June 26th, 2014
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!
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 Nation: For 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
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.
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.
June 10th, 2014
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!
May 28th, 2014
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
May 9th, 2014
It’s only fitting that I be dressed up in pink after finding out last week that the fathers are expecting a sweet baby GIRL!!!!! I had absolutely no doubt I was carrying a girl before finding out, which is odd since I’m not biologically connected to this sweet princess in any way but must have been picking up on the girl vibe We scheduled an early gender scan as a gift to the dads and were able to Skype with them during the ultrasound. One of the fathers wanted a boy and the other a girl but both said they would obviously be happy with either – they just are thankful for having a baby on the way at all! I just loved loved loved seeing their reaction to reading the words on the ultrasound screen “I’m a girl!” And I love that I can now say “her” and “she” instead of “it.”
I’m now into my second trimester (thank goodness!) and 18 weeks along. Baby girl has been very good to me – with very little sickness and other than fatigue in the first trimester, I’ve felt great in this pregnancy. I have the tiniest little baby bump that I know is going to start working on getting much bigger over the next several weeks and I can’t believe I’m almost half way there. It felt like the first trimester crawled by and now the weeks seem to be flying by – which is super exciting because it means the fathers are that much closer to meeting their baby girl and us meeting each other, but then I also feel almost sad about it, too.
This has been such a great experience and it’s been no secret that I’ve said I loved being pregnant, which is one of the many reasons I decided to become a surrogate in the first place. I think the not knowing if this truly is the last time I’ll ever carry a baby or not makes me slightly sad but also makes me enjoy each step that much more. I’m still firm in my decision that I want no more children of my own and other people have already asked me if I would be a surrogate again but I don’t yet know the answer to that. I would love to, yes, but depending how the rest of this plays out for us (mostly the labor that I still get nervous about) and where I am at in my life later would be the biggest factors. I almost feel like this should be my only surrogacy pregnancy because things have gone so well (so far) and that we were matched with such a perfect couple for us, that I think it would be hard to have such a great experience again. It definitely happens – that surrogates go on to carry again after another surrogacy pregnancy with just as great experiences, but then there are also the ones that may not.
I realize how lucky we are that I got pregnant on the first try, with one baby (as fun as twins are, being pregnant with one is obviously easier!), I’ve had very little sickness and aside from some bleeding in the early weeks, everything has been going great – for both us and the dads, who we just adore. The fathers and us have such a unique connection that I would be worried I wouldn’t find that in another couple either. There’s no need to make a decision if I would ever do this again or not now – but it has been asked to me and quite honestly, I don’t know how to answer it since I’m not sure I would do it again, but not because of a bad experience – just because it’s been so perfect so far – which I’ve already re-iterated. I’m sure once I give birth and place this sweet baby in her parents’ arms, that I will be pulled to do it again because of how awesome I envision that moment/experience to be. I would love to carry for the same couple if they ever decide to give her a sibling!
The fathers and we are in constant contact, usually through email and they are as involved as they can be from so far away. We’ve started talking about their visit here, which is exciting and I can’t wait to officially meet them in person although we feel like they are family already.
My husband has been amazing. Although I’m now visibly pregnant with someone else’s baby, he still makes every effort to tell me how beautiful I am and how great I look, even when I know he’s lying. He hasn’t made me feel like because this isn’t his baby that he doesn’t want to be involved. He has been to ultrasounds, talked to the baby through my belly telling her hello and that her daddies can’t wait to meet her, rubbed my belly and I know will love to feel her kick when that time comes. It comes from a different place, though, than if we were expecting our own. Although I can’t wait to feel her kick, and he’s doing the things he would if it were his baby too, we are doing it to show her love until her daddies can take over.
It’s not from a place of becoming “attached,” which is the second most popular question I get (“Aren’t you scared you won’t be able to give the baby up?”) but rather, just love and excitement for the dads. And to answer the above question, no, we aren’t worried at all about “giving her up” because she’s not ours to have to start with, which we know and knew going into this. I’m so excited about having her daddies hold her and take care of her once she’s here (Hey, we don’t have to get up every 2 hours or change the diapers!) and how happy she is going to make them. I just don’t have the baby fever to have one of my own – which I think is crucial, because if I went into this even thinking I might want another baby, it might be more difficult. But I don’t. I like my sleep, I love focusing on one child and I love not feeling pulled to divide my attention between more than one kid – but kudos to you parents of 2+. I’m just not cut out to be a mommy of more than one and I know it.
Anyway, that’s just a little update on where we are now. I truly continue to appreciate all of the awesome things that you all say and write to me. It really does mean a lot and I’m so very lucky to have such accepting and amazing friends and family. It really makes all the difference in the world and I can’t wait to share more as the due date gets closer and even how big I’ll be getting. So if anyone has any greasy pizza, send it my way. I’m not trying to prep for swimsuit season or anything. I’ll worry about that next year!
May 7th, 2014
It’s Advocacy Day! Join RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association in speaking out to Congress It’s time for legislation that supports the infertility community, and it starts with your voice.
Advocacy Day is a RESOLVE event where women and men living with infertility come together in Washington, D.C. to talk to Members of Congress about issues important to our community. It’s a great opportunity to meet RESOLVE leaders and others from the infertility community who want to make a difference.
While Advocacy Day is based in D.C., the beauty is that you can support this movement wherever you are. Call congress and ask them to support legislation that will provide relief and support to people dealing with infertility. It’s easy, and Resolve is providing all the details.
- Being a Federal Legislation Advocate
- Being an Infertility Community Advocate
- Being Your Own Advocate During Treatment
If you’re ready to take action, check out Resolve’s tips to become an advocate and take a stand for more infertility support!
April 25th, 2014
ConceiveAbilities is keeping you up-to-date on the latest news in the busy, burgeoning world of infertility. Below, a special round up of this week’s need to know stories in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week:
From NBC News: Failing at Fertility: New ‘Report Card’ Grades States
From DC Patient: Seven Things You Should Resolve to Know More About
From Huffington Post: What’s Changed (and What Hasn’t Changed) for People With Infertility in the Past 25 Years
From Forbes: IVF and Infertility By the Numbers
From the Chicago Tribune: Local Nonprofit Brings Awareness to Fertility Issues in Minorities
And in ConceiveAbilities news?
Team Baby walks again! We’ll be gathering in Chicago and Denver for tomorrow’s annual March of Dimes March for Babies!
April 24th, 2014
Even the investors at Forbes are taking time to learn more about infertility this week!
The experts are resolving to “do the math” with some updated numbers via the American Society for Reproductive Medicine:
Their latest report from 2012 shows that 61,740 babies were born from IVF procedures. With the CDC reporting approximately 4 million births per year, that breaks down to between 1-2% of all births.
Here’s where it gets a little complicated – we’ll let Forbes take it from here:
ESHRE, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, recently estimated a total of 5 million IVF babies worldwide. Dividing the 61,740 US babies in 2012 by the estimated 350,000 IVF babies born worldwide per year (International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies estimate) and applying the resulting 18% to the 5 million figure, there are roughly 900,000 people in the United States who were born from IVF cycles.
Dividing 900,000 by the US Census Bureau 2013 population estimate tells us that approximately one in 348 of us is an IVF person.
This means that:
100 people in the crowd at Fenway Park last night were conceived using IVF.
Every obstetrician in the United States delivered on average three IVF babies last year. (Bureau of Labor Statistics obstetrician numbers)
If we assume that half of the visitors to Times Square each year are US residents, then on any given day there are 305 US tourists conceived by IVF bumping into each other on Broadway between 42nd and 47th Streets.
And that is your IVF math lesson for the day!