Ten days ago, I published my first book, “My Egg, My Womb, Your Baby! The Tales of a 3x Traditional Surrogate Mother.” I wanted to spend a bit of time talking about the book and my motives for writing it, and answer a number of questions I know people will have prior to purchasing the book or after reading it.
Why write this book? I wanted to tell a story that wasn’t already out there. A story no Gestational Surrogate mother could tell. I was surprised that this story had not been told yet, after I started writing the book and thinking about what I was going to do with it. I didn’t want to tell a story 25 other surrogate mothers had already told. I also thought it would be a wonderful thing for the children who were born with my help to hear the story about how they came on to this earth. When they are older, their parents will have the option of sharing their story with them from my prospective.
Some people view Traditional Surrogacy as backyard surrogacy, only done by poor, uneducated surrogate mothers who recipient parents take advantage of to save money. Why be a Traditional Surrogate? Honestly, surrogate mothers in general often get that rap as uneducated welfare moms trying to make a quick buck to survive. I think it’s that’s very ignorant and stereotypical, period, Gestational or Traditional. It’s easy to judge something you know nothing about and quickly come to the conclusion it’s wrong or right. Without my willingness to allow these recipients to use not only my egg, but also my womb, they wouldn’t have been able to become parents, plain and simple. Gestational surrogacy, using an egg donor, is almost a hundred thousand dollars. Very few people on this earth have that kind of money sitting in a bank account. In modern surrogacy, if you don’t have that kind of money, you’re pretty screwed. Do you still deserve to be a parent? Of course you do, and so did the recipients I carried for.
Why should you buy the book? Its a great read, very candid and at times funny. The writing style is very reflective of my personality. Once a person gets to know me often off the cuff references will often roll out of my month. A lot of that comes out in this book. Its very entertaining. It also offers a very unique insight to traditional surrogacy, which is the oldest form of surrogacy. I hope that it gives hope to those recipients who don’t have hundreds or thousands of dollars to spend on surrogacy. It is still possible that you can become a parent. Traditional surrogacy isn’t easy but its worth another look.
Was every journey perfect? No, but what in life is? During my first surrogacy, the recipient and I had and still have a great relationship, but during delivery, hurdles arose with the hospital. They were very judgmental and not kind to myself or the recipient. My second surrogacy proceeded perfectly. The recipients were lovely, nothing went wrong. It was wonderful. My third surrogacy had numerous hurdles. It was the toughest out of all them. A real reality check to how surrogacy really often is. It was the first time the recipients opted not to keep in contact with me, and not respect my desire to have children biologically related to have a chance to know me. Right now, that surrobaby is not currently old enough to understand how he came into the world. I worry about him showing up on my doorstep years from now, wanting to call me mom. What effect that it could have on him learning he has been lied to his whole life. I hope that they opt to be honest with him, or he never EVER finds out, which will be impossible, since these recipients are friends with my first recipient’s partner, and that child is aware I am her biological mother. I just don’t want him to suffer emotionally as a teenager or adult.
Are you going to be a Traditional Surrogate again? No, I had my tubes tied in 2011 after the birth of my fourth child. I have no further desire to be a surrogate mother. My uterus has done plenty of good for others.
Available in paperback on Amazon for $9.95 or in Ebook on Smashwords for $4.99
In honor of the electronic publication of my upcoming book “My Egg, My Womb, Your Baby! Tales of a 3x Traditional Surrogate Mother,” I thought I would spend a bit of time shedding some light on Traditional Surrogacy. What it is, how its done, and the risks associated with doing Traditional Surrogacy.
Traditional surrogacy is very real and one of the oldest forms of surrogacy. Traditional Surrogacy is where the surrogate mother is not only the carrier but the egg donor for the recipients for whom she is carrying. In a nutshell, your Traditional Surrogate is also your child’s biological mother.
Most experts believe it’s better emotionally for the surrogate mother if she isn’t biologically related to the child being created, and instead is a gestational carrier, where the surrogate mother’s role is only to carry the child, not to provide an egg or embryo for the create of the child. This is why Traditional Surrogacy is illegal in many states.
The surrogate mother becomes pregnant either with a medical process called IUI (intrauterine insemination), or with a home insemination procedure where the recipient father creates sperm, puts it into a syringe similar to one that you use to give oral medicine, which is placed by the surrogate mother from the syringe into her vagina. After either the IUI or home insemination, the parties wait 14 days, then take a home pregnancy test or take a pregnancy test at the surrogate mother’s doctor’s office.
Traditional Surrogacy cost considerably less expensive than IVF. Currently very few surrogacy agencies even offer Traditional Surrogate Mothers. IUI costs about $800 per cycle, sometimes less, while IVF is around $10,000 for a fresh cycle. With egg donation a booming and profitable business during the last 5 years, traditional surrogacy will likely be a thing of the past within the next 5 years.
Why? Too much red tape! Many states that are now adopting surrogacy laws are banning Traditional Surrogacy, very few doctors are willing to perform IUI on surrogate mothers, and for legal reasons, home inseminations are no longer an option in most states. Traditional Surrogacy can be and is still done, but because of these factors, it can be a challenge.
Traditional Surrogacy is not without risks. Here are the main ones and why most experts believe Gestational Surrogacy is a better option.
Your TS could keep the baby. The main risk a recipient takes when entering a TS agreement is, unlike with Gestational Surrogacy, the traditional surrogate mother has the power to change her mind and exercise her parental rights as the child’s biological mother. This is the same risk which comes with adoption. Should the surrogate mother decide not to give the recipients the child, it will be up to a judge in a child custody hearing to decide what is in the best interest of the child.
You may not be able to get a Parental Establishment Order. This all depends on the state in which the child is going to be born. While some states permit the courts to grant such agreements, other states do not have law permitting the issuance of Parental Establishment Order. If you can not get the parental establishment, you will be forced to adopt the child which was created in the surrogacy arrangement which can be a very long and costly process.
You may not be able to find a doctor to perform a IUI procedure on your surrogate mother and home insemination is NO longer an option even in liberal states like California. Five years ago, the contract used to say pregnancy can occur in the manner in which all parties agreed. Now it says pregnancy can only take place under the care of a licensed physician. Why the change? Without the doctors affidavit saying he performed the medical procedure which caused your surrogate mother to get pregnant, it’s nearly impossible to get a parental establishment order.
This arose when I did my last TS in 2010, after our lawyers filed those establishment papers with the Court. The judge initially rejected the paperwork, sending them back to the attorneys, who were asked to provide more information. I was called by the lawyer who was handling our surrogacy, and was asked in step by step detail how I became pregnant. I was asked who did what, when, and why we opted not to use a fertility doctor. While I assume the judge wanted proof that this wasn’t a love child, we were able to prove we were creating a surrogate child. Then the lawyers had to send everything back to the court and wait. Fortunately, we were granted the parental establishment and were able to move on. Use a doctor. It makes the whole process smoother.
If after reading the above risks, TS is something you think you would still like to explore, here are some tips to help you be successful.
Start by calling a reproductive lawyer who has done TS extensively. This should be done prior to finding a surrogate mother. The lawyer can tell you all the risks involved , if parental establishment is an option, what states are best for traditional surrogate mothers and recipients. I can’t stress enough in any of the blogs I write how important it is to follow and get the appropriate legal advice.
Look for a doctor who preforms IUI on Surrogate Mothers. Home insemination, though nearly free, has LOTS of risks. What if you surrogate mother is supposed to do the insemination but in fact never does so? Obviously, your traditional surrogate is not going to get pregnant — ever! If you are paying her expenses, cycle allowance and insemination fees to her, you will be throwing your money away! Most recipients whose TS scams them often fake pregnancies and home inseminate. JUST USE A DOCTOR!
Screen Screen Screen Your Surrogate Mother. Psychological evaluation, full genetic screening, physical, background check. Leave no stone unturned! This person is the biological mother of YOUR child. Make sure she’s the right one long before moving on to the IUI. Get copies of everything, just in case you need them in the future legally or for your child’s medical records.
Don’t try to write your own contract to save money Most states that have surrogacy laws on the books have established Gestational Surrogacy laws! Those laws may not apply to traditional surrogacy arrangements. You need a lawyer to help navigate you through all the legal issues that can arise. Ask about putting additional protections in the contract for breach of contract in the even the surrogate mother changes her mind and attempts to keep the baby.
Look for a experienced TS with references. If you TS has been around the block before, you are less likely to have issues. This is the same with GS.
Be up front about afterbirth contact. TS works best with recipients open to after birth contact. Most TS want to know the child is doing well and being cared for properly. This can include periodic pictures, social media and emails. Do you have to have your surrogate over for dinner? No, if contact this isn’t something you are wanting to maintain after birth. Be upfront from the beginning. That way the TS can make a the right decision for herself and find a couple who meets her expectations. Be honest about after birth contact and don’t try to dupe the traditional surrogate mother to avoid getting an egg donor.
Communication is the key to success. TS arrangements will fall apart very quickly when their is no communication between the parties. I can not stress how important this is.
Even with all the risks, traditional surrogacy can be a wonderful option for recipients who are unable to afford gestational surrogacy. It’s something that needs a lot of planning and thought, as well as the proper team of doctors, lawyers and psychologists and of course, the right surrogate mom. Not all women have what it takes to be a Traditional Surrogate. They are a very rare breed. Do your homework and don’t skip any steps! This is a situation where knowledge and communication is the key to success.
I was once asked by an author who was researching an article for a monthly periodical what it’s like to be the spouse of a surrogate mother. Since I’m not used to espousing my opinion on this particular subject matter, I thought it would be appropriate to divulge this, especially in light of the fact that Dawn has a seemingly endless stream of blogs, articles, and posts in which she shares her surrogacy journey from the surrogate’s perspective freely and openly.
The very first time I even heard the word “surrogacy” was some years ago. At the time, we had only one child, and Dawn mentioned that at some point, she wanted to become a surrogate mother to help those who were unable to have kids of their own. I hadn’t a clue what surrogacy was, but the mere thought of her carrying someone else’s baby did not sit well with me. I knew it would be a number of years before this could ever become a reality, but nonetheless I felt a bit inadequate. Why would someone want to carry a baby and then give it to someone else? Was creating our own family not enough?
Soon I realized the selfishness of my orientation, but I still was unsure about whether I advocated her directly assisting others by offering to carry their babies. I remember the very first time we met a couple who were interested in having a baby via surrogacy. They had found us online, lived in the bay area, and we agreed to meet for lunch. It was a sunny, mild San Francisco day, and since we wanted to bring our kids along, we ate a family friendly Italian restaurant at the Embarcadero Center. We met the very first proposed recipient parents inside the restaurant near the entrance. They seems pleasant enough; they were a straight couple in their mid-20s, and were unable to have their own children. But during the meal, it was obvious that it was she who wanted the baby via surrogacy; her husband spent most of the lunch taking an extraordinarily passive role in the conversation, and seemed more interested in gazing around the restaurant than discussing this life-changing event with us. She, in contrast, genuinely was engaging, and asked the requisite questions you might expect a perspective recipient parent to ask a proposed surrogate mother. She also seemed interested in our kids, which was important, since Dawn was interested in doing a traditional surrogacy, where her own eggs would be used instead of those fromr an egg donor. How are kids looked and behaved was clearly an important element to her. Obviously, these were not recipients I had an interest in working with, and fortunately, neither did Dawn.
That first encounter was my first in-depth conversation with a couple who wanted to have children so badly (at least she did) but for certain reasons, were unable to conceive and carry a pregnancy. I saw the excitement of hope in her eyes, that expression of optimism, in that woman’s eyes knowing that she was taking the first step to creating her own family. Even though we parted ways, I gained a fuller understanding of the struggles infertility causes to so many people randomly. There often is no rationale why one woman has physiological issues conceiving while the woman standing next to her has no reproductive issues whatsoever. I now understood what would compel Dawn to become a surrogate mother, and now, was completely in favor of her doing a surrogacy, but only with the right set of recipient parents. I knew it would be an arduous, painstakingly slow process to find a recipient whom both of us could agree would be the right fit, one that would involve many emails, phone conversations, and meetings in person.
I was quite leery of the online websites dedicated to matching surrogate mothers with recipient parents. Fortunately, my concerns were drastically reduced after Dawn chose her first recipient. This single male recipient was an incredible person, and after speaking with him prior to Dawn committing to being his surrogate, I had absolutely no reservations about her carrying a baby for him. But it was still an uneasy feeling, knowing that she would be contributing her eggs and carrying a baby for someone other than me. And this uneasiness intensified a bit when Dawn travelled a good distance out of state so she could attempt an insemination with him at his house, instead of ours. Admittedly, even though this recipient was clearly the most ideal imaginable, I still was a bit worried: Dawn was traveling alone thousands of miles away to stay with someone whom neither of us really knew well, staying there for several days for the purpose of doing an insemination. Although this recipient was stellar, I still couldn’t help but worry.
Fortunately, Dawn did touch base with me several times during her trip, which re-assured me.. And ultimately, thankfully, that insemination was successful, and she became pregnant with a girl. It was a bit awkward though, knowing that someone else’s baby was growing inside of Dawn. I became more accustomed to that thought as her pregnancy progressed, recognizing that she had been entrusted with making sure that baby is well nourished, and that it is thriving as best as possible. This huge responsibility was taken on with complete confidence by Dawn, and she succeeded in being the best “house” possible during the entire pregnancy. The only relatively taboo thing she did during pregnancy–and she did this with the complete consent of the recipient–was consume raw sushi, something she did though out each and every other pregnancy she had. This was the only vice she enjoyed during pregnancy, and the end result was a completely healthy, full-term baby girl.
Being the spouse of a surrogate presents some very unusual circumstances during delivery of a surrobaby. When surrobaby #1 was born, Dawn had a standard-sized hospital room. Logistically, this presents some unusual scenarios. We — meaning Dawn, myself and the recipient parent — all got along quite well. But imagine all of us spending several nights together in a small hospital room. Besides Dawn’s hospital bed, the furnishings were quite minimal. Both the recipient and myself had separate chairs that pulled out into beds, but the focus was primarily on Dawn and the new surrobaby Dawn had given birth to. I slept as well as I could, given the seemingly constant interruptions of nursing staff coming into the room, monitoring both baby and Dawn, and I became acclimated to having the recipient parent in the room. The hospital stay was brief; both Dawn and the surrobaby were released from the hospital two days post-birth. We said our good-byes to the recipient and baby daughter Dawn had carried. It was the end of my first surrogacy journey as the spouse of a surrogate mother, and it was a complete success.
Dawn was so content being a surrogate the first time that she wanted to help out another recipient. She began her search once again online using one of those recipient parent and surrogate mother matching websites. One of the people she found were a same sex male couple who lived not far from us in Los Angeles. A few emails were exchanged, and during the course of those emails, these prospective recipients learned that Dawn’s first recipient was a good friend of theres! met them at a nearby restaurant. they lived close by, residing just over the hill from where we lived in Los Angeles, about a 15 minute drive. As it turned out, they began emailing each other, and then realized they were friends of Dawn’s first recipient! That was quite a coincidence. After that meeting, Dawn invited them to dinner at our house, so they could meet us all. They seemed like extraordinarily nice people, based upon what Dawn had said about them, and I was looking forward to meeting them and assessing if they would be a great fit for Dawn as the recipient parents for her next traditional surrogacy.
They arrived at the house, albeit one a bit later than other due to work commitments, and they were as wonderful as Dawn had described. We chatted over dinner about their lives, and learned about each other’s dreams and goals pertaining to surrogacy and other facets of life. I was impressed with them, and was completely on board for having them as Dawn’s next set of recipient parents.I had come a long way from my days where I was apprehensive about having Dawn assist others complete their family via surrogacy, and now was fully committed to supporting her decision to do so.
Dawn had a major concern about these new recipients. She was frightened that our privacy would be invaded. For some reason, she envisioned recipient parents who lived in such close proximity to their surrogate mother to make random surprise visits to check on her, our house, our kids, or whatever else was on their agenda. I re-assured her that even though they lived nearby, they were friends of our first recipient, and I felt no threat of that type of behavior from these recipients, as they seemed completely down to earth and rational. It took a while for her to believe me, but as the surrogacy process began with them, she realized I was right.
After one attempt, Dawn became pregnant with surrobaby #2, which happened to end up being a boy. Months passed as her pregnancy progressed, and all was going well. One of the more challenging aspects of having a partner who is carrying a baby for someone else is having the often times arduous task of explaining this to others, such as parents of our own children. One a number of occasions, we would be out at a social event while Dawn was clearly showing her pregnancy. One evening, we were at the home of one of our daughter’s parents for a holiday party, and saw other parents whom we knew well. One particular couple, who were gay and whose daughter was our daughter’s best friend, learned that Dawn was pregnant as a surrogate mother and were so happy that Dawn was doing this great deed. Some other people overheard this conversation, and suddenly seemed as if we were talking about the plague, having difficulty grasping the fact that another parent from the school was — heaven forbid — a surrogate mother. One parent we knew kept asking questions about surrogacy, and I could tell that she couldn’t believe that someone in her circle of school parents would do such a thing. It caused her great discomfort to even discuss this subject. Whilst I had thought proudly that our neighbors and friends in the local community had a more progressive outlook on life, I realized that, while many did, there were a few others amongst them that did not.
A few weeks later, it was time for delivery for this surrobaby boy. Dawn does not give birth without some external assistance, and typically give birth commencing with an induction. This time was no different. Dawn and I arrived at the hospital, and she was assigned a room, where we spend a good portion of the day waiting for the IV drip containing petocin to start her contractions. Knowing that this process takes a good number of hours prior to the drugs taking effect, we instructed the recipients not to arrive at the hospital too early, as there would be no reason for them to be there prior to Dawn giving birth. Late in the afternoon, I called them and instructed them to come to the hospital, even though it would still be a few hours before Dawn gave birth. They arrived, and the plan was that I was to summon them into the delivery room once Dawn was in the late stages of labor just prior to giving birth. In the meantime, I was with Dawn, watching her contractions progress slowly, while the recipients were calmly sitting in the waiting area reading some books, although I can not imagine how anyone waiting for their baby to be born could focus on anything else except the arrival of their baby.
Dawn’s contractions were occurring closer together, and becoming more intense. She became rather cognizant of her demeanor and the increased volume of her moans as the baby was closer to being born. At one point, she told me that because of this, she changed her mind about one critical promise she had made the recipients. She suddenly did not want the recipient parents in the room during birth, and preferred that she give birth on her own and then have the recipients come see their baby afterwards. I knew that could not let that happen; part of the joy of being a recipient is watching your own child being born, and not merely being escorted in after the big event. Plus we agreed that they could be in the delivery room during childbirth. So I re-assured her that everything would be fine, they would understand if they heard her scream in pain during labor, and that she was giving birth to their baby, not hers. Dawn still was resisting them entering the delivery room, but when the time came, and I knew childbirth was only a few minutes away, I quickly sauntered into the waiting room and summoned the recipient parents, quickly saying, “I think it’s time.” They quickly followed me into the room, and with only about two minutes two spare. They had the good fortune to watch the birth of their baby, and seemed mesmerized by watching this miracle happen. Each seemed proud as each held their baby for the first time.
Since the hospital knew that Dawn was giving birth to a baby that would belong to two recipients, they gave Dawn a larger than average room she and the rest of us would stay at for the duration of her stay. This room had a fold-out sofa bed, an extra chair bed, and more than ample room for us all to stay comfortably. I, as I did previously, felt a little awkward about all of us staying in the same room. But the two recipients were extremely friendly and respectful of me during our stay together. The stay was there was otherwise uneventful, and their baby and surrogate mother was released from the hospital two days after giving birth.
A bit of time passed between surrogate baby #2 and #3. Dawn opted to carry for a straight couple who also was a friend of recipient parent #1. I always have told her that she needed to experience surrogacy while working with a conventional straight couple, which she had not done previously. I explained to her that this sort of relationship would assist her in the future relate to other straight couples who may come to the agency as clients; she would know first-hand how it was to have recipient parents who were a straight couple, and use that experience to help other surrogates relate to their traditional coupled clients. We met these recipients at a restaurant in Los Angeles, where they had traveled with their family to meet us. They seemed very excited about the prospect of having a baby via surrogacy, and were thrilled that their surrogate would be the same one their friend recipient #1 had. After meeting these people, I was completely on-board with having Dawn carry for them. In the following months, Dawn would travel to their city to attempt to become pregnant. As usual, I was a bit apprehensive about her traveling to what essentially was the home of strangers, but eventually I got used to the idea of her going there alone. After all, I did meet them, believed they were worthy people, and agreed to having them as her next set of recipient parents. It took several long trips there, but finally she achieved pregnancy.
During this particular pregnancy, there was some contact between Dawn and the recipient parents, but not a lot. Emails were exchanged periodically, an occasional telephone call here and there, but the relationship clearly was not as close as it was with the previous two recipients.
Unfortunately, the doctor this time around believed that Dawn’s baby was too big to deliver vaginally, a decision which the ultrasound MD concurred with. So she was scheduled for her first C-Secion, an event she wanted to avoid like the plague. Now, there was no way around it. The recipient parents travelled to Los Angeles a few days before this procedure so they could attend. On the day of delivery, we met the recipients at the hospital. Dawn was hooked up to the monitors, and asked about whether the C-Section was absolutely necessary. The response was based upon the information they had, it was the best option and in the best interest of the baby. Of course, everyone wants what is best for the baby, so Dawn was in no position to change what was planned. At the last minute, I was not completely convinced that the baby was as big as everyone said, and told Dawn that it was not too late to change her mind. Even the hospital staff agreed that if she would prefer to be induced, they could certainly do so. But since everything was in place for the C-section, she proceeded that with that as planned. The result was a healthy baby boy, her surrobaby #3.
These recipients had their own room at the hospital, as well as an apartment to stay at during their visit to Los Angeles, so there was no need to share our room with them. We ended up seeing the recipients on a few occasions before they left Los Angeles to return home with their baby.
Since then, neither Dawn nor myself have had much contact with them., while we remain very close to the other two sets of recipient parents. The bonds we have established with those first two are strong; we have seen each of those two sets of recipients at least one time since the birth of their surrobaby, and have plans to see them again in the future.
Being with a serial surrogate mother has opened my eyes to others who are unable to have kids on their own, and has made me realize what a special gift Dawn has given to others. I couldn’t imagine her not being a surrogate mother, and look forward to the next chapter of her surrogacy mom life.
I was surfing YouTube the other day and I came across a video made by a surrogate mom / self proclaimed surrogacy expert that was about insurance options for surrogates. It was so full of inaccurate information, I was fearful of potential recipients who may stumble upon this, and actually take the advice she was giving, which ultimately could result in the unnecessary expenditure by the recipients of literally hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was so outraged by the magnitude of this false information that I took it upon myself to send this person a private message, asking this person to remove this video from the internet. (PLEASE DO NOT TAKE INFORMATION NOT WRITTEN BY A AGENCY OWNER, REPRODUCTIVE LAWYER, OR PSYCHOLOGIST AS TRUE AND ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT SURROGACY)
Insurance is by far the hardest obstacle a potential recipient parent has to deal with. Most potential surrogate mothers do not have useable heath insurance that will cover a surrogate pregnancy. Why? Because most insurance companies are excluding surrogacies from their policies. A surrogacy exclusion means the insurance company will not cover any portion of a surrogate mother’s pregnancy. Should you opt to use that policy knowing they have a surrogacy exclusion, the insurance company will put a lien on your surrogate mother’s compensation and actually sue her for reimbursement. Once a lien is on your surrogate mother’s compensation, you will need to have your attorney attempt to negotiate the amount the insurance company is asking down to a lower amount. If negotiation is successful, you as the recipient parent, will be responsible for paying this lower amount. If negotiation is not successful, you, as the recipient parent, will be responsible for paying the entire reimbursement amount requested by the insurance company.
You can find out if your surrogate mother’s heath insurance has an exclusion by looking in their policy benefits handbook. What if your surrogate mother has no insurance can’t she just apply for insurance through state funded insurance company (e.g. Med-cal, Aim etc.. which is what they call it here in California)? The answer to this question is No! If your surrogate mother applies for state funded insurance and attempts to charge the medical expenses of the surrogacy to the state in which she lives, she is committing FRAUD, which is crime. If she would normally use these programs to insurance her self or her family, she would no longer ever be eligible for theses programs.
What Do You Do?
The best thing, if possible, is to obtain heath insurance without a surrogacy exclusion, and for the recipient to buy this type of policy for her shortly after matching. If you have a good lawyer who does fair amount of surrogacy contracts, they can steer you in the right direction or put in touch with an insurance broker who can assist you in purchasing a policy to cover the surrogacy. Insurance brokers are trained professionals who advise people about insurance every day. (Don’t buy insurance based on a recommendation from a surrogate mother online bulletin board. Those boards are a place to exchange ideas, not get actual fact based information.)
Purchase New Life Insurance: New Life Agency is an insurance company that offers surrogacy related insurance policies, including insurance for your surrogate mother, egg donor, and even life insurance for your surrogate mother. New Life is the only 100% way to insure your surrogacy will be covered. But it’s INSANELY expensive and therefore out of reach for most individuals who embark on an independent surrogacy. If you can afford it, New Life is the way to go, since it eliminates the gray area.
I would definitely recommend asking your attorney to advise you on what insurance policy to purchase or having them refer you to an insurance broker before buying New Life.
What Not To Do!
Buy a Maternity Card: I’m sure exactly what this is. The surrogate mom in the YouTube video was telling people to buy this through her informational website. I have been in this business since I was 23 years old. I’m now 29. If, as an agency, I could by my clients maternity cards for $50 a month and it would cover their surrogate pregnancy with little expenses out of pocket, I would certainly do so, and all agencies and industry professional would advise you to do this. New Life would have been out of business years ago if these programs work. They don’t! In a nutshell, if it sounds too good to be true. IT IS! It’s huge scam and been reported on the rip off report. STAY AWAY!!
Paying Out of Pocket:**Most good lawyers will not let you pay out of pocket and will put a clause in the contract that insurance must be in place prior to transfer. Unless your surrogate mother lives in Canada or another place where there is socialized healthcare, this isn’t the best option. Why? Because it’s SO expensive — much more than insurance. I had our daughter Markalee in 2011. I had the worst doctor for my third surrogacy in 2010, which was covered by my insurance. I looked at my husband after finding out I was pregnant with our child and said I am not going back to that guy! We opted to seek out a doctor out of pocket when I was 18 weeks pregnant. Our doctor sent us for an ultrasound which cost us $1,100 CASH price. We were both in shock it was that expensive and opted to use our insurance from that point on! Delivery can also run close to $20,000 — if you pay a head of time you may be able to get a cash discount, but remember everything is A LA Carte– medication, anesthesia, hospital room charges, etc… which equal more future bills! What if there is an emergency? You could go bankrupt! Ask anyone who has a credit report full of medical debt and is on the verge of bankruptcy.
This is not the way to go, unless you have seriously deep pockets or don’t mind being almost bankrupt when baby arrives. If insurance premiums are on the high side for your chosen surrogate mother and is more than you can afford…..
Be honest and tell her! Ask her to lower her base fee a bit, or cut back on a few extras. Perhaps offering housekeeping costs every two weeks instead of every week. Maybe a little less maternity clothing allowance etc.. This can be a VERY touchy subject, but if she really want to help you, she will be willing work with you. Make sure you make it about your financial comfort zone and it doesn’t come across that you think she is worth less compensation.
Or consider a new surrogate mom. I know it’s tough, especially if you have spent months responding to 100s of emails, but if you can’t agree on the numbers in this early stage, and you are going to be over budget, it’s best to just move on and take that time to save more money and search for a surrogate mother who understands your financial limits.
Q.How did you first get involved with surrogacy?
A. I wanted to be a surrogate since I was 19 years old. I didn’t actually become a surrogate until I was about 23 years old. I have always loved everything about pregnancy, birth and babies. Since becoming pregnant came so easy to me, I thought it would be a great way to help someone with the desire to become a parent.
Q. What was the hardest thing about finding your first recipient parent?
A. I’m picky LOL. I wanted it to be the right fit. We met two potental recipients before deciding to work with Michael, the first recipient I carried for. I searched easily three months and read at least a hundered emails from potental recipients before we agreed to work togetther. After my first surrogacy, the matches came easy. The other recipients have all known the first recipient. I wasn’t a surrogate mom at an agency because I was fortunate enough not to need one.
Q. How did Todd react to you wanting to become a surrogate?
A. At first I think he thought I was crazy but he has been AMAZING and supportive of me and my desire to become a surrogate and later an agency. Todd has always played a huge role in every part of each of my surrogacies. Without Todd’s support, the surrogate babies and agency would not exist.
Q. Why did you decided to start Los Angeles Surrogacy Center?
A. Well, I can’t carry everyone’s baby, even though I wish I could LOL. Honestly, I never had the desire to become an agency until I went to work for one. It was a big reality check to see first-hand how the industry really was. A reality I wasn’t crazy about. So I started my own agency in the beginning of 2010. I have a whole different approch than most agencies. My goal is to help you have a baby, not to bankrupt you. I think most agencies charge an absurdly high amount for their agency fee. I’m avaliable to clients 24/7. All recipients and surrogates have two direct lines so they can call me day or night. I genuinely care for every surrogate and recipient parent at the agency, and will do whatever it takes to make things happen for you and make your surrogate mom’s journey as great as possible.
Q. What do your kids think about surrogacy?
A. I was asked this when I was approached about participating in a documentary. My kids think it’s normal. It’s their friends’ parents who are another story. I did my first surrogacy when my oldest was 4 years old; she’s 9 now. We have always been honest with them, and explained to them that men need my help when they want a baby (when they are same sex) or when I carried for a traditional couple the last time I was a surrogate, we said the recipient mom’s tummy was broken.
Q. Do you have relationships with any of the recipients you have carried for?
A. Yes, I have very good relationship with the first two recipients I carried for, but I’m not as close to my last recipients. It’s exciting to watch the children grow. I can’t wait to see what they are like as teens and then adults. I was a traditional surrogate, so I love looking at pictures of them and seeing little features that I have noticing my kids have similar noses, or when the recipients tell me about how one of them is a little sassy, things like that. Their parents are amazingly wonderful and deserving people who do so much for the people around them. I was so fortunate to meet them and they have added so much to my lives as I have to theres.
Q. Are you going to carry as a surrogate again?
A. Yes. I have already accepted an offer to be a surrogate mother later this year, and this will be my last surrogacy journey. I will not carry again. I’m going to be 30 soon, which is the age I have always said I am done being a surrogate, and will pursue other interests and foster the growth of the agency and the blogs. I blog frequently on wordpress as recipientparent.com and forsurrogatemoms.
Q. What is your home life like?
A. Active LOL! We have four children, three of which are elementary-school age and a 3- month-old. We gave up our big city life last July in favor of a nice small community close to family, which has been great for everyone. We spend a lot of time taking the older kids to various activites with baby in tow, and having play dates. Our kids are big on having their friends over for sleepovers, so there are always lots of kids hang out at our house. In my free time I enjoy doing art, crafting, cooking, going to various theme parks and just relaxing with family and friends.
I love babies and baby products. Since the agency started, I’m always on the hunt for the best baby products I can gift recipients to help them start their amazing journey with their new bundle of joy. I am now a mom of four, one of whom is a 3 month old . I have been exposed to lots of baby products over the years, but only a few have really impressed me. So I thought I would create a list of my favorite products and why I love them.
Organic Kidz 9 oz wide mouth bottle $17.99 – I love these stainless steel bottles. The main reason is this bottle grows with your child You can transform it from bottle to sippy cup, then from Sippy cup to water bottle, which is the perfect size for your child’s lunch box. Heat the bottle by running it under hot water or in the bottle warmer. We have 6 of these at our house and even our older kids use and love them. Save money by getting them online at Babies R Us when they are on sale.
Lifefactory 9 oz glass bottle $16.99 -If you’re looking for a glass option, these are great. I love that they grow with baby – just change the top. You can also microwave them unlike the stainless steel option. The silicon sleeve looks super cool and modern. Even though the manufacturer says you can freeze them, DON’T. We lost one when our 9 year old’s P.E. teacher suggested freezing a bottle of water for P.E.
Avent 4 oz bottles $16.99 for 3 pack- We have used these with all of our kids. They are great to keep baby from excessive spit up and gas. Change the top and use them for storing breast milk, baby food and many other small items once baby is done with them. Don’t forget to add the plastic ring insert, or the bottle will be a leaky mess.
NUK Pacifiers $5.99 for 2 – The only pacifiers Baby M will take. We have them all over our house, diaper bag and a few in the car for those moments that need a pacifier. There is also research that pacifiers reduce the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) Calming baby with a pacifier is a win-win for all.
Mobywrap $40.00- See pic above of me in the office with Baby M in the MobyWrap. This product is a life saver! Baby M has been everywhere in Mobywrap. I don’t know how I would get anything done without this. I’m sensitive to crying and when nothing else is working, I put on Mobywrap and move on with what I was doing. Before I know it, baby is sleeping and my hands are free to get whatever task I need to get done completed. Our baby almost never naps unless she’s in the car or in Mobywrap. Having baby close and cuddling you never gets old !
Umbrella Stroller (price varies)- I love umbrella strollers. They are quick to open and light weight. Great option for city babies. We currently have a Bugaboo but it’s a HUGE pain in the a** and takes up our entire trunk. We have a pink Maclaren Volo in our garage which will be on its 3rd kid and still going strong. This model is lightweight, portable, compact, well-made, is an excellent basic stroller. We will be dusting it off as soon as Baby M can sit up a little better.
Baby Bjorn $60.00 and up- Want a easy on and off baby carrier thats dad friendly too? Baby Bjorn is it. Baby can face forward or back, depending upon how well baby can hold its head. All of our kids loved this when they were younger. If you live in cold weather, splurge for the hooded sack that goes over the carrier to keep baby warm. Consignment stores usually have a good selection of them for around $20 buck or so.
Cloth Diapers $17.99 and up- I love cloth diapers. I honestly don’t understand why more people don’t entertain the idea of cloth diapers. The industry has come along way since diapers which look like dish rags. Cloth diapers now a days have stuff able pockets and come in bright beautiful colors and prints. Washing is a snap un-stuff the pockets and put everything in the washing machine and your good to go. Cloth diapers are also a one time investment 20 one size cloth diapers will last your child from birth 6-8 lbs depending on brand to potty training. When your done with them save them for baby number two or hock them on e-bay or diaper swappers.
Graco Snugride Carseat $160 and up- The only infant carseat I have ever used with our kids. Comfy and safe. The two most important things for a trip in the car.
Britax Roundabout $160 and up- Once baby is out of the infant seat this car seat is a excellent choice. Great safety rating and comfortable for baby and toddler.
Backpack or Large Purse – Got a old backpack or large purse taking up space somewhere in your closet? Now you have a diaper bag which is likely better and more attractive than the ones they sell at the baby stores.
PUJ Baby Tub $39.99- This infant bath tub fits in any sink. No more leaning over the bath tube to wash baby. Once baby has grown out of PUJ kitchen sink or the bath tub are excellent replacements.
Blender or Food Processor (Price Varies)- Making baby food is economical, better for baby and really cool to do right now. iTunes has a number of recipe apps for making baby food.
Infant Play Mat $29.99 and up – Full of brightly colored hanging toys baby will have a great time looking at and grabbing.
Now that January is here, many recipients will make it their new year’s resolution to make their dreams of parenthood a reality through surrogacy. Achieving this task can be daunting due to the high cost of the entire surrogacy process. Here are a few tips for keeping those costs down a bit and ensuring a positive surrogacy journey with more predictable budgeting:
1. Don’t pay your surrogate a monthly allowance and just pay for individual expenses as they arise during the course of any given month. Often times, surrogates request a flat monthly allowance to cover expenses. Usually, it’s around $200, and it covers parking, faxing, vitamins etc. Unless your surrogate mother lives in a large metropolitan area, it’s unlikely she will really need a monthly allowance. You will save money by just reimbursing her for expenses as they arise during the course of the pregnancy. Yes, you will write more checks during the month, but it will save you money to just reimburse the surrogate only for those costs as they arise.
2. Avoid selecting a surrogate who has had a previous c-section. Surrogates are always provided additional compensation for undergoing a c-section procedure. Even though there is creditable evidence that VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesearian) is safe, it is still very difficult to find a doctor or hospital that allows VBACS. So if you match with a surrogate who has had a previous c-section, It’s almost certain that your surrogate will have a repeat c-section. C-sections also come with increased hospital time, housekeeping and childcare expenses.
3. Make sure your selected surrogate is not just fertility healthy, but physically healthy. I can’t stress the importance of making sure your surrogate mom is healthy enough to become pregnant. Make sure she has a pre-conception physical by an ob-gyn or general practitioner checking her blood pressure, any signs for early diabetes or other possible health conditions that could arise during pregnancy.
4. Don’t dismiss the option of having a midwife should your surrogate want one. Midwivery has come along way. Midwives are often more personable and care more about nutrition during pregnancy than traditional physicians, and are also very proactive in ensuring the pregnancy starts and remains healthy. Their care is often less expensive yet they offer the same medical testing a doctor does. Nowadays, they often work in tandem with doctors so care can easily be transferred should an issue arise during pregnancy requiring an OB-GYN to manage care through delivery.
5. Match with a Stay At Home Mom (SAHM). Lost wages and childcare expenses can really add up. Stay at home moms help minimize these types of expenses because should unforeseen circumstances arise requiring frequent visits to the doctor, you are responsible for all lost wages and childcare expenses which may be incurred.
6. Hire an attorney familiar with surrogacy laws in the state where the surrogate lives and where the surro-baby will be born. Surrogacy is a very complicated matter. If you don’t have all of the legal paperwork done right the first time, it will have to be done again, costing you more money and lots of headaches.
7. Create a realistic budget and be upfront about it with your potential surrogate mother. Instead of starting a conversation with “how much compensation are you looking for?” instead tell the surrogate “I have budgeted $X for a base compensation fee, and $Y for expenses, and stick to it. You also need to have at least $20,000 in savings for any unanticipated expenses in case expenses arise such as extensive child care due to bed rest, issues with insurance coverage, or other costly items. Keep in mind you are asking a surrogate to carry a pregnancy 24 hours, 7 days a week, for 9 months. Make sure your budgeted base fee is a reasonable amount for this length of time.
8. Consider a second time surrogate. Even though a surrogate has previously become pregnant with her own child by having sex doesn’t mean she will become pregnant through IVF. Second time surrogates have a proven track record of success.
9. Look for a surrogate whose health insurance is covered by an employer. Their premiums and co-pays are often less than on plans purchased individually.
10. Minimize surrogate mother travel. Travel is one of the quickest ways to drain an escrow account. Between airline tickets, hotel accomodations, food costs, childcare, companion travel, car rentals, and other related costs, these costly expenses add up quickly. Hold out for a surrogate who lives in close proximity to your chosen fertility doctor.
How do they know your a surrogate? This question comes up on this and other boards a lot. I thought I would share my recent experience with this. My husband Todd and I just had our 4th child on Monday. We were sent to the hospital by our physician and while our nurse was getting us set up she said to me “Your caring a surrogate pregnancy right”? My husband abruptly said “No this our baby”. The nurse apologized and was clearly embarrassed by assuming this. The three pregnancies I carried before I had my own child were all surrogate pregnancies. The fact I had been surrogate was the talk of my hospital stay. There wasn’t a single person who tended to us that wasn’t aware I had How do they know your a surrogate? This question comes up on this and other boards a lot. I thought I would share my recent experience with this.
My husband Todd and I just had our 4th child on Monday. We were sent to the hospital by our physician and while our nurse was getting us set up she said to me “Your caring a surrogate pregnancy right”? My husband abruptly said “No this our baby”. The nurse apologized and was clearly embarrassed by assuming this. The three pregnancies I carried before I had my own child were all surrogate pregnancies. The fact I had been surrogate was the talk of my hospital stay. There wasn’t a single person who tended to us that wasn’t aware I had been a surrogate and was asking us about it. Of course I had no problem sharing my experiences as a surrogate to those who inquired about it. How did the hospital know I was a surrogate previously? Its in my medical records. That is how the insurance companies know your a surrogate as well. The fact I had been a surrogate also came up again while I was filling out the paper work for my daughter birth certificate. I assumed that since I live in a parental establishment state (AKA POB State) the fact I had been a surrogate was sealed and private.( Lawyers also tell you this ) This is not the case. So when I filled out my birth certificate paper work I put I had 3 other living children. (The number of other children my husband I have together) Vital records came back and told me I had 6 other living children (which is the case if you count the 3 children I carried as a surrogate mom) and forced us to change it on the birth certificate paperwork. We also put the date of birth our son was born as my last pregnancy.
This was something else we were forced to change to the date of birth of the last child I carried as a surrogate mom. Vital records keeps track of number of children you give birth to regardless of it being a surrogacy or not and those children’s date of birth. It was explained to me that this is part of a medical history they keep on file. The recipient parent information was private but the fact I had been a surrogate mother 3 times previously wasn’t private at all. a surrogate and was asking us about it. Of course I had no problem sharing my experiences as a surrogate to those who inquired about it. How did the hospital know I was a surrogate previously? Its in my medical records. That is how the insurance companies know your a surrogate as well.
The fact I had been a surrogate also came up again while I was filling out the paper work for my daughter birth certificate. I assumed that since I live in a parental establishment state (AKA POB State) the fact I had been a surrogate was sealed and private.( Lawyers also tell you this ) This is not the case. So when I filled out my birth certificate paper work I put I had 3 other living children. (The number of other children my husband I have together) Vital records came back and told me I had 6 other living children (which is the case if you count the 3 children I carried as a surrogate mom) and forced us to change it on the birth certificate paperwork. We also put the date of birth our son was born as my last pregnancy. This was something else we were forced to change to the date of birth of the last child I carried as a surrogate mom.
Vital records keeps track of number of children you give birth to regardless of it being a surrogacy or not and those children’s date of birth. It was explained to me that this is part of a medical history they keep on file. The recipient parent information was private but the fact I had been a surrogate mother 3 times previously wasn’t private at all.