Tag Archives: Nancy Block

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.”


Nancy Block: CEO’s Program Director

19 Dec

Nancy Block is founder and director of The Center for Egg Options Illinois an agency specializing in egg donation and surrogacy located in Northbrook Illinois. Nancy’s vast experience in the field of obstetric, gynecological and fertility nursing along with her dedication to intended parents, donors and surrogates has made her a leader in her field. Prior to opening CEO, Nancy spent 17 years as a nurse at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Prentice Women’s division. She rose to become the staff educator as well as resource coordinator for the OB unit. Nancy attended the University of Arizona and The Evanston Hospital School of Nursing.

Today Nancy is a national spokesperson for the infertility industry and she currently sits on the board of Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED), a resource for intended parents considering working with an egg donor to build their family. Nancy spoke before the Chicago Conference of the American Bar Association on egg donation and third party reproduction. Together with two partners in the field, she recently created The Donor Network Alliance (DNA) a one of a kind website that aggregates egg donors from multiple agencies to one site. Nancy’s innovative approach to the business has allowed recipients to view many more candidates so they can make an informed decision. Her caring approach along with her professional staff and expertise has garnered Nancy the respect of her peers and the medical community.


The History of CEO

12 Dec

Having successfully and personally guided over 2,000 Donor and Surrogate matches in the 11 years since The Center For Egg Option’s inception, Director Nancy Block has taken her 25+ years experience as an OB/GYN and infertility nurse and combined it with her personal touch and leadership expertise to create a hands-on team approach.

As a full service Egg Donation and Surrogacy Center, The Center For Egg Options Illinois holds its established reputation of having the highest standards in the Assisted Reproductive Services arena with great pride.

The Center For Egg Options‘ concern for the health and well-being of our donors, surrogates and intended parents is first and foremost. We provide a comfortable and caring environment to support all of our clients and our compassionate hands-on service trumps all other agencies in the industry.

We have built our reputation on our uncompromised and unequal stringent screening procedure and our adherence to the strictest professional guidelines and ethics required by ASRM, FDA, and SART.

Meet Nancy, Caring Founder of The Center for Egg Options (CEO) Part Two

3 Jun
Continued from May 25th
Nancy’s previous work experience was all hospital/physician based care. She worked in women’s health, obstetrics, 
oncology, recovery room for in and out patient surgery and the nursery with healthy and compromised babies. Let’s face it, there are clearly times when everyone needs someone to hear their story and provide comfort and Nancy has learned how to listen and offer support based on her past experiences. This is what CEO is based on. Sharing, caring and supporting all clients, egg donors and surrogates.
One of the most common questions that Nancy and her staff are asked is what does one have to do to be qualified to be a Gestational Surrogate with CEO?  Nancy has her answers ready! “In the field there are some standards that most agencies abide by. All surrogates must be good communicators with me. My cell is the number to use in the evening and on weekends. The age of a qualified surrogate falls between over 21 to about 38. There may be some factors that will automatically work against a candidate such as a previous complicated pregnancy, gestational diabetes, bleeding, pre-term labor, bed rest for any health risks for the carrier or the baby. As a former OB nurse, we evaluate all medical records available from deliveries each candidate has had. We are able to review those for consistency between records and information shared by the surrogate. If there are any questions before we meet with them, we can go over those to evaluate if she is a suitable candidate. Our concerns lie with not only the IP but the surrogate. We do not want anyone considering surrogacy if it will affect her health or the outcome of the pregnancy.”

Nancy continues to add, “Each surrogate will need her own major medical insurance policy and must not be on state aid for health care. She must also go through a criminal background check as well as her husband/partner, a psychological evaluation with her husband/partner including a questionnaire called an MMPI-2. Most importantly, she much be healthy mentally and physically, she must not smoke or be significantly over or under weight and have clearance from her OB to carry a pregnancy as a surrogate in writing. All testing for infectious disease will be ordered by the treating fertility doctor for her and her husband/partner as well as a pelvic ultrasound to evaluate the size and shape of her uterus. They are also looking for any fibroids or polyps in or around the uterus that may not be apparent from a manual exam. The environment for the embryo needs to be the most favourable for it’s growth and health.”
The staff and Nancy have plenty of advice to give to potential Intended Parents looking to work with donors and/or surrogates. Some important pointers from Nancy are:
  • make sure you work with a responsive person or team at the agency. You should not have to wait long for some type of response unless they are out of the office.
  • ask for references of previous clients/donors/surrogates and they should be realistic
  • how donors/surrogates are recruited and screened
  • is there attorney representation for my donor/surrogate? Separate counsel for IP’s? All work in Assisted Reproductive Technology Law
  • how long will my agency be working with me? during the cycle? after the cycle?
  • what if my donor or surrogate needs you after hours?
  • how long have you been in business and how many cycles has your program completed?
  • does my agency do in person psychological screenings with an MMPI-2
  • does my agency adhere to current guidelines recommended for egg donors and surrogates?
  • ask any and all questions and take notes if you need to. This information is overwhelming and even if we know it in our sleep, you don’t!
As the founder of The Center of Egg Options Nancy has met some incredible professionals and clients and she stays in touch with many. Nancy believes that as a group of professionals everyone works well together to improve the ability to help create families, wether they are in the same city or even a continent away.
Nancy’s formal education is in nursing and she was a staff and assistant head nurse for 17 years with a concentration in OB and Infertility. Nancy acknowledges that she has always been on the “other” side of the table, as a caregiver. “I have not gone through what our IP’s have to achieve a healthy pregnancy and I don’t pretend to know how they, the IPs,feel. My nursing background gives me the ability to listen and treat clients with respect and not judge.”
If you would like to talk with Nancy or her knowledgeable staff at The Center of Egg Options just give them a call and you will see first hand how caring and supportive the people at CEO really are!
The Center for Egg Options Illinois

ph  847-656-8733
fax 847-656-8737
3100 Dundee Road
Suite 101
Northbrook, Illinois 60062

Meet Nancy, Caring Founder of The Center for Egg Options (CEO) Part One

25 May
Nancy found out about egg donation as a nurse at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago. She remembers her first egg donor recipient, who had twins and the babies were both term and healthy. Strangely enough Nancy even remembers her room number. After several months of research on the subject, Nancy founded The Center for Egg Options Illinois in January of 2000 and she never looked back! Now CEO is a full service egg donor program as well as matching exceptional surrogates with waiting Intended Parents.
Nancy’s initial plan was to start with her egg donation service and within a year, move into surrogacy. It was always her intent to offer both services but wanted to make sure her staff  could accommodate all of the clients who needed both. Today CEO has a streamlined system of contact, availability for those in cycles, and the warm and friendly atmosphere clients may not get with a larger agency. Every member of the CEO staff is a professional with years of experience and the desire to talk to and help Intended Parents of all backgrounds and sexual orientation. Nancy and her wonderful staff are in their offices everyday and are very responsive. That’s saying a lot for a company who works with about 500 clients per year!
When asked what is the main goal for The Center of Egg Options, Nancy says “Providing a resource for all who call. We want our potential clients to be able to speak to one of our staff and we make the time to talk to those going through assisted reproductive services to build their families. We will even refer a client to others if we cannot meet their needs. Because we have all worked in the field for many years, we are really dedicated to helping clients succeed, this is more than a “business” to us all.”
Nancy and her staff face challenges every day and when asked about this aspect of her business Nancy replies ” Each day provides me with situations that must be dealt with immediately and some are more difficult than others. Because CEO has been in existence as a top agency to work with for nearly 12 years, we have encountered many different scenarios and resolved them with the best outcome possible. Often a client (intended parent) feels a lack of control when working with another person ie: an egg donor or gestational surrogate, so my goal is to ensure the cycle goes smoothly and the information that needs to be conveyed between my office, the Fertility Clinic, the IP and the donor or surrogate is all complete.”

What is Nancy’s biggest challenge? “It would be that I find it important to know what’s going on with all aspects of CEO. I’m a very hands on person and like to be available to not only our intended parents but my staff as well. I would say for the most part I am an integral part of how CEO works and that can be a more than full time position.” says Nancy.
More about Nancy and CEO will be shared in June!

Fertility Treatment: Insurance Coverage a Right or Privilege?

7 Feb

This morning Fox News aired a debate about whether health insurance policies should cover fertility issues, an issue we feel very strongly about.   As Risa A. Levine, JD of Resolve: National Infertility Association says in the clip below, I believe it’s a right for ANY human being to have children and if they need extra help insurance should cover some expenses as many do for adoption already.   I’m a nurse, an egg donor recruiter, and surrogacy recruiter  and in the past 26 years I’ve seen so many happy families that begin with reproductive science.

We are lucky enough to do business in Illinois, a state where insurance will pay for some assisted reproductive technology, and many of our clients will have some coverage for egg donor cycles.     We all deserve this!

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this topic.  Please leave us a comment or post your questions after the clip.

Quiz: Egg Donor Myths and Misconceptions

19 Nov

Are you looking for the answer to our EGG411 Fertility Quiz shared through PitchEngine?
Here they are!  How did you score?  How did your friends score?  Did you learn anything new?   As always, we love hearing from you so please take a moment to let us know what other questions you  might have.

Click here if you’d like to read the original quiz and text regarding our Cycle Saver Program.  It’s meant for sharing, so share away!

Misconceptions and myths surround the process of egg donation and fertility in general.  Take our EGG411 quiz to test your own knowledge, then check your answers on CEO’s “The Big (F)ertility Blog.”

1. An egg donor must have a valid social security identification number.  True or False.

True: She must have a registered social security number and be very committed to the egg donation process. It is essential that our donors be in stable relationships or not sexually active with multiple partners to minimize the risk of transmitting diseases. An egg donor CANNOT be using any illegal drugs OR be a smoker.  She must be in good health, both physically and emotionally. Her height and weight must be proportionate.

2. An ideal egg donor should be between the ages of 21-30.  True or False.

True: The ideal egg donor is a healthy, non-smoking female between the ages of 21-30. While not mandatory, it is preferable that the candidate has had at least one healthy pregnancy prior to donation.

3. In the last 20 years, infertility issues have increased three-fold.  True of False.

True: Infertility has increased three-fold in the last 20 years fueling the assisted reproductive technology (ART) demands on those that specialize in the area of helping people become pregnant and build their families. The Center For Egg Options Illinois has been recruiting, screening and successfully matching egg donors for 10+ years and is proud to be known for its hands-on team approach.

4. There is no limit placed on the number of eggs a woman may donate in her lifetime. True or False.

False:  The American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends that any one woman donate eggs no more than 6 times in a lifetime.

5. Embryo transfers take place after 3-5 days of lab maturation.  True or False?

True: Your transfer will take place when your embryos have matured in the lab for either 3 or 5 days. This decision is up to you, your physician and your embryologist.

Best wishes,
Nancy Block

Through our relationships, we help create families.

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