What is up with all of this 'surrogate' stuff? Even the presidential candidates have surrogates!! And then there are the TV programs and movies that make surrogacy seem....funny! or that we all should laugh about it especially when one has to go through the actual labor (ie Hard Work) just keeping some wacked out wanna be surrogate in line with the program. (I guess that I should watch the movie first before I judge but I am thinking boycott instead just because of a preview I saw when the "surrogate" confesses to farting into the Intended Mother's purse. Gross!)
I just feel that there needs to be just a little more respect for the word surrogate and for Surrogates in general...yes...even the ones around the world that are missing out on some of the basic joys of surrogacy. (meeting the IP's for example!) Maybe I am sensitive. I just hope that they don't watch American TV, movies or watch the US news!
If you have a favorite quote or have read something recently that you would like to share please send it my way. This quote below is from a surrogate who has a very positive attitude! Thank you!!
If the thought of lack - whether it be money, recognition or love- has become part of who you think you are, you will always experience lack. Rather than acknowledge the good that is already in your life, all you see is the lack.
-Eckhart Tolle: A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose (Pg 190)
Sometimes I receive comments that I feel need to have their own space on my blog and this is one of those times. Below is a comment regarding the post Surrogacy 101: Woman Delivers 10th, 11th, and 12th Surrogate Babies. This Intended Mother has been through it all and is waiting anxiously for her surrogate to have her first beta in a week or so. Still, I would love to hear from other IP's on their experiences with their clinics. Is this the 'norm' here in the states?
Obviously, this surrogate mother from England hasn't dealt with the very frustrating American medical system with nasty doctors, and misinformed office staff. I should introduce her to our beloved Tampa doctor (no name mentioned), his wife and R. at our latest clinic. I'm sure she would have no desire to continue being a surrogate. We have such a lack of respect and consideration for intended parents and surrogates here from IVF clinics. In the Miami area, I wasn't even given the option of using a surrogate - my female doctor laughed and didn't offer any information on local agencies. This doctor wanted me to pay $9,000 for infusions to take care of a blood antibody problem she thought I had after a fancy blood test ($1,000) that she sent to a Chicago lab. When I got a second opinion, the new male doctor at another IVF clinic didn't see a blood antibody problem, but rather thought it was a uterine problem and wanted to slice me open for observation.
Is it any wonder that I feel our country's medical system is broken? They forget that we are the clients and they need to put their own egos and bad days aside to show us some compassion.
I can't even imagine what it would be like to deliver this many surrogate babies. And I had 2 sets of twins! I know many other wonderful women who have given birth here in the USA to 5, 6 and yes, even 7 surrogate babies but 12?! I would love to hear your comments!
An exhausted but happy Carole Horlock cradles newborn triplets in her arms.
But in a few days, she will hand the babies to a childless couple and will probably never see them again.
For most mothers, nothing could be worse. But Horlock -- Britain's most prolific surrogate mother -- won't lose a moment's sleep over it.
"I've never had a problem handing the babies over," she said after delivering the healthy triplets, her 10th, 11th and 12th surrogate babies.
"I don't bond with the babies in the womb," said Horlock, 41, who also has two daughters of her own. With my own children, the bonding came after they were born, as I nurtured and fed them. I've been cuddling the triplets and I've been very involved with them but they're not my children."
Horlock, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, England, has been almost permanently pregnant for more than a decade.
The triplets' parents are a Greek couple in their 30's. The babies' mother, who had a hysterectomy two years ago after cancer, can still produce eggs but not carry a baby.
Embryos made from the father's sperm and mother's eggs were implanted into Horlock's womb at a Greek fertility clinic.
Doctors urged Ms Horlock to abort one of the triplets, warning that with her age there was a higher risk they would be born with disabilities, or die in birth. They also said her life could be in danger. She refused.
She gave birth by planned Caesarean section on March 15 in Athens at just over 35 weeks.
The boy, named Panagiotis, was born first weighing 5.6 pounds. Next came a girl named Paraskevi, who weighed 5.8 pounds, followed by another girl Helen, weighing 5.5 pounds. All are healthy.
Horlock has a daughter Steffanie, 16, born in 1991 in her first marriage. Three years later, she had another daughter, Megan, 13, from another relationship.
Her first surrogacy agreement was in 1995 and since then she has given birth to eight girls and four boys for childless couples, including a set of twins and the triplets.
The triplets are the first time she hasn't been the biological mother, and the first time she used IVF to become pregnant. In the previous agreements, she was artificially inseminated with the father's sperm.
Horlock receives "expenses" from couples she helps as payment is illegal. However, Horlock insists she is not motivated by money.
"To see the joy on the faces of couples who thought they'd never have children is special," she said.
Horlock will make no demands on the parents of the triplets beyond requesting an annual letter and photograph to let her know how they are doing.
But her surrogacy experiences have not all been positive. Her father rarely speaks to her, distressed that she is effectively giving away his grandchildren.
In 2004, after delivering a son, she found instead of being impregnated with the father's sperm, she had conceived with her partner of nine years, mechanic Paul Brown, 50.
Though the other couple took the child, the mistake led to Horlock being thrown out of the group, Cots (Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy), which links childless couples and surrogate mothers.
Horlock is planning one final pregnancy before she retires.
It's Sunday again! Funny how the weekend just sneaks up on us all like that! Today I would like to feature a piece from a blog on parenting. Marni Wells is the mother of 12 kids! Yes!! 12...and all single births too! She has a lot of great advise and I would like to post Positive Praise today because it is not just for kids, praise makes everyone feel good! Please visit Marni's website and enjoy! You can even sign up for her newsletter!
Thank you for reading my blog! You are all greatly appriciated!
It takes no energy. Costs no money. Takes little time. Requires no special tools.
It can cause increase in stature. It can bring renewal and a lighter step. It can ease stress. It can lift a heavy load. It affects every life at every age.
P power packed words of encouragement r right at any time of day or nite a always works i intuitively welcome s saying something that is positive and personal e everybody deserves some
Do you want to change things in your marriage, your work, your children, your school, committee meetings, church, relationships??? Try praise. "You will win more bees with honey" Now I am not suggesting that you make things up. That you slather compliments...brown nose....etc...
I AM SUGGESTING that you begin to practice praise. Start by making a decision to give 1 genuine praise per day per individual. This does not come natural in most cases. So you will need to be intentional to pull it off. You may meet some skepticism in the beginning but don't let it hinder you. Make it a practice.
Children will thrive with praise. You do not need to worry that they will become proud or spoiled...if the praise is genuine it will do it's job.
It can be delivered privately or in a group setting, in a note, letter, with a gift or alone.
Don't let anything stop you. Praise. Praise PRAISE!!
I cannot bear children myself due to having a partial hysterectomy, but I still have my ovaries. Is it legal in Canada for me to have a surrogate mother so my husband and I can have a baby of our own?
I have attached a link from the Internet for you to look at regarding Canadian laws and surrogacy. Infertility Answers, LLC - Assisted Reproductive Technology In Canada As I am not an attorney, I suggest that you contact one near you to answer your questions before you proceed further. I can say that I know of quite a few Canadian surrogates that are carrying for their fellow countrymen/women.
As an alternative you can come to the United States, where you will find several states where gestational surrogacy is acceptable and common.
Listed below are some links to various umbilicalcord blood sites and educational information. I personally didn't have this choice when my own children were born in 1986 and 1996 however, in 2000, my IP's decided to bank the cord blood of their newborn twins...and in 2005, my 2nd couple decided NOT to bank the blood of their newborns...so you can see it is a very personal decision that needs to be made individually. I read on one of these sites that the odds are that the average baby will ever use his or her own banked cord blood is considered very low. The primary reason that parents consider banking their newborn's cord blood is because they have a child or close relative with or a family medical history of diseases that can be treated with bone marrow transplants. On the other hand public cord blood banking is strongly supported. Its up to you to research the facts well before the birth because it's a procedure you have to choose and plan for beforehand as it is not routine in hospitals or home births.
I recently talked with an IP and as we were discussing some of the requirements of their mystery, (soon to be matched with, hopefully) surrogate, one of the first things mentioned was that they, the IP's, wanted the woman to be close to where they were located so that they could be involved with the pregnancy and birth. And that is understandable but impractical for matching ASAP. When some IP's are losing control of everything in their reproductive lives they try, by default, to make the surrogacy experience as close to the real thing as possible. In a perfect world the IP's surrogate would LIVE WITH THEM. The IM would cook and serve the nutritious meals to her carrier. There wouldn't be a ghost of cigarette smoke or a car fume near their pregnant surrogate. The surrogate wouldn't have an ounce of stress and all her appointments would be chauffeured and attended by both the IP's. All accompanied by soothing elevator music. (I didn't say THIS was the Surrogates perfect world, I mean, where is her husband, her kids, her job, her house, her friends, HER LIFE???) Reality is that IP's narrow their choices dramatically by looking for a surrogate in their home town. Yes, some can get lucky, but most should be more reasonable. If you have all the time in the world you might be able to wait and see what your agency will come up with in fulfilling that IP wish list. Knowing very well that not only is the request for location listed but also a woman willing to have a selective reduction. has her own health insurance, white (or black, Jewish or Hispanic or...), be experienced and have a BMI lower then 23, etc. Narrowing the choices and therefore expanding the time frame.
I encourage IP's to open the field! Look for a woman in any surrogacy friendly state...CA, TX, FL, IL, Etc Infertility Answers, INC - Surrogacy: State by State . If the IP's have relatives or friends in any of these states that may help with living expenses when they visit their surrogate. Perhaps the carrier will be willing to fly to the IP's state for the birth...there are ways to communicate and be a part of the pregnancy experience when you are flexible and open minded. The important thing is to find someone healthy and that you trust to carry your baby for you. Someone who fits all those other requirements both you, as the IP, and the clinic has for this woman. Believe me, you will be matched faster and pregnant sooner if you put location last on your list.
A friend sent me this site and it's really an eye opener. Because Beauty is a multi-billion dollar industry and targeted at our girls, I felt that it was more then appropriate to place this on my Sunday Parenting 101 blog. Intended Parents look at Egg Donors the same way in my opinion. The first thing they see is the physical form and only then will they look deeper into who she really is. This may be the wake up call!
I can tell you that there are so many potential scams that can be played on uninformed Surrogates and IP's that I could write a book. But I won't. (lucky you) One reason I won't is because I don't want to give anyone with a 'scammers' mind ideas and the second reason is I don't want to reveal how my mind can really work...ie: think Steven King.
The latest is the Health Care Options Insurance card scam. 'MaternityCard' provider sued by state . Here is a company that seems to be praying on uninsured pregnant women. As we are all aware, Insurance for a surrogacy pregnancy is becoming harder and harder to distinguish and with companies like the one mentioned in this article it's not surprising that women would flock to them to receive coverage well below normal Insurance costs.
The warning here is, folks, if it sounds too good to be true then it usually is! Again, do your homework and buyer beware!
Escrow accounts. Some swear by them. Some hate the idea. But I am here to give you MY 'professional' opinion and hopefully you will see the beauty in the simplicity behind an Escrow account.
Here is how it works: At the signing of the contract, you, the IP's deposit the entire amount of the surrogate fees including an estimate of co-pays, possible child care, possible housekeeping, lost wages etc. with your chosen escrow agent. (That person or firm will most likely be your own attorney.) It may cost an additional $1,000 but it will be well worth it. My motto has always been don't mix money with babies and this keeps it as separate as it can be under these circumstances. (The escrow account is not set up for medical, clinical, psychological, or anything other then the surrogate's direct surrogacy/pregnancy related expenses.) If you are working with a first time surrogate with insurance this amount could be between $18,000 and $22,000. Yes, that is a lot of your hard earned money to have in an non-interest baring account but it's best to have everyone involved know that if there is a pregnancy the money is there and ready. If, and I mean IF, there is no pregnancy, then any money not used will be returned back to the IP's. (Money may have been subtracted for start of medications fees or transfer fees, mileage, lost wages, etc.)
Moving forward....your surrogate is pregnant. She has receipts and monthly base fees and possible travel expenses. Money that she needs to get from somewhere. If the money has been deposited with an escrow agent then your surrogate only needs to have financial conversations with that person handling your money. The escrow agent then will call you, the IP's, if there is an unusual request that isn't specified in the contract. Usually, if all requests are only the base fee or maternity clothing etc, then a monthly statement is sent unless another arrangement has been made. Having your surrogate only discuss money, payments, reimbursements, compensation, (whatever you want to call it) with your escrow agent allows YOU, the IP's, to have conversations with your surrogate about the more important issues that are going on like the latest OB appointments, how she is feeling, what she is planning on doing next weekend, how her family is, what color you are painting the baby's room....much more pleasant don't you think, then "Hey, I need $5.95 for that prescription I picked up yesterday." or "I hate to say anything but my monthly check is a 10 days late."
I mentioned that these were simple reasons to have an escrow agent however, writing it all out made it seem longer then I wanted! In all seriousness, please consider making your life easier and your surrogate more comfortable by using an escrow account. It's worth it in the end!
I believe that when we think or speak of infertility we are focusing on the female aspect more often then not...and that the "cure" will be from the help of females: Egg Donors and Surrogates or an IVF procedure or IUI etc. Well, I found this article, below, that focuses on the male factor. My personal advice as an agency owner has always been to have the male tested before anything else is done. (Unless you know for a fact that its a female infertility issue such as born without a uterus etc.) Men can be tested at a much lower cost then testing for a woman and often, if there is a problem, the solution might be cheaper when it comes to treating the condition.
Like many couples, Brian Delaney, 35, and his wife, Daniela, 34, turned to in vitro fertilization after failing to conceive on their own. But after five attempts and an investment of $150,000, IVF failed them as well. Then Brian saw a male-infertility specialist, Columbia University’s Dr. Harry Fisch, who discovered that Brian’s low sperm production could be corrected through microsurgery. Three months later, Daniela was pregnant. Last November she delivered a baby boy, Harrison.
Long overlooked, male infertility has become a fruitful field of research. Doctors now know that, when a couple fails to conceive, the problem lies with the man as often as with the woman. And as the Delaneys learned, recent advances have dramatically improved experts’ understanding of how to diagnose, treat and prevent the condition. “Anything that makes the body unhealthy—a disease, toxins, excessive alcohol—will hurt fertility,” says UCSF urologist Paul Turek. “But most of these things that hurt fertility are reversible.” Some tips for men:
Prune your prescriptions. Among the commonly prescribed medicines that can affect fertility or libido are SSRI antidepressants like Prozac, beta blockers for hypertension, alpha blockers like Flomax (used to treat the symptoms of an enlarged prostate), the stomach-ulcer drug Tagamet and pain medications like morphine and oxycodone.
Men who are trying to conceive should also avoid using anabolic steroids and testosterone creams and injections because they shut down the body’s production of testosterone and sperm. “The body loves it, but the testicles hate it,” says Turek. “They say, ‘Well, there’s plenty of testosterone. I don’t need to make testosterone or sperm myself’.”
Have more sex. It sounds obvious, but some busy couples don’t make enough time for it. During ovulation—about 10 to 18 days after a woman’s period starts—couples should have sex every other day to “optimize sperm motility,” says Fisch, who is also the author of “The Male Biological Clock.” After five days without sex, a man has a higher volume of fluid, which dilutes the concentration of sperm and makes them less active.
Stay fit. Doctors are seeing more men with obesity-caused infertility. Fat converts testosterone to estrogen, and obese men (or those with a waist circumference of more than 40 inches) are more prone to erectile dysfunction. Men with type 2 diabetes, often associated with obesity, are more prone to low testosterone levels, which negatively affect libido and sperm production.
Doctors can prescribe anti-estrogens like Clomid, used to increase egg production in women, to stimulate testosterone production and, in many men, sperm production.
Stay cool. Heat can damage sperm cells, so stay out of hot tubs, avoid putting your laptop on your lap and don’t sit for long periods of time with your legs crossed or pressed together, says Dr. Peter Schlegel, chairman of urology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York. There’s also some evidence linking cell-phone radiation with altered sperm cells in men, so don’t “live on the cell phone,” and keep the device in your jacket or holstered to your belt rather than in your front pants pocket, he says.
See a urologist. “Even those men who we considered to be sterile in the past, we almost always can treat them now,” says Schlegel. Urologists can provide treatments such as vasectomy reversals and outpatient microsurgery for conditions like blocked ducts, scarring from STDs and varicoceles, a type of varicose vein.
Men who want to boost their fertility should also quit smoking, cut back on alcohol, avoid illegal drugs (especially marijuana) and exercise regularly. “Anything that improves medical health is likely to improve sperm,” says University of Illinois at Chicago andrologist Craig Niederberger. Then be patient. “In the world today, people want to act too quickly. ‘We tried for two months, we didn’t get pregnant, we want IVF’,” says urologist Robert Oates, director of male reproductive medicine and surgery at Boston University School of Medicine. Sometimes “try, try again” comes with its own rewards.
OK, I admit it....I just have to chuckle to myself when someone says they want to be pregnant by, say, the new year or by their next birthday or before their 5 year old is out of kindergarten....or they would like to be matched by next month so they can hit that next cycle or better yet, have a transfer in 2 months.... Please realize that in the world of A.R.T. it truly is an art form! A delicate dance with many partners. First, you have to find that perfect couple or surrogate (your full time partner for this dance), then you have to meet the RE and have all the clinical testing done in order to be cleared for the IVF procedure. There is a visit to the psychologist as well. From there, contracts have to be drawn up, agreed upon and signed...and don't forget that all of these professionals have their own time tables! If an egg donor is included in this waltz around the room, then HER cycle needs to be taken into consideration...and lets see, the clinic may "batch you" which means that they only perform transfers one week during the month...and maybe not in December or July. (perhaps closed for vacations, holidays and lab cleanings) And then there are the unplanned situations that may arise during all of this 'scheduling' like a death in the family, the ED didn't stimulate well, the frozen embryos all died during the thaw, a polyp was found during the mock transfer and needs to be removed, a failed transfer, and so on and so forth.
A note on my personal experiences: For my first surrogacy we signed contracts in 1998 and I gave birth to twins in March of 2000 and for my second surrogacy I wanted to retire from being a surrogate by the time I was 40. I met my couple at age 39 and ended up giving birth to their twins shortly after I turned 41.
The best way to protect yourself from continual frustration is not to have any time expectations. I don't mean allow people to drag their feet or for situations to continue to go unresolved but to move forward at a steady pace, together. Keep in close contact with everyone involved and try to have an idea of the issues that may pop up or slow down the process. Work on each phase of your ART journey without jumping too far ahead of yourself. Be aware of everyone else's time constraints and the future will take care of itself!
Egg Donation is a wonderful experience for someone who wants to help another person have a baby of their own. And the compensation isn't bad either. Unlike Surrogacy, Egg Donation has a much shorter time commitment and less complications then going through labor and delivery. (The part that may take the most time is waiting for a match) You may have heard about Egg Donation from a friend or read a wanted ad in the classifieds. Clinics and agencies are actively seeking young, educated, attractive, responsible women to become Egg Donors for their current clients. The compensation typically is between $3,000-$5,000 although some can ask for more. If the Egg Donor has rare gifts or a race/religion that is hard to find under normal circumstances, that may raise the cost of the actual donation. (Which isn't, by the way, per egg...it is per DONATION)
But being a Donor isn't without its risks, shots, travel,time off from work, etc.(read Infertility Answers, LLC - Egg & Sperm Donation) Doing your research before you sign a contract is a must. Find out what is expected of you and what the time frame might be. (Remember, the expected time line is OFTEN changed!) Ask all the questions you possibly can of your agency or clinic. Even a private donation should use a lawyer and a contract should be involved. Remember that there are some medical risks and you should have insurance as you go through any medical procedures. Knowing what to expect is the first step in an informed decision!
Intended Parents who have been lucky enough to have had a child or more through ART may still have several frozen embryos waiting for a decision to be made as to what their future holds. Are the IP's going to try for another child? Perhaps they are done with building their own family and are considering donating the embryos for embryonic stem cell research. Maybe they believe that destroying them is the best thing for their own piece of mind. And, of course, there is Embryo Donation.
Embryo Donation happens when, typically, genetic parents donate the embryos to a Fertility Clinic or Embryo Bank where they are Cryogenically preserved until Intended Parents are found for them. Most often the process of matching the embryo(s) with the prospective parents is conducted by an agency itself, at which time the clinic transfers ownership of the Embryos to the prospective parents. The amount of screening the embryo has already undergone is largely dependent on the Genetic Parents' own IVF clinic and process. The embryo recipient may elect to have their own embryologist conduct further testing.
Below I have listed several web sites that may answer any further questions regarding Embryo Donation. This is a very personal and private decision and one that requires a lot of thought. Researching the options will give a much clearer picture and hopefully allow you to make the best decision for your situation!
When the contracts are being drawn up the subject of maternity clothing can sometimes become a hot topic. IP's seem to think that if a woman has already had a baby or two or three she should have all the maternity clothing that she will ever need for her subsequent pregnancies. And IF any money is given toward clothes its usually between $500-$750 dollars. Has anyone PRICED maternity clothing lately?
Some women, without thinking ahead, may even decide to waive the maternity clothing allowance without even considering that some of their old things will need to be replaced. Please think about what will be needed as a woman grows throughout her pregnancy months.
Why past maternity clothes may not work for the current pregnancy:
*Out of Season/Style Clothing: You may have clothes that are only suitable for Fall and Winter and you may need clothing for Spring and Summer. Not to mention special occasions like Christmas or a wedding and if you are a professional then work clothes are in order.
*Old under garments: Yes, a delicate subject, but I don't know one woman who has not tossed out her maternity underwear as soon as possible. Naturally those will have to be replaced. Has any one priced a maternity bra lately?? And you need at least 3. What about PJ's? Sometimes your husbands old T-shirt just won't do! (Don't forget the panties as well!)
*Carrying twins or more: If you are pregnant with multiples then you will need to start wearing maternity clothing a lot earlier then usual AND you will grow faster and need much larger sizes then your other pregnancies.
* What about shoes?: Yes, your feet will need attention too...toward the end of a pregnancy, especially with multiples, it is very hard to find something to wear on your feet. Don't be surprised if you have to go out and buy the adjustable Birkinstocks because your ankles have blown up the size of Mrs. Dumbo's!
Often we forget, perhaps on purpose, that we maybe wearing some of these maternity clothes WELL AFTER the birth, while our bodies are making the brave attempt to get back to "normal". So when thinking about offering a maternity clothing allowance (IP's) or asking for a clothing stipend (surrogates) please keep the above clothing list in mind. Nine months is a long time to be wearing a MuuMuu. Old Pueblo Traders : intimate : loungewear ;-)
I was surfing through the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) web site...yes, I know, I need to get a life! However, I found out some interesting facts that I would like to share with you. Please note that 2005 is the most recent year and some are older then that so these reports are not up to date and the explanation is listed below.
Why is the report of 2005 success rates being published in 2007?
Before success rates based on live births can be calculated, every ART pregnancy must be followed up to determine whether a birth occurred. Therefore, the earliest that clinics can report complete annual data is late in the year after ART treatment was initiated (about 9 months past year-end, when all the births have occurred). Accordingly, the results of all the cycles initiated in 2005 were not known until October 2006. After ART outcomes are known, the following occurs before the report is published:
Clinics enter their data into NASS and verify the data’s accuracy before sending the data to Westat.
Westat compiles a national data set from the data submitted by individual clinics.
CDC data analysts conduct comprehensive checks of the numbers reported for every clinic.
Clinic tables, national figures, and accompanying text for both the printed and Internet versions of the report are compiled and laid out.
CDC and Westat review the report.
Necessary changes are incorporated and proofread.
The report is submitted to the Government Printing Office to begin the printing and production process.
These steps are time-consuming but essential for ensuring that the report provides the public with correct information particularly regarding each clinic’s success rates.
How many people in the United States have infertility problems?
The latest data on infertility available to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth.
Of the approximately 62 million women of reproductive age in 2002, about 1.2 million, or 2%, had had an infertility-related medical appointment within the previous year and an additional 10% had received infertility services at some time in their lives. (Infertility services include medical tests to diagnose infertility, medical advice and treatments to help a woman become pregnant, and services other than routine prenatal care to prevent miscarriage.
Additionally, 7% of married couples in which the woman was of reproductive age (2.1 million couples) reported that they had not used contraception for 12 months and the woman had not become pregnant.
Does this report include all ART cycles performed by the reporting clinics?
This report includes data for the 134,260 cycles performed in 2005 by the 422 clinics that reported their data as required. A small number of ART cycles are not included in either the national data or the individual fertility clinic tables. These were cycles in which a new treatment procedure was being evaluated. Only 358 ART cycles fell into this category in 2005.
If a woman has had more than one ART treatment cycle, how is the success rate calculated? Alternatively, how many cycles does a woman usually go through before getting pregnant?
As required by law, this report presents ART success rates in terms of how many cycles were started each year, rather than in terms of how many women were treated. (A cycle starts when a woman begins taking fertility drugs or having her ovaries monitored for follicle production.) Clinics do not report to CDC the number of women treated at each facility. Because clinics report information only on outcomes for each cycle started, it is not possible to compute the success rates on a “per woman” basis, or the number of cycles that an average woman may undergo before achieving success.
Are there any medical guidelines for ART performed in the United States?
Below is the link with the complete information. As always, I hope that this has shed some light on what information can be found on the Internet so that when you are doing your research you can be fully prepared and educated before you decide to move forward with ART. I would love to hear if you find this information helpful! FAQ's: 2005 ART Report | CDC Reproductive Health
It's just amazing what happens when the media hits a dry spell....there is a little lull in the political arena so it seems that the spotlight is now being cast on the Military. And not on the men and women fighting in Iraq or elsewhere in the world but on the wives who have offered themselves as surrogates for people who can't have a baby any other way. It truly is disgusting some of the "headlines" used for these articles:
"Military wives spawn rise in Surrogacy" "Military Wives Cashing in as Surrogates" " Baby Carriers: Cold Cash or Warm Heart - Why Military Wives Dominate the Surrogate Baby Business" "Surrogate Army Brats" "The Curious Lives of Surrogates"
It really burns me when I read the comments more then the articles themselves. I do understand the health care issue. Taking advantage of any insurance company is not right under any situation but focusing in on THIS...surrogacy... in such a negative way only highlights ignorance of some people. In most surrogate cases the Surrogate in question already has health insurance in place. She has already been paying the monthly premiums (one way or another) and has every intention of continuing to do so. She has a maternity rider that may have been used once or twice....she will only use it for her prenatal care, labor and delivery. If a surrogate does not have insurance then the IP's are the ones who pay for her policy in 99% of the cases. A very few IP's may choose to go self pay and have money up front for the OB and the hospital. All parties, IP's and SM's know that this Insurance Policy....Military or otherwise WILL NOT pay for any IVF, Pharmaceuticals, or Egg Retrievals. The Insurance is used ONLY for the pregnancy.
I can understand that some insurance companies see that being pregnant voluntarily might cross the line at what the real intention is for their policy. (which is to cover the pregnant mother who intends to keep the baby) But there are many woman who choose to give that baby up for adoption the second they find out they are PG via HPT or blood test. Should those women go without coverage because they choose not to keep and raise their child? Or maybe they changed their mind at birth and then placed the child up for adoption....will they have to repay the company?
Intended Parents will be going to these same insurance companies to buy insurance for their newborns...is that not actually repaying the Insurance Company back in some way? And as for the Military Insurance....please....I don't believe that the numbers are as large as reported...at least not from the matches I am familiar with...I think that this has been blown way out of proportion and, while maybe worthy of investigation, has taken all respect and dignity out of the world of surrogacy. Strip away Insurance....what little money is involved is used to take care of the pregnant carrier. Doesn't she deserve that at least? To drag the name of surrogacy through the mud just because some people find it unpleasant that military wives are doing it with the assumption that it will supplement their income and that IP's are too cheap not to get another policy for them is ridiculous. (perhaps someone out there is feeling guilty that our military men and women are not getting paid enough for their services and the thought that their wives may consider "renting their wombs" as extra income is a tad unsettling? Not that I believe that to be true at all!) There is a bigger picture here and it would be nice if the media, FOR ONCE, would take that into consideration....bringing a new life into this world through the generosity of surrogates and their families!
Below are some guidelines based on information from the American Academy of Pediatrics and from Bright Futures, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It's always a good idea to be prepared with your own list of questions and concerns for the Dr. Although there are many Dr. visits within the first year, remember babies change and grow rapidly which means that your questions will change as well. I hope this list helps you with your first newborn visit.
Things the doctor will do at today's visit:
Ask how things are going with your new baby.
Examine your baby.
Make sure that your baby received antibiotic drops or ointment for the eyes and a vitamin K shot.
Make sure that your baby has a newborn screening blood test.
Recommend an immunization for your baby: Hepatitis B.
Give you an opportunity to ask questions.
Things to keep in mind:
Always use a car seat , backward-facing in the back seat until your baby is at least 12 months old and weighs 20 pounds.
Always use your own seat belt.
Place your baby on his back to sleep.
Make sure your baby's crib is safe.
Never leave your baby alone on changing tables, beds, sofas, chairs or other raised surfaces.
Set thermostat on hot water heater to 120 degrees F or below.
Install smoke detectors on every floor in your home and test them monthly.
You cannot spoil a newborn. Try to comfort your baby when he cries, by holding, rocking or cuddling him.
Rest whenever your baby is sleeping.
Realize that you may feel tired, overwhelmed or depressed.
Schedule an appointment for your baby's next visit, usually within one to two weeks after birth.
I hate to say it but I feel pretty well qualified to bore you to death on the subject of carrying twins. Having carried 2 sets of twins and giving birth to them consecutively in 2000 and 2005, I never thought that I would be sitting here today reliving each and every painful memory of the 34 1/2 weeks and 37 weeks of pregnancy. (how many years is that?)
How did this HAPPEN??? Two sets of TWINS! Well...that's IVF for you. Transfer over 1 embryo and you have a chance of twins...which is not to say you can't have identical twins from one embryo but lets not get into semantics! I agreed to 3 embryos. Yes THREE. EACH TIME...you would have thought that I would have learned my lesson after my first successful transfer, which, by the way, started out as a triplet pregnancy. That first Ultra Sound just blew everyone out of the water. It left me with my head spinning. After the shock the only choice was to move forward and pray that we all "came out" ok.
Now is the time I give you a little back ground on my reproductive life. (Feel free to speed read.) I have two children of my own. A son born in 1986 and a daughter born in 1996. Same marriage, same father. Yada yada yada. (I was diagnosed with secondary infertility due to hormone imbalance but we conceived naturally). I had "natural child birth" with both of my babies. YouTube - Bill Cosby - Natural Child Birth Pt. 1 and YouTube - Bill Cosby - Natural Child Birth Pt. 2 should explain how that works. Never did I think that I would EVER go under the knife....for myself, my kids or anybody else, for that matter.
So here I am pregnant with TWINS for the first time and thinking I am going to have natural child birth...why would I think anything different? Because I was stupid! That's why!! Ok...maybe it was just wishful thinking on my part because I was healthy and I knew no different. At about 32 weeks I had a horrible gallbladder attack. I was sure it was a heart attack. I was rushed to the hospital where the emergency room was convinced that I was in early labor. A night of IV's and I was sent home to a lovely home made breakfast prepared by my main man...fried eggs, fried blueberry bread and bacon, whole chocolate milk...yummm (Everything a gallbladder, I mean pregnant woman, could love) That afternoon I was back in the emergency room with a new doc on the floor who looked at me and asked if I had a Bilirubin test MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Bilirubin and sure enough, when the results came back the consensus was that I had a gallbladder issue...later the ultra sound confirmed it.
To make a long story short, I was on the next plane from Rochester, NY to Tampa, FL. Although the symptoms were under control I stayed close to the hospital until one night...after a Surrogate get together at my condo (Thank you again IP's!) I started to see black spots...a little dizzy and uncomfortable but I was only 34 weeks...and my husband was due to be in town at 36 weeks...our goal. My IM came with her stethoscope and low and behold my blood pressure was so high she wouldn't let me even start dinner....I was whisked away to the hospital and before I knew what was happening the OBGYN, Dr. Joy, had my tests back and said "we are getting the hell out of Dodge". Why? I'm in the hospital...I will rest...I will be good...but it was too late...my kidneys were shutting down and worse things were to come the longer we waited. I had no one there...I was alone facing my first ever surgery. My IF was trying everything he could to get my husband even in the state but we needed to get those babies out of me. I felt out of control and vulnerable. But there was nothing else that could be done. I had an emergency C-Section on March 14th at 7 PM which resulted in 2 baby girls weighing 5 lbs 1 oz and 4 lbs 12 oz. (I hope my memory is right on the time...it was a little foggy for me...)
These girls are now 8 years old! Healthy and full of life. Was it worth it....YES...because THEY ARE healthy and full of life....and continuing to give their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and friends the benefit of their love, their smiles, their laughter. And that was the whole reason for being a surrogate in the first place!
**By the way, I had my gallbladder removed a couple of months later which resulted in a 7 day hospital stay.
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 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 mothers! 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 Caesar 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 with out 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. And this is what your IP's are reading folks...it doesn't matter that you ate subs from the local deli when you were pregnant with YOUR kids but when you are 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 Caesar 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 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!
Maybe you saw a TV program, read a magazine article, or saw a newspaper story regarding surrogacy. Maybe you know a couple that shared with you the fact that they can't have children, commenting on how lucky YOU are. Perhaps you know someone else who was a surrogate. No matter what prompted you to consider becoming a surrogate the fact is there is a lot of research that needs to be done before you can be certain that ART is for you.
Knowing what is expected of you and your partner is of vital importance. You can research ART on the computer, at the library, call an agency, contact an ART attorney's office, or a clinic. I suggest the computer first. There is so much that you need to know and gathering information online will help you to ask the "right" questions when you actually talk to a professional. Getting pregnant via IVF is NOT THAT EASY! The first thing that some women think is ' my pregnancies were so easy', or 'all my husband has to do is look at me and I get pregnant' or ' how hard can it be? Transferring pre-made embryos is practically a guarantee with me!' Oh contraire, my dear!
SO much more is involved becomming pregnant using IVF. Infertility Answers, LLC - What are a Surrogates Medical Responbilities? Bringing a life into this world for another family carries so many responsibilities and sacrifices. Researching all aspects of ART before committing will help you face the challenges that will be waiting for you if you decide to move forward.
I have had the pleasure of working with many couples and singles who were in the process of using a surrogate to complete their family. However nice, fair and even tempered most were there were always the few who actually "used" the surrogate! The expectation that the intended parents had of a woman who agreed to carry a child/children for them was that as long as she was being "paid" by them, she owed them...she owed them her privileged medical information, an accounting of her where-about's, what went on in her bedroom, what she ate, drank and how much she weighed. It didn't matter that a surrogate wasn't paid anything while she (and her family) jumped through the medical testing hoops, the legal expectations or the waiting games (waiting for the egg donor, waiting for a cycle to begin or end, waiting for a vacation to be over.....) A surrogate may get a few dollars when she started her medications and/or for an embryo transfer but until she was actually carrying a child she really wasn't getting "paid" anything. And yet the demands can continue for months and sometimes over a year. Isn't it time that intended parents acknowledged that someone putting their life on hold for others deserves better? Deserves to be treated with respect? Deserves to be put first in matters that directly affect her, the surrogate? I think so...