The Surrogacy Questionnaire: Nothing’s Irrelevant By Mary Ellen McLaughlin

14 Jul

We recently came across a thread in a Yahoo discussion group from a would-be gestational surrogate. She had completed an agency’s questionnaire to become a surrogate. And while she understood the rationale for the questions (many of which appeared on the surface to be quite intrusive), there was one that had her puzzled for its relevance: “What is your religion?”

That’s a pretty typical question for agencies to ask. It points to the depth that principled and discerning agencies will go to in vetting prospective surrogates.

The religion question can relate to any number of considerations – beliefs that may influence a decision on selective reduction, for example. And, let’s face it, for both Intended Parents and prospective surrogates, religion may be a sticking point whether it’s relevant to the task at hand or not.

Taking a deep dive into the prospective surrogate’s background, beliefs and support network is absolutely essential to ensure she’s emotionally up to it – and, equally important, is a responsible individual who surrounds herself with people who share her principles and behaviors.

The stories about con artists who hold the baby for ransom are the exception, but they’re the ones that people remember. Not surprisingly, they weren’t properly vetted. We’re not about to take that risk.

A typical surrogacy application form can run up to 20 pages. It’s the first screen; subsequent ones include interviews with the agency’s staff and, preferably, independent mental health professionals. It is not something to be completed in an hour, or even a day. Are the questions intrusive? Some are – of necessity. And prospective surrogates should expect no less given the very important role they’re applying to play.

It asks for the candidate’s and her husband/partner’s five-year employment history and educational backgrounds. It asks about family structure – how many children and their ages, and the support network. It asks whether the candidate or her partner have criminal records or substance abuse histories. It asks health questions including a medical and pregnancy history, ranging from how the applicant relieves stress, to whether she’s had an HIV test and the results, to birth control methods and delivery experiences.

And it asks questions to gauge the candidate’s emotional state. What are her hopes, wishes and expectations? Will she work with same-sex couples or unmarried couples? What are her strengths and values? How does she manage difficult times or experiences? Her partner is asked to share feelings about her taking on this role, and how the partner’s family would feel about it, as well. Descriptions of the couple’s children are solicited, along with how they will be prepared and involved in the process.

They’re also asked about issues that must necessarily be grappled with: How will you deal with relinquishing the baby to his or her parents? How do you feel about future contact with the child and his or her parents? How do you feel about carrying multiples, and the issue of a selective reduction if you’re carrying more than two fetuses?

This is only a sampling of the ground covered in the surrogacy application form. It is exhaustive, though we prefer to think of it as thorough. But that’s what it takes to make sure the surrogacy experience lives up to its promise for everyone involved.


Happy Independence Day from CEO!!

4 Jul

How Will I Feel After My Egg Retrieval?

27 Jun

The post-retrieval recovery is very manageable.  Truly.  If you’re active and healthy, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to bounce right back.  It’s important to take about a week to recover – take it easy, drink lots of Gatorade and Vitamin Water, and follow your doctor’s instructions.  Allow your body to heal.  Everything inside of you has just gone through the ringer, and you’ll feel tender, sore, and bloated in the days following the retrieval (not unlike what you’d experience with a heavy period).  You can expect to get your first post-cycle period about 10 days after your procedure (10-12 days after your HCG shot) and once that’s come and gone, you’ll feel a million times better.   If you wish to donate again, you’ll need to have twonormal periods before you’re cleared to go for another cycle. Any weight gain can be chalked up to fluids, so be sure to drink enough electrolytes (the swelling and retention usually go down quickly).

Every doctor is different, and your clinic will have specific instructions for your recovery (you’ll also get more information regarding when you can get back to your “normal routine” – including working out, having sex, etc.), but the most important advice for a smooth recovery is to let the body do its thing, drink plenty of fluids, and be good to yourself.  You’ll be smooth sailing in no time

How To Locate Egg Donor Agencies For Assistance

20 Jun

Having a child can be an incredibly rewarding experience that some women sadly do not get to experience. This could be due to a number of different aspects or events that could have taken place throughout her lifetime. Some women never seem to find the man that they can fall in true love with and start a family with, which can be difficult but this certainly does not mean that a woman cannot have her own children. Even couples are finding that they can increase their chances of having a baby when they sign on with egg donor agencies. These locations offer a number of different options as well as helpful information that will point anyone in the right direction.

Before going through or even starting with the process, be sure that this is being done for the right reasons. It is not uncommon for people to act on impulse and individuals will need to make sure that they sit down and they weigh out all of the options that are currently available to them. Couples who are considering this option need to discuss everything with each other and ensure that both are going to be there for the new child as well as for each other 100 percent. This is a very big commitment that is being made and when one person starts to self doubt or even second guess the other, it might be best to wait it out or keep thinking about looking into options. Single mothers have to bear all of the parental work on their own, which could be nice for those who want to parent in their own way, but it can also be exhausting. Make sure that now is the proper time to be taking this step before actually doing it.

When the search begins for the actual egg donor agencies, there are a few different ways to get in touch with various services. Referrals from friends and co workers might be the best way to seek an agency. Knowing someone who has already gone through the process will make it easier as well as less stressful or nerve wracking. There are also various support groups and even online help that will give individuals the tools that they will need to go through with the process and find a location that they will be able to come to know as well as trust throughout the entire process, up until the child is actually born.

If there are no referrals to take advantage of, then look through online directories for all sorts of help. These directories will list off all of the egg donor agencies that are currently available as well as where they are currently located. Searching by the city and state, or even by the zip code will make the search go by much quicker and will plug people into the proper lists and other helpful resources. Take note of the ones that might be closest as well as the locations that are highly rated. The ones that are known for caring and effective or even successful service are typically the companies that people will want to work with. Certain directories might also offer reviews to show newcomers what they might be in for or what to expect when signing on with a specific location.

The costs can be quite staggering when it comes to getting set up with a donor. However, couples who want to have the child bad enough will be able to have a much higher chance when they go through the entire procedure. Talk with various offices in order to get an idea of what is actually involved as well as what it will cost. Certain offices might take payments, but they will need to be paid within close proximity to each other. Insurance is usually out of the quest as well, depending on the policy that the couple has taken out. Look into the various options and costs and then start making the proper financial plan after that.

As for the overall reputation of the agency, that is where these reviews will come in. Talk with various individuals about the process and which agencies are currently rated the highest. Caring agencies are often easy to get into and will offer numerous features as well as special care options that will make everyone feel comfortable as well as ready to go. Getting a firsthand look and talking face to face with the directors of some of these facilities is going to shed some light on which route to take, and will enable individuals to ask questions and interview as needed.

Once the process has begun, the results should start shortly after that. It is important to remember that it might not take the very first time around with some women, which can be very frustrating but do not get discouraged. Go for it once more and make sure to continue to see the right practitioner for help and support. The agency will be very encouraging as well as supportive so that should make the individual feel much more comfortable with going through with the process again. It might not be easy at first and there will surely be some ups and downs, but supporting each other and implementing proper forms of outside support will make the process and the tough times easier.

Trying to have a baby can be a challenge for some couples, but most have been able to get over the hurdles alright. Checking out different egg donor agencies will enable anyone to learn about the process as well as what is will take to not only have the baby but to become a donor as well. Millions of women are stepping up to donate their eggs so that another woman will be able to have the child that she has always dreamed about. Take some time to look into reliable and reputable companies in order to receive the right kind of care and service that is expected

Choosing a Jewish Egg Donor by Michael Feinman, MD

14 Jun

When choosing an egg donor, it is understandable that women will want to select a donor who is similar to themselves in appearance and ethnic background.  As with many aspects of Jewish Law, what may seem obvious and desirable may not conform to rabbinical interpretations of the Law.  Ironically, since it is sometimes difficult to find suitable Jewish donors, these legal twists can actually help some people “let go” of their desire to work only with Jewish donors.

While Reform Judaism recognizes that parentage can come from either parent, traditionally most, but not all, rabbis have agreed that if a Jewish woman gives birth to the baby, that child is fully Jewish.  The Laws determining a child’s family and religion of origin were established thousands of years ago — long before genetic testing — and so Jewishness is passed from the mother who gives birth rather than from the genetic parents.

The following principles can guide most Jewish couples considering egg donation:

A Jewish donor is not legally required for a Jewish couple.  Based on the concerns about accidental incest and the legal status of eggs, a non-Jewish donor may actually be preferable.  Accepting this idea can alleviate much of the angst over trying to find a Jewish donor (which, again, can be difficult).

If a Jewish donor is chosen, she should be single or married to a non-Jewish man.  If she is divorced, she needs a Jewish divorce, including a “Get.”

The process of choosing an egg donor is different for every family.  There are an endless number of things to consider in making such an important decision.  If observing Jewish Law is a priority for theIntended Parent(s), then finding a Jewish donor is not as necessary as one might think.  Ideally, this will be helpful to some (as the pool of potential donors will be enlarged significantly).

– Michael Feinman, MD

Medical Director, HRC Fertility

Save time and simplify your search with DNA® DNA offers over 6,000 egg donor and surrogate profiles on one site!!

9 Jun

Donor Network Alliance is a unique resource that represents over 6,000 prospective egg donors and surrogates from leading egg donor agencies and surrogacy programs around the United States.

We know the search process can be time consuming and sometimes frustrating. Wading through multiple program websites and services can leave you feeling uneasy and frustrated. That’s why we developed DNA. DNA offers easy access to thousands of profiles of egg donor and surrogacy candidates, the ability to review and save your searches online, and even call for support when you need it.

If you have questions we would love to hear from you! 847.480.0888.

Egg Donation, Surrogacy and the Internet Age

4 May

Lately I’ve been hearing a lot of “thank you for calling me back” which surprises me each time I hear it. To me it’s important to talk to people – actually talk face-to-face – about egg donation, gestational surrogacy, and other aspects of third party reproduction that affect so many people every day.   Center for Egg Options, Illinois is a donor and surrogacy agency founded on a core belief of helping,  so it’s hard to believe there are some agencies who don’t return calls.

Ah! Let’s chalk it all up to the evolution of egg donation and surrogacy in the Internet Age. Back in the day, when we opened our program in 2000, we had conversations in person. Imagine that! We actually scheduled appointments to meet intended parents to give them choices, information, and support for their searches. Now so many responses and discussions are handled via email, or sometimes by video chat, that it’s the rare occasion that we have those old in office meetings and we miss it!

We do appreciate how much technology has helped agency programs evolve in very sophisticated ways, like enabling us to share egg donor information on password protected web sites. This kind of advancement makes it easy for someone out of the agency’s geographic location to participate, or for someone who is more comfortable taking these first steps behind the computer wall rather than in person.

Regardless of whether you are downloading our online Gestational Surrogate Form, or Egg Donor Form, or contributing to a thread on our Facebook discussions, it’s important to me and CEO that you know we are here for you. Technology can be a great friend but it can never replace real life experiences. So our door is always open if you want to have a coffee while discussing your family plans. Your phone message will always be returned. And you will always be our priority. You have our word on it!

Best wishes,
Nancy Block

“Through our relationships, we help create families.”

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