to be connected as much as possible. And why wouldn’t they? They are carrying precious cargo for YOU! After your baby(s) are born what kind of contact and/or relationship do you foresee having with your GS? Is she going to be a special Aunt? Or someone you connect with once a year. Will this person serve any role as your children grow through their childhood – through the teen years and beyond?
As you see – there is so much to think about when selecting a Gestational Surrogate. This means surround yourself with the best possible people beginning with your REI, the surrogacy agency, a great surrogacy consultant, a wonderful lawyer, a great therapist, a great OBGYN, and most importantly an amazing Gestational Surrogate.
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
May 10th, 2013
Dealing with infertility and accepting the reality you need help having a baby is often difficult. We “What if” ourselves a lot. We bargain. We cry. We become angry. So when we hear the news that to have a child we need to rely on a gestational carrier not only can that be a big pill to swallow we need to think about if this is something we are ready for.
Making the choice to have a baby via gestational surrogacy is a decision that is going to affect a lot of people. Because of how intimate and delicate these situations are it can take a toll on everyone’s emotions. There is so much to take in, work through, process and consider – the feelings of your surrogate as well as her family, your unborn baby, as well as yourself.
• The biggest question you must ask yourself is how you feel about someone else other than yourself carrying a baby on your behalf?
• If you are married or partnered are you both on the same page? Are you both ready? If you are single do you have a good support system to help you through this process?
• Are you ready to make the leap from your current fertility treatment to the next stage which is surrogacy?
• Have you thought about how you are going to talk about gestational surrogacy and the explanations surrounding this to your family, your friends and most importantly to your child?
Then of course you have to think about selecting a gestational carrier, the time commitment from all parties, the medical procedures that will be required, the legal process that is going to be involved, travel considerations, what a gestational surrogate pregnancy will look like, the delivery plan and all of the post-delivery details.
All of these things can be talked through, worked out and processed with the help of a professional team to help you navigate and facilitate the experience.
Your team should consist of:
• A psychologist who is familiar with infertility and third party reproduction. He or she will help you talk through the feelings you may be having regarding infertility, grief, surrogacy, your treatment plan, pregnancy, bonding and parenting.
• An experienced surrogacy agency that will facilitate and coordinate your entire process – from A-Z. Your agency is the glue that keeps everything stuck together.
• An experienced fertility clinic that is your medical team that will do the medical piece of the surrogacy cycle.
• An experienced lawyer who is well versed in surrogacy, third party reproduction and the laws pertaining to that.
• A strong support system – friends, family, or community that you can lean on during the cycle.
• And last but not least – your surrogate. Finding the right surrogate takes time. It’s important to find a gestational surrogate that’s going to be a good fit for you and your family.
Granted there’s lots to think about as you make the leap from carrying a baby yourself to contracting with a surrogate to carry your baby on your behalf. However, surrogate cycles are done every day, all over the world and there are many happy, healthy outcomes. It just takes work, commitment, and patience.
We hope this takes a little of the stress off your decision making. For more information on using a surrogate mother through gestational surrogacy, please check out our website 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
March 22nd, 2013
There’s no real black and white answer to this question I don’t think. I think it depends on a lot of things. For instance if you have easy pregnancies and even easier deliveries you are going to have the ability to be a surrogate mother more times than if you have hard pregnancies and deliver children through caesarian section – or if your pregnancies result in multiples.
However, most physicians say no more than three (3) caesarian sections and no more than five (5) live births without C-section, especially multiples.
There are three basic requirements that most surrogacy agencies go by when they recruit a surrogate mother:
Surrogate mothers must be between the ages of 21-38 years old. A surrogate candidate who’s younger than 21 years old most likely won’t have the maturity required to deal with or understand what it means to be a surrogate. For instance they may not understand the how this might affect the surrogates own family. When we look at the other end up the spectrum the age of 38 is put out there for medical reasons. There’s a link between age and higher risk pregnancies and harder deliveries with complications.
Surrogate mothers must a child(ren) of their own, living in the house. The reason is simple – only a surrogate who’s had children understands what it means to be pregnant. To feel that baby move, to give birth and bond with their baby. Then and only then can a potential surrogate mother decide if this is something she can do. Most all surrogacy agencies require the surrogate mother be actively parenting their own child(ren). The reason surrogacy agencies want their surrogates to be actively raising children is that those surrogates who have experience parenting a child, get what it means to raise a child, what it takes to be a parent, and can choose to be a surrogate mother. For instance, those women who have placed children for adoption but have not raised a child don’t know what it’s like to parent a child and may not understand the dynamics of parenting. Whereas the surrogate mother who has raised a child understands that she alone raises her own children and in turn understands that the couple she is carrying for needs to be left alone to raise their own child.
Potential surrogate mothers must be financially secure. I know that this may be confusing but it needs to be said – Money should never be a major motivator when deciding to become a surrogate. Most agencies exclude those on welfare or who are receiving assistance from the state. It’s really important that potential surrogates meet with a psychologist to talk about their motivations for carrying – those that they voice and those that are unconscious motivators. It’s important the potential surrogate understand the responsibility she’s going to be undertaking and what she’s agreeing to, and how she’s going to explain to her own children and family that she’s not giving away a baby but helping another family who can’t have a baby without her help to achieve their dreams of being parents like herself. Most importantly, the potential surrogate herself needs to discover if this generous act of compassion will help her or harm her – because her well-being is most importantly at stake.
For more information on becoming a surrogate mother, including surrogate mother compensation, and surrogate mother requirements, please visit our website http://www.thesurrogacysource.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!
January 31st, 2013
Eating While Pregnant…What CAN We Eat?
Eating while Pregnant….such a natural activity, a necessity even. You are expected to eat whether you are carrying one or two….or more babies. So this article hasn’t much to do with surrogacy BUT as a surrogate mother you may have the uncommon pressure of *people* asking you “what are you eating?” There is an entire grocery store of food now on the no-no list for pregnant women! I have no clue how WE, the baby boomers, the X generation, or the Y generation even made it through the entire 9 months in-utero high on mercury from our mothers over-dosing on canned tuna! What will the iGen’s do? Buy pre-formulated maternity diet packets from Amazon.com?
Read below the things that should be avoided now.
• Raw meat such as sushi, seafood, rare or uncooked beef, or poultry because of the risk of contamination with coliform bacteria, toxoplasmosis, and salmonella.
• Raw eggs, or foods containing raw egg such as Caesars dressing, mayonnaise, homemade ice cream or custard, unpasteurized eggnog, or Hollandaise sauce because raw eggs may be contaminated with salmonella.
• Soft cheese such as blue cheese, feta, Brie, Camambert, and Latin-American soft white cheeses such as queso blanco and queso fresco because they may harbor harmful bacteria.
• Fish containing accumulated levels of mercury in their fatty tissues such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish.
• When a pregnant woman consumes large amounts of mercury, her baby may suffer brain damage resulting in developmental delays (for example, delays in learning to walk or talk).
• Fish containing high levels of an industrial pollutant called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in their fatty tissues such as bluefish and striped bass, and freshwater fish such as salmon, pike, trout, walleye from contaminated lakes and rivers. According to the March of Dimes, consumption of large amounts of PCBs by pregnant women is linked to decreased attention, memory, and IQ in their babies. Check with your local Health Department to determine which fish in your area are safe to eat.
And this list keeps growing…. deli meat, liver, (well…I can live without this one!) and artificial sweeteners…where will it end? After reading this new and updated list, posted out there on the Internet by the March of Dimes and the FDA, the only thing left for pregnant women to eat seems to be FORMULA! Yuck.
Surrogate mothers… this is what your IP’s are reading…it doesn’t matter that you ate subs from the local deli when you were pregnant with YOUR children but when you are a surrogate, carrying for someone else THEY want you to eat like they think THEY would eat. No Egg Nog for you over the holidays (unless you cook it), no Caesars salads at the Red Lobster…oh and while at the Red Lobster no Bass or Swordfish and stay away from that shrimp! No colas and no Equal in your ice tea. Wait…doesn’t ice tea have caffeine? NO CAFFEINE! Seriously, there are plenty of healthy choices and eating right is in the best interest of everyone involved. But if your IP’s are questioning your diet or if YOU have questions its best to have a talk with your OB and see what the current guidelines are. Because, trust me, they change!
Please feel free to comment back with any pregnant eating no-no’s that you’ve been informed about by your OB or IVF doctor
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
Gay couples could lose surrogacy rights under move flagged by the Queensland government, despite Campbell Newman ruling out changes to the law before the election.
The Queensland government will ban single people and same-sex couples from having a child through surrogacy, in a bombshell move announced during a fiery overnight debate on watering down same-sex civil unions.
In a move that will further inflame the anger of Queensland’s LGBT community, Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced about 10.20pm that the government would introduce in the future a bill to reshape the altruistic surrogacy law.
Mr Bleijie said the Newman government’s law would be similar to the one proposed by the Liberal National Party’s Lawrence Springborg several years ago, and would repeal Surrogacy Act provisions dealing with single people, same-sex couples, or any de facto couple that had been together for fewer than two years.
“That was a clear commitment many years ago when that debate originally took place,” Mr Bleijie said of the future surrogacy changes.
Altruistic surrogacy is the process by which a woman carries a baby for another person or couple, for no payment. The changes would restrict access to heterosexual couples only.
Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/gays-face-surrogacy-ban-as-lnp-pushes-civil-union-changes-20120621-20q9j.html#ixzz1z9W2XdTy
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 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/