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Medical Evaluation of the Surrogate Mother

Posted by admin | Filed under Surrogacy

Surrogacy is a unique and wonderful family-building option that is often described as third party reproduction. Individuals turn to surrogacy for a variety of medical and social reasons–including infertility, multiple pregnancy losses, being part of a same sex couple or being a single male. They all need the generosity of a third party — a surrogate mother — who will help them build their family.

Surrogate mothers, also known as gestational carriers, are caring, compassionate women who love being pregnant and want to give the gift of family to those who yearn to become parents.

One of the major concerns intended parents might have as they embark on surrogacy is whether the woman they’re matched with is a good candidate from health, obstetrical and mental health perspectives. They want to be reassured she will be able to get pregnant, have a successful pregnancy, deliver a healthy baby to term and not harm herself in the process.

HRC Fertility works with many surrogacy agencies that recruit and select surrogate mothers. Together we have developed guidelines for medically clearing potential surrogate mothers. It’s our job as fertility specialists to ensure that your surrogate mother can help you fulfill your dream of having a baby as well as have a healthy outcome for herself.

Typically, potential surrogates will undergo the following evaluations:

Social disease and drug screening
Surrogate mothers and their partners will be screened for a variety of sexually transmitted and infectious diseases, including but not limited to HIV, syphilis, herpes, hepatitis, cytomegalovirus (CMV), gonorrhea, and chlamydia. If unknown, they will be tested for RH factor and to ascertain their blood group. In addition, they will undergo urine testing for any prescription or illegal drug usage that could harm the surrogate mother and the baby.

Medical assessment
The focus of the medical evaluation is the health of the surrogate mother’s uterus and her ability to have a healthy pregnancy. Gestational carriers are not providing the egg for the pregnancy; either the intended mother or an egg donor is.

Surrogate mothers generally are between the ages of 21-45, have had at least one successful pregnancy, and have raised that child/children. They should not have had more than five vaginal or two cesarean deliveries (exceptions can be made with clearance from the surrogate’s OB). The agency and/or fertility specialist will want copies of all their obstetrical medical records to review them for other medical conditions or concerns.

Evaluation of the uterus
A key component of the evaluation is making sure the surrogate mothers has a healthy, receptive uterus and will have a successful embryo transfer. There are several procedures doctors can use to determine this including:

1) Vaginal ultrasound: examination of the uterus and surrounding organs
2) Hysteroscopy or sono-hysterogram (HSG): options offered at the discretion of the doctor. Sono-HSG is less invasive.
3) Mock cycle/trial transfer (optional): similar to a “test run” of an embryo transfer where the doctor can take measurements from the cervix to the transfer spot in the uterus, determine the best transfer location and verify there will be no unexpected issues or “bumps” in the road. Also the doctor can determine the best type of catheter to use for the transfer.
4) Pap smear

Psychological testing
A licensed psychologist will talk to the surrogate mother to get a sense of her motivation and psychological readiness to assist another family-to-be.

Our goal at HRC Fertility is to make sure everyone involved in the surrogacy process knows the health of the surrogate mother is optimal to start the baby making journey. Once that hurdle is passed, the surrogate mother and intended parents can focus on creating a strong and life changing relationship with each other.




Celebrities and Surrogacy

Posted by admin | Filed under Infertility, Surrogacy

You’ve probably seen their stories reported in popular magazines and websites. When celebrities choose to publicize their surrogacy journeys, people listen. This spreads awareness and gives the public a greater understanding of the challenges of family building for both same sex and heterosexual celebrities who want to have babies–just like the rest of us!

Turning to Surrogacy
Regardless of their fame, prospective parents may need to use the services of a surrogate mother, also known as a gestational carrier, for a variety of medical and social reasons.

Intended mothers may have been born without a uterus, have a uterine structural abnormality, or needed a hysterectomy due to cancer, all of which make it impossible for them to carry a pregnancy. Some may have medical problems that would make pregnancy dangerous. Surrogacy also may be needed for women who have experienced numerous failed IVF cycles. They can produce healthy, normal-looking embryos, but implantation does not occur, even with IVF.

Of course, same sex individuals and single men who want to have biological children need two, “third parties,” an egg donor and a surrogate mother.

Here are four examples of celebrities who have shone a light on surrogacy:

GloZell Green
GloZell is viral social media superstar known for her signature green lipstick, vivacious personality and hilarious YouTube videos. When she wanted to have a baby in her late 30s, her doctor discovered she had endometriosis and a thin uterine lining. He suggested she use a surrogate mother to carry her baby.

GloZell and her husband Kevin Simon are now the proud parents of a little girl, O’Zell, born last August with the help of HRC Fertility’s Dr. Bradford Kolb. In her unique style, GloZell chronicled her surrogacy journey and, in the process, has educated millions of people about infertility and surrogacy.

Elton John and David Furnish
This megastar and his producer/director husband are one of the most famous gay couples who used surrogacy to build their family. Elton and David are British citizens and commercial surrogacy is not legally recognized in the United Kingdom. They used the same surrogate mother for the birth of their sons.

When fashion designers Dolce and Gabbana created a firestorm by calling IVF and surrogacy “unnatural,” Elton John came to the defense of the millions of parents and babies who have used these miraculous technologies.

Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban needed the help of a surrogate mother for their second daughter. After Ms. Kidman’s struggle to conceive baby number two, she was very open about talking about secondary infertility and the struggle of undergoing treatment and miscarriage, as well as showing her admiration for her surrogate mother.

Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin is not only a gay dad via surrogacy but was a single man who wanted to become a father when his twins Matteo and Valentino were conceived via surrogacy. He is well-known as a “choice dad” who made a conscious choice to become a father.

Ricky’s surrogacy experience is an example of how the desire for parenthood is a universal goal for both men and women, with or without a partner. Thank you to these celebrities and others who have brought awareness to this unique, but increasingly popular, family-building option.

HRC Fertility has an active third party parenting program because California has very favorable surrogacy law, which attract intended parents from all over the world. To learn more, click here: http://www.havingbabies.com/infertility-treatment/third-party-reproduction/




You and Me and Babies Make Four

Posted by admin | Filed under Egg Donation, Gender Selection, Infertility, IVF, Surrogacy

When Stephen and Jun decided to get married, they knew they wanted to have a family someday. As a same-sex couple, however, their path to parenthood was a bit more complicated.

“We knew before we were married that we wanted to have kids, but we didn’t know when or how,” said Stephen. “We wanted to work on our own relationship and careers first, and for the first five or six years we were moving around the country with our jobs.”

After finally setting in southern California, Stephen and Jun decided the time was right to start looking at their family-building options. They did a lot of research, looked at several agencies, considered whether they wanted relatives help them conceive, and also discussed adoption.

“We wanted to find out what made the most sense for us,” they explained.

Ultimately, the couple found an agency close to home that could help them find an egg donor and local surrogate rather than an international surrogate. It was really important to them to be able to spend time with their surrogate and attend doctor’s appointments.

Based on their requirements, the agency also helped Stephen and Jun identify IVF clinics. After narrowing it down to two clinics, they chose Dr. Frederick at HRC’s Orange County office.

“Dr. Frederick told us that she’d helped other same-sex couples conceive biological children,” Stephen said, adding that he and Jun were also impressed with her investment in the Bonding Room at Saddleback Memorial Center, which provides a place to stay overnight at the hospital for couples with children born through a surrogate.

The couple knew they wanted twins, a boy and a girl, and were fortunate they had enough healthy embryos to have that choice. Though their twins are just eight months old, Stephen and Jun are already thinking ahead.

“We definitely plan to do it again!”




True Infertility Success Stories: How Using a Surrogate Was Different

Posted by admin | Filed under Infertility, Surrogacy

For couples suffering from fertility problems, there are many options to help them achieve their dream of a family. For D and A from Los Angeles, they chose a gestational surrogate after two successful, but difficult natural pregnancies. Their pregnancy through surrogacy was different in ways they didn’t expect.

“It’s a surreal experience,” explained D. “A week or two will go by and I don’t remember that we are having a baby.”

Readmore ….




True Infertility Success Stories: My Road to Surrogacy

Posted by admin | Filed under Getting Pregnant, Surrogacy

D and A from Los Angeles didn’t have a problem getting pregnant; they had a problem staying pregnant. After two pregnancies, described as both difficult and in the case of the second pregnancy, traumatic, A’s doctors told her that she could not have another child without the help of a gestational surrogate.

“I didn’t know if mentally I could do it again. I was really worried what it would be like being pregnant again,” she said. Readmore ….