Angel’s Journey – The Surrogate Dad’s View

August 8th, 2014

Angel is now into the third trimester of her surrogate pregnancy with a baby girl. Throughout the process her husband Travis has been one of her biggest supporters, and he’s sharing his perspective on the surrogacy process – plus his answers to the many questions people have for the “surrogate dad.”

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To be honest, I never thought that I would be doing something so awesome for another set of parents. I knew Angel loved being pregnant, but when she came to me one day, over 1 1/2 years ago, about being a surrogate, I was slightly stunned. I really did not know anything about surrogacy at the time, but I am an open person and just told her that whatever she wants to do I support her. This was of course with some, but not many stipulations: it just could not be her egg and no biological ties to us. Those were my only rules regarding my thoughts of the process.

I remember asking her why she wanted to do this and she said she wanted to give a family the happiness we experience with our daughter. It also took a long time to conceive her and we wanted to help a couple out that was experiencing similar barriers in their lives, no matter if the barrier were genetics or social. As Angel began researching more, I felt this would be a great experience for the two of us as a couple. I just wanted to learn and understand all the risks.

Meeting the parents via Skype for the first time was a nervous and exciting experience. I could tell right away that they would be the couple we would like to work with. You just know when you are comfortable talking to someone and understand their needs. It was a connection that is a one of a kind experience. They are an awesome couple.

I get a lot of questions, like: Is it weird seeing your wife pregnant with another couple’s baby? My answer is no. It really doesn’t phase me much because I just treat this pregnancy as if the little girl was going to be ours, but still knowing in my mind that she isn’t. I can’t say I feel attached, but I definitely have a different type of love for this little girl. It is easier detaching yourself when you know from the start that the child has no ties to you what-so-ever. I find Angel more attractive knowing that she is doing something so great that not just anyone would do.

Another question that I get is: Are you worried that Angel will become attached to the baby? At first I was worried a little because she is such a caring person, especially as a mother. Discussing it with her and both of us knowing going into this adventure that the baby is not ours makes it a lot easier. I am sure we will both have an emotional time seeing the baby off to her home in Spain, but it will be happy tears.

I believe some people find it odd that I have no problem with the parents being in the room when Angel gives birth. It is their child. They should to be able to experience her birth and happiness from the moment she enters this world. I remember the first moment my daughter opened her eyes and I would not want the parents to miss that.

Advice for other future surrogate dads? The key to this entire experience is PATIENCE. You must be patient with your wife, your own child, and your family’s schedule. If you do not have patience, I do not recommend it. I am a naturally patient person and between the shots, appointments and busy work schedule it is a lot to handle – but easily manageable, in my opinion. Treat your wife with care, patience, love and understanding, as this is scary for both and you can’t be selfish. Just remember the happiness the couple will experience when your wife gives birth to their baby. That is what I keep thinking of and can’t wait to see their reaction and excitement on the day their daughter arrives.

Diving into Summer with ConceiveAbilities

July 21st, 2014

The heat is on and Team Baby is jumping in with both feet! Spring brought continued growth to ConceiveAbilities, and some exciting changes that will benefit intended parents, surrogates, egg donors, and the company alike.

Read the full newsletter >>

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Summer fun at the 5th Annual Denver Family Picnic

July 21st, 2014

It wouldn’t be summer without reunions, and we were thrilled to host more than 70 people at our  5th annual surrogate family picnic in Denver. Everyone gathered for a day of sunshine, silly games, face painting, keeping cool with a fountain and – of course – sweet treats. The Ben & Jerry’s cart was a hit with kids of all ages, but visiting with old and new friends is always the highlight. “My family and I had a great time at the picnic,” said surrogate Rachel. “It was wonderful getting to see so many of the ladies I haven’t seen since support group.” As Team Baby continues to grow, these events have become even more important in strengthening the ConceiveAbilities family.

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Friday Round Up

July 18th, 2014

ConceiveAbilities is keeping you up-to-date on the latest news in the busy, burgeoning world of infertility. Below, a round up of this week’s need to know stories:

From Time.com: Three Ways to Cut the High Costs of Infertility 

From Fox News: Is pre-implantation genetic screening right for you? 

From Today.com: No more whispers, I’m doing IVF and proud of it

From India Today: Health trend: Celebrities use acupuncture for infertility 

From The Columbia Daily Tribune: Missouri surrogate supports New Jersey family

And in ConceiveAbilities news? We had a blast at our 5th annual Denver Surrogate Family Picnic! 

Angel’s Journey – Surrogacy Q&A Part 2

June 26th, 2014

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6) Q: Are the fathers coming here for the birth?

A: Yes! They will be here a few weeks before my expected due date (in case she decides to debut early!) and will stay here in this area for a week or so after the birth. They will still be in the U.S for several more weeks, preparing to take her back to Spain and getting legal documents to leave the country with her.

7) Q: Do you think you’ll have a hard time giving up the baby?

A: Honestly, no. She’s not mine to give up. She is in no way biologically related to me and I knew that going into this. Sure, I care for her and love her as if she were my own until her daddies can take over that task. I think there may be feelings I don’t anticipate having but I am definitely not worried about “giving her up.” I know once she’s here and I see the looks on her fathers’ faces, that will be the highlight of this whole experience for me. Also, I don’t want another baby! I can’t imagine having to start all over again and as a surrogate, I really get to concentrate on just being pregnant and enjoying it and not have to worry about picking a name, getting a nursery ready, buying new baby stuff, etc. I just don’t have that “baby itch” and I think that’s also why this was something I really wanted to do at this point in my life.

8) Q: Will you be a surrogate again?

A: Honestly, I don’t know yet. I would love to, yes. But it is a huge commitment that takes a lot of time, effort, energy, physical sacrifice and hope on both parts of the parents and surrogate. If the time were right and the fathers I’m working with now wanted a sibling, or if I was matched with another couple who I had a relationship comparable to the one I have with these fathers (which would be very hard to match since I just adore them), I would definitely consider it and be open to the idea.

9) Q: Is this your baby at all?

A: As I said above, no. The egg used was not my own and the fathers will be on the birth certificate from the time she’s born, which is great because Illinois is one of the most surrogacy friendly states there is. The fathers are recognized as her parents from the beginning. Surrogacy is illegal or not recognized in some states – meaning that the intended parents have to essentially adopt their own baby. That is not the case in this instance which makes working with the agency that I do all the more great.

10) Q: Last but not least – Are you getting paid for this?

A: While I won’t go into details, I will say that any compensation for acting as a surrogate mother is most definitely not the reason I decided to pursue this journey, not is it for any of the other surrogates I’ve come to know. While I’m not minimizing the financial sacrifice intended parents make to build their family, I can’t believe any surrogate does this for money alone because of how much is involved, physically and mentally. The process I described above is just the tip of the iceberg about what surrogates have to go through before even hopefully getting pregnant, and then being pregnant and willing to give up your body and life for 10+ months for a child that you aren’t taking home. I don’t mind the question because I know it’s just curiosity, but I don’t want potential compensation to overshadow the real reasons that surrogates do this for families. I will say that while I’m very humbled by the praise I’ve received from my amazing friends and family, I am not shy to give these other women all the praise in the world. Surrogates have to go through the same pregnancy concerns as any other pregnant woman – failed transfers, miscarriage, extreme sickness, complications, bed rest, etc. but I feel they always remain so positive and rooted in why they are doing this, even when the going gets really tough.

 

So there you go. There’s pretty much no question I won’t answer (that doesn’t breach any confidentiality for the parents) and am fine with being so open about this process because I think there can be a lot of misconception about surrogacy. If it means helping a woman become a surrogate or learning about surrogacy to build their family, then it’s worth being an open book!

Friday Round Up

June 20th, 2014

ConceiveAbilities is keeping you up-to-date on the latest news in the busy, burgeoning world of infertility. Below, a round up of this week’s need to know stories:

From Chicago Sun-Times: Father Figure

From The Examiner: The Handsome Father: Nonprofit organization designed to support gay dads

From CNN: Time-lapse video reveals secret life of an embryo, helps women conceive

From LGBTQ NationFor gay dads, two new websites help navigate joys, struggles of fatherhood

From Medical Daily: IVF Time-Lapse Technology Helps Doctors Pick The Best Implantable Embryo

From Huffington Post: Coping With the Anguish of Fertility Treatment

 

And in ConceiveAbilities news?

Our CEO, Nazca Fontes, is featured in the current issue of Worth Magazine!

The Business of Modern Families

The Business of Modern Families – Nazca Fontes in Worth Magazine

June 19th, 2014

ConceiveAbilities was recently featured in the June/July 2014 issue of Worth magazine. Nazca Fontes, ConceiveAbilities CEO, shared her motivation for founding ConceiveAbilities in 1996, explaining, “I thought that there could be a better level of support and education throughout the process.” She goes on to describe how the agency has grown and changed, expanding into the realm of surrogacy. Nazca is prominently featured on the front page of the article, “The Business of Modern Families,” and is proud to share her insights on the evolution of today’s family. Be sure to read the article for the full story. 

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Celebrating Father’s Day – times 3

June 15th, 2014

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads (and dads-to-be) who show such strength and hope in this journey – and who are so supportive of their partners. What amazing role models you are for your children!

To all the dads we’ve had the privilege of knowing – it is such an honor to help you build your families. We’re thrilled to share the Chicago Sun Times story of one man, who this year is celebrating Father’s Day – times 3.

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Father Figure 

 

Angel’s Journey – Surrogacy Q&A

June 10th, 2014

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I’m now officially half way through this surrogate pregnancy with the fathers’ sweet little princess! Since I’ve updated last, I’ve started to feel her kick, which I love! It’s so funny what you forget about pregnancy, although I was pregnant not too long ago before this (2 1/2 years) and there’s no hiding the baby bump now! I finally feel like it’s more of a bump than that weird in between stage that looks like a large lunch or beer gut rather than a baby. I’m still feeling great, which I’m super thankful for, especially since I know other surrogates who are just as far along as me who have had a rough time with sickness or other complications and it makes me realize how lucky I am for such a great pregnancy.  Since I’m now halfway, I feel like I’m getting more questions about this process and my plans to possibly carry another surrogate baby/babies again. I thought maybe answering a list of questions I get asked most often might be helpful for anyone who may have been following my story or who still had questions about this whole process.

Here’s part one of the Top 10 Most Asked Surrogacy Questions:

1) Q: Why did you decide to do carry a child for someone else?

A: My husband and I decided we did not want any more children since having our daughter. It took 2 years to conceive her and a lot of tears, heartache and disappointment along the way. Due to what we went through to have our family and since we are so happy with having just one child to focus on, we made the decision to not have any more kids. However, I was sad at the thought of never being pregnant again and thus, I started looking into surrogacy – both to fulfill my desire to experience pregnancy again as well as help another couple build their family.

2) Q: What is the process like?

A: In a very brief summary, it includes submitting a very detailed application, mental health evaluation (of your spouse, too), a home visit, medical work up, compiling a legal contract, background and credit check. I also participate in monthly support calls for surrogates as well. For some surrogates, the process takes longer than others. It is unique to each individual and intended parents. For us, from the application to transfer, it took about 9 months.

3) Q: How did you get involved with a couple from Spain?

A:  I spent hours researching reputable surrogacy agencies and decided that one, ConceiveAbilities, was the one for me. I put my application in last April and was accepted to move on in the process. After a mental health evaluation and home visit, we were “matched” with a couple from Spain who were on the waiting list with the agency as well. We were able to Skype with each other to “meet” and see if we felt the match was a good fit for us both, based on values, what we wanted out of the relationship, our agreement on various topics, etc. We were officially matched last August and the rest is history!

4) Q:  How did you “get pregnant”?

A: With the miracle of science. The fathers used an egg donor and had embryos made with both of their own sperm that were then frozen. To prepare for the transfer of two embryos into me (one from each father), I started taking injections and oral medications about a month prior to the transfer and for roughly 7-8 weeks after receiving a positive pregnancy test. These injections suppressed my own ovulation while thickening my uterine lining to help make those babies stick! The transfer itself took all of 5 minutes – the embryos were thawed the morning of and then inserted and then I was on bed rest for 3 days.

5) Q: How do you communicate with the fathers?

A: We Skype and email. We email frequently throughout the week and try to Skype as often as we can. I love to talk to them and although they are 7 hours ahead in time, we make it work with our schedules. They speak very good English so that isn’t as big of a barrier as I thought it could be. Each time we talk, I can see the joy in their faces about having a baby on the way and they are always so thoughtful, telling me I look great and how thankful they are to my husband and I for helping them in bringing their baby into the world. They are as involved as they can be from that far away, but they’ve Skyped during ultrasounds and doctors appointments and I’m so thankful for technology to allow that to happen!

Check in next week for part two!

ConceiveAbilities GC featured on Denver news

May 28th, 2014

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We’re so proud of GC Lindsay, who was recently featured in a Denver news story about her surrogacy journey. Take a look!

Woman gives another the gift of children