Please Don’t Say “Just Adopt” – Surrogacy

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I recently visited with some clients from our firm that were struggling with the decision to use a gestational surrogate to start their family. They had experienced a number of miscarriages due to the wife having a malformed uterus, and it was highly unlikely they would ever carry a pregnancy to term. The couple wanted to move forward with a surrogate, using in vitro fertilization to create embryos that were genetically theirs, but friends and family, hereinafter referred to as “The Circle”, thought it a bit over-the-top, telling them that they should “just adopt”.

Now, in all fairness, adoption is a WONDERFUL option for those that choose to build their families in that manner. But to say “just adopt” makes the process of adoption seem as easy as going to the pet store and picking out a puppy (which it’s not), with the adoption being an easy fix to their grief (which it’s not). For someone that wants to be an integral part of creating a child (using their own sperm/egg, choosing the surrogate), “just adopt” rings a tone of unspoken disapproval from their usually affirming Circle.

Certainly, these views are not limited to surrogacy – they are seen throughout the infertility realm. As a 15 year IVF professional, I’ve seen and heard it all. “There’s plenty of children in the world that need homes” is a common platitude that follows “just adopt”. Again, no argument there. But at what point is it ok for The Circle to start dictating to people how they should build their families? Isn’t this an INCREDIBLY personal and private decision? Perhaps The Circle should also offer up “just live childless”, as well? Or “you’re just not doing things right”? Or even “if it doesn’t happen naturally, it isn’t meant to be”?

You see, for a woman that had experienced years of infertility and miscarriage, there was still a glimmer of hope that she may get to experience the creative process, the pregnancy, and birth of her (or her husband’s) biological child (albeit vicariously). She had given up much control of her fertility at this point, and the decision to use a surrogate was not an easy one. But it is one that she and her husband made. To build their family. Together. In their own way.

The couple went on to select a surrogate, who gave birth to twins last fall. No one in The Circle has complained about the source of the new arrivals since.
Yes, all actual statements from family members.

FAQs for Future Parents through Surrogacy

Future Parents FAQs:

1. Where do I start?
Looking for a gestational surrogate is a daunting task. An agency like 3 Sisters Surrogacy is the perfect place to get started on this adventure! 3 Sisters Surrogacy works to match just the right gestational surrogate with a family by thoroughly screening each candidate, performing background, child abuse, and home checks, review medical records, in-depth interviews with candidates, arrange travel and appointments,establish escrow in an independent escrow firm, provide referrals for doctors and attorneys, serve as an intermediary during interviews between both parties, as well as throughout the pregnancy, if needed. Call us at 877-976-9483, email info@3sisterssurrogacy.com or visit our website at www.3sisterssurrogacy.com to get more information.

2. Do you work with families outside of Texas?
We work with families ALL OVER THE WORLD!

3. What is your agency fee and what is included?
Our agency for gestational surrogacy (with no egg donor) is $12,500. This fee covers our management of your case, in-depth review of the surrogate, escrow management fee (~$1000) in an independent firm, attorney fees for gestational surrogate (~$500), fees for psychological evaluation (~$1000), background and child abuse checks (~$200). This fee is paid over 3 installments – the first is at the time of signing the agency agreement, the second at the time of signing the contract with the gestational surrogate, and the third installment is due when we get a confirmation of pregnancy. We also provide a beautiful gift to the surrogate after delivery.

4. What are the other fees involved?
The aforementioned fees above are included in our agency fee. Other additional fees are quite variable, depending on where you are in the process, and what facilities you use. They include (approximate):
In Vitro Fertilization – $15,000 – $25,000
Egg donor (if needed ) $10,000 (discounted if you use The Donor Solution)
Surrogate Compensation – $22,000 – $30,000
Legal – $3000 – $5000
Delivery – $0 – $15,000 (depending on insurance status)
Insurance – $0 – $10,000
Other Surrogate expenses – travel, maternity clothes, and unforseen circumstances (c-section, twins, etc) – $1000 – $15,000

FORTUNATELY, we offer financing through American Healthcare Lending! Contact us for more information!

5. How does your agency select surrogates?
We receive many applications per week, but only about 5-10% of them ever end up in the candidate pool. Our basic requirements include:

Ages 23-38
Easy Pregnancies
Children living in the home
Healthy lifestyle – no drugs, smoking in the home, healthy eating
BMI<31
No public assistance
Be able to pass background and child abuse check
Be able to pass psychological evaluation
Have a strong desire to help a couple start their family
Be willing to travel

6. Will your surrogates work with gay couples? Couples of other ethnicities?
We want both our surrogates AND future parents to be comfortable with each other throughout the pregnancies. Some surrogates have expressed a desire to carry for only heterosexual couples, some for only their same ethnic group, while others are more open to all types of families. As we visit with each couple and surrogate, we get to know what their ideal situation is, and take that into account as we are introducing all parties involved.

7. Can the surrogate back out and try to keep the baby?
Texas is considered a surrogacy-friendly state, for one because of something called a “Pre-birth Order”. This is legal paperwork drawn up by the parents’ attorney and filed in the courts that establish the legal parentage as the actual genetic (or intended) parents. After this paperwork is filed (generally about 20-22 weeks), the baby is legally the parents’ baby, and their names go on the birth certificate.

8. What kind of relationship will I have with the surrogate?
We leave the development of relationship up to the parties involved. Sometimes the couple wants a close relationship with the surrogate, attend every doctor’s visit, go to yoga together. Other times, a more contractual relationship is desired. Regardless of what type of relationship evolves, it is important to have a good working relationship at the very minimum.

9. Where will the surrogate be implanted with my embryos?
The surrogate will travel to your fertility doctor for the embryo transfer. Typically two visits are required – one for the initial visit, and one for the embryo transfer.

10. Where will my surrogate deliver.

The surrogate usually delivers in a hospital near to here, with her ob of choice, unless otherwise arranged between the future parents and the surrogate.

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Navigating the Legal Landscape of Surrogacy

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Surrogacy can be complicated – emotionally, medically and financially.  Great care must be taken to address all of these issues as a couple starts to navigate the path to parenthood.  Perhaps the most important item to tackle when starting on this journey is having some understanding of surrogacy law and a sound contract written between all parties.

There are two types of surrogacy that are generally discussed – Traditional Surogacy and Gestational Surrogacy.  Traditional Surrogacy is when the surrogate is also used as the egg donor.  This often occurs because the Intended Mother cannot produce eggs, and the Intended Father’s sperm is used to inseminated the surrogate.  The surrogate is the biological mother of the resulting baby, and the Intended Father is the biological father.

Gestational Surrogacy removes the biological connection of the surrogate.  In this type of surrogacy, the Intended Mother’s or Egg Donor’s eggs are fertilized with the Intended Father’s sperm.  The resulting embryos are then placed back into the Gestational Surrogate’s uterus.

Surrogacy laws vary from state-to-state, ranging from states that are very friendly to Gestational Surrogacy (California and Texas) to those where surrogacy contracts may not be upheld in a court of law (Louisiana) or where compensated surrogacy is illegal (misdemeanor offense – Washington).  Although our firm does not work with Traditional Surrogates (TS contracts are not illegal, but contracts are not upheld by Texas Courts, if tested),  we are very fortunate to work in a state that supports compensated Gestational Surrogacy contracts.  Intended Parents can even live outside the state as long as the Gestational Surrogate is a Texas resident.   However, Texas surrogacy law only addresses married, heterosexual couples.   Single or same-sex couples may still be able to proceed with surrogacy, they just may not have full protection under House Bill 729.  It’s very important in these situations to work with an attorney that experienced writing these types of contracts.

Once a pregnancy is achieved, the next hurdle to cross is establishment of the “pre-birth” order.  The pre-birth orders is executed around 20 weeks of pregnancy, and establishes the Intended Parents as the rightful parents of the baby(ies) born to the surrogate.  By using a pre-birth order, there is no need for adoption or subsequent legal work.

3 Sisters Surrogacy works with a number of excellent attorneys that have much experience in writing gestational contracts.  We provide all of our clients a referral list so that they can choose an attorney that’s right for them.

 

 

 

 

In the News – Phoenix Opening

3 Sisters Surrogacy Celebrates Expansion into Phoenix; Concierge Surrogacy Firm Sees Increased Demand for Infertility Services

3 Sisters Surrogacy brings a wealth of medical knowledge and clinical experience to third party reproduction options in Arizona by opening a new office in Phoenix. CEO points to positive economic outlook in Arizona and the Southwest as a main reason for expansion.

“With Phoenix and the surrounding areas enjoying a robust economic recovery, it is an ideal time to expand into the Great State of Arizona.”
Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) January 15, 2015

Today, 3 Sisters Surrogacy, LLC, a concierge surrogacy firm, announced the opening of a 4th office in Phoenix, AZ. Seeing an increased need for infertility experts working in Third-Party Reproduction, 3 Sisters has expanded their operations, which also includes offices in Houston and Dallas, TX, as well as Los Angeles, CA.

“With Phoenix and the surrounding areas enjoying a robust economic recovery, it is an ideal time to expand into the Great State of Arizona. With more choices in Third Party Parenting, the goal of 3 Sisters Surrogacy is to provide the highest level of expertise and customer care to Intended Parents not only in Arizona but throughout the Southwest and Internationally,” says CEO Mary Fusillo, RN, BSN, MS. Ms. Fusillo holds degrees in Nursing, Journalism/Public Relations and Public Health Administration – a unique educational and professional experience that streamlines the entire process, from initial complementary consultation through delivery.

“As infertility professionals, it is of utmost importance to us that we maintain the highest standards in the industry, with the goal of helping these couples finally have a baby of their own,” says Medical Liaison, Sunday Crider, PH.D., HCLD/ELD (ABB). Dr. Crider is a trained embryologist, having previously served as a Laboratory Director for three fertility programs. She continues to act as a consultant for fertility clinics, and has extensive scientific knowledge and medical background allowing her to effectively counsel families and gestational carriers on the complex world of IVF and Third Party Parenting.

Celebrating the opening of the new office, 3 Sisters Surrogacy has also launched a new website –http://www.3sisterssurrogacy.com, which offers comprehensive information about the surrogacy process, costs, and access to a list of available surrogates.

Gestational surrogacy is a treatment option for those couples not able to become pregnant and maintain that pregnancy. The surrogate, or gestational carrier, has an embryo inserted into her uterus created from the father’s sperm and mother’s egg (or the “Intended Parents”), or in some cases, a donor egg. With this type of surrogacy, the gestational carrier is not biologically related to the baby. It is believed that 10-15 % of the US population experiences infertility, with 1000 – 1500 babies being born through advanced reproductive techniques and surrogacy.

Those needing gestational surrogacy for family building or those interested in becoming a gestational surrogate can find more information about the 3 Sisters Surrogacy program on their website or by calling (877) 976-9483.

About 3 Sisters Surrogacy, LLC: 3 Sisters Surrogacy (http://www.3sisterssurrogacy.com) is a concierge surrogacy firm with offices in Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. With a large number of industry connections, the staff of 3 Sisters Surrogacy has a comprehensive referral network of fertility programs, attorneys, mental health and insurance professionals.

 

From:  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/01/prweb12442039.htm

10 Steps to Becoming a Surrogate – The Surrogacy Process

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Has the thought of being a surrogate ever crossed your mind?  Perhaps you loved being pregnant and want to experience it again, or maybe the idea of helping an infertile couple sounds like a wonderful thing to do.  The path to becoming a surrogate may seem like a complicated one, but a reputable agency like 3 Sisters Surrogacy is there to help.  In general the steps are:

1.  Be sure you meet the minimum criteria for being a surrogate.  This includes:

*Have had previous uncomplicated pregnancies
*Normal weight for height (BMI less than 30)
*Healthy lifestyle (no smoking, drugs, clean living)
*Be willing to travel, if necessary (expenses covered)
*Ages 22-38
*A great desire to help another couple have a baby

2.  Visit our application site  http://www.3sistersapplication.com/ and click on the link.  Complete the initial application.  If you meet the criteria, a full-length one will be sent to you.  When completing your application, be sure you put your best self forward!  This is the document that the future (or “intended”) parents will read.  You’ll also upload pictures to our database.  Again, it is important to look presentable – no selfies!

3.  We will schedule a telephone interview with you and review your application.  This is a great time to ask questions about the process too!

4.  You will need to collect all your medical records for previous pregnancies and deliveries.  There will also be a background check on everyone over the age of 18 in the household.  Once these have been reviewed, we will add you to the surrogate database so that Intended Parents (IPs) can review your profile. It may take up to 6 months to be selected.

5.  IPs will select a profile and we will set up a 3 way call between you, 3 Sisters Surrogacy and them.  This interview is a “getting to know you” type call.  Afterwards, an in person meeting may be set up.

6.  Once the surrogate and IPs decide that they are a good match with each other, we will schedule an initial medical appointment with the infertility doctor.  Typically bloodwork will be done at this time.  There may be additional appointments scheduled for further testing.

7.  After the medical appointment, you will have a psychological evaluation is performed.   This involves an interview with a psychologist, as well as a personality assessment.

8.  Finally, the contracts will be negotiated.  Each party (intended parents and surrogate) will have their own attorney to help navigate the contractual part of the surrogacy – how much compensation will be paid, who will make certain medical decisions, etc.   This part of the process may take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

9.  After the medical, psychological, and legal portions are completed, the embryo transfer is scheduled.   There are two ways the transfer may take place – (1) a “fresh” embryo transfer, in which the intended mother (or egg donor) undergo IVF just prior to the transfer, or (2) a “frozen” embryo transfer, in which the IVF process may have happened months or even years ago.  The embryo will have been in deep cryostorage until time of the transfer, as is thawed just before.  The embryo is placed into a tiny catheter and inserted in to the surrogate’s uterus.  There is no genetic connection between embryo and surrogate.

10.  Take the pregnancy test.  This is such an exciting time!  We let the surrogates come up with fun ways to tell their matched family that they are expecting.

Compensation for surrogates starts at $20-25,000, depending on whether you have insurance that covers surrogate pregnancy, if you have been a surrogate before, etc., plus many benefits.  Contact us today if you are interested in giving “The Greatest Gift”!

 

10 steps to become a surrogate

A New Year Brings New Beginnings!

 

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In reality, January 1 is just another day on the calendar. But there is something about the year changing that allows us to put things behind us, creating an opportunity for change.

3 Sisters Surrogacy is definitely doing something different this year, including our brand new website! We are also so pleased to announce that, in addition to our offices in Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles, we are opening of our FOURTH office in Phoenix, AZ. This expansion will allow us to serve even more families all across the country.

Additionally, we are excited to share that we will now offer financing through America Healthcare Lending. American HealthCare Lending is the premier financing company in the fertility industry. With over $5 Billion funded and over 300,000 loan inquiries serviced through their lenders, this is a name and a program you can trust. Here are some of the benefits you’ll receive with a loan from American HealthCare Lending:
• Immediate decisions for loans under $35,000
• Term options out to 84 months (affordable monthly payments)
• No collateral required
• No prepayment penalties
• Fast & easy loan inquiry process
• 100% Confidential

To celebrate the new website, new location, and new financing options, we are offering these specials to both Intended Parents and Surrogates:

1. Any Intended Parent(s) that contracts with 3 Sisters Surrogacy in the month of January will receive $1500 off their agency fee.*
2. Any gestational surrogate that applies in January and is matched by June 1 will receive a $500 sign-on bonus to assist in surrogacy-related expenses

To apply with 3 Sisters Surrogacy as an Intended Parent or a Gestational Surrogate, please visit our website at www.3sisterssurrogacy.com and register.  One of our Case Managers will be in contact with you shortly.

Happy New Year!!!

Dr. Crider

*Agency Agreement must be completed and signed by January 31, 2015. Embryo transfer to gestational surrogate must be completed by December 31, 2015. The January bonus will be deducted off the final installment of the Agency Fee, which is billed at the time of confirmed heartbeat. Should no pregnancy result from that transfer, the January bonus will be deducted from the final installment after subsequent embryo transfer and confirmed heartbeat.
**Gestational Surrogate must have cleared background checks, medical, and psychological evaluation. Bonus is to be paid at the time of embryo transfer.