Tragedy in Nepal: Surrogate Evacuations

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The news just keeps getting worse coming out of Nepal:  the death toll has topped 4000 and the number is expected to rise in the coming days.  And, from the comfort of my office, with several computer screens open, my smart phone next to the keyboard, and Top 40 playing on the radio, it’s hard understand the devastation so far away.  Yet, I have two friends with a daughter (teaching) and a sister (hiking) in Kathmandu that are trying to stay safe in the wake of the aftershocks.

Nepal has been a destination for international surrogacy, especially for those that are unable do so in their own country due to laws or the fact that an surrogacy costs only around $6000 there.  Although a microcosm in the huge tragedy that is occurring there, there are now, unfortunately, reports coming out of the country are that there are a number of parents via surrogacy and their newborn babies that are in Kathmandu seeking evacuation.  Families of 26 babies born to Nepalese women on behalf of Israeli parents appealed to Jerusalem for assistance, with the first three families arriving in Israel yesterday night.  Approximately 100 Nepalese are pregnant with Israel babies. (http://www.newsweek.com/israel-begins-evacuating-surrogate-families-nepal-325491).  It is unclear what will happen with these cases.

I do have to wonder about the notion of pursuing surrogacy in a country with a per capita income of $1350, where so many live in poverty, there is little infrastructure, and where buildings have not been designed to withstand the magnitude of tremor that felled them like a house of cards.  Is the draw because of the low cost os surrogacy (about $6000), or the fact that many countries have laws against surrogacy and the families must seek help elsewhere?

Regardless, this is a tragedy of epic proportion.  There is no intent to take away to what’s unfolding on a grand scale in Nepal.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the people there.

 

Photo from: http://www.newsweek.com/israel-begins-evacuating-surrogate-families-nepal-325491

**3 Sisters Surrogacy is located in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, serving both national and international clients.  We are currently seeking both Houston Surrogates and Dallas Surrogates for couples in Texas.  If you are interested in Surrogacy in Texas, or need information about how to become a surrogate, please contact us at info@3sisterssurrogacy.com.**

 

I am 1 in 8

 

1 in 8

You’d never know by looking at me.

I am tall, slender, active, intelligent.  I volunteer, go to church, attend the opera, and can dig in the dirt like nobody’s business.  I use to make babies for a living.  And you’d never know by looking at me that I was 1 in 8.

You’d never know that I became pregnant with my first child the first time we tried for it.

And you’d never know that for 3 years after her birth that I tried for a second.

You’d never know the countless times I went to the bathroom looking for the tell-tale signs of that monthly cycle that I came to hate because it was a constant reminder of what wasn’t working.

You’d never know the countless dollars I spent on pregnancy tests, imagining lines that weren’t there.

You’d never know the guilt I felt – for not being happy with one, for not being fruitful, for creating babies for others when I couldn’t create one for myself.

You’d never know I was 1 in 8.

1 in 8 women in the United States struggle with infertility, whether it’s female factor, male factor or both.   1 in 8 women experience that 28 days of hope, only to feel incredible disappointment with the first signs of bleeding.  1 in 8 couples grieve the loss of a child they may never have.

1 in 8.

What does 1 in 8 look like?  Your sister, your friend, your co-worker, your boss.  You.

Luckily, the 1 in 8 (you, me, your boss) are not alone.  This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, sponsored by RESOLVE – the National Infertility Awareness Association.   RESOLVE works to “promote reproductive health and to ensure equal access to all family building options for men and women experiencing infertility or other reproductive disorders.”

RESOLVE is a great resource for those starting, or in the midst, of their infertility journey.  They are involved in advocacy, education, and fundraising.  They work to restore hope and want to make 1 in 8 a factitious statistic.

They want you to know you are not alone.  They want you to know that there are options available to become parents.  They want to you know there is hope.

I know – because I WAS 1 in 8.

me and kids

 

For more information about National Infertility Awareness Week, please visit www.resolve.org.

 

**3 Sisters Surrogacy is located in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, serving both national and international clients.  We are currently seeking both Houston Surrogates and Dallas Surrogates for couples in Texas.  If you are interested in Surrogacy in Texas, or need information about how to become a surrogate, please contact us at info@3sisterssurrogacy.com.**

 

 

Esperando – However You Look At It

Waiting

I love that the verb “to hope” and “to wait” is the same word in Spanish – Esperar.  What is the difference between hoping and waiting – not much except for the expectation of the outcome.

Tomorrow morning, one of our surrogates is having a frozen embryo transfer.  This couple has one frozen embryo remaining – their last chance.  This couple has been “waiting” a long time for this to happen.  But they are “hoping” for a positive outcome.  We all are.

It is always nerve wracking, this point in the surrogacy. Often, the parents have embryos frozen, so the little embies have two humps to get over – (1) to survive the thaw process, and (2) stick to the uterus!  First everyone will “wait” for the phone call to give the embryo survival status, and then will “hope” that the embryo made it.

Everyone will jump in their car and head to the clinic.  The surrogate will be placed in stirrups and the tiny thawed embryo, who is about as big as a period on this page, will be injected through a catheter into her uterus.

Then comes the 2ww (two week “wait”).  The waiting is hard, but the hoping is harder.

Usually it is not two weeks. Surrogates are notorious about testing early.

But, once they see that faint little line… that’s the point that I receive several texts a day of  “Do you see it?  Is there one there?  I think I see a line!”.  And then she’ll test 10 times after that to be sure. She’ll be as excited for this pregnancy as she was for her own, even knowing it is for someone else. Partly because she’s excited to be pregnant, but mainly because she knows she’s about to change someone’s life in an amazing way.

Good luck to our sweet surrogate tomorrow.

Estoy esperando.  I am waiting.  I am hoping.

**3 Sisters Surrogacy is located in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, serving both national and international clients.  We are currently seeking both Houston Surrogates and Dallas Surrogates for couples in Texas.  If you are interested in Surrogacy in Texas, or need information about how to become a surrogate, please contact us at info@3sisterssurrogacy.com.**

 

 

Wait, What? Senior Citizen Pregnant With Quads

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Well, it was bound to happen – some secret fertility doctor at some secret location has pushed the limits on the age of motherhood.  In an article out today, it is reported that a 65-year old mother of 13 children (ages 9-44) is pregnant yet again with quadruplets.

I don’t even know where to start with this.

I could talk about the difficulties of pregnancies in advanced age women.  Or I could talk about the risks of quadruplets.  I could even mention that it’s a little weird that siblings will be 45 years apart.  And it’s not even like she doesn’t have children!!

But as an infertility professional with over 15 years in the business – I have to wonder what was going through the mind of the physician that did this procedure.  Most clinics in the United States have cut-off for treatment for women using their own eggs at around 45. In the cases of women using donor eggs, the physician may consider treating women up to ages 49-50.   In this case, and although it is pure speculation on my part,  there was likely an egg donor involved.  And for whatever reason, this physician chose to treat a 65 year old woman, who has increased risk for high blood pressure and gestational diabetes just for being pregnant, who is at a very high risk for pre-term labor and birth, pre-eclampsia, and fetal development problems, and who will quite possibly be a resident of the local old-folks home before the children ever finish high-school.

I understand the desire to have children – I’ve helped hundreds of babies get their start in the world through IVF and know that every single one was a most wanted child.  And I understand giving up the ghost on the idea of having anymore. Certainly, there are days when even I think, “Maybe one more…”.   But I’m a 44 mom single mom of three, and it’s just not meant to be.

And maybe is shouldn’t have been meant to be in this case as well.

To read more:

http://nypost.com/2015/04/13/mother-of-13-pregnant-with-quadruplets-at-age-65/

**3 Sisters Surrogacy is located in Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, serving both national and international clients.  We are currently seeking both Houston Surrogates and Dallas Surrogates for couples in Texas.  If you are interested in Surrogacy in Texas, or need information about how to become a surrogate, please contact us at info@3sisterssurrogacy.com.**

 

Surrogacy Contracts A Must!

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Today I came across an article entitled, “What It’s Really Like To Be A Surrogate Mother“. At first I thought “Yay! Another great article to share with our followers!”

However, as I read it I was mortified – not at the buying of supplies at Walgreens to do home inseminations (although it gave me pause), and not about the lack of information about FDA requirements for sperm donation to non-sexually intimate partners (I could speak at great length about this as well).

There was absolutely NO mention of the legalities involved in their surrogacy process. Nada. Nowhere did this article address the absolute importance of having an airtight contract in place prior to, or even during, this surrogate pregnancy.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a lovely thing to carry your brother’s child. But even (and especially) with family surrogacy, it is CRUCIAL to have legal framework outlining the surrogate relationship, medical issues, and parentage of the child. Sister could have refused to give up the baby and sued dad for child support. Not that she would, but she could have. Or the dads could have walked away and left her with baby and medical bills. Let’s just hope that all of this was taken care and only left out of the article for journalistic flow.

If and when you decide to give someone the gift of surrogacy, or are parents needing surrogacy to build a family, do not, never ever ever, enter into it without a legal contract.

(as an aside, we work with a number of trusted attorneys that are experts in the intricacies of surrogacy law).

Read more: http://www.refinery29.com/2015/04/84941/surrogate-mother-gay-couple

“He Was Never Mine”

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I received a heartfelt note last week from one of our gestational surrogates that was about to deliver.  She spoke of what this experience meant to her, and how she was considering a second journey with the parents.  But what really stood out to me was the gratitude she expressed…how much it meant to her to be a part of this beautiful process.

But in this gratitude, there was also a phrase that made my eyes well up with tears:

“He was never mine.”

I have been an infertility professional for 15 years.  IVF/embryology, egg donation, surrogacy, the works.  But with that one phrase, the reality of what she had done really set in.

“He was never mine.  He was and is always L & J’s first son. I’ll be going back to my family after the delivery and that’s the way this was all meant to be.”

In a world where surrogacy is portrayed as a “rent-a-womb” industry, where the only news the media ever publishes is bad, and movies made about the subject are either comedies or horror films, it is a shame that THIS isn’t how surrogacy is viewed.  This is a real-life experience – and what an experience it was.   She knew and understood from the very beginning how things would work – that she would work for 9 months to create this child.and then hand him over to his parents and go home without him.  And she was ok with that.  Not in an “OK, all done, let’s move on” kind of way, but in a more touching, bittersweet kind of way.

Below is her letter in it’s entirety.  I hope it touches you as it touched me.

*names have been removed*

“Crazy to think after meeting in November of 2013, that we would be here..a week away from delivery day in March of 2015. This pregnancy has flown by and I’m so excited to give this (not so) little guy back to his parents. He is going to change their lives, I know he’s already changed mine. I’m so grateful that his parents chose me, trusted me and believed in me. I was entrusted to care for this baby for the first nine months of his life…and to me that’s amazing. The first day of the rest of their lives starts a week from today. Nothing will ever be the same, and I know they’ll never want it to be.

I’ve had so many of my friends ask me how I’m going to feel after I leave the hospital with no baby. And all I can do is look at them and smile, because I know that they truly don’t get it. Leaving the hospital without him is the way it’s supposed to be and was always meant to be. He’s going home to his parents…his mommy and daddy. The people who will rock him back to sleep at 2 am, who will feel overwhelming love when he giggles for the first time, to watch him take his first steps and kiss his boo boos when he falls down. They’ll be the ones walking him to class on his first day of kindergarten, teaching him to ride a bike, giving him advice on friends, and then watching him walk across the stage at his high school graduation. That was all meant for his parents.
 He was never mine. He was and is always L&J’s first son. I’ll be going back to my family after the delivery and that’s the way this was all meant to be.
I’ve received an outpouring of support from people I know through this journey..friends of mine who are struggling with infertility, friends who have finished their families and are also thinking about being a surrogate now.
So for me and I feel like for L&J ..this is just the beginning.
Thank you all for bringing us together. “