Q: I am considering using two surrogates at the same time instead of just one. I think that it will increase my chances of a pregnancy through surrogacy plus I only have to go through the egg retrieval once for two fresh cycles. Are there any reasons why this might not be a good idea? My husband and I are fine if there are multiples involved and are prepared to accept any babies that would be born out of this arrangement! Has this even been done before? What if I were to also carry at the same time? So many questions!
A: This is a loaded question for sure. First, yes it has been done. More often then not one surrogate will become pregnant where the other doesn't...making one feel like a failure because rarely will an IP go on again to do a 2nd transfer with her because they have one woman pregnant and that is overwhelming enough at that moment. (Esp if it's a mutipal pregnancy) Another issue that can pop up is that the transfers take place on the same day...and both surrogates become pregnant...rarely (again) will these women reside in the same town let alone the same county and if they are due on the same day or go into labor at the same time...where are you? Which baby do you see born, which hospital do you spend your time in? What if one baby needs to stay in the NICU and the other one or two are released from the hospital? So you see how complicated this could get. I think that it's more stress then its worth and devalues the relationship that you have with your surrogate (s). I think its different if you were the one carrying the 2nd baby because if you both were PG then that may bring you closer and sharing experiences along the way however, again, you might be on bed rest and not be at the hospital to see your other baby being brought into the world.... SO I recommend that you have one surro at a time. You may like this woman enough to wait a year and try again with her. (esp. if you have frozen embryos) That way you wouldn't have to go through the searching and interviewing process again and you already have a relationship with someone you trust.
If you have any surrogacy related questions, please e-mail me at SurroMatchFL@aol.com!
Friends and Relatives are so thoughtful and kind ...they try to say the right thing and even stick out their neck and lend a hand even for the most controversial job ie offering to be a surrogate and carry YOUR baby. At first this may seem to be manna from Heaven! Someone has stepped up to the plate and recognized that there is a problem here and they are going to act as savior and 'make it all OKAY'. Better yet they may 'want nothing' as far as compensation (money) but they MAY want a baby named after them! Someone sent me some great insight as to what went through their mind when a casual friend of the family offered to be their surrogate:
" I'm uncomfortable.... she seems to think this is her purpose in life, she wants very badly to do this for us and I'm afraid that I'll have to spend the rest of my life being… overly grateful. And since we have common friends and our moms are friends, how long before I get labeled as an ingrate? Since we talk about once every 3 months now, I think she will expect that will change to daily/weekly forever & if it doesn’t then there will be problems. And I don’t want her second guessing every parenting decision we make for the rest of our lives. Other comments that gave me pause were 1. “If I have triplets you’re going to have to name one of them after me.” And 2. “What happens after delivery? You just take the baby and leave?” (uhm, yes, because it’s mine, not yours.)"
These points are very valid! I know of a sister who acted as a Gestational Carrier for her brother and sister-in-law and lived in the same surrogate friendly state. At the end of the entire surrogacy process and the baby was born, the brother and sister-in-law left the state and the relationship is rocky at best. Some of the issues that were told to me by the surrogate were: 1. IPs (brother and SIL) didn't like that she was in the hot tub while pregnant even though she did it when she was PG with her own kids, 2. IP's didn't like the fact that she had wine while pregnant with their child although they poured HER wine when she was PG with her own children. 3. IPs didn't like her OB or where she was planning on giving birth although it was good enough for her own children. 4. During the first family gathering after the baby was born the IP's didn't dress the baby properly for the weather and the surro 'just had to say something'....I think you get the picture! A perfectly good friendship/family relationship can be totally ruined if certain expectations are not in place. And how can guidelines be set if each party is afraid to hurt or insult the others feelings?
One solution might be hiring someone to be a relationship manager/consultant. In this case the friend offering to be the surrogate would be screened by the consultant. She would be asked questions that every surrogate would be expected to answer and be evaluated just as anyone else would be. She would have a background check. The IP's would know what was happening each and every step of the way. Expectations would be clearly set for the entire surrogacy relationship and most of these would be listed in the contract. The softer, non enforceable issues could be handled by the middle man, the case manager ie consultant. IP's having an issue with Hot Tub usage? Call in the Surrogacy Consultant (SC). Wine with dinner...call in the SC, questioning a co-pay? Ask some one else to confront the surrogate (like the escrow agent) In order to save the friendship it is important to have the expectations laid on the line. For everyone's sake!
The other solution? Say "No, thank you" and find someone else.
I found this blurb (below) on Adopting.org a few years back and OH! YES! I have a lot to say about this topic! It's still in the news today. The question at the bottom of this article is: Should surrogacy be limited only to those with medical issues that preclude carrying a pregnancy to term (or men, without female partners, seeking to become parents)? My answer is Yes! Please do keep it limited! I'm sorry for all those women out there who don't want to go through pregnancy, labor or delivery. I'm even sorrier for those women who are too "busy" with their careers to take the time off to visit their local delivery room. (HA! Not!) Plain and simple, if you are too busy or stressed out about how you body will look after a 9 month pregnancy and childbirth then perhaps YOU, my friend, are not prepared for motherhood! When would you find the time in your busy schedule to even go through the surrogacy process? Want to use your own eggs? Egg Retrieval isn't exactly a walk in the park. Want to work with a surrogate? When will you ever find the time to have a relationship with HER and prepare for the baby or babies when they come home? And then there is the actual parenting part of the process...there isn't enough time for me to go through each and every step that would, for certain, take time out of your "normal" life. (Unless you are going to hire a nanny for 24/7 care and she can bring up your child too....hmmmm now there is an idea....)
So in short, if you think that women who are volunteering to be surrogate mothers are signing contracts to help perfectly healthy and capable women avoid the rigors of pregnancy and labor you can think again. There maybe some women out there, if you wave money under their noses and promise them the world, that would consider it but in the long run, I think they would have regrets and feel that their sacrifice and effort only enabled a selfish cause.
Is your career booming and pregnancy would be inconvenient? Is your svelte figure your claim to fame? Would nine months of bulges and sags take too much of a toll on your mirror?
Ah, and you want children who are yours biologically, and you don't have any medical problems that would interfere with your becoming (and staying) pregnant?
Have We Got A Deal For You!
Just supply your genetic material (sperm and egg), fertility specialists will add the IVF technology, and get connected with a woman who, for a basic fee upwards of $30,000 (not including the extras, lawyers, etc.), will agree to go through gestational surrogacy, carrying your biological child. She will go through the morning sickness, get the swollen ankles and stretch marks, and give birth - to your child.
Depending on the state and the terms of statutes covering surrogacy (if any), your child either comes complete with a birth certificate conveniently free of any names but your own, or you go through an adoption process.
We're not talking about infertility. We're not talking about medical hurdles to getting and/or staying pregnant. This is strictly about surrogacy for social reasons - too busy, the pressures of commitments, a career based on looks, etc.
Many clinics and specialists do not accept clients who are able to bear biological children, while others believe it is outside their purview to question the reasons some may pursue surrogacy.
What do you think? Should surrogacy be limited only to those with medical issues that preclude carrying a pregnancy to term (or men, without female partners, seeking to become parents)? Please share your thoughts!!
Some are seeing this topic and saying...this is a no brainer...but there are others who have waived their rights to an attorney and regretted it. (or not...let me hear from you if that is the case!) I hate to admit it but I waived the right to an attorney for my second surrogacy. Yes, I thought that I knew it all...inside and out...after all I had been a surrogate before. I owned a Surrogacy Agency. I helped others discuss contract issues. Cocky.
Now my situation wasn't that sticky. It could have been a lot worse! There were just times when I wished I could pick up the phone and talk to someone who knew my side, my contract, and could answer my questions without a disclaimer/reminder that they worked for the IP's. Because that's what happens when you, the Surrogate, don't have your own personal attorney, you end up calling your IP's attorney hoping to get some answers or direction. Needless to say you want to avoid THAT phone call. It doesn't make you feel very special.
Most IP's only provide enough money for the contract review. (between $800 and $1,500) This means that you have a attorney (hopefully one who knows Assisted Reproductive Law) review the proposed contract with you, the Surrogate. Your attorney would explain to you what you are agreeing to, what issues can be enforced, what the risks are if you change your mind, what will happen if you breech your contract and on and on and on. You can ask all the legal questions you want and have a dialog with your attorney that should make you very comfortable with your understanding of what exactly you (and your spouse) are signing. Contract changes can be made and negations regarding expenses can be resolved.
If you are in the middle of your surrogacy and all of a sudden you are asked to do something not in your contract or something happens and it doesn't seem clear the best way to handle the situation, you should be able to call the attorney who reviewed your contract and ask your question. If a difficult or confusing issue arises and you need to hire an attorney at least you have a starting point, someone who was with you in the beginning, and someone who can guide you in your decisions.
Why take any chances? IP's, you should really want to have your Surrogate hire her own attorney if only to reassure yourselves that she knows what she is doing legally. If a situation arises that you are before a judge because of a misunderstanding and your surrogate had no representation at the signing of the contract then that leaves you wide open and vulnerable as well. Cover all the bases and insist on having your own attorney. After all, Intended Parents are represented, why not you, the Surrogate?
Answer: This is a question that is often asked when the issue of surrogacy is on the table. A Reproductive Endocrinologist once explained it to me very simply, that the fetus makes it's own blood supply. The more technical answer is this: the placenta is the organ that attaches the developing embryo or fetus to the uterus (womb) and is composed of maternal and embryonic tissue, it links the blood supply of the embryo to the blood supply of the mother, allowing the exchange of oxygen, nutrients, and waste products. Please note that the two blood systems are not in direct contact, but are separated by thin membranes, with materials diffusing across from one system to the other. The placenta also produces hormones that maintain and regulate pregnancy. It is shed as part of the afterbirth.
During my first surrogacy, my couple decided to bank the cord blood. I wondered if I could use it if I personally ever needed to and the answer was no because those babies were not related to me.