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Thursday, October 15, 2015

8 Things You Never Knew About Surrogacy

Surrogacy is nothing like a Lifetime movie. There’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes before a baby is placed in the arms of loving parents who couldn’t conceive.

The practice of surrogacy is still rare, partially because we have a huge surrogate shortage in the U.S. “There are many international patients coming from countries where surrogacy is illegal to the U.S. to use surrogates,” says Dr. Shahin Ghadir, fertility specialist at the Southern California Reproductive Center, which is only making our shortage worse.

That’s probably why it’s so hard to find reliable information about being a surrogate — it’s hard to make heads or tails of what’s going on, in no small part because parents don’t often come out and talk about such a personal decision. The Counsel for Responsible Genetics confirmed in 2008 that there are no set surrogacy statistics available to the public, meaning there’s no way to know exactly how many children have been born via surrogate. Modern Family Surrogacy Center says that an average of nine babies may be born to surrogates in each state in the U.S. every year. But considering how many celebrities announce the arrival of babies born thanks to a surrogate each year (Jimmy Fallon, Giuliana Rancic and Ellen Pompeo are just a few), the number seems to be even higher.

Certainly the demand for surrogacy is high — possibly even more so now that same-sex marriage has been legalized — but the process still isn’t easy. Surrogacy laws are complex at best, with serious problems arising in international surrogacy cases that have made headlines. Close to half of the states in the U.S. don’t have clear surrogacy laws established.

The only way to make sense of this mess and help the couples so desperate to start a family is by clearing up misinformation. If you have ever thought of being a surrogate, or if you are in need of a surrogate, here’s what you’re not being told.

1. There are different kinds of surrogacy

This brings us back to the made-for-TV-movie scenario, where surrogacy is presented as a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s not the case. Staci Swiderski, co-founder ofFamily Source Consultants and surrogate user, says there is a distinct difference between a traditional and gestational surrogate. “One of the most common misconceptions that I often hear about being a surrogate is that she will be genetically-related to the child. Traditional surrogates utilize their own genetics (i.e., their own eggs), while gestational surrogacy… sees the embryo created with either the intended mother’s genetics or an egg donor; or in some circumstances, a donated embryo could be utilized,” says Swiderski.

2. The screening process is intense

Getting approved as a surrogate requires so much more than completing an online quiz. Sarah Harris, two-time surrogate and blogger at Oven Rental, says her first venture into surrogacy was far more complicated than she anticipated. Harris tellsSheKnows: “When I first decided to become a surrogate, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I just knew I wanted to do something for a family that could not do it for themselves. I began looking online for surrogacy agencies, and while there are quite a few out there, one stuck out for me.”

She continues, “I filled out their initial online questionnaire via their website. It was 10 pages long, asking questions, like: ‘How old are you, how many kids do you have and why do you want to do this?’ Then, questions like: 'How do you feel about selective reduction or terminating a pregnancy due to a chromosome abnormality such as Down syndrome or trisomy 18?’ I was six months pregnant with my daughter when I applied and was pre-approved. When my daughter was a year old (the wait was due to breastfeeding), it was time for the matching process.”

3. You don’t have to be young

It’s common knowledge that a woman’s fertility begins to decline at 35, but this may not hurt your chances of being a surrogate. Dr. Ghadir says this “magic number” does not apply to a surrogate since she is not donating her eggs. “As long as the surrogate is in good health, she can continue doing this up until the late 30s, even 39 years of age,” says Dr. Ghadir.

Sources: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/8-things-you-never-knew-about-1276756775002166.html

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