Intended Parents: Lemon or Hedgehog (or How Big Is Your Baby)?

By Suzie White

Back in the day, you had to wait with excitement for your next OB appointment or read your secondhand copy of What to Expect When You’re Expecting to check on your baby’s development.  Now, thanks to technology, we have a variety of choices when it comes to tracking baby-to-be.  While this may be information overload for some, week by week pregnancy updates are all the rage.

As intended parents, you want to be in the loop on your baby’s developmental milestones. Why not follow the pregnancy with fun size comparisons? How about an artichoke, or is a slow loris more your speed? The following apps and sites are a great way to do that. You can also read about symptoms your surrogate may be experiencing at the time and tests you may expect. Some have tools for new parents too, such as vaccination information, feeding, sleep and diaper change trackers. Here are a few notes on some of our favs:

Ovia

Now this one is cool. Ovia is very user friendly, and has the adorable feature of showing the actual size of the baby’s hand and foot on the screen in the color you choose. There is a list of foods to that are safe to eat during pregnancy, as well as an anonymous community where expectant parents can connect with others. You get to choose from four entertaining themes for size comparison: fruits and vegetables; Parisian bakery; fun and games; weird-but-cute animals. Ovia gives brief daily updates moms or dads can look forward to. There is also a cool parenting app that allows parents to track milestones, and share photos and video with friends/family.

The Bump

This app is great. It provides a 3D image, so you can see baby from every angle. There are real life size comparisons, and a helpful checklist every week for parents (when to start thinking about child care, picking a pediatrician). The Bump shows tracking for twins as well. Included in the app are milestones and development after birth and beyond.

BabyCenter.com

A useful website packed full of tools like the baby names finder and child growth calculator. It provides a detailed image of baby every week, and compares to fruit and veggies.  BabyCenter also provides tracking info for twins. There is information on development of babies to big kids.

BabySizer.com

This is fun for a quick and easy click. Want to know when your baby is the size of a poker chip or a Star Wars action figure? This is the place for you! You choose from 4 themes to describe the size of baby: Cravings, Facts, Geeky, or Manly.

Keeping track of your baby’s size is a great way to start bonding with your little one (and with your surrogate). We’d love to hear about your favorite baby size comparisons, or any sites or apps you love for tracking the pregnancy! Email us at info@coloradosurro.com

 

Acupuncture for Surrogates

Originally a Chinese practice, acupuncture has been around for at least 2,500 years.  Acupuncture is used for balancing the energy within one’s body, and for overall general health, focusing on preventing and treating sickness or disease. And, yes, there are needles, VERY small, thin needles, put into specific spots on the body connected with meridians (or pathways) within the body.

So what does that have to do with surrogacy? As with anything during the surrogate’s journey, nothing is guaranteed to work, but here are a few sources that encourage acupuncture in order to help with pregnancy, infertility, surrogacy – all things to help make that baby!

First of all, my own, personal testimonial:

I started using acupuncture when trying to get pregnant with my first child, and it worked! We really hadn’t tried for that long, but I was impatient and wanted to do all I could to help get my body ready and move things along.  I used it during pregnancy to deal with any discomforts, and it helped. I enjoy acupuncture pregnancy or not, so I used it through my second pregnancy. Therefore, as a surrogate it only made sense to me. I did acupuncture as I started meds, a day before transfer (had to travel for transfer so couldn’t do day of), when I came home after transfer and throughout the pregnancy. I even used acupuncture after the baby was born to help flush out hormones and regulate my body.  I would recommend trying it in general especially for surrogacy, as long as your doctor agrees.

The American Pregnancy Association, a national health organization that works for pregnancy wellness, has this to say about acupuncture and pregnancy:

“. . . an individual could still benefit from acupuncture and herbs because of the potential effect of improved ovarian and follicular function. Additionally, acupuncture can increase blood flow to the endometrium, helping to facilitate a thick, rich lining.”

Many fertility clinics also encourage the use of acupuncture for embryo transfer and other times of pregnancy. The University of Colorado Advanced Reproductive Medicine clinic in their handout titled "Recommended Treatment of Acupuncture for Fertility calls for acupuncture to “promote implantation and prevent miscarriage” and for embryo transfer day to “calm the mind and relax the uterus, relieve discomfort while at the same time supporting implantation.”

These are just a few resources, so talk to your RE and do what works for you.  Depending on the clinic that your IP(s) use, they may have an acupuncturist on staff and have a schedule they like using for surrogacy.  You can also use www.nccaom.org (National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine) to find a certified provider in your area. 

Ask Jennifer! What are some of the most common concerns gestational carriers have during surrogacy?

Check out the latest from Ask Jennifer!

You asked:

What are some of the most common concerns gestational carriers have during surrogacy?

Our answer:

Submit your surrogacy-related question here! Or visit our new sister website here!

See you soon!

-Jennifer

Dear Sassy Surrogate

Dear Sassy: I’m starting the process with my agency to become a surrogate. But something’s been bothering me: when I tell other women in my mom’s group that I’m going to be a surrogate for someone, the thing I hear the most often is, “Oh, I could never give my baby away.” What am I supposed to say to that?? I need a quick, back-pocket answer for them. – Giving, Not Giving Away

Dear Giving: I have heard this so many times. It’s really frustrating to hear because a) it implies that I am the kind of person who would just give my own child away on a whim and b) surrogacy is not about giving babies away, as you well know. (And don’t even get me started on what it must feel like to hear this self-righteous statement as a woman who decides adoption is the best answer for her baby.) The easiest comeback that I have for the question is: “It’s not my baby, and I’m not giving it away.” Short and simple. If you’d like to elaborate, you could say, “I’m carrying their baby for them. It won’t be giving a baby away, it will be letting a baby go home.” You got this!

Dear Sassy: I gave birth 2 weeks ago to a baby boy for two dads living in Boulder. It was such an amazing experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I get daily updates from the dads and I’m really happy for them! But I’m feeling a little down. I thought I would bounce right back since I didn’t have a newborn to look after. But I’m tired and not feeling as excited about things as I was before. Is this normal? Do you have any advice for me? – Happy and Blue

Dear Happy: This is so very normal. Don’t forget – your body has been through A LOT. From the hormones, the pregnancy, the delivery, and the emotional work of carrying someone else’s most precious dream in your body – that’s an amazing amount of work. It’s easy to think that you should just pick right back up with your life pre-pregnancy because you don’t have a newborn to look after. But you have to give yourself time and let yourself heal and rest. Take these next few weeks to really take care of yourself: get the rest you need, take advantage of any postpartum care provided in your contract, let your partner take the lead on caring for the kids and the house, and talk to a counselor (or a surrogacy support group). You’ve done an amazing thing for someone else – now it’s time to take care of you.

Ask Jennifer! Why can I be a GC if I’ve had my tubes tied, but not if I’ve had Adiana or Essure?

Check out the latest from Ask Jennifer!

You asked:

Ask Jennifer! Why can I be a GC if I’ve had my tubes tied, but not if I’ve had Adiana or Essure?

Our answer:

Submit your surrogacy-related question here!

See you soon!

-Jennifer

When Surrogacy Is a Crime?

If you follow the surrogacy world, or even just our blog, you know that the whole world is not surrogacy friendly. In fact, very little of the world is surrogacy friendly. The United States is one of the few places where compensated surrogacy is legal, and even here, it isn’t legal in all states (though Colorado is a great state for surrogacy!).

Recently there have been some major sentences meted out for participants in surrogacy, and some may be more warranted than others.

Tammy Davis-Charles

In early August, Tammy Davis-Charles, an Australian who had been running a surrogacy agency in Cambodia, was sentenced to 18 months in prison by a Cambodian court. Her two Cambodian associates who helped her with agency duties, Samrith Chakrya and Penh Rithy, were also each given 18 month prison terms. Cambodia banned “surrogacy arrangements” in November 2016, and Davis-Charles was arrested shortly after. Davis-Charles claimed several lawyers had confirmed to her that it was legal to purse surrogacy in Cambodia prior to her arrest.

As Ellen wrote in her article about the sentence on Above the Law, advocates for families should not be given 18 month sentences in one of the most crowded and cruel prisons in the world.

Archaryya Rupak

Just like any other business, surrogacy is not immune to frauds and scammers.

A US District Court in California recently sentenced Archaryya “Rudy” Rupak (he may sound familiar) to serve two years in prison for financial fraud in connection to his international surrogacy agency, Planet Hospital. He brought clients (intended parents) in to his agency on false claims of actual cost, he falsely represented what the funds he solicited from intended parents would be used for, and he created fraudulent websites and wrote emails pretending to be a doctor.

He scammed one of the more vulnerable demographics of people – those desperately wanting to have their own family.

Surrogacy as a Crime in the News

One of the most discouraging things about taking an Internet tour of surrogacy is the way news outlets, and even government officials, talk about it. In January 2016, then Minister of the Interior of Italy, Angelino Alfano, said that those participating in surrogacy should be treated as sex offenders and sent to prison. Even Aljazeera wrote in their article about Tammy Davis-Charles that surrogacy is a “womb-for-rent” business. What an insensitive way to refer to surrogates and those seeking their help. 

The truth is, you don’t have to go far in your Internet search on surrogacy to find untrue and cruel things written about it. And while there are nefarious individuals out there trying to take advantage (as in any sector), there are many, many more people trying to help people who want nothing more than to have a baby of their own do just that.

 

Attention Gay Dads: Find Your Gestational Carrier in Colorado

By: Suzie White

Of course you want your surrogate to live in the beautiful, fitness-friendly Colorado: we have a great social and legal climate here for surrogacy, as well as having a very supportive LGBTQ community. Gay dads couldn’t ask for a better place to grow a baby! Well, there are other states that are surrogacy friendly as well, but we are kind of partial to colorful Colorado, as we are one of the few local surrogacy agencies in the state. Here are some reasons we think you should find your gestational carrier in the home of the Mile High City:

Colorado has beautiful mountain ranges and has outstanding medical care.
Some of the world’s leading fertility clinics are located right here in Denver. We have access to top rated fertility specialists, hospitals and birthing centers, so your gestational carrier won’t need to travel for the best medical care. 

Colorado has a friendly court system to LGBTQ families.
Both dads get to be dads in black and white! Our court system in Colorado will put the names of the one or two parents of the child on the pre-birth order (and therefore the birth certificate) regardless of sex. This is a huge step in equality and also practical as far as parenting goes. Filing fees for pre-birth orders are also less expensive in Colorado than in states with specific surrogacy laws. 

Colorado is welcoming and has a progressive legal climate.
Not all states allow surrogacy in one form or another, so do your homework before choosing. Colorado is surrogacy friendly, meaning you can spend your time focusing on welcoming your new baby!

Colorado is cool and has healthy babies.
We have a lower infant mortality rate and higher breastfeeding rate than the national averages, which can be important factors in deciding where to choose your surrogate mother.

Colorado has 300 days of sun a year (sort of) and is a health conscious state.
So maybe the “300 days” thing is a bit of a myth, but it’s not far off. Coloradans always rank high as far as being healthy, fit and active. With so many sunny days, it’s hard not to get out to the farmer’s market, climb the stairs at Red Rocks, or walk your dog in Wash Park.

It’s so exciting to get started on your journey to adding a baby to your family. Colorado is the perfect place to get started!

Photo by Stanley Dai on Unsplash

 

Ask Jennifer! I meet all qualifications except one - I don’t have and don’t want children. Is that a deal breaker and why?

Check out the latest from Ask Jennifer!

You asked:

I meet all qualifications except one - I don’t have and don’t want children. Is that a deal breaker and why?

Our answer:

Submit your surrogacy-related question here!

See you soon!

-Jennifer