Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Reflecting on 2009

I sit here on the night before New Year’s Eve, reflecting on the year that has slipped by so quickly. It almost feels like it went too quickly, like nothing monumental happened. But in fact, that is so very far from the truth. Agency for Surrogacy Solutions, Inc has been privileged to play a part in creating so many families this past year – families that would never have existed without surrogacy, egg donation, assisted reproduction. My heart is full of love for the incredible women who help us (those who cannot have children the so-called ‘normal’ way) and with every life that our agency was fortunate enough to have played a hand in, our glass is that much fuller. I look at my own children – now 10, 4 & 3 and I am so very very humbled to be their mother. I never thought infertility would become such a big part of my life and while I was going through, I only wished for it to end. And now I realize that it will never end and I am thankful for that – because it has brought such meaning to my life. It has made me stronger, more compassionate, more dedicated… and by far, a much better mom. To those of you who are surrogates or egg donors – you are amazing. To those of you who are parents via surrogacy or egg donation – you are warriors (remember eye on the prize!). And to those of you in the throes of infertility right now… you are not alone. Open your hearts and allow others to help. We’re here and we’ve walked in your shoes. Here's wishing us all a prosperous, peaceful and fertile 2010! Lauri & Kathryn

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What is the process of becoming pregnant via Gestational Surrogacy

The medical procedure for the Embryo Transfer (ET) to the Gestational Surrogate (GS) is similar to having a Pap smear. In most cases it's pain-free. First, your menstrual cycle and the menstrual cycle of the Intended Mother (IM) or Egg Donor (ED) are synchronized using birth control pills and daily injections of Lupron, a drug that suppresses ovulation. If it seems scary, don�t worry! Everyone who has been through the process feels intimidated at first. Often after the first few days they're amazed at how simple and relatively painless it is. The nurse at the reproductive clinic will talk you through the first injections, and we can always help you, too. You will also be taking Estrogen before the transfer, and the Intended Mother or Egg Donor (ED) will be taking daily injections of fertility drugs.

During this time, the development of the Intended Mother or ED's eggs is monitored by periodic blood work and ultrasounds. At the same time, the thickness of the lining of your uterus, which is crucial to the success of the Embryo Transfer, will be evaluated using blood tests and transvaginal ultrasounds. You can expect to visit the Reproductive Endocrinologist a few times before the Embryo Transfer in order to check your uterine lining for its readiness to receive the embryo. That exam is entirely painless. Three to five days after the eggs have been retrieved from the biological Mother (or Egg Donor) and fertilized with the sperm of the biological father (or Sperm Donor), the physician will transfer the embryos to you. As we've noted, that procedure is something like a Pap smear, and it's completed under sterile conditions. Depending on the physician, you may then begin progesterone injections and/or suppositories.

Many clinics require a period of bed rest after the Embryo Transfer. That can range from 12 to 72 hours. The Intended Parents will expect you treat the doctor's instructions seriously. If you need childcare to allow you to stay in bed, that will be provided as specified in your contract. Your contract will cover all such eventualities, so you will never have to worry about money to meet your surrogacy obligations. About 10 to 12 days after the embryo transfer, you'll get a pregnancy test. This will usually be done by drawing blood at the clinic or local lab.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Would you like to work with Agency for Surrogacy Solutions? Read Below!

If you pass the initial screening, we will ask you to fill out a much longer questionnaire, which covers a broad range of subjects so that we, and eventually potential Intended Parents, can get to know you. This questionnaire should take roughly 30 minutes to complete. We prefer to send and receive the questionnaire by e-mail.

We will also need photographs of you and your family. It's easiest if the photographs are digital format and are sent through the Internet. If you do not have a digital camera, your local photo shop can create them from prints or you can mail the prints directly to us for scanning.

After you return your questionnaire, one of our Surrogate Coordinators will conduct a phone interview with you. This is not meant to be intimidating, it's just a more direct way to get to know each other and answer any questions you may have. Then, one of our directors will also call to talk to you.

Once we agree to work together, you should download the Agency Program Agreement document, which you will need to print out, sign, and fax/mail to our office.

This indicates your willingness to become a Gestational Surrogate with our agency. It also gives the Intended Parents permission to review your questionnaire and photographs. (Agency for Surrogacy Solutions always insures that your privacy is protected. The Intended Parents will not see the page of the questionnaire that contains confidential identifying information. Your last name and identifying information will not be revealed to any Intended Parents until all agree to work together.)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

What are the Types of Surrogacy?

There are two general types of Surrogate Mothers -- Gestational Surrogates (GS) and Traditional Surrogates (TS). Each has some variations:

1. Gestational Surrogate (GS) or Gestational Carrier (GC)In this process, the Gestational Surrogate becomes pregnant through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), using the eggs from the Intended Mother (IM). The Gestational Surrogate receives the fertilized egg through an Embryo Transfer (ET), a quick, painless procedure. The Gestational Surrogate has no genetic relationship to the baby. This is currently the most popular form of surrogacy.A variation on this is Gestational Surrogacy with Egg Donation (GS/ED). Sometimes the Gestational Surrogate becomes pregnant through IVF using eggs from an Egg Donor (ED) other than the Intended Mother or the Gestational Surrogate. An Egg Donor is used when the Intended Mother cannot produce the eggs to get pregnant. The sperm can be provided either by the Intended Father (IF) or a Sperm Donor (SD). Again, the Gestational Surrogate has no genetic link to the baby. This form of surrogacy is growing in popularity as replacement for Traditional Surrogacy.

NOTE: Agency for Surrogacy Solutions, Inc. only handles Gestational Surrogacies at this time.

2. Traditional Surrogate (TS)In this arrangement, the Surrogate Mother becomes pregnant through artificial insemination (AI) using her own eggs and thus has a genetic link to the baby. The sperm may be supplied by the Intended Father or another donor. Although Traditional Surrogacy is still used, it is not as common as it was even a few years ago.
Please contact us at Agency for Surogacy Solutions to answer all of your questions!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are you qualified to become an Agency For Surrogacy Solutions Carrier?

You undoubtedly have many questions about the surrogacy process, and that's a good instinct! Although surrogacy is simple in theory -- a woman carries a baby for someone else who can't -- in reality it is a complex process with many interconnected elements.

The first step is to see if you're qualified. The Agency for Surrogacy Solutions work only with women who fulfill these criteria:

Are between 21 and 40 years old

Are a non-smoker, non-drug user who maintains a healthy lifestyle

Are willing to abstain from drinking any alcohol during a pregnancy

MUST have successfully carried at least one child of your own to term

Are in a stable living situation

If married, have a spouse who's supportive of your decision to become a Gestational Surrogate/Carrier

If single, have a support system in place-whether it is a friend or relative

Have a healthy weight/height ratio (Ask if you're afraid you may be too large. Many Gestational Surrogates are far from thin.)

Are not on government assistance

Are willing to give up or lower caffeine intake for the duration of the pregnancy as prescribed by your OB

Like being pregnant and have the desire to give the miracle of life

Although many generous women want to become Surrogates/Carriers, we are currently only able to work with those who live in states that unambiguously recognize the validity of and uphold the intent of the surrogacy contract. The laws in some states are less clear, so please email if you are unsure about the state you live in. Unfortunately, at this time we cannot currently consider people who reside in Arizona, Washington, New York, Kansas, Indiana, Delaware, North Dakota, Michigan or Washington DC.

While other states may have good laws we currently have the most requests for Gestational Carriers in California, Texas, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Additionally, please think carefully about your ability and willingness to be pregnant and to commit a minimum of a year of your life to helping your Intended Parents have a baby. Although the surrogacy process is immensely rewarding, it is also an intense, challenging and emotional journey; not just for you but for your family as well.

We thank you for considering the gift of Surrogacy. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns that you might have!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Agency for Surrogacy Solutions, Inc.: Our Goal for Intended Parents

Our goal at Agency for Surrogacy Solutions is to help our Intended Parents' surrogacy journey become as problem-free and as emotionally rewarding as possible. We will guide you through the process of surrogacy from the initial steps until after you take your baby or babies home with you. Being former Intended Parents, we know how expensive a surrogacy pregnancy can be. Therefore, we try our best to keep costs to a minimum, and are sometimes able to negotiate lower rates with psychologists, lawyers, and other professionals with whom you'll be dealing. We also understand the psychological challenges of being an Intended Parent. Learning to trust and giving up control are two of the bigger hurdles. We offer counsel and support in dealing with the strong emotions that inevitably emerge.Often people ask -- what would motivate a woman to become a Gestational Surrogate? Here is what we've discovered through our work with these amazing, giving women:

*They enjoy being pregnant
*They have a great deal of empathy for childless couples or those unable to expand their families without assistance
*Their own children have brought great happiness to their lives
*They have an opportunity to make a unique contribution to the world
*They have a history of easy, uncomplicated pregnancies
*This gives them an opportunity to feel special
*They can utilize the financial gain for their family
It is an opportunity to make up for a pregnancy previously terminated

The surrogacy process is complex for all the parties, but the rewards can be great. We cannot describe the depth of our feelings upon holding our children for the very first time. We are both extremely grateful to our Surrogates, and our very special friendships continue to grow. We hope that we can help you and your future Surrogate create just such a bond.