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December 9, 2014

Gestational Surrogacy or Traditional Surrogacy? That is the Question

A widely misunderstood concept relating to surrogacy is the difference between traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy. These words are mistakenly used interchangeably in order to describe a woman carrying a child for intended parents. How do you determine which one is correct to use?

 

Let’s start with traditional surrogacy, because it is the oldest form. In a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother shares half of her genes with the baby. The other belongs to either the intended father or a separate sperm donor. Because only the intended father or sperm donor contributes half of the genetic material, the pregnancy can be achieve through what is called artificial insemination. This is a procedure that allows sperm to be inserted directly into the surrogate’s uterus to fertilize the surrogate’s egg. The surrogate will then go on to carry and birth the child.

 

Until relatively recently, traditional surrogacy was the only type of surrogacy available. It wasn’t until 1978 that a procedure known as in-vitro fertilization (IVF) was developed, which allowed embryos to be created outside of the womb. In IVF, the eggs from an intended mother are cultivated and retrieved to be fertilized in a lab with the sperm from an intended father or sperm donor, and then placed inside the surrogate.

 

This advancement in reproductive technology led to the emergence and development of gestational surrogacy. Ever since the 1990s, gestational surrogacy has been the most popular choice among intended parents, and is now almost the only type surrogacy agencies will offer. Current statistical estimates suggest that 99 percent of all the world’s surrogacies are gestational.

 

As people started using IVF more and more, new terminology and labels were needed to distinguish between traditional surrogates and those who became pregnant through IVF. For about 20 years, surrogates have been referred to gestational carriers to set them apart in court from traditional surrogates. This helps alleviate the confusion of whether the surrogate contributed their own genes to the child, or are merely carrying the child for another individual. The use of “surrogate mother” in Baby M (1989), “gestational surrogate” in Johnson v. Calvert (1993), and “gestational carrier” in Hodas v. Morin (2004) shows not only the shift in the technology of surrogacy, but also a shift in the language of surrogacy.

 

So the term Gestational Carrier, or GC, was established for clarity and convenience. However, even though the popularity of surrogacy has exploded in recent years, thanks in part to celebrities becoming more open about their surrogacy experiences, many people are still unaware of this important distinction.

 

Today, some people still prefer the term gestational surrogate, or GS, because they feel the label comes off cold, and doesn’t capture the full surrogate experience, even though the carrier’s relationship with the baby, or babies, and the Intended Parents is a very personal one.

 

The question then becomes which is the correct surrogacy term to use, for which the correct response is: whichever makes you the most comfortable. Surrogate and gestational carrier are used without harm in most situations, except in legal circumstances. An intended parent or surrogate can openly discuss with each other their own preference. After all, it’s your surrogacy experience!

 

If you are interested in becoming a surrogate with Surrogate Parenting Services, contact us now at (949) 363-9525.

December 2, 2014

5 Signs You Are the Perfect Surrogate Mother

Before applying for surrogacy, it is important to gauge whether you possess the emotional and intellectual temperaments necessary for the successful completion of the monumental task of becoming a surrogate mother. Here are some of the character attributes every surrogate mother should have:

Organization

A good surrogate mother should have scheduling down to an exact science. Period. After all, gestational surrogates are responsible for a slew of important medical appointments, telephone calls with intended parents, and important documents to gather and send out. So whether you thrive best in a controlled chaos or have a calendar finely tuned to down to the millisecond, an excellent surrogate mother will be on the ball when it comes to organization.

Family Oriented

Yeah, it’s kind of in the job description. To be a surrogate, you have to be a natural mother and caretaker. Tantrums, spit-ups, massive piles of diapers—if you could, you would list these skills on a job application under experience. Being family oriented is essential when you take on the surrogate role. Think of it as an extreme form of babysitting for the intended parents, that lasts over nine months.

Generally Healthy

As with most any reputable surrogacy agency, when you apply to become a surrogate, you should expect a little probing. Certain physical qualifications need to be met, such as a healthy body mass index (BMI), not being a smoker or drug user, and within a certain age limit. But really, that’s just a snippet of the requirements we ask from our surrogates. Intended parents really want the most physically and mentally healthy surrogate possible to have their child. Wouldn’t you?

Open-minded

One of the best things you can have is an open mind, whether you are the gestational surrogate or the intended parents. Consider that, just like in real life, there are some events in surrogacy that are completely out of your control. We are, after all, talking about a human baby who is on their own schedule—not the agency’s, the intended parent’s, and definitely not your own.

Motherhood

Probably the most important qualification a surrogate mother can possess is a successful previous birth. This prerequisite is usually unwavering for most any serious agency, and for good reason. A surrogate must prove that she is capable of carrying her own child before she can carry someone else’s child. What you must understand is that infertility is rather common, and with the cost of surrogacy being so high, a woman without any successful births has an unpredictability that most intended parents don’t want in a situation that is already so unpredictable.

Think you’ve got some or all of these qualities? If you are interested in becoming a surrogate with Surrogate Parenting Services, and want to learn the exact requirements, contact (949) 363-9525 or info@surrogateparenting.com.

November 25, 2014

Terms to Know in the Surrogacy Process: FSH

Follicle Stimulating Hormone, or FSH, is an important hormone monitored during the surrogacy process. Naturally occurring, it secretes from the pituitary gland and, along with Luteinizing Hormone (LH), plays an incredibly important role in normal female reproduction. The primary purpose of FSH is to stimulate the growth of the ovarian follicle in the development of eggs. The pituitary gland receives messages from the ovaries and the developing egg and releases FSH to stimulate the growth of a dominant follicle (containing an egg), which is subsequently ovulated.

In the beginning stages of the menstrual cycle, FSH stimulates many eggs to start growing from their immature, dormant state. During this initial phase, the largest, most developed follicle containing the most mature egg starts secreting Estradiol which will trigger ovulation so that the most mature egg can be released for potential fertilization. The immature eggs will also be released at the same time.

Menopause: The Increase of FSH and the Decline of Egg Count

Women are born with a number of eggs, ranging from 1-2 million. By the time a woman reaches puberty she has around 400,000 eggs remaining. During a woman’s reproductive lifespan, she should have an average of 400 ovulatory cycles, during which the 400,000 eggs will be relased. As a woman gets older, these dormant eggs eventually deteriorate in genetic quality and can cause their baby health problems should they conceive. Also as the ovaries age, the pituitary gland senses this change and has to secrete higher amounts of FSH to achieve the monthly ovulation. At one point, when all eggs are exhausted, menopause manifests and the serum FSH levels are extremely elevated, but to no avail. In the premenopausal years, this decline in number and quality of eggs can be checked by measuring circulating blood FSH levels. The higher this level is, the poorer the prognosis to conceive.

How FSH works in the Surrogacy Process

Following the menstrual period, you will begin Controlled Ovarian Supra-ovulation with daily injections. During this time you will also continue taking other medication to prevent ovulation prior to surgical retrieval. You will make several visits to the doctor’s office to monitor your ovarian response by transvaginal ultrasound and by blood tests, which measure your hormone levels. In the unfortunate event that you are not responding well to the stimulation medication, the mediation dosage will continue to be adjusted. In a typical situation, after 8 – 13 days of stimulation medication, enough eggs should have reached the maturation range.  At that point, you will be instructed to take in intra-muscular injection to induce the final maturational changes in the eggs and prepare them for retrieval approximately, about 36 hours later.

FSH’s Effect on Eggs

As a general rule, the younger the woman and the higher the complement of eggs to start with determine the number of eggs that will reach maturity under the influence of FSH. As a typical example, a 25-year-old woman can produce 20-30 eggs after receiving stimulation medications for about two weeks.

In general, FSH and other fertility hormones administered under controlled medical supervision are very safe to use in the surrogacy process. The patient is closely monitored by ultrasound examinations and blood hormone levels until the time of egg retrieval, which involves the harvesting of all the maturing eggs from both ovaries.

The Side Effects of FSH

FSH has a tendency to disappear quickly, in addition to having a short half-life in the body. Some minor side effects are not uncommon while taking these fertility hormones. These include headache; mild nausea or stomach pain; mild numbness or tingly feeling; mild pelvic pain, tenderness, or discomfort; stuffy or runny nose, sore throat; breast swelling or tenderness and premenstrual like symptoms.

Want to learn more about surrogacy? If you are interested in becoming a surrogate with Surrogate Parenting Services, and want to learn the exact requirements, contact (949) 363-9525 or info@surrogateparenting.com.

 

 

November 18, 2014

Advice From A Surrogate Agency: Address Your Emotions About Infertility

As a surrogate agency, we’ve worked with many women experiencing infertility and understand the myriad emotions it causes. In general, there are eight shades of emotions researchers have identified as being affected by infertility: loss of self-esteem, status, important relationships, health or an acceptable body image, control security, important fantasies and someone or something of symbolic value. The cumulative effect of these psychological factors is profound, and could create a life crisis that impacts a person’s ability to cope. Though it seems bleak, support from family and friends can help to make infertile men and women feel better about themselves, relate better to those who care about them, and ultimately respond better to treatment. Here are a few guidelines to remember:

Admit the problem is real. The first step should seem rather obvious. To pretend the problem does not exist or avoid solving it doesn’t help. You may first have to assess how you feel about infertility before addressing someone else’s problems. Picture yourself in the place of the other person and walk through the disappointment and thwarted expectations they must feel.

One of the best things you can do is acknowledge their infertility by asking how things are going with treatment or how they are feeling. This shows that you are truly interested in their situation and offers them the opportunity to confide in you, if they choose to do so.

Inform Yourself. Don’t assume that you know what the other person is feeling. Hurtful comments like “You shouldn’t feel that way when you have so much to be grateful for,” “You’ve got to get a hold of yourself and calm down,” and “You’re becoming obsessed with having a child,” indicate that you may have serious misunderstandings about infertility. Instead, you might suggest that they find a support group, a psychologist, or social worker who specializes in infertility.

Be realistic about the situation. Many times people think that the only way to help is by eliminating someone else’s pain, which is impossible. Try and help them manage it instead by being honest with your friend or family member about your emotional limitation and discomfort. Tell them that you may unintentionally say the wrong thing and that you’re asking for their understanding and guidance in the situation. Your humility will be a relief to both parties. Don’t be afraid to employ some gentle humor to diffuse the tension. After all, the real underlying purpose of the conversation is to show the other person your concern.

Really listen to them. It is important that you allow your loved one to freely express their emotions about their infertility—whether that be anger, depression, or guilt. Venting negative feelings is a good way to relieve tension, in order to open up to a more positive perspective. To push the negative emotions deep within themselves is unhealthy and may delay the grieving process. With almost any tragedy, most people are looking for a sounding board more than an opinion.

Accept different ways of coping. All people are inherently different, and as a result must each find their own way of coping with a situation. The way they handle infertility may be influenced by different factors like religion, culture, and their economic background. Be aware that they may act differently than you expect. Some may talk more openly about their treatments, while others refuse to share their experiences. Also, their emotions may change as well, depending on when they were asked, partially because of the nature of fluctuating In Vitro Fertilization drug protocols and procedures. A woman may be offended for you asking one day and offended you didn’t ask on another day.

Try asking an infertile couple just how you can be supportive. Do they want you to ask how things are going? Would they find it helpful to bring over a meal or groceries after a procedure or surgery? If they don’t know, ask them to think of ways you can help.

Be inclusive. Though christenings, family reunions, holidays and (especially) baby showers may stir some negative emotions in an infertile person, it is still better that they know they are being thought of and wanted. Even if they decline, it still always feels good to be asked. You could even make to the leap to ask them what kind of social involvement they want in the function, or ask them what would make it easier for them. If you have children, consider that you may have to make the extra effort to maintain a friendship with someone who doesn’t. Ask them out to lunch or at least try and call or visit them occasionally.

Show them dignity and respect. Having children is a major part of someone’s life, but you need to show that you believe them to be a multifaceted being. Infertility does not make them helpless or lead less meaningful lives. Show them that you respect their desire to have a child, even if you do not full agree with them. Most importantly, you should let them know that you love and accept them, not as an infertile person, but as a person.

If are looking for a reputable surrogate agency to help you with infertility, learn more about surrogacy, or find a surrogate, call (949) 363-9525.

November 11, 2014

Must-Know Info for Those New to the Surrogacy Process

The surrogacy process is a complicated to say the least. You may be currently learning all of the ins and outs that go along with it, considering the pros and cons, and deciphering the terminology. And while you may be think of yourself as somewhat knowledgeable on the subject, there are some important things about the surrogacy process that might not pop up in your next Google search. Here are the top things to avoid when planning a surrogacy:

Don’t fly solo. When you work with a surrogacy agency, it’s like getting the ultimate personal assistant. Every aspect of the surrogacy process—required screening, matching, medical procedures, and legal actions—are all taken care of and arranged for you. Most importantly, however, a surrogacy agency is there to make sure all of the legal aspects of surrogacy are in order, like safeguarding your parental rights and establishing parentage. This is incredibly important because the state where your surrogate lives dictates the legal action that needs to be taken. In fact, some arrangements require a pre- or post-birth order, while others only need a second-parent adoption.

Find an ethical agency. You should never work with a surrogacy agency that doesn’t adhere to ethical guidelines, which have been developed to assist physicians with clinical decisions regarding the care of their patients. These guidelines are also set up to protect appropriate payments, optimize screening processes, and so much more.

Be realistic. Try and accept that surrogacy and egg donation programs are affected by natural processes, meaning not everything can go as expected. Even highly trained doctors cannot flawlessly predict or control how a patient is going to respond to medication or whether a pregnancy will be achieved on a given transfer. Just take a deep breath, hope for the best, and expect the unexpected.

Choose an IVF clinic for the right reasons. There are many ways to go about finding a fertility clinic: basing your search on financial packages, location, success rates, or number of years’ experience performing surrogacy. Choose on the grounds that make you and your partner feel the most comfortable, and take it from there.

Get a little help from your friends. Ok, maybe you need more than a little help, but never underestimate the power of a support system. Lean on your spouse, friends, family, agency, and even your surrogate. Try to be as honest as you can and have open discussions with them. Also, a counselor might be a great option for those dealing with emotional issues, as they can help you work through challenges and the changes you may face.

You and your surrogate are a team. It is incredibly important to not overlook your relationship with your surrogate, which should begin by addressing expectations at the beginning of your journey. What level of communication are you comfortable with? Are you okay with Skype calls every day? How about doctors’ appointments and personal meetings? Considering these important factors can influence the experience you inevitably have in your surrogacy.

Remember to avoid assumptions when making a surrogacy arrangement. It’s best to take the advice of the professionals at a full-service surrogacy, like Surrogacy Parenting Services. To make an appointment or if you have questions regarding surrogacy, call us today at (949) 363-9525.

November 4, 2014

Surrogate Pregnancy: What Foods Make a Healthy Baby?

If you’re a surrogate, pregnancy can be confusing because of the amount of conflicting information out there on what the perfect diet is. Is it dangerous to eat fish because of the mercury or is it good because of the fish oil? Are eggs good to eat or do they contain too much cholesterol? Though it’s rather nerve-wracking, there are a lot of ways to ensure that both you and your bun are getting the most nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. Here is some great advice from food experts on the top pregnancy foods:

Salmon

This fish is loaded with high-quality protein and is also an exceptional source of omega-3 fats. These nutrients are not only good for your general health (including, among other things, acting as a mood elevator) but are essential for a baby’s development. If you’re worried about mercury, fear not. Unlike king mackerel, shark, tilefish, and swordfish, salmon has a comparatively low amount of methlymercury (which can damage your baby’s nervous system). However, remember that the FDA advises eating no more than 12 ounces of salmon per week to avoid too much mercury.

Beans

You’re probably already aware that it’s vitally important to get a lot of protein during pregnancy, but one thing you may not have realized is the importance of fiber. Pregnancy slows down your gestational tract, which puts you at risk for hemorrhoids and constipation. Beans have the best of both worlds, as they contain the most fiber and protein of all the vegetables. In addition to that, beans are a good source of zinc, folate, calcium and iron. And just look at the variety that you have to choose from: chickpeas, navy beans, pinto beans, lentils … the list goes on.

Walnuts

By far, walnuts are one of the richest sources of plant-based omega-3s—and while plant-based omega-3s don’t provide much of the DHA that will benefit your baby, they are still an excellent source for you, in addition to containing plenty of protein and fiber. Besides that, they are an excellent choice for a pregnant woman on-the-run or sprinkling atop a salad.

Greek Yogurt

One of the goals in pregnancy is to give your baby the nutrients it needs without sacrificing your nutrition, for which Greek yogurt is ideal. Nutritionists love Greek yogurt because it not only is a great source of calcium—which is vital in creating a healthy skeleton for your baby, while maintaining your depleting bones—but also has twice the protein of regular yogurt.

Eggs

The incredible edible egg packs a wallop of more than 12 vitamins and minerals, filled with a lot of quality protein, and all at about 90 calories per egg. The importance of protein in a pregnancy has already been discussed ad nauseam, but it is important to stress the essential quality of protein. After all, baby’s cells are growing at an exponential rate, and every cell is made of protein.

Eggs are also rich in choline and omega-3 fats, which promote brain and vision development. And as for the accusation that eggs are overly high in cholesterol? Not credible. Eating saturated fats does more damage to your cholesterol level than eating the cholesterol naturally found in eggs. And while eggs are somewhat high in cholesterol, they are also relatively low in fat. But the egg’s incredibleness doesn’t end there, they are also versatile, quick, and cheap.

Popcorn and Other Whole Grains

Are you surprised? Yes, popcorn does indeed count as a whole grain! And as such, popcorn (and other whole grains) are important because they are chalked full of fiber and nutrients like selenium, phytonutrients (a plant compound that protects cells) and vitamin E. But don’t forget about the massive amount of other grain choices out there, such as oatmeal, barley, and quinoa. In fact, whole grain quinoa is easy to make and very high in nutrients, making it nothing less than a superfood.

Sweet Potatoes

Why are sweet potatoes so orange? Carotenoids, a pigment found in plants, which are transformed into vitamin A in our bodies. Although too much “preformed” vitamin A can be dangerous (found in foods like milk, liver and eggs), carotenoids are a completely different nutrient. They are converted to vitamin A on an as needed basis, so you can eat to your heart’s content, while consuming other vitamin A-rich foods. Inexpensive and versatile, the sweet potato also contains vitamin C, fiber, and folate.

Colorful Vegetables and Fruit

Each color group provides different vitamins and minerals, and there is a whole spectrum to choose from—the best approach being to eat from every color. This is especially important during the later stages of a pregnancy. The baby actually tastes the food you eat through your amniotic fluid, so exposing the baby to healthy veggies and fruits in the womb will increase the chance that the baby will recognize and eat those foods later on in life.

A surrogate pregnancy can be a wonderful experience, and eating the right foods can help you and the baby in the process. If you are interested in learning more about surrogate pregnancy, becoming a surrogate, or if you are an intended parent looking for the right surrogate, call Surrogate Parenting Services at (949) 363-9525.

September 30, 2014

How to Keep Your California Surrogacy Running Smoothly & Conflict-Free

In California, Surrogacy has nearly doubled in a few years. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, the number of surrogate babies in the United States has gone from 738 in 2004 to 1,448 in 2010. Even though the number of surrogates is increasing, serious conflicts between surrogates and intended parents remain relatively rare, with only about a dozen out of every thousand ending up in court. Even if that’s the case, here are some tips for intended parents to keep the surrogacy conflict-free:

1. Psychological counseling for the couple. The intended parents should know for sure if surrogacy is right for them, and discussing the issue with a counselor is one good way of finding out. Can you allow someone to carry a child for you? An intended mother may need a surrogate mother, but on the other hand will try and control every aspect of the surrogate’s life, which will cause conflict between them.

Psychological counseling is so important if you decide to go through with the surrogacy, and it should be ongoing until at least two months after the baby is born, for both parties involved.

2. Consider the cost of surrogacy. Do you have the financial ability to pay for the pregnancy? Can you cope with the costs of a high-risk pregnancy, premature birth or miscarriage?

3. The relationship between the intended parents and surrogate. Before the pregnancy begins, you should talk intimately and directly with the surrogate and/or egg donor on the amount of contact you want. Establishing an agreed upon relationship between all parties is key to a conflict-free surrogacy. It is also important to address your expectations of how the relationship with the child is to be handled after birth. Will the surrogate pump breast milk for the baby? Will the parents send the surrogate updates or photos of the child as he or she grows up? These questions should be worked out beforehand.

4. Each side should have legal representation. To reiterate, going through a California surrogacy agency, like SPS, has the advantages of legal representation, which is very important because of differing state laws that are constantly changing. The surrogate and/or egg donor should also have their own legal representation. It should be noted that you will probably not want to share legal counsel with your surrogate and/or egg donor. We are able to refer them to an attorney who specializes in the assisted reproduction field.

5. Signing the contacts. When you get legal representation, a contractual agreement will be drawn up between you and your surrogate and/or egg donor to make sure everything is fleshed out and put in writing. During this stage, your lawyer will help negotiate on issues such as compensation amount, the number of children to be had, recovery period, maternity clothing, etc.

6. Working with an agency makes everything run smoother. One of the most important things you should understand is that working with a surrogacy agency allows you to enjoy support, tons of different services, and essential legal protection. Agencies, like SPS, handle all the important aspects of surrogacy, so you can concentrate on the baby. A dedicated team of professionals cover everything, from matching and screening a surrogate, right down to the social work support and legal work. If any issues arise (and more than likely they will), you’ve got the support of a team to work through the problem.

Find the right surrogacy agency. Evaluate the advantages of working with a reputable agency. For more information, contact us at Surrogate Parenting Services.

September 20, 2014

Finding a Surrogate Mother: Tips to Make Your Parenting Profile Stronger

Finding a surrogate mother through an agency means you must complete a parenting profile. This information will be used as a tool for agencies to help find a surrogate that aligns with your ideals and viewpoints. In this profile, a surrogate can learn all about your background, life experiences, relationships, health information, coveted levels of communication, the type of parent you want to be, and overall surrogacy expectations. Once the profile is complete, all identifying information is removed and then presented to a potential surrogate for review. The stronger a profile is, the better the surrogacy match. Here are some tips to build the best parenting profile possible:

1. Try not to over-censor yourself. Tell your story. If you feel apprehensive about declassifying your very personal story of how you came to the point of surrogacy, don’t be. Besides being 100% confidential, a surrogate is ultimately going to want to feel a close connection to her Intended Parents. This makes it completely appropriate to open up a bit and talk about your journey—which is a surrogacy after all, so it’s going to be filled with heart-ache and struggle.

2. Be completely honest. Finding a surrogate mother that is compatible is the whole point of using a parenting profile. What’s the good in having inaccurate information? It mean that you are presented with a surrogate who just doesn’t fit — wasting your time, her time, and jeopardizing the surrogacy as a whole. Everything in the parenting profile is confidential anyway, so feel free to be honest, even down to the smallest detail.

3. Try writing a letter to the surrogate. Maybe think of this letter as a very personal introductory letter where you can open up and share a piece of yourself beyond the parenting profile. Talk about who you are, the details about your daily life, how you came to surrogacy, what you want in terms of the surrogacy experience, and the relationship you hope to forge. These women are there to fulfill one of the most personal things imaginable by helping you start a family, so it’s important to be real and be yourself. This means letting your true personality shine through. It is also important to thank her for the incredible gift she’s about to give, because, in the end, the sacrifice may outweigh any compensation.

4. Include photos! No profile would be complete without photos of your family and friends. Example: Facebook. You are trying to paint a picture of who you are, the life you lead, and the life your future child will become a part of. So include pictures of you and your partner, your friends, relatives and even your neighbors, with brief captions that describe your relationship to each (minus the last names).

5. Ask for help from the agency. One of the best things to do if you’re stumped is to ask us to help you in the matching process. That’s what were here for. If you are ever at a loss for words or just want to brainstorm creative ways to add information, call on us for guidance.

Remember that the Intended Parent profile is the only document a surrogate reads about you, and it’s the key determining factor in whether a surrogate wants to move forward or not. It gives her a sense of who you are, and should be thought of as so much more than a clinical, systematic matching tool. Therefore, you should have fun finding a surrogate mother, and be open at this stage of the process.

September 14, 2014

Signing the Contract: Things to Think About Before Becoming a Surrogate

There are many things to worry about when becoming a surrogate and/or an intended parent. The possibility of the relationship souring should not be one of them. It should filled with compassion and teamwork. However, as hard as you try, it is likely that both parties will not agree on everything. That is why a surrogacy contract is so important. A lawyer should be present at all times when handling legal agreements, but here are some of common topics you’ll want to consider before sitting down at the negotiation table:

1. Surrogate Compensation – Of course your surrogate will receive the standard base fee for the pregnancy, but there is also additional expenses to discuss: Invasive procedures, C-sections, maternity clothing, and many more. Your attorney will negotiate a fee for each expense, one that is reasonable and usually always with a capped limit. Before finalizing the contract, you’ll want to discuss when payments are going to be made, who will handle the coordination of the finances, and if fees are to be held securely in an escrow account.

2. Lost Wages For Pregnancy – Intended parents will typically pay for the surrogate’s lost wages if she misses work or has to take a maternal leave of absence. In becoming a surrogate, she must make these financial sacrifices to fulfill the arrangement—which also applies to bed rest.

3. Celibacy – This is to ensure that the surrogate does not become pregnant with her own child, which takes place upon one month before and after each transfer. It is fine to alter this clause to two weeks, especially if she has had a tubal ligation or her partner has had a vasectomy, as long as she has the proper medical documentation.

4. Medical Decisions – This is very important because it adds some stability in the uncertainty of becoming a surrogate. This section will cover the number of embryos transferred, the number of fetuses to be carried, selective reduction, her stance on abortion, and whether or not amniocentesis is to be performed.

5. Post-Birth Relationship – After the child is handed over to you, what kind of a relationship, if any at all, do you want with the surrogate? Is the child going to have future contact with the surrogate, or is any information going to be shared between the child and surrogate? These kinds of questions are very important, and you need to establish concrete answers well before the baby is born.

6. Breast Pumping – If you want the surrogate to pump breast milk, you need to first establish whether she is willing to do so, and for how long. Keep in mind that it is standard practice for the intended parents to financially compensate the surrogate for additional time and effort pumping milk, so compensation will have to be established. These are all questions that need to be answered during the contact stage of the surrogacy program.

7. Privacy – This deals with whether or not to disclose your surrogacy arrangement with the public or news and whether or not to reveal the identifying information of the surrogate or egg donors. Medical information will be exchanged, so the contract should always state that the HIPAA privacy rules are to be honored.

All of this can seem overwhelming, but Surrogate Parenting Services is there with our team of professionals, ready to guide you on every step of your amazing journey to parenthood.

September 7, 2014

Family Ties: How Becoming a Surrogate Impacts Relationships

Becoming a surrogate is a huge decision, so gaining the hearts of your family could be the key to a smooth and successful surrogacy. Even though they might at first seem to be on-board with your gestational surrogacy, take into account how each could possibly be feeling, though they may not outwardly express it, as well as the delicate nuances surrounding the situation.

Here are some tips for helping them adjust and understand the epic journey they may soon be undertaking with you:

Talk to Them About It

Before even filling out the application form, gauge how your family is going to handle you becoming a surrogate by calling a family meeting. Speak frankly and open-mindedly with your spouse and partner and children about the adventure at hand, making certain they understand your enthusiasm, as well as your reasoning behind the decision. In a similar way, your family should not only understand your desire, but share it. If your prospective surrogacy is met with adversity, solicit their feelings and honestly listen to their point of view.

Think about how this is going to affect your husband or partner in the long run, from medical check-ups, traveling to meet intended parents and other obligations, as well as the physical and mental support needed, right down to the restrictions on intimacy. After all, this is not just work for you, but for themtoo. Keep in mind that your family’s interest may not only be on their own inconvenience, but your health as well. No matter how well-managed and healthy a pregnancy seems, the risks do exist and involve everyone.

If you feel that it may be important to include others outside of your immediate family, like your parent(s), include them as well; but only you know the intricate dynamics of your family and how they might react. If you move forward without total consent, you may consider surrogacy a mistake, only to discover that your father or mother is strongly against it—which ultimately impacts the likelihood of whether your pregnancy will be a positive one.

Stifle Your Partner’s Insecurities with Reassurance and Facts

One of the problems a surrogate may face is the insecurities of her husband or partner, of “another man’s baby” being inside of her. The best way to combat these feelings is by reminding him that it is only a gestational surrogacy. Run through a detailed description of the process—that there is absolutely no genetic tie between you and the child, and the relationship between you and the sperm donor is merely professional and clinical.

You should explain your intended purpose, that ultimately this is a gift to help a couple in need, as well as for the financial benefit of your own family. Tell him that you want others to experience the joy that having children has brought you and to him.

Your Children Deserve a Say

Obviously, the way to talk to younger children about becoming a surrogate differs greatly from how to approach older ones. One thing that does not change, however, is the fact that, no matter what age, they deserve to know what’s going on. In the long run, they will find out anyway and will be affected by it, so don’t leave them out of the conversation. This may be more of a downhill battle, as opposed to your husband or partner, because children are generally far more accepting. Children also have much to gain in terms of learning from your pregnancy.

If you have very young children who need special sensibilities in the matter, you could try and explain that mommies carry babies in their womb. You might go on saying that some mommies’ wombs don’t work right and your helping carry another’s baby until it is born. One thing that should be absolutely clear, however, is that the baby you’re carrying is not their “new brother or sister,” and will not be coming home with you to live. Surprisingly, most surrogates report that their children are completely comfortable with the notion that their mother carrying “another family’s baby.”

Another issue to take into consideration is telling them that you do not love the baby you are carrying more than them. Reassurance of this early on can prevent any confusion or misplaced hurt the pregnancy may cause. That does not mean that you should not share your enthusiasm with them, and indeed your entire family, of the gift you are giving together.