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Archive for the ‘Gestational carrier’ tag

The Male Biologic Drive to Parent

By David Kreiner MD

July 7th, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Photo credit: Valentina, proud wife and mom of Devin and Danny

Fatherhood comes in many different varieties that as a reproductive endocrinologist specializing in family building I see on a regular basis.  Whether the man is involved in a traditional heterosexual relationship or is attempting to build a family with his male partner or by himself, man… like woman… feels a biologic drive to parent.  As such, although adoption is a wonderful way to create a family, surrogacy and egg donation is appealing to male-only prospective parents because it affords them the opportunity to have a biological connection to their baby.

 

There are two types of surrogates: traditional and gestational.  A traditional surrogate supplies her own eggs and carries the baby to term.  Gestational carriers do not supply their own eggs and therefore a separate egg donor is utilized.  Unlike donated sperm, donated eggs require the in vitro fertilization (“IVF”) process involving hormonal stimulation of the female egg donor, monitoring during the 2 weeks of stimulation, and transvaginal egg retrieval which is performed under anesthesia.  Typically, the intended male father supplies the sperm and the fertilized eggs or embryos are placed into the uterus of the gestational surrogate.  Surrogates carry the pregnancy to term then surrender the baby and their parental rights to the father or male couple.  The process involves the use of assisted reproduction attorneys, and/or a donor/surrogacy agency. The entire process including IVF with egg donation, surrogacy, and obstetrical care has a cost that can be insurmountable for many men desiring to start a family, estimated to cost between $125-150,000.

 

There have been a few ways some men have successfully cut this expense.  First of all, the fee agencies charge to supply the donated eggs and the surrogates ranges from $10,000-$40,000 independent of the fee the reproductive attorney charges or the cost of psychological screening.  Some IVF programs will supply these services at a much lower cost.  In addition, these IVF programs have relationships with lesbian partners who may be interested in becoming surrogates after they have completed their own families.  Also, some income-based grants exist for male couples in need of surrogates.

 

Whatever your situation, Long Island IVF has the history, the means, the skills, and the desire to assist you in your family building journey.  We can assist you in finding the best agencies/donors/surrogates, reproductive attorneys and counselors to insure that you have the greatest chance of achieving your goal for the family of your dreams.

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How important is it to you to have a biological child and what is the greatest obstacle to you’re facing/faced in achieving that dream?

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Discoveries Along Your Infertility Journey

By Tracey Minella

October 8th, 2012 at 2:12 pm

image courtesy of nuttakit/free digitalphotos.net

Today, celebrate the day Columbus discovered America.

Imagine starting out on a journey on uncharted waters… a handful of nervous strangers in the same boat. As you’re leaving shore, almost everyone on the dock thinks you’re crazy, or at a minimum, doesn’t understand your need to go on this adventure. Time passes with no end in sight as you plod along fighting bouts of nausea and depression. Then, the journey gets really long. Your patience grows thin. Mutiny crosses your mind.

Hey, I didn’t sign up for this!

Come to think of it, you don’t need to imagine this scenario…you’re in the same boat. Well, a similar boat. Sure, you don’t have to worry about scurvy (thanks, pre-natals!) but navigating those IM needles is no picnic. Walk the plank or take Clomid? Tough call.

When you’re diagnosed with infertility, your life veers off the path you thought it’d take. And a new journey begins. It could be relatively quick and inexpensive or it could steal years from your life and be so emotionally, physically, and financially challenging that you just want to jump overboard.

But there are discoveries along the way, though we don’t always realize the lessons until looking back years later. Those experiences shape us into who we are meant to be, and show us what we are made of. They test relationships and build friendships. Some people face unspeakable losses and others unimaginable joy.

And, like Columbus, we don’t always end up where we thought we would at the outset.

But the journey does end for all of us, whether it’s with a biological baby… a baby through donor egg, donor sperm, donor embryos… a baby through surrogacy or a gestational carrier… a baby through adoption… or even a decision to live child-free.

And the place you land is a place of new beginnings.

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Was/Is your infertility journey longer than you thought? What have you discovered as a result of your infertility journey?

 

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When Reproductive Lawyers Hurt Reproductive Medicine

By Tracey Minella

August 11th, 2011 at 11:35 am


Yesterday was a sad day for the fields of Reproductive Law and Reproductive Medicine as word spread of the apparent fall of one of the most prominent reproductive law attorneys of our day.

According to the Los Angeles Times, California attorney, Theresa M. Erickson, along with two other attorneys, was reportedly involved in a “baby-selling ring”, which in a nutshell allegedly sent young women to the Ukraine to have embryo transfers (using embryos created from donor sperm and donor eggs) and then return pregnant to the US, where attorneys improperly offered the unborn babies to desperate infertile couples for fees in excess of $100,000.00, falsely claiming that the original (fictitious) intended parents backed out of their deal with the pregnant woman. The carriers allegedly received payment of approximately $40,000 per pregnancy. Falsified documents were then filed with the court. Read the Los Angeles Times article here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/08/san-diego-attorney-pleads-guilty-in-baby-selling-ring.html

What?!

This was a woman who had done much good for the field of Reproductive Law. Everywhere “Reproductive Law” was mentioned, she was there. With her striking good looks and wide internet presence, she was tough to miss.

It’s hard not to get caught up in her fan base, especially when hearing she was an egg donor herself in her youth. Truth is when our paths first virtually crossed this year, I was a little jealous of her. She made me regret not specializing in Reproductive Law myself after law school. It would have been the perfect area for me.

The jealousy ended yesterday.  One of us will certainly remain able to practice law, reproductive or otherwise. The other, after allegedly pleading guilty to wire fraud and facing a possible five year maximum prison term, will most likely not. And in my opinion, should not.

I don’t know what she was thinking. I just know there’s no way to justify it. I wanted to believe she was a fierce crusader whose passion for the cause and desire to make parents of people who couldn’t do so without her input, maybe caused her to, well, overstep. Still wrong, of course. But maybe if her heart was in the right place… Maybe somehow forgiveable… But, no.

It’s not for me to try to put some justifiable spin on her actions. And if the reports are true…and she pled guilty…then there is none. The idea that desperate infertile couples …the wealthy ones or those who may have mortgaged their lives away to come up with these alleged $100,000 + baby “ransoms”… could have been taken advantage of by their own attorney sickens me. It sickens me as an attorney and as an IVF mom. With astronomical sums like that involved, how can anyone think it was not all about the money? It was not passion gone awry.

So once again, reproductive medicine takes a hit in the news. Octomoms, Embryo Mix-ups and now alleged baby-selling rings. And it will pass, like the others. But losers like these set back the Reproductive Medicine movement by their selfish actions. No one will know how many potential gestational carriers, surrogates, and desperate intended parents have been scared away due to this news…due to these indefensible actions.

Hopefully, it will serve as a wake up call to prospective parents who need the services of gestational carriers or surrogates to not only hire a reputable reproductive law attorney, but to have the courage to question “deals” that either seem too good to be true or too expensive to be legitimate, even if coming from an attorney. Truly reputable ones will be happy to explain away your fears or encourage a second opinion. Maybe that “little voice” will prevail over the understandable desperation.

So why does this story bother me so much? Is it the lawyer and abuse of trust thing? The apparently cold, calculated, greed-fueled actions of a former egg donor? Or is it the familiarity factor that makes it so hard to process this news? You see, I personally think the Octomom is an idiot. This, however, was a woman I respected, envied even. She was a Facebook friend who contributed on our page. It just feels like a more personal betrayal, though I know it is not. Clearly, if the reports are true, she thought only of herself.

Power and ego topple influential people daily. Fortunately, the innocent parents involved here will keep their children. And restitution should enable them to actually afford to feed and educate them now. The public will be more aware. At least for now.

People love to hate lawyers. And in the face of these allegations, it’s hard to make a case against that today. The law holds lawyers to a higher moral standard than the rest of the public and when they breach that trust, they not only face the civil and criminal penalties the general public would face, but also often lose their licenses to practice law. So they lose their livelihoods, too. 

I wonder what will become of these attorneys.

Will they lose their licenses to practice? Should they?  When this all blows over will they be remorseful? Does that matter? Will they try to make up for it by using their knowledge, talents, and contacts…in a non-legal capacity… for the good of reproductive medicine? Should they be given that chance? Or should they stay far, far away?

Sadly, with the public’s memory, she will probably run for mayor. And win. Or get a reality show.

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What do you think? If you had the power, what would you do?

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Oprah Finale: No Big Loss to Infertile Women

By Tracey A. Minella

May 25th, 2011 at 12:00 am

Relax Oprah lovers. I’m not saying this larger than life woman did not leave a major imprint (and footprint) on society over the last 25 years. She’s been arguably the most influential and successful American woman on the planet. Her incredible generosity has helped people the world over.

But she hasn’t championed the cause of infertile women during the last quarter century… and she could have. There was so much power and influence and charitable dollars at hand, but the consensus seems to be that the pain of the infertile woman was not high on her agenda.

First, she covered the topic pretty infrequently on her national show over the course of twenty five years. And when she did, I think she often disappointed the infertile women in her audience. What a shame that she squandered the opportunity to spotlight infertility in a productive way to huge audiences of women who would likely have done anything Oprah asked of them…from writing legislators, to considering being egg donors, surrogates or gestational carriers, to well…reading a book on how to be a supportive and sensitive friend to infertile couples.

She’s been called insensitive for glossing over Jenna’s post-IVF miscarriage in “Thirty Something in America”.  And simply naming an episode “Wombs for Rent” shows a lack of respect to surrogates and gestational carriers. It’s cold. 

People remember in a mostly negative way the show about surrogates/ gestational carriers in India, and how Martha Stewart was financing her daughter’s IVF attempts to the tune of $28,000/month. Wow, who couldn’t relate to that? I mean, don’t we all have parents footing our IVF mega bills? Really, Oprah? You probably had every infertile woman in America tuning in for words of wisdom and support, and valuable information on infertility. Who do you think benefited from that segment?

A show on sperm donation failed to include representatives from sperm banks or attorneys representing anonymous donors’ rights. Instead, it presented a one-sided position which heavily favored the right of the offspring to know the donor’s identity over the rights of the donor and recipient for donor anonymity in accordance with the agreement under which the specimen was obtained. The interests of all parties…offspring, donor and recipient…should have been fully examined and given equal importance. But that doesn’t always make for good ratings. I guess its okay to frighten off potential donors by worrying them that the anonymity under which they donate may disappear. Wonder how low the sperm bank supplies plunged after that show?

And I thought her show with Suzy Orman and the Octomom was more like Jerry or Montel. People on internet forums openly and harshly criticized Oprah for what’s been described as bullying a woman of questionable mental capacity. Those who missed it can only imagine how bad it was if the woman most of America thought was vile came out as sympathetic! Some viewers claimed they’d never watch her again after that show. Not that Oprah would miss them.

Maybe Oprah couldn’t help letting down the infertile women. She’s chosen to live child-free, which is fine, of course. She just doesn’t “get” us and our selfless, burning maternal needs. Which is too bad for us, because if she’d been so inclined, she could have really made a difference.

Imagine if she did a show with top REs from all over America, and every audience member was an infertile woman. And then imagine at the end, when they reached under their seats, there’d be a gift certificate for a free IVF cycle. Maybe I missed that episode?

What a difference a free IVF cycle would make in a woman’s life. Better than cars and trips to the Outback, that’s for sure. East Coast Fertility is holding a series of contests right now, in which one woman will win the grand prize of a free Micro-IVF cycle. Imagine doing this on an Oprah-sized scale?

Oprah, if you’re listening, it’s not too late to change the lives of infertile women. You can make this right. We can help.

With your financial support, we’d be happy to set up a scholarship, grant program, or other such fund to benefit infertile women. Just have your people call our people…if we had people.

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How do you think Oprah’s show influenced the interests of infertile women? Did she help them or hurt them or have no effect? Maybe I missed something really great that she did for the infertile population and someone can tell me and I’ll reconsider my opinion of her as a great and charitable woman who fell short in a key area?

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And the Academy Award Winner is…Nicole Kidman?

By Tracey Minella

February 25th, 2011 at 12:00 am

No, I don’t have secret insider info on who’s taking home the Oscar for Best Actress this Sunday night. But I bet many women suffering from infertility are rooting for her.

Over the past two decades, she has had her private journey made public due to her celebrity. She has suffered miscarriages and finally become a mom to four children through a combo of adoption, her own pregnancy, and, just announced this week… a pregnancy carried by a gestational carrier. Her first two children, with ex-husband Tom Cruise, were adopted and are teens now. Her second two children are with her current husband, Keith Urban.

She recently told several news outlets, including Fox News, all about her fertility “roller coaster” and that becoming a mother helped her portray a woman who loses her child in Rabbit Hole, the movie for which she is up for a Best Actress Academy Award.

You gotta love a woman who managed to marry both the hottest guy in Hollywood and the hottest guy in Nashville. One who, not too far into her second marriage and her forties, finally conceived (along with about a half dozen other women) reportedly after swimming in Australian waterfalls which folklore claims have fertility power.

Was I the only one who thought of making a pilgrimage there? If you told me I only had to wade in a river on the other side of the world in order to conceive, I’d have grabbed the passport, ditched the needles, and eased my pin-cushion butt into Shrek’s swamp ages ago. But I digress…

Whether the waterfall wasn’t tried again or merely wasn’t a fountain of youth, Kidman and Urban were unable to conceive on their own again. So they used a gestational carrier to carry their second biological child for them. Another little miracle, genetically theirs, at age 43.

But Kidman’s connection to infertility is not merely personal. It also spills over to her professional life on the screen.

I first fell in love with Nicole when I saw her in the 1993 movie, Malice, with Alec Baldwin and Bill Pullman. We’d gone to the movies one night to try to forget about our latest IVF failure for just two hours. We didn’t plan it in advance and hadn’t known anything more than that Malice was a thriller. To our surprise, there was Nicole on the big screen doing injectable fertility drugs…my drugs! Are you friggin serious? Can’t we even get away from this at the movies? It was a cinematic first. And it made me feel less alone. And for the final clincher…her character’s name was Tracey! (Of course, she’s a lunatic, but that’s beside the point.)

So, why not do something different this weekend? Instead of trying to catch one of the nominated movies you haven’t seen, why not rent Malice? It may make you root for Nicole Kidman to win the Oscar…if not for her role in Rabbit Hole, then for her inspirational 20 year “career” as an infertile woman who would not be denied her diverse and beautiful family.

What do you think about Nicole Kidman’s recent baby via a gestational carrier, or how she built her blended family? And, if you do see (or remember) Malice, please let me know what you thought about it!

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