For example, if the couple hasn't found a GC by the time of their egg retrieval, they can still go through with it and freeze the eggs for a later transfer. Between the agency, the lawyers, insurance , the surrogate, and all the medical procedures, there is a hefty price tag associated with this process.
Legal costs, costs for medication, and the cost for prenatal care and delivery are in addition to these fees.
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Then again, many say that finding a surrogate is worth it. Despite the cost, it seems like surrogacy is becoming more commonly accepted. Research done by Marie Claire reports that 23 percent of millennial women said they would consider surrogacy if they couldn't conceive naturally, compared to just 9 percent of Gen-X women. Using a GC doesn't have to dictate feeding plans. An IP mom should decide by late in the second trimester or early in the third trimester if she wants to try to get her own milk supply flowing.
She'll have to pump, and whether milk comes or not depends on things like whether she has had a pregnancy in the past. Hanna says that moms have to pump multiple times over the course of a hour period, for a total of two to three hours of pumping time. She has to do this for eight to 10 weeks to maximize her chances of inducing of milk production; six of those weeks should be before the delivery, and at least two of the weeks should be after delivery. She can also talk to her doctor about foods, supplements, prescribed medications that might also increase the chances of success. Some mothers can produce a small amount of milk, but others find they can produce significantly more based on their own pregnancy and breastfeeding history.
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Today's Top Stories. Independence Day Through the Years. Best Independence Day Sales of The Rules for Flying the American Flag. Gestational carriers, often called surrogates, go through a pregnancy on behalf of another couple. Surrogates can be family , friends, or strangers matched through an agency. Most of the time, the intended parents go through IVF procedures and implant a fertilized egg inside a gestational carrier; the baby then shares no DNA with the surrogate.
However, there are tons of variations on this process. Delivering a baby via gestational surrogate is a costly process that has many legal, mental, and medical implications, so interested parents must do a lot of research first.
There are two main types of surrogacy. Related Story. Some medical ethicists describe the process of arranging surrogacy as "baby brokering," while rumors circulate that self-obsessed, shallow New Yorkers have their babies by surrogate to avoid stretch marks. Much of Europe bans the practice, and 12 states, including New York, New Jersey and Michigan, refuse to recognize surrogacy contracts. But in the past five years, four states—Texas, Illinois, Utah and Florida—have passed laws legalizing surrogacy, and Minnesota is considering doing the same.
More than a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and, most notably, California, specifically legalize and regulate the practice. Today, a greater acceptance of the practice, and advances in science, find more women than ever before having babies for those who cannot. In the course of reporting this story, we discovered that many of these women are military wives who have taken on surrogacy to supplement the family income, some while their husbands are serving overseas.
Several agencies reported a significant increase in the number of wives of soldiers and naval personnel applying to be surrogates since the invasion of Iraq in At the high end, industry experts estimate there were about 1, surrogate births in the United States last year, while the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology SART —the only organization that makes an effort to track surrogate births—counted about in , a 30 percent increase over three years.
The numbers vary because at least 15 percent of clinics—and there are dozens of them across the United States—don't report numbers to SART. Private agreements made outside an agency aren't counted, and the figures do not factor in pregnancies in which one of the intended parents does not provide the egg—for example, where the baby will be raised by a gay male couple. Another reason for the rise in surrogacies is that technology has made them safer and more likely to succeed. Rather than just putting an egg into a petri dish with thousands of sperm and hoping for a match, embryologists can inject a single sperm directly into the egg.
The great majority of clinics can now test embryos for genetic diseases before implantation. It's revolutionizing the way clinics treat patients. IVF has been around only since the s, but the idea of one woman bearing a baby for another is as old as civilization.
The Curious Lives of Surrogates
Surrogacy was regulated in the Code of Hammurabi, dating from B. In the 16th chapter of Genesis, the infertile Sarah gives her servant, Hagar, to her husband, Abraham, to bear a child for them. Later, Jacob fathers children by the maids of his wives Leah and Rachel, who raise them as their own. It is also possible to view the story of Jesus' birth as a case of surrogacy, mediated not by a lawyer but an angel, though in that instance the birth mother did raise the baby.
The most celebrated case of late, though, resulted in the legal and ethical morass known as the "Baby M" affair. Mary Beth Whitehead, age 29 in , gave birth to a girl she had agreed to carry for an infertile couple. But Whitehead was also the baby's biological mother and tried to keep her after the birth, leading to a two-year custody battle. In the end, she was denied custody but awarded visitation rights.
As a result, surrogacy agreements now almost always stipulate that the woman who carries the baby cannot also donate the egg. But even as surrogacy is becoming less of a "Jerry Springer" spectacle and more of a viable family option for those who can afford it, the culture still stereotypes surrogates as either hicks or opportunists whose ethics could use some fine-tuning. Even pop culture has bought into the caricature. In the upcoming feature film "Baby Mama," a single businesswoman Tina Fey is told by a doctor she is infertile.
She hires a working-class gal Amy Poehler to be her surrogate. The client is a savvy, smart and well-to-do health-store-chain exec while Poehler is an unemployed, deceitful wild child who wants easy money.
When Fey's character refers to her surrogate as "white trash," we're supposed to laugh. Scanlon, 40, is a married mother of three who lives in Pittsburgh. Scanlon is also a working artist and illustrator who gave birth to twin girls for a gay New Jersey couple 18 months ago. The couple—a college professor and a certified public accountant—chose Scanlon because she was "emotionally stable," with a husband and children of her own. Unlike egg donors, who are usually in their 20s, healthy women as old as 40 can serve as surrogates; Scanlon two weeks ago underwent an embryo transfer and is now pregnant again for a new set of intended parents.
As for the implication that surrogates are in it only for the money, she notes that there are many easier jobs than carrying a baby 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And most jobs don't run the risk of making you throw up for weeks at a time, or keep you from drinking if you feel like it. I mean, have [these detractors] ever met a gestational carrier? Very little is understood about the world of the surrogate. That's why we talked to dozens of women across America who are, or have been, gestational carriers. What we found is surprising and defies stereotyping.
The experiences of this vast group of women—including a single mom from Murrietta, Calif. One surrogate, Scanlon, is the godmother of the twins she bore, while another still struggles because she has little contact with the baby she once carried. Some resent being told what to eat or drink; others feel more responsible bearing someone else's child than they did with their own.
Their motivations are varied: one upper-middle-class carrier in California said that as a child she watched a family member suffer with infertility and wished she could help. But all were agreed that the grueling IVF treatments, morning sickness, bed rest, C-sections and stretch marks were worth it once they saw their intended parent hold the child, or children multiples are common with IVF , for the first time. That sense of empowerment and self-worth is one of the greatest rewards surrogate mothers experience. She is blond, outgoing and six months pregnant with twins for a couple on the East Coast who could not bear children on their own due to a hysterectomy.
Boersma, married to a pharmaceutical rep, is a stay-at-home mom with a 6-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy, and a college graduate with a communications degree.
I want to make a difference. Then there's the money. In , Myers and her husband, Tim, a petty officer third class in the Navy, were transferred from Arizona to California. Ever since, she missed bringing home a paycheck, helping other people—and being pregnant. She loved the feel of her belly with a baby inside, and the natural high that comes from "all those rushing hormones.
Her grandmother was not pleased with Myers's decision. We just do not do that in this family'," recalls Myers. But you know what? I'm OK with it because I know I am doing something good for somebody else. I am giving another couple what they could never have on their own—a family. Like Myers, military wives are largely young stay-at-home moms who've completed their own families before they hit IVF clinics and surrogate agencies in Texas and California say military spouses make up 50 percent of their carriers.