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How To Ship Breastmilk When You Are A Surrogate
When a match is made between intended parents and a gestational carrier, one of the things that comes up both in the surrogacy process and in your agreement is whether the surrogate will provide her breast milk after the child is born.
To be clear: whether you want to pump is entirely up to you and isn’t mandatory. This is just one of the many aspects considered when Surrogacy Miracles Consulting will ask you. Below, we’ll discuss pumping milk as a gestational carrier, ship it (if your intended parent isn’t local), ship breast milk, and keep your sanity intact!
To Pump or Not to Pump – That is the Question
When you work with Surrogacy Miracles Consulting, your stance on pumping breast milk is part of the matching process. For example, while unable to carry her child, the biological mother may want to induce lactation to breastfeed. In other cases, intended parents (like a same-sex male couple) may ask if the surrogate would be willing to pump.
To pump or not is your choice. While we’ve found that many surrogates we work with are open to this as it is an extension of why they chose to be a gestational carrier in the first place: to help others who aren’t able to carry a pregnancy and nurture a baby to be as healthy as possible.
However, this isn’t for everyone. Some may not feel comfortable, or in other cases, the intended parents may not feel comfortable for whatever reason. There is no right or wrong answer. It’s about what works for both parties, and you’ll be matched on those preferences.
Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk
If you and the Intended Parents are both on the same page around breast milk, the big question is how to transport this valuable form of nourishment. If the Intended Parents live nearby, the process is easier. You can set up a routine to drop off milk, or they can come by and pick it up.
When the Intended Parents aren’t in your neighborhood, you should investigate how to transport breast milk. It’s not as easy as putting it in a paper envelope, BUT there are ways to pull this task off while not spilling (or crying over) a drop!
Ice, Ice, Baby!
Turning that liquid into a solid makes the sending process way more manageable, making shipping breast milk easier. To do this, you can store your breast milk in containers or designated breast milk storage bags that are intended to withstand freezing and thawing. When doing this, much like a Starbucks drink you order with “room,” you should leave some room in the containers and bags as liquid expands when you freeze it. No one wants (or needs, for that matter) a breast milk holder bursting. But, of course, then there would be some tears… and not just from the baby!
It would help if you also considered waiting until you have enough breast milk to ship. Shipping this “liquid gold” can be almost as expensive as real gold (slight exaggeration!) Still, to be mindful of costs, you may want to ship a nice-sized package with breast milk instead of spending money on smaller parcels.
Got (Breast) Milk?
You’ve frozen your breast milk, and now comes the items you’ll need for each shipment of breast milk:
- Milk storage bags
- Styrofoam cooler
- Packing tape
- Shipping box (large enough to fit your cooler)
- Dry ice
The amount of dry ice you will need depends on the size of your cooler and how long your package will be in transit. Contact a dry ice supplier for more information about the amount of dry ice you need. Use a dry ice directory to find a dry ice supplier near you.
It’s important to consider how you’re freezing the milk at your home and how you ultimately pack the cooler you’ll be mailing. First, as you fill breast milk bags, try placing a standard amount in each bag, typically no more than six ounces. This ensures that each bag will freeze to a predictable size, making packing the cooler easier. Next, you’ll want to lay these bags flat to freeze them in your freezer. Doing this allows the bags to freeze into flat bricks. These standard-sized, uniformly shaped bags can later be placed in neat lines inside the cooler.
The simplest way to pack the breast milk is in a Styrofoam cooler placed inside a shipping box. While major shipping carriers like FedEx have alternative options like the cold pack box, many of our most successful breast milk shipping surrogates tell us it is easiest to stick with a Styrofoam cooler inside a box.
You can pick these up almost anywhere, from the shipping centers directly. There are many useful websites for finding and purchasing these coolers as well.
The reason for creating those standard-shaped milk bricks is simple; You need to fill the empty spaces within the cooler. The emptier the space inside your cooler, the harder it will be for the dry ice to keep the milk frozen. Also, in the instance of a delayed shipment or cooler break, those empty spaces will warm up more quickly, causing the breast milk to melt and spoil before it arrives potentially. If you must leave open space in your cooler, try to fill it with newspaper.
While you must fill the cooler and eliminate any empty spaces, it is equally important that you do not overfill the cooler. If the cooler’s contents begin to place pressure on the walls of the cooler, the possibility of the container splitting or breaking in transit increases.
You will want to pack your breast milk with some cooling agent to preserve freshness and ensure that the milk arrives frozen. There are two major choices for this: dry ice.
Dry ice is a slow-release temperature-controlling agent that allows frozen breast milk to stay cold for an extended period. While most grocery stores have some selection of dry ice, it’s best to have a plan and a certain source in mind before you try to prepare a shipment. The Dry Ice Directory is great for finding a retailer near your home.
When shipping breast milk, you’ll want to do a little research before dropping that first box off for shipment. Whether sent via UPS, FedEx, or USPS, shipments must be sent via two-day or overnight mail. The important thing to remember is that the breast milk needs to arrive within forty-eight hours of leaving your hands. We encourage you to ask for a delivery estimate or guarantee before you choose the carrier you will ship with.
Generally, a flat payment fee for pumping will be discussed during your matching process and may be included in your contract. The intended parents also typically cover the cost of all supplies and shipping associated with the process. If you have additional questions, don’t be afraid to ask your case specialist, who will be able to offer hints and tips to make the process even simpler for you.
The average cost to ship breastmilk is $400-$500 per shipment. Your intended parents cover these costs.
How to Pack Your Breast Milk for Shipping
Put on the gloves before you begin to work with the dry ice. Wrap the dry ice in newspaper and place it into the cooler with your breast milk. Do not put the dry ice only at the bottom of the cooler. When placed at the bottom of the package, the cold air does not circulate. However, if you are layering the dry ice and the breast milk or placing the dry ice on the bottom, sides, and top of the cooler, it is OK to put some dry ice on the bottom.
Fill in all the extra space in the cooler with newspaper. This prevents breast milk from shifting while it is shipped, and it also helps slow down the process of the dry ice turning from a solid into a gas.
Tape up the Styrofoam cooler, but do not seal it completely. Dry ice is a solid form of carbon dioxide. As it changes from a solid to a gas, the carbon dioxide needs to vent from the package.
Place the cooler inside a cardboard shipping box. Again, fill the remaining space with paper to prevent the cooler from moving around too much inside the shipping box. Seal the shipping box.
Prepare all the proper labels and bring your package to a shipping center that accepts dry ice shipments. However, not all centers accept dry ice, so call ahead to find out where you need to go.
Make sure someone is available to accept your breast milk when it arrives at its destination. Once received, it will need to be removed from the shipping package and properly stored.
As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Donor Conceived Children: Egg Donation in Gestational Surrogacy
Individuals seeking to grow their families but who have had trouble conceiving often turn to gestational surrogacy to overcome their family-building challenges. Gestational surrogacy is a great solution for prospective parents because it is flexible and offers a myriad of options to make it work for them. In addition, some families take a direction to make gestational surrogacy work for them by working with an egg donor.
Egg donation is one-way surrogacy can open up opportunities to families, even those who have faced significant hurdles with infertility and those who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. With egg donation, intended parents can use eggs they purchase from an egg donor to fertilize with sperm, either from the male intended parent or from another donor.
There are many reasons why a person may choose to use donor eggs. For example, those who have had multiple failed IVF cycles, have a diminished ovarian reserve, have a genetic condition that does not wish to be passed to a child, or are part of a same-sex couple may pursue donor eggs as part of the surrogacy journey. Regardless of the reason, eggs that come from a donor are treated the same way that eggs from an intended parent would be treated.
How does it work?
Donor eggs are just like any other eggs. The only difference is that another woman donates them. Therefore, the egg will contain the DNA of the egg donor and none from either you or the gestational surrogate. Just like if you used your own egg, the donor egg will be fertilized with the intended parent’s sperm or donated sperm. After fertilization, the embryo will be transferred via IVF to the surrogate. Then, the process carries on like any other surrogacy journey.
Should my surrogate use donor eggs?
Since most egg donors and young and healthy, you have a high chance of your surrogate being able to become pregnant from the donor eggs. Most egg donors also prefer to be anonymous, but some agencies give you the option of seeing what your egg donor looks like.
Learn more about who can be an egg donor and how eggs are screened.
You also may have the option of choosing fresh eggs or frozen eggs from a donation bank. With frozen eggs, like how sperm banks freeze their donations of healthy sperm, egg banks will freeze their donations of healthy eggs. Usually, using frozen eggs is more convenient than using fresh eggs. This is because, with fresh eggs, your surrogate’s menstrual cycle must become synchronized with the egg donor, which requires the use of medications and injections. However, fresh eggs may have a slightly higher success rate than frozen eggs.
How do I get donor eggs?
The best way to pursue egg donation is to go through your fertility clinic or locate a donor through an egg donation agency or registry. Your fertility clinic is a great place to start, but many clinics have lengthy waiting lists due to high demand. So, if you’re not finding much success there, you can consider contacting a reputable egg donation agency or registry.
It’s important to note that pursuing gestational surrogacy with egg donation can come at a high cost. In addition to paying for surrogacy, you will also be paying for the eggs you receive through donation. Several factors affect the cost of using an egg donor, such as if you are using fresh or frozen eggs, but you should expect to pay between $5,000 and $20,000 for using an egg donor. Unfortunately, insurance rarely pays for the cost of egg donation.
Luckily, there are several grants you may consider pursuing to help pay for the cost of using donor eggs. Some notable grants and programs you can consider seeking to help pay for costs include:
- BabyQuest Foundation
- Journey to Parenthood
- The Gay Parenting Assistance Program for Men Having Babies
- The Gift of Parenthood
On a related note, if you need assistance affording surrogacy, we created Surrogacy Miracles Family Foundation to help intended parents pay for their surrogacy journey. Please click here to learn more about it.
As a whole, you have many options if you choose to grow your family through gestational surrogacy. Egg donation is one of the ways prospective parents pursuing surrogacy can reach their family-building goals. Many families have successfully conceived due to using donor eggs for their surrogates.
If you are considering using an egg donor, make sure you select a reputable egg bank and begin saving up to cover your expenses. Though it can be costly, egg donation can give you the ultimate opportunity to expand your family and experience the joy of raising a child of your own.
The Benefits of Acupuncture in Surrogacy
The goal of every surrogate is to have a successful and healthy pregnancy, to bring a beautiful bundle of joy to the intended parents. Of course, the surrogate will follow the doctor’s orders, eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest, but what else can she do to prepare and assist her body before and during the pregnancy?
Threading the needle to help with fertility
Perhaps a surprising answer: try acupuncture. In Western medicine, acupuncture is considered an “alternative” therapy to treat many physical and emotional ailments. But it has been a staple of Eastern medicine, particularly Chinese medicine, for about 3,000 years. Why would a practice carry on for many centuries if it didn’t produce significant benefits?
Pregnancy and fertility experts agree that acupuncture before and during a pregnancy aligns the body’s chemistry and produces beneficial blood flow and hormone levels. They are beginning acupuncture treatments 3 to 6 months before IVF stimulates beta-endorphins in the body and affects the hormones involved with fertility and ovulation. In other words, acupuncture can help ready the body for a successful implant and pregnancy.
Aligning the practice with surrogacy
Acupuncture involves inserting fine needles into the skin at various points such as the arms, legs, and abdomen that balance the body’s energy. Patients relax in a calm environment while a practitioner methodically inserts the needles during the treatment. Typically, multiple, frequent treatments before pregnancy or implant generate the best results for assisting with fertility, and treatments can continue throughout the pregnancy, as well.
Treatments can be coordinated to the timing of specific events and fertility milestones, such as before and during ovary stimulation and before and after embryo transfer. Practitioners can advise on the exact timing and number of treatments to be most effective for those procedures.
Though exciting, surrogacy also can be stressful at times. There are procedures to worry about, medications to manage, and of course, the surrogate’s own family who needs her attention. Fortunately, acupuncture is also an effective stress reliever, as it tames stress hormones, particularly those that can interfere with a woman’s menstrual cycle, which is integral to the surrogacy process.
Acupuncture throughout pregnancy
Continuing acupuncture treatments during pregnancy will keep the body’s energy aligned and help relax the surrogate and manage her stress. Acupuncture helps during pregnancy and can effectively relieve aches and pains associated with weight gain and an ever-expanding abdomen. Practitioners will know to modify the acupuncture treatments to accommodate the surrogate best as she progresses in the pregnancy.
As fertility treatments have evolved over 30 years, acupuncture has been accepted as part of a healthy regimen. Even better news for surrogates is that most surrogacy agencies will pay for acupuncture treatments as part of the surrogacy agreement. Depending on how the agency negotiates and structures its surrogate pay, the surrogate may have to plan for the acupuncture upfront, or she may be able to use “self-care” or “personal” funds to cover the cost of treatment. Many surrogacy agencies will likely have acupuncture referrals, as well, so the surrogate may not have to do the legwork to find a practitioner in her area.
Not putting too fine a fine point on it
Acupuncture benefits the physical and emotional aspects of surrogacy. It is worth pursuing all surrogates and is effective even when begun months before fertility treatments – and can be continued throughout the pregnancy. Also, acupuncture treatments are considered a cost that surrogacy agreements can cover.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about family building.
Why You Might Make An Ideal Surrogate
It takes a special woman to be a surrogate. It provides a unique opportunity for a woman who wants to help an individual or couple build their family.
Suppose you’re interested in becoming a gestational carrier. In that case, there are, of course, requirements you’ll need to meet. They include age, body mass index (BMI), living situation, and overall health requirements.
However, beyond the technical requirements, there are also qualities in general that would make you an ideal surrogate. Below, we explore those qualities, and we encourage you to ask yourself if you possess them!
Qualities of A Gestational Carrier
You are generous: A woman considering being a surrogate is often generous. However, even when the surrogacy is compensated, she is still giving up anywhere from one to two years of her time and, essentially, her body to help someone achieve their dream of being a parent.
You enjoy being pregnant (but don’t necessarily want to have more kids): Some women say they never feel better than when they are pregnant. They glow, their skin is clear, and their hair is nice and thick. If you have healthy pregnancies and enjoy them but don’t want to have more children, surrogacy is a lovely compromise and a way to help others!
You are compassionate and empathetic: Perhaps having children of your own, you can feel empathy for someone unable to have a baby. While you may not fully know their experiences or understand their feelings, you have compassion that they are now relying on you for the most important goal in their life – to have a child.
You are conscientious: The health of both the gestational carrier and baby during pregnancy is of the utmost importance. While pregnancy can be unpredictable at times, taking care of yourself, attending appointments, taking prenatal vitamins, and being an overall nurturing and responsible person are paramount in a surrogate mother.
You’re open-minded and believe in everyone’s right to become a parent. You do not take issue with being the surrogate to someone whose sexual orientation or marital status is different than yours.
You have a solid support system: Friends, family, spouse, partner, co-workers, or even other surrogates; you are surrounded by positive people who applaud and support what you’re doing and may even be willing to go the extra mile to lend a hand if you need one (drive you to an appointment, give you a foot rub, etc.) But, as they say, it can take a village!
You’re responsible and organized. Doctor’s appointments, paperwork, fertility treatment monitoring, sending sonogram pictures, etc. There’s a lot to be relied upon when you are a surrogate. No matter how you stay organized – a day planner, an app on your phone, or post-it notes; you are someone who can be counted on to keep on top of things!
It’s also worth mentioning that there may be very specific qualities that fit your intended parents that are not on this list that you may possess. For example, perhaps you play the piano, and the parents love music and adore the idea of you playing to their child. Maybe you don’t eat meat, but the intended parents are vegetarians. Hopefully, these traits and characteristics will come up as part of the matching process and will be just one of the many things you and your intended parents will bond over.
The Surrogacy Process
There’s a laundry list of factors, requirements, traits, qualifications, and checklists for being a surrogate. Still, at the very end of this journey, when you can hand a beautiful baby over to deeply grateful parents, it can be the most rewarding experience of both of your lives.
If you would like to learn more about becoming a surrogate, please feel free to contact us!
Financing Options For Couples Seeking a Surrogate
Surrogacy is an expensive process. This is because surrogacy requires numerous people and services, not to mention the surrogate’s commitment. On average, surrogacy can cost anything between $75,000–$100,000 or more in the United States.
Unfortunately, few people have that sort of money readily available – but for some couples, surrogacy may be their final option after struggling with other fertility treatments. Despite the scale of the financial commitment, there are financing options to help couples seeking surrogacy. In this article, we share some information about surrogacy loans to help get you started.
Many prospective parents rely on surrogacy loans to help cover costs. However, in addition to traditional routes like equity loans and credit cards, there are also financial bodies that specifically cater to fertility treatment. Below are some suggestions to consider:
- Fertility financing. Specific lenders specialize in fertility financing. These organizations offer loans and repayment plans for couples facing fertility barriers.
- Agency programs. Many surrogacy agencies will offer payment plans to prospective parents. This means that you can pay your costs in installments instead of upfront. Some agencies may also partner with financial institutions to offer surrogacy loans or grants. For more information, inquire with your surrogacy agency.
- Home equity loans. If you’re comfortable and able to, you may be able to use your home as collateral, depending on your credit score and history,
- Retirement accounts. Another option is to take out money from your retirement account. Known as 401(k) loans, typically, borrowers can withdraw up to half of their pension. However, someone must pay the money back within a specific timescale.
- Credit cards. You may arrange some payments with a credit card, but be mindful of late fees and incurring a hefty bill.
Saving for Surrogacy
If you decide to apply for a surrogacy loan, it’s important to start budgeting for the repayments. This takes time, discipline, and energy – and although facing fertility barriers can be emotionally challenging, it’s vital to keep up with your payments. Below are some simple money-saving tips to help you save for your repayments.
- Research your insurance options. Check which medical costs will be covered by your health insurance and research, ensuring the surrogate and your baby.
- Choose the right agency. Study your agency’s offer carefully, evaluating its costs, programs, and fees. Look out for hidden charges, and be sure to shop around, comparing and contrasting services and fee structures.
- Open a savings account. Create a dedicated savings account so you can build repayments into your monthly budget and plan.
- Reach out. Ask other prospective parents about their experience with surrogacy loans. Fielding tips and suggestions is a great way to educate yourself about processes and costs.
As you can see, several options exist when it comes to financing your dreams of parenthood. However, you can discover a program that works for you and your future family with thorough research and planning.
Do You Want To Help Build a Family?
If you are someone who may be in a position to help others, please consider donating to the
The Surrogacy Miracles Family Foundation. Since cost can be a concern, we want to do our part to help intended parents who need the help of a gestational carrier to build their families.
Would you please help us reach our goal of helping as many families as possible by donating to this 501 (c) (3) Tax deductible organization? Surrogacy is the ultimate gift of life that we want to give! You can make your tax-deductible donation today by clicking HERE.
And always, Surrogacy Miracles Consulting is here to help with all of your surrogacy questions. So please get in touch with us any time!
Essential Qualifications To Be a Surrogate
On paper, the word “qualifications” may sound more cut and dry than they are. Yes, there are basic requirements to ensure a physically and psychologically healthy relationship between a surrogate and the intended parent. Still, there is also an overall level of compassion that can’t be measured.
When someone agrees to be a surrogate, they are not only putting their life somewhat on hold, but they are physically offering the use of their body to help an individual or couple realize the dream of parenthood.
Below, we will cover the essentials of what is needed to become a surrogate both logistically and emotionally, and mentally. However, it’s worth noting that communication all around is critical. Everyone must come to the table ready to work together in good faith, trust, open communication, and ideally, a sense of humor!
Building a family can be a vast collaboration and, if done right, will be the most rewarding thing everyone involved will have ever done!
Qualifications and Considerations to be a Surrogate
Surrogacy can be the most rewarding experience of your life. The feeling of helping build a family and handing someone their child that you helped create is so powerful. Still, it can also be a tremendous physical and emotional undertaking. Therefore, much thought and consideration are put in place to ensure the best, healthiest and safest experience for the surrogacy process. Below, we review the basics of a Gestational Carrier and what is needed should you be interested in becoming a surrogate.
- She should have had a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery of a child of her own. Also, some agencies will require that the surrogate has raised or is currently raising a child of her own.
- She should have had a limited number of cesarean deliveries (typically around 2).
- She is between the ages of 21 to 40 years old.
- She is in overall good health and is maintaining an ideal Body Mass Index (BMI).
- Do not smoke or use any drugs.
- She is financially steady and in a stable living situation.
- Is either in a stable relationship or has a reliable support system on board with the surrogacy.
- She is not on any form of government assistance.
- She does not have a criminal history and can pass a background check.
- Does not take anti-depressants and does not have a history of mental illness.
Some other considerations are:
- She is compassionate, honest, dependable, and responsible.
- She enjoys being pregnant and has an optimistic outlook on surrogacy.
- She has a clear understanding of expectations and the ability to communicate her expectations to foster a healthy relationship.
- She feels strongly about her commitment to meet the demands and requirements of ultrasound monitoring, blood testing, and the time sensitivity involved in IVF and, hopefully, the pre-natal appointments that will follow.
- She is fully capable of being responsible for herself and the baby during her pregnancy.
- Have an awareness and sensitivity towards the process of releasing the baby she carried to its biological parents at the end of the pregnancy.
Next Steps To Becoming a Surrogate
If you feel the above describes you, we encourage you to read our services page to support gestational carriers throughout their surrogacy journey. Our goal is to help surrogates in navigating the overwhelming complexities of the family-building process. Throughout the surrogacy process, we guide the medical, legal, and emotional support, home visits, case management services, such as coordinating services of physicians, mental health professionals, fertility clinics, laboratories, and other necessary facilities, legal professionals, insurance professionals, and other persons or organizations involved in the process of surrogacy and human egg donation for intended parents and #surrogates. We also have our online support group for surrogates that meets once a month.
What also makes us unique is we have first-hand experience in surrogacy, having gone through the process ourselves. Please follow us on social media and peruse our site to learn more about how you could help families. You can also fill out our SMC’s online form or contact us to learn more.
We look forward to connecting!
How Much Does Working With a Surrogate Cost?
One of the first and most common questions regarding working with a surrogate is how much the surrogacy process cost. While it may seem like a simple question on the surface, it’s actually one of the most challenging questions to answer!
It can range based on the kind of pregnancy the surrogate has (singleton or multiples), the agency you work with, what state the surrogacy is in, travel costs, medical issues, etc. There are just so many factors to consider and variables though that can arise throughout the entire journey. One example might be that the gestational carrier may need to be on bed rest, which would entail time away from her job. This would entail some additional compensation. However, it is safe to say that overall, it is within the $90,000 and up.
Agency and Surrogate Costs
Agencies like Surrogacy Miracles Consulting can help you throughout the entire surrogacy process. We offer various services that include assisting with a carefully written agreement with a payment program and any specificities the intended parent and surrogate agreed upon ahead of time. Working independently with a surrogate may be less expensive upfront, but if issues arise, it might cost you more in the end, so proceed with caution!
Some other potential costs related to surrogacy are:
- Agency Fees
- Supplemental health insurance, if needed for the surrogate
- Travel costs. This includes hotel fees, rental car, and incidentals for the surrogate if they need to travel regularly as part of the surrogacy
- Lost wages should your gestational carrier have to miss work for appointments or bed rest
- Child care and housekeeping costs if your surrogate needs to be on bed rest
- Negotiable fees. Some examples are confirmation of pregnancy, conformation of heartbeat, any needed surgeries such as a hysterectomy, in addition to the medical fees
- Life Insurance
- A one-year policy, which includes a $250,000 life insurance policy, $100,000 permanent disability, and a maximum benefit for loss of reproductive organs
- Criminal Background Check
- Psychological evaluation
- Legal paperwork
- Gifts or any kind gestures for your surrogate to show appreciation (birthday, holiday, “push present,” etc.)
- Allowance for Maternity Clothing
- Housekeeping Allowance
- Some pay for the surrogates cell phone bill during pregnancy to encourage frequent communication
- Lost Wages – Again, should the surrogate need to be on bed rest and miss work.
- Surrogates occasionally receive an expense reimbursement for approximately fifteen (15) months. It can cover non-prescription vitamins, telephone calls, etc.
- Surrogates may receive an agreed-upon amount per procedure for amniocentesis or other invasive prenatal diagnostic testing
- Miscarriage with a D&C fee
- Some carriers may be paid this fee to compensate her for additional pain, added risks, and recovery time of this medical event.
- A C-Section fee – Since C-Sections entail more time in the hospital and longer time to heal, there may be a need to compensate your surrogate for both the time and discomfort
- A carrier typically receives additional compensation for each additional baby carried
In some states, they require an escrow account for parents paying surrogates throughout the surrogacy. While this isn’t necessary in every state, Intended Parents may want to consider looking into this as an option. Setting up an escrow account or, at the very least, some sort of account ahead of time will ensure that the payments are in place and ready to go, so that’s one less thing to think about!
Do You Want To Help Give the Gift Of Life?
If you’ve found this blog post, you are someone who is either interested in working with a surrogate, is interested in being a gestational carrier, or perhaps someone interested in helping others.
The Surrogacy Miracles Family Foundation was created by Surrogacy Miracles & Consulting Surrogacy agency with a vision to help more intended parents. This vision includes creating the Surrogacy Miracles Grant (SMG) to help intended parents cover some of their surrogacy journey costs.
The foundation wants to focus on intended parents that are in financial need of assistance as we assist them with the many expenses necessary. As part of the submission process, we will require certain financial documents to be provided, their story on why surrogacy is needed to expand their families, and any other requirements set by the board. SMG recipients will be picked by the Surrogacy Miracles Family Foundation Board members and issued directly to the chosen Intended Parents area of need. Our goal is to build a foundation that can provide grants quarterly and yearly in the different amounts of 5K, 10K, 20K, and up to 30K. These grants will be issued at the scheduled time at the board members’ discretion.
Please help us reach our goal of helping as many families as possible by donating to this 501 (c) (3) Tax deductible organization. Surrogacy is the ultimate gift of life that we want to give!
You can make your tax-deductible donation today by clicking HERE.
In a perfect world, you’d have an endless amount of funds to help cover costs. Since that isn’t the case for most people, there are support groups and charities that can offer tips and advice, and information on potential grants, like the one we offer.
As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
Becoming A Surrogate Mother - What to Consider and How to Start the Process
Whether you want to take on the tremendous responsibility of being a surrogate mother is a big question to ask yourself. While it can be a gratifying experience, it can also be an enormous physical and emotional undertaking. You’re a thoughtful and generous person even to consider it and should be applauded for that. Before taking the first steps, we encourage you to read our services page on how we support gestational carriers and review some basic requirements that need to be met to see if you can take on such a role.
- Are you between the age of 21-40 years old?
- Is your BMI between 18 – 34?
- Do you smoke or live in a non-smoking home?
- Do you have a history of clinical mental illness?
- Not currently on governmental financial support
- Are you financially sound?
- Have you given birth to or are raising at least one child?
- Have you had an uncomplicated pregnancy or delivery?
- Am I currently in good health?
Now come the more emotional aspects to consider:
- Will your partner, husband, children, and friends be comfortable with you taking on this role? You’re going to need support along this journey, and everyone will have to be on board and, at times, even potentially willing to lend a hand.
- Do you truly feel ready, willing, and able to hand the child over to the intended parents at the end of the surrogacy process? Even though the baby is not biologically yours, it can be emotional to carry and care for a pregnancy to hand the child over at the end of a delivery. Can you handle that?
- Will you have transportation and easily travel if necessary for appointments, meetings, doctor appointments, testing, etc., without issue or stress?
- Are you comfortable with sharing your personal history and life story? Of course, there are boundaries, but you are essentially sharing your body; there will be aspects of your medical history and lifestyle that will need to be discussed. Are you ok with that?
Yes, these are many questions to ask yourself and consider but good to do it now before you get the ball rolling when you have time to contemplate things privately. It will give you time to think things through and make sure you’re ready!
If you meet the requirements and feel you are ready for all of the emotional and psychological aspects that lie ahead, you can begin the journey. It’s one that entails many steps, but luckily, if you do your homework, ask for help and ask the right questions, you’ll have as stress-free of an experience as possible.
Different Kinds of Surrogacy
First things first, make sure you know the diverse types of surrogacy. There are two different kinds: traditional, when the carrier’s eggs are used, making the child biologically hers, and gestational, when eggs are used either from the intended mother or an egg donor. It can create many legal complications with traditional surrogacy because the surrogate mother can claim guardianship of the child since she is genetically tied to the child.
With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate undergoes a procedure called in vitro fertilization (IVF). The embryo created in a lab, using eggs and sperm from the intended parents or donors, is transferred into her uterus. The surrogate is not genetically tied to the baby she is carrying.
Now that you know the kinds make sure to know the laws of the state you live in because each state has its regulations. In some areas, it’s illegal to enter into any surrogacy agreement. It’s legal in other states, and you can be compensated without any issues, so it’s essential to know where your state stands before becoming a surrogate.
Then, decide if you’d like to use an agency or not. If you decide you’d like to work with one, they can handle the leg work matching you with an individual or couple who wants a baby. There are also intended parents who place ads on social media looking for gestational carriers should you want to go that route. Of course, you may already have someone in your life you may want to help who needs a surrogate, so you wouldn’t need to use an agency in that case. Whatever route you go, you must trust the intended parents you are working with. You will have frequent contact with the IP’s during the pregnancy, so there must be trust, open communication, and ideally, a strong sense of collaboration as you work together to bring a new life into the world.
Of course, we recommend working with a surrogacy agency like our team, as we can help walk you through the process and avoid any potential pitfalls.
How Being A Surrogate Works
From there, the basics would be:
- Have a preconception checkup. This might entail an overall physical, getting any necessary vaccinations, checking in on any pre-existing conditions, etc.
- Have a psychological screening. Especially if you are working at an agency, it is a requirement. Any which way, it’s a good idea before taking on this process.
- Start taking prenatal vitamins. These vitamins can help provide the body with essential vitamins needed for both you and the baby, so why not start getting the body “pregnancy ready” now?
- See the reproductive endocrinologist (presumably the one your intended parents are working with). After you’ve gone through the necessary screenings and been matched with your intended parent or parents, it will be time to start the IVF process. This would entail working with a fertility doctor. They will go over the treatment protocol, the cycle’s timing, and the entire process and what to expect.
- Hopefully, follow up with an obstetrician. Ideally, the IVF cycle will be successful, and you will have a happy and healthy pregnancy. At this point, a surrogacy contract will have been agreed upon. You and the intended parents have decided upon whether or not they will attend appointments, if you’ll be sending them sonogram pictures, if you’ll be calling them daily, weekly, etc., and any specifics either you or them require.
As you can see, it is a lot, but again, if it’s done right, there are few things more rewarding than being an integral part in someone realize their dream of becoming a parent after so much heartbreak.
If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate, please fill out SMC’s online form, or can you contact us. We look forward to working with you!
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage
Some say experiencing a miscarriage is like enduring an invisible loss. You mourn what could have been, and to others, they may not be able to understand or fully empathize with the hopes you had and the loss you feel. Making things more difficult is if you are given the go-ahead to try again, but you’re having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage. Below, we review when you should see a doctor, what conditions may impact your fertility, and, most importantly, options you can explore to help you achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage: How Long Have You Been Trying to Conceive?
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage, you may wonder when you seek the help of a fertility specialist. If you are a woman and are under the age of 35, and have been actively trying to conceive for at least one year OR if you’re over the age of 35 and have been actively trying to conceive for at least six months, you should also see a doctor. Lastly, if any of the below describes your situation, you should consider seeing a fertility doctor sooner rather than later:
● Have experienced missed or irregular periods
● Are having difficulty tracking when you ovulate
● Have been diagnosed with or suspect you have endometriosis
● Have been diagnosed with or suspect you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
● Have been diagnosed with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) pelvic pain
● Have endured two or more miscarriages (known as Recurrent Pregnancy Loss)
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage: Recurrent Pregnancy Loss?
Most miscarriages happen within the first fourteen to twenty weeks of pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), 10 to 25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will result in a miscarriage. Therefore, having a miscarriage is, and even having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage, is more common than most realize. However, it can still feel isolating when it happens to you.
If this was your second or even your third miscarriage, you might want to speak to your doctor about something called ‘Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.’ According to the ASRM, RPL is more than two pregnancy losses. There are several potential causes for RPL. It could be caused by autoimmune issues, endocrine issues, chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo or uterine anomalies. Regardless of how long you’ve been trying to expand your family, if you’ve experienced several pregnancy losses, you should seek medical care.
Trouble Getting Pregnant After Miscarriage: What can help?
While miscarriages can never be entirely prevented, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the possibility of future pregnancy losses.
For example, if it’s determined you have uterine anomalies or an autoimmune issue that might prevent your body from carrying a pregnancy, surrogacy is an option.
Another example is chromosomal abnormalities, which is the cause for roughly 70 percent of miscarriages. You can speak to your doctor about In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Pre-implantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy. PGT-A can screen for abnormalities in embryos before transfer. PGT-A can potentially increase your chances of a pregnancy as it informs your doctor which embryos are considered chromosomally healthy. You may also want to ask about donor eggs and if that’s something they recommend in your case.
Having difficulty conceiving and even having a miscarriage are unfortunately common. However, suppose you’ve been having trouble getting pregnant after a miscarriage for a notable amount of time, or you’ve had multiple miscarriages. In that case, we hope you now understand that medical assistance is not only recommended, but it can significantly decrease your chances of any additional heartbreak. Reproductive technology has made incredible advancements, and if your doctor and fertility treatment is what may be the course of action to having a healthy family.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have about family building.
Family Building Options for Lesbian Couples
Family Building Options for Lesbian Couples
There are more and more options for expanding your family. At Surrogacy Miracles Consulting, we support y lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people interested in becoming parents, and walking them through all of their options. In this blog, we will review how same-sex female couples, in particular, can have a baby.
IUI versus IVF
Artificial Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) with donor sperm is a form of assisted reproductive technology. Up until the last decade, it’s how the majority of same-sex female couples expanded their family. The sperm is donated either from a sperm bank, friend, or a known donor. The woman who would be the mother goes through taking hormone medications to produce more eggs than she would during a natural cycle. A fertility doctor would then take the sperm and release it through a very thin catheter into the woman’s cervix.
IUI is less invasive and less expensive than other options, which is why some feel it’s the right fit for them.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the process of extracting eggs and manually combining an egg with sperm in a laboratory dish. Any embryos that develop would be transferred to the uterus of either a gestational carrier or the woman intending on carrying the pregnancy.
When it comes to success rates, IUI tends to be lower than IVF. There are also factors to take into consideration when speaking to your doctor. They include your age, your overall health, fertility history, and family-building goals. Your reproductive endocrinologist can help you decide what would work best for you and your particular situation.
Putting all of these aspects together, something to keep in mind is that while IUI is not as pricey, because it’s success rates are typically lower, and it might take several cycles to achieve a pregnancy. Therefore, you may want to move right to IVF to increase the chances of a pregnancy. IVF also allows the option of genetic testing (which is not possible with IUI) should that be a path you’d like to pursue.
Reciprocal (or Partner) In Vitro Fertilization
Now that we’ve walked you through the IVF process, we can explain what Reciprocal IVF is and why same-sex female couples are exploring this as an option more frequently. With Reciprocal IVF, Partner A taking hormone injections to produce eggs. After the eggs have been fertilized, the embryo(s) would be transferred to Partner B to carry the baby. Some lesbian couples like this option as it involves both Partner A and Partner B in the creation of a child. It’s one-way Assisted Reproductive Technology can make it possible for same-sex females to have a shared experience.
There are, of course, other ways to same-sex female couples can have to expand their family. They are:
● Donor Eggs or Donor Embryos. Using eggs that were donated either directly to you, through a frozen egg bank or something that is referred to as a shared donor (who donates to several couples). Similar to donor eggs, some couples have embryos they do not plan on using after they went through IVF, and they donate them for other couples to use.
● Surrogacy. If neither of you are comfortable or able to carry a child, you could work with a gestational carrier. This would entail deciding which partner would use her eggs, or you could use donor eggs or embryos (see above), fertilize them with donor sperm, and the surrogate would carry the child. The surrogate can be someone you know or someone we’d be happy to match you with.
● Adoption: Adoption is another option. There are several avenues you can investigate should you like to adopt a child. Whether it’s through domestic agencies, international, or through the foster care system, we strongly recommended you do research on each one.
If you’d like to discuss any of the above options, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
We look forward to connecting with you!
Contact Surrogacy Miracles & Consulting located in Atlanta, Georgia for complete details of our individualized surrogacy services packages. We are always happy to help!