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If you’re having FAQ’s I feel bad for you son, I’ve got 99 problems but a contract ain’t one.

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It’s homework time people. Nobody likes it; nobody wants to read it, but you HAVE TO READ YOUR CONTRACT! Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. Everything you ever wanted, needed, and never even though of knowing is in there. It’s the Rosetta stone of surrogacy and I’m talking to EVERYONE here. Surrogates, egg donors, and intended parents alike. If you think of absolutely any questions whatsoever, I promise you will find the answer in your contract.

“Hey, my surrogate wants to go cross country skiing, can she do that?”

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The answer is in there! I’m not kidding. And by the way answer is no. 

Fertility lawyers need to think of every situation and every solution.

“Can I have sex after a transfer?”  Or
“Is organic food reimbursable?”  Or
“Who pays the insurance copays?”  Or
“Does the surrogate have a right to see our baby after she gives birth?”

It’s funny, the questions you think of after entering a legally binding situation, stuff that never would have occurred to you before this crazy journey began. But you know what? You are in no way the first to think of these questions, so ask away. Your attorney will gladly give you the page number of your personalized contract that will tell you all you need to know.

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Before you’ve even put pen to paper your lawyer will have told you so much. They’ll have gone over every single page with you. You’ll have tweaked it here and there and it’ll have gone back and forth between law firms. There is a lot of legislation to do with surrogacy and that’s a good thing, even if it is tedious. And you know what? You won’t remember most of it. There is no way, unless you have a photographic memory, you will know what and where you read that certain line that you now need to know. And that’s ok too. You’ll have a copy that will become your best friend. Your own personal bible, your treasure map, so to speak. Do you want your stress levels to go down and your anxiety to melt away? Then read your contract! It will guide you through with the comforting reassurance that can only come from the law. Knowing your rights and staying well informed from beginning to end makes for such a smoother journey. Trust me, I know. I’ve read these things from cover to cover multiple times. They make for great bedtime stories. Not only because it’ll probably put you to sleep, but also because you will sleep so much easier once those nagging questions have been answered.

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I feel like the old school mistress looking down her glasses, pointing a ruler at you and telling you to “Pay Attention!” But seriously I mean it. I don’t want to boss you around or tell you what to do. It’s just the Mom in me wanting what’s fair and best for everyone. You see, the more informed you are the better you feel. The better you feel the smoother things go. The smoother things go the better the chances of that cute little baby in the picture with its new parents. Get it?

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…Now go and wash your hands, it’s flu season. And bundle up warm, it’s cold outside (well unless you are here in California, it’s gorgeous here 😉

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The Childless Parent

When someone confides in me that they are having trouble conceiving, my first response is a deep and heart-wrenching sigh. But I keep it internal. They don’t want my pity; it’s been tough enough already. They have trusted me with a secret, and a cross they’ve had to bear for some time now. They are looking for support and advice, not more wallowing in sorrow. Whether they are straight, gay, married, or single, the common bond is that they can’t have children of their own. In their heart, or hearts, they are already parents. So achieving that status on a physical level is the most important life goal to them. A parent doesn’t give up on a child, even if the child isn’t born yet.
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By the time they get up the courage to talk to me, most have been trying to become parents for quite a while. They have or are looking into IVF because conceiving a child naturally hasn’t worked. They have already talked to friends and family for viable options for egg donation or even surrogacy but for personal, emotional or medical reasons they have all been zero ‘d out. Stopping isn’t an option for them. It’s time for them to make a decision on what to do next. Now they’re starting to consider a surrogate agency as an option. They timidly approach me because they know I have some experience in this area and are looking for straightforward answers.
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I initially feel overwhelming guilt when I speak to these couples. I feel so guilty because it’s been so easy for me. I’m so sorry I can’t make it happen for every single one of them. I have these thoughts but I know better than to voice them aloud. I know they’ve already seen me, their family and other friends through envious eyes. They have already asked “Why?” over and over again. What they need now is a plan of action. “What’s next? How do I move forward?”  It’s not an “I’m sorry for your loss” kind of situation it’s a beacon of hope that is needed. They’re looking for that light at the end of the dark tunnel they have been traveling alone.

So what do I tell them? Well it’s different for each case. Some women are freezing their eggs. Some are going to keep trying and trying through IVF, and some are going back to the old fashioned way and trying not to “try”. For those who are done with these options, or can’t even attempt them I suggest surrogacy. I answer any and all questions for them as best I can and I refer them to Surrogate Alternatives for more in-depth answers. They are the professionals and can help give them the hope they need to continue. I personally went through this agency because I researched and found them the most compatible to my needs: friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. And that is what I tell my friends. I know it’s easier talking to a friend then to some agency they’ve never had contact with, but I can only tell them so much and I really do not want to get my facts wrong in such important matters.
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Having you’re own baby is not a want; it is a need. I want to say that I understand fully and comprehend their struggle, because I don’t. I do see where I can come help though. I haven’t felt all of their pain, but I’ve been there to help alleviate some of it. I want to thank the people who have trusted me with these stories and encourage all because it does and can happen for them. Never lose hope in that. I’ve seen first-hand the end result for some and am waiting patiently for others.
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Marriage Equality And What It Means For The Future of Surrogacy

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On June 26th, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States overturned California State Ballot Proposition 8, ruling that the amendment it created to ban same-sex marriages is, in fact, unconstitutional.  Also overturned was section 3 of The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), thus unbarring the federal recognition of same sex marriages.

This was a huge step forward for so many couples waiting to become families. In these cases, with natural conception an impossibility, it really has changed and continues to change the world of IVF and surrogacy. In the past, only one of the Intended Parents could be listed as the legal parent of the child; now both possess complete custody. Both partners can now be fully recognized as a legal family, with all the coinciding benefits:  health insurance, life insurance, wills and trusts for spouse and children. All included, no one gets left behind. Everyone is taken care of.

This is an amazing time for gay parents, especially here in California. With our world-leading surrogacy laws in place and now fully legalized marriage equality, we are truly leading the way into a new era. TV titles such as “The New Normal” and “Modern Family” have nailed it. We are slowly changing societies view of what a traditional family is. I have many friends in this community and the collective sigh of relief can be heard throughout. They are starting to become accepted, which is all they have ever wanted. These parents go through all the same struggles as any family does but they have been doing it on the outskirts without the aid, care, or understanding of the masses. This changes now.

Taking our families to places like Disneyland or even just to school, I now see openly gay families who are not afraid to show their love and devotion out in public. These kids can start to grow up without feeling stranger’s eyes on them constantly. Without the gossip and unnecessary drama of a once taboo subject, their families are normal. And now we’ve got the documentation to prove it!

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I predict a large influx of gay IP’s using California in the upcoming years. Surrogacy itself has become more of a common place word. With big names like George Lucas, Jimmy Fallon, Angela Bassett, Nicole Kidman and Neil Patrick Harris all using surrogates, it’s not as unknown or misunderstood anymore. We’re mainstream baby! Now that gay marriage is becoming more global, there is nothing in the way of longing parents having much wanted children of their own and being accepted by their communities. Because let’s face it, gay or straight, it really does take a village to raise a child.

Also, besides the moral uplift of all of this there comes the practical and financial ones as well.  More marriages = more money.  More babies = more money. More families = more money. All going to our economy. It’s a win/win situation. Basically any loving family rocks and now we can show the world just that. Keep growing and keep changing for the better world, it’s working. It really is.

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Building that bond….how Intended Parents act with surrogates

Speaking with IP’s (Intended Parents) and surrogates alike–as well as taking from my own personal experiences–there are two types of relationships that IPs tend to cultivate with their surrogates: familial and business.

The familial is how it sounds. The IPs welcome the surrogate into their lives with open arms, believing that this woman is giving them the greatest gift of all. The hope is for a continued relationship with her after the child is born. Often, this is displayed as going out to dinner together, bringing her and her family gifts and showing other signs of their appreciation. After delivery, they tend to send pictures and email updates to their surrogate mother. Throughout the years they may even visit, forming a continuous bond made for life.

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In the second situation, the IPs believe they are reimbursing the surrogate for services rendered concluding with the birth of their child. The road to becoming parents has been so difficult for them that they do not wish to have anything possibly hinder them in their endeavor. The surrogate is a necessity, but not necessarily an extended part of their family or someone they wish to stay in contact with. Some may not even wish to tell their children how they were conceived, due to personal reasons.

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Both of these views are completely understandable and should be acceptable to anyone choosing to become a surrogate. However, both types of IP’s have been known to switch sides during or right after their journey. For most, the journey is uncharted territory and it is very difficult to know what your emotions will be like during each stage. Incredibly supportive IP’s have cut ties abruptly with surrogates once the baby is born and somewhat apprehensive ones have opened up and taken to their surrogate more than they expected.

What is really needed for the whole process to work is a calm understanding.  A surrogate needs to understand that the IPs have gone through more than they could imagine to get to this point; it’s only natural for them to be scared when they perceive that they are so close and yet still so far from their dreams. The IPs need to understand that the surrogate has chosen her role to help a family in need, knowing full well that the child is not hers.  She will go through many changes she’s experienced before, but this time there is a mix of altruism and the unknown that are present. Both sides need to be able to trust one another.

No company knows this better than Surrogate Alternatives.  Not only is this their trade, this is their passion. Filled with past and present surrogates and egg donors they understand the entire process from both sides. Their goal is to tailor each surrogacy to each person’s expectations. They know how to match IP’s with the right kind of surrogate so that trust and understanding can thrive.  No matter the family dynamic, they strive to give 100% of their time, effort and experience into each arrangement so that a healthy, happy baby (or two) may be born into a loving family. Every one of them fits a heart shape.

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The best gift ever…what Surrogate Mothers give their Intended Parents

It is one of the longest, roughest and most winding roads that lead someone to consider having a surrogate carry their child. As long as it takes to get there, the journey has just begun when you arrive. A woman who chooses to become a surrogate begins the process with a giving heart.

 

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When an Intended Parent (IP) is matched with a surrogate a bond forms. It’s different for everyone but the basics are the same. Yearning meets donation, where wanting and giving come together to travel the same path for as long as the journey takes.

A surrogate who is healthy, fertile and willing to carry a baby in her womb for nine months means HOPE; she is a gift unlike any other. Step by step this gift increases in value until ultimately; the greatest gift of all has been achieved: Life, a child to complete a family.

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What most outsiders don’t realize is that women who choose to become surrogates don’t do it for the money, or the recognition. We are in it for the rush! That wonderfully, amazing rush; just knowing we have the power and ability to help someone else. We can give what others need. It’s a powerful feeling to be able to provide something that comes so easily to us. We are givers in the truest sense of the word. The fulfillment we receive is from seeing the look on the faces of the new parents when they hear their baby’s first heartbeat, when they see the first ultrasound and when they finally get to meet their precious child for the first time. Those moments are priceless and being a part of those moments makes us shine. No monetary compensation could equal the pure joy that fills your heart to share something so life changing with someone else.

Whether you are longing to be a parent and aching for a child or you are a woman looking for something more to give in life, ask yourself this: Are you ready to change a total stranger’s life and make a difference in the world?

This journey may have roadblocks and bumps along the way, but it is an adventure, that’s for sure and if you are the kind of person who can be selfless and can open your heart up to the possibilities, it may just be the most rewarding experience of your life!

At http://www.SurrogateAlternatives.com you’ll find your answers. Also, any comments left will be answered by some of the most knowledgeable people in the field of IVF and surrogacy. So please, ask away. As I have said before; there are never too many questions when it comes to pregnancy…