Ask Jennifer! If a GC changes her job during a pregnancy, could she change insurance via the open market?

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If a GC changes her job during a pregnancy, could she change insurance via the open market?

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See you soon!

-Jennifer

Top 10 Questions Partners of Surrogates Ask

The surrogacy journey is so exciting and rewarding, and it also requires teamwork. Go Team B-A-B-Y! As the partner of a surrogate, you will be on this journey right along with her and you will probably have many questions. We’ve listed some here that we hear most often, and there are many more. There are no dumb questions, so feel free to ask your Case and/or Match Manager anything and everything!

1.     Can we still have sex?
During the time surrounding the embryo transfer, it is very important to abstain from having sex. This time period will be outlined by the medical staff at the fertility clinic, and will also be in your contract.  Once your pregnancy is confirmed, and you are cleared to have sex, you’re good to go!

2.     Will our health insurance cover this, and will we have out of pocket medical costs?
This depends on your health insurance plan. Some plans cover surrogacy, but many do not. If yours doesn’t cover surrogacy, intended parents have some options on how to get you insurance (through the Affordable Care Act sometimes, or through a company like ART Risk). This would be at the expense of the intended parents.

3.     Will we be able to have more of our own children in the future?
We encourage candidates to consider surrogacy once their family is complete, because of the risks involved with any pregnancy (a surrogacy pregnancy is no more risky than your own pregnancy). However, if all goes smoothly as planned, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to have children in the future.

4.     How involved will I be in the process?
You are an integral part of the surrogacy journey! Your support for your spouse is essential, so if you have any concerns about the process, please let your Case Manager know. In terms of logistics, you will attend the psychological screening before your spouse is cleared as a candidate, and you are strongly encouraged to attend the in-person interview with the Case Manager before clearance. You will also be signing the Gestational Carrier Agreement between the intended parents and your surrogate partner. Finally, you’ll be the one at home with your spouse when she’s getting ready for transfer and when she’s pregnant – it’s exciting and fun, but definitely affects your whole family.

5.     Can she continue to work throughout her pregnancy and what happens if she can’t?
Yes, your spouse may continue to work during the pregnancy, although there may be restrictions or modifications to her duties if the RE or OB recommends them. If she is placed on bed rest by her OB, your intended parents may be responsible for lost wages depending on how your contract is written.

6.     What do we tell our children?
That’s a very personal decision and depends on the age of the children. I’ve heard a surrogate with very young children tell them “We are carrying this baby for his mommy, because her tummy is broken.” That made sense to them and was enough information.  When children are older, you may want to explain a bit about infertility to them, and tell them how much the intended parents appreciate your family’s help in creating their own family. It’s a great lesson in selflessness and service for a surrogate mother’s family.

7.     What if we become attached to the baby?
Many surrogates and their spouses have happily shared their thoughts on this. All parties are aware prior to starting the process that this is the child of the intended parents. It is not biologically related to the surrogate, which creates a more clear cut “extreme babysitting” situation. There is definitely a connection to the life growing inside you, but it’s very different than carrying your own child. You are preparing to give the most precious gift ever.

8.     Will we be involved in the baby’s life after the pregnancy?
This is something that is negotiated prior to signing the gestational carrier agreement and varies greatly. Some surrogates/IPs prefer substantial contact after the birth, while others choose to exchange holiday cards and photos on birthdays. It’s a really important thing to discuss with your IPs before you sign the contract!

9.     What if something happens to her during the pregnancy?
The intended parents are required to take out a life insurance policy in the amount of at least $500,000. It would be a very rare and tragic situation for a surrogate to lose her life during pregnancy or delivery (as we noted before, a surrogacy pregnancy is not any more risky than a biological pregnancy), but having this type of insurance policy ensures that the surrogate’s family will not incur financial hardship due to her decision to be a gestational carrier.

10.  Can I be in the delivery room with her?  Who else will be there?
You are absolutely welcome in the delivery room to be part of the best and most beautiful part of the journey: witnessing the birth of a new family! The IPs may want to be in the room, too, and may request a photographer or other birth support. This will also be specifically stated in your contract with the IPs.

As the partner to a surrogate, you are so important to the surrogacy journey. Your questions and your feelings about the process are critical, so ask away! If you’d like more information about your spouse’s interest in becoming a surrogate, please contact us at

Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

Dear Sassy Surrogate

Dear Sassy: I’m just starting my journey as a surrogate (starting medications next week!). I’d love to share with my circle of friends about my surrogacy, but I feel really passionate about surrogacy and I think I’d like to blog about it. Do I need special permission from my intended fathers to do that? – Loud and Proud

Dear L&P: That’s so exciting – congratulations! Wishing you the best as you start your medications! It’s great that you want to share your journey with your friends and possibly with a larger community. One of the best ways for information to get out there about the realities of surrogacy (instead of the horror stories about surrogacy) is for women like you to share with your group of friends and beyond. But your question is spot on: it’s not just your journey, it is also your intended fathers’ journey, and as such, it’s best to ask them first. Many intended parents (IPs) are absolutely fine with their carriers sharing on social media and beyond, and may only ask that you not use their names, or the name of the baby-to-be. Some IPs are fine with being named. But there are some IPs who would really rather not be named, and would rather you not talk about the pregnancy to anybody outside of your immediate friends and families. There are lots of reasons for this: maybe the IPs have experienced a lot of loss and feel nervous about sharing details too early, or maybe the IPs are just private people and want to share in their on way about their journey. Whatever the case, it’s better to talk about it first together. And don’t forget to let them know your intentions with sharing – it sounds like it’s not to get attention, but rather to use your personal knowledge to increase others’ understanding and awareness of surrogacy. If your IFs still aren’t comfortable with you sharing, keeping a personal surrogacy journal might help you keep important notes and feelings that you can share further at a later time. And one other quick note: check your Gestational Carrier Agreement that you signed with the IFs. There might already be a clause in there about communicating to the larger world about your journey!

Dear Sassy: I’ve been working on getting myself matched with IPs independently. However it’s become clear that the couple I’ve been talking to isn’t the couple for me. How do I tell them without hurting their feelings? – So Sorry, But No

Dear No Thanks: I really feel for you, that’s a tough position! No one wants to have to tell someone who is looking for a surrogate, and has possibly faced a lot of trouble having a baby, that you can’t be the surrogate for them. But in this case, immediate honesty is the best policy. You don’t have to go into details about why they aren’t the right match for you, but they deserve to know as soon as possible so that they can go find that perfect person (and so that you can, too!). As with most truth-telling, a little compassion will go a long way. Let them know you really feel for them, and you know the right person is out there, but that you aren’t that person (it sounds like breaking up, doesn’t it??). If they press you for specifics, you are welcome to tell them what wasn’t working for you, or you can gently let them know that it doesn’t matter, it just wasn’t right. And this sassy surrogate isn’t above blaming things that don’t work out on my spouse. Or on “bad timing.” Unethical you say? I like to think of it of neutral-ethical. I like to think of how I would like to be told that I’m not the surrogate for a family who is looking. Gentle honesty. That’s my preference, as hard as it can be. Best of luck to you, and to the couple!

Do you have a question for Sassy? Please email us at info@coloradosurro.com and we’ll get your question to her! If you’d like to learn more about the role an agency can play in matching, please call us at 720-709-4677

Ask Jennifer! What advice would you give to IP's when they first find out they need a surrogate? + Do IPs have to live is CO to use a CO surrogate?

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You asked:

What advice would you give to IP's when they first find out they need a surrogate?

+

Do IPs have to live is CO to use a CO surrogate?

Our answer:

Submit your surrogacy-related question here!

See you soon!

-Jennifer

Meet Lindsay Jefferson On Our Staff: How Did You Get Into Surrogacy?

A year and a half ago, I didn’t really know what surrogacy was. If you had asked me, I probably could have given you an answer about what it was, but I didn’t exactly understand it. It wasn’t on my radar, and it wasn’t anything I had ever thought about. My only experience with surrogacy was another mom whose kid was in my kid’s preschool class. She was very pregnant, and one day at school I asked her when she was due. She told me that she was due in two weeks and then quickly added, “but it’s not my baby.” Excuse me?!

Then, like most people who are under-educated about surrogacy, I am positive I gave her a really stupid, confused look and was hoping she’d explain further so I wouldn’t have to ask anymore questions (I’m not exactly the most tactful person when asking questions). Thankfully, like many kind surrogates who deal with people not understanding the process, she patiently explained to me that she was a gestational surrogate who was carrying a baby for a couple who were unable to get pregnant. I was a little blown away by the mechanics of it all. It took me a bit to comprehend it and take it all in. I mean, I had a hard time being pregnant with my own three kids. I was not the glowing, love-to-be-pregnant type. Don’t get me wrong—I was super grateful that I was able to get pregnant, but I just sort of sucked at it. The idea of it all was awesome, just maybe not all the pregnancy stuff that goes along with it. But this person. This person was carrying a baby for someone else. She was giving the gift of a baby to a couple who desperately wanted one. Mind. Blown.

Fast-forward about six months, and I’m standing at the bus stop striking up a conversation with Jennifer White, the Director of Colorado Surrogacy. She was telling me how she and her sister, Attorney, Ellen Trachman, had just started a surrogacy firm in Colorado. I felt thrilled that I even sort of knew what the heck she was talking about (thank you preschool mom surrogate friend!). I had a trillion questions, which Jennifer graciously answered. I then told her if she ever needed marketing help, to let me know!.To be honest, I had a marketing job at the time, and I’m not sure how serious I was when I said it. Kind of like when people say, “Well let me know if you ever need anything” but sometimes it’s just a polite thing to say. But I had put it out into the universe (at the bus stop).

Fast-forward again another 6 months. My life basically imploded after a horrible divorce; I had 3 young kids and had recently lost that aforementioned marketing job. Jennifer and I met for coffee the day I lost the other job, and she mentioned she had a need for some marketing help for Colorado Surrogacy, but it may only be a few hours. I was so game. Whether you believe in God or a higher power or just the universe, it seemed something or someone was at work here. I was a hot mess. Like the hottest, messiest hot mess ever and I was questioning what was even important anymore. In a time in my life when everything was falling apart, Jennifer and Ellen took a chance on me (because that’s the type of women they are), and I was offered a chance at a job that was meaningful. A job where I got to use my marketing skills, my love for babies, and my desire to help people. Holy crap. Jackpot.

Since beginning my work with Colorado Surrogacy, I’ve learned so much. Not just about the surrogacy process itself and how it works (trust me, I’ve learned a lot about that—starting with the very basics like the difference between traditional surrogacy and gestational surrogacy!). More importantly, I’ve learned about the struggles of Intended Parents trying to have a baby. I’ve learned about gay couples who desperately want to have their own biological child. I’ve learned about single people who haven’t met “Mr. Right” or “Mrs. Right” but their dreams of a baby are very much still real. In every one of these situations, surrogacy can make their dreams come true. 

In addition to the Intended Parents, I’ve seen and heard from some of the most kind-hearted, gracious, selfless women ever. Surrogates. They are willing to give up their bodies for nine-months (okay, 9.5 months really, but who’s counting) to carry a baby for someone else. For. Someone. Else. Do you realize how huge that is? So haters, go on and hate (and boy do they hate), but these women? They rock it.

And lastly, after attending a company retreat last month, my cup runneth over even more when meeting the other amazing, inspiring women who work for Colorado Surrogacy, New Mexico Surrogacy, and Montana Surrogacy. Each one had her own story about why she chose to work in surrogacy. Three previous surrogates. Several with infertility issues. And all with a deep passion to help people make babies. These women – they are incredible, and it is an honor and pleasure to work with such compassionate, intelligent, driven people.

So while my “how I got into surrogacy” story may not be as dramatic or interesting as some, it sure is an important story to me. Surrogacy changes lives every day. It has changed my life.  It has given me purpose and meaning and reset my “what’s important” meter in a time when I desperately needed it. So the next time you hear someone or read something about those women “renting out their uteruses” or how this is not natural and how “God intended it,” I hope you’ll remember how many lives surrogacy changes and how it changed mine. Throughout the next few weeks, you’ll get to hear from other amazing women from Colorado Surrogacy and how they chose the surrogacy path.

I invite you to check out our website to learn more about surrogacy and how to get started.

What Happens When A Surrogate Unknowingly Gets Pregnant With Her Own Child At The Same Time She Is Pregnant With Someone Else's Child? That. Just. Happened.

Surrogates might soon see some strict "no sex" clauses in their contracts.

Happy Halloween from Colorado Surrogacy

Happy Halloween, Everyone! We had this idea to start a post about our support of gay parents and parenting with a “5 Halloween Costumes for Surrogates Carrying for Two Dads,” but it pretty quickly got weird (and objectifying): Oven, bun and bakers; Mars and its 2 moons; a Miley Cyrus wrecking ball (Barbie doll over the baby bump) and construction workers; Juno and two guys from the school running team. I’m sure this Halloween there are scarier things out there than these hopeless ideas, but I don’t know what they are.

I’m putting this failure aside and getting to the point: Our core belief at Colorado Surrogacy is that family comes in all shapes and sizes. It is also one of our main values to support the LGBTQI community, especially when it comes to family and parental rights. We feel very lucky to get to do this work of helping families grow, no matter what that family looks like: two dads or moms, one mom or one dad, a mom and dad, parents who already have children, and the list goes on!

We are also incredibly lucky to work with gestational carriers (GC) who are willing to carry babies for growing families. Several of our GCs have a preference to work with gay parents because they also feel deeply about supporting the gay parenting community (call us at 720-209-4677 to hear more about our cleared GC candidates!).

We work to be an everyday ally to queer parents, not only in our daily work to match and manage matches between intended parents (IPs) and GCs, but also through our community memberships (we are a proud member of the Colorado LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce), and through our commitment to promoting understanding of 3rd Party Reproduction law (see Ellen Trachman, Esq.’s posts on these issues!).  Ellen was even named Entrepreneurial Woman of the Year in 2015 by the Denver Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce for her work supporting the community.  And this year she was named 2017 Legal Program Volunteer of the Year by The GLBT Community Center for her commitment to providing legal protection to members of the community even when they don’t have the resources to hire an attorney.

If you have questions about how the surrogacy process works, or how to get started on your journey to parenthood today, please contact us at info@coloradosurro.com. We are also happy to share with you more Halloween costume ideas (or, even more helpful, NOT share them).

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ask Jennifer! How important is insurance in the upcoming enrollment period for anything related to surrogacy?

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You asked:

Ask Jennifer! How important is insurance in the upcoming enrollment period for anything related to surrogacy?

Our answer:

Submit your surrogacy-related question here!

See you soon!

-Jennifer

Showering Intended Parents With Love

By Suzie White

However a sweet new addition comes into a family, that family will be eagerly counting down those final weeks, and working on getting all those baby essentials, too! Throwing a baby shower for your family or friends who are intended parent/s-to-be is a great way to help them get prepared, and a great way to honor their journey with surrogacy. When someone is using a gestational surrogate to carry their child, the parents will be taking the baby home right from the hospital and jumping right into parenthood. A shower for intended parent/s prior to the birth (or even after!) is a wonderful way to show your support and encouragement. Here are a few things to consider.

Do the parent/s-to-be even want a shower? This can be a hard one, because all we want to do is make the parent/s-to-be feel special, but they may have some really good reasons for not wanting a shower. If the parent/s-to-be don’t want a shower, maybe you can help them feel special by offering to help with announcements or with other preparation at home. Their surrogate may also have ideas on what would be an appropriate way to celebrate them!

Surrogate involvement. Be sure to ask if the parent/s-to-be would like to include their surrogate in the festivities, and to what extent. Some intended parent/s are close with their surrogates, and it only makes sense to invite her. Some have a more business-like relationship with their surrogate, and in that case it might be more awkward to have her there.

If the parent/s-to-be do want to invite their surrogate, she will likely feel very honored to join. She can help open gifts and be part of games, or she may be happier to let the spotlight be on the parent/s-to-be. It’s important to honor this relationship, and make sure everyone is comfortable. Parent/s-to-be might ask guests for help in honoring their surrogate with a small token or a larger gift from everyone.

How to announce the baby shower. Intended parents may feel conflicted about how to announce their baby shower because not everyone is familiar with surrogacy. If their surrogate is joining them, the invitation can mention the names of the “Proud Parents-To-Be” and the “Proud Surrogate Mother.” If the intended parent/s (or the surrogate herself) don’t want the surrogate’s name on the invitation, the language could be more general about “celebrating the birth via surrogate” of the parent/s-to-be. It would be completely fine to just have a traditional baby shower, as well! Anything that can honor the parent/s-to-be and their surrogate will be appreciated.

When to have the baby shower. Some parents-to-be may want to have a baby shower closer to the birth, or some may prefer well before the birth so that baby isn’t “accidentally” born before the shower. Some parents-to-be may prefer a “Baby as Special Guest” baby shower, once baby and parent/s have settled at home. The parent may have a really good reason to want to wait, so be flexible about what works best for the parent/s!

What to get the parents-to-be of a baby born by surrogate? These parents-to-be are just like any other parents eagerly anticipating their baby’s birth, and they need the same things you’d get any other pregnant family. In particular, gifts that help make that leap to parenthood are always appreciated – a baby book to hold all of those precious memories; gift cards for restaurants that deliver or where there is curbside pick-up; items that are personalized with baby or family’s name; a family photo session; naming a star after the baby; helpful parenting books. Remember that intended parents enroll in baby registries, too, so share that information with everyone invited.

Showers are a time-honored tradition, and throwing one for intended parent/s is no different.  Be sure to plan well so that no one feels a time crunch during this exciting and sometimes stressful wait. Remember that this shower is a wonderful way to remind them that you are all there to support them in this beautiful life changing event, and to help them prepare for all those diapers, wipes, tiny socks, and baby toys!

Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

Surrogacy Medications and Risks

You’ve been thinking about surrogacy and making dreams come true for someone who wants to have a family. It’s great reward for all involved, so unfortunately there are also risks. Pregnancy, whether with your own baby or with a surro-baby, comes with risks: anemia, hypertension, gestational diabetes, morning sickness (hyperemesis) are just a few, according to the CDC.

Even with those risks, the reward is so great that women continue to (willingly) become pregnant with their own babies and others’ babies (thank you, surrogates!). John Quincy Adams, while likely completely ignorant of surrogacy, said the perfect words for surrogacy: “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

Now on to some of those difficulties and obstacles! First off, the kinds of medications you’ll be taking as a surrogate, preparing your body for embryo transfer and pregnancy.

Before Embryo Transfer:

  • Birth Control Pills: before transfer to regulate your cycle
  • Lupron – shot (small needle): for 3 – 4 weeks daily before transfer to suppress your cycle

Before and After Embryo Transfer: You can be taking these medications multiple times a day and more than one at a time, depending on the calendar you’re given by the fertility clinic. These medications may start 3 or 4 weeks before embryo transfer, and can continue through the first 10 – 12 weeks after transfer (and sometimes through the whole pregnancy):

  • Estriadol patches (estrogen)
  • Oral Tablets (estrogen)
  • Vaginal creams and suppositories (estrogen and progesterone)
  • Progesterone shots
  • Steroids and/or antibiotics

From start of medications through pregnancy:

  • Aspirin
  • CoQ10
  • Range of prenatal, DHA, and folic acid

The medications can cause reactions. These reactions are mostly just an inconvenience, but can be surprising for first time surrogates.

Reaction to the fertility drugs include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Low mood
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Mild bruising and soreness at injection site
  • Nausea and, occasionally, vomiting
  • Temporary allergic reactions, such as skin reddening and/or itching at the injection site
  • Fatigue

As for the pregnancy itself, a surrogacy pregnancy comes with the same risks as your own pregnancies. There are a couple of risks separate that come with the embryo transfer process, IVF produced embryos, and medication, like the following:

  • Increased incidence of multiple births
  • Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome
  • Cramping during catheter insertion for embryo transfer
  • Cysts on ovaries
  • Ectopic pregnancy

Keep in mind that every situation is different, everybody’s body responds differently, and the health of embryos and many other factors go into the success of a transfer to a gestational carrier.  These lists of medications and possible risks look scary, but the reality is that the risks are relatively low. And at the end of it? A beautiful baby for a family who has been hoping and dreaming of that little bundle, and you get front row seats and feels!

Ask Jennifer! 3 New Answers from Last Week!

Check out the latest from Ask Jennifer!

You asked:

What's going on in New Mexico?

Our answer:


You asked:

Is the surrogate the biological mother of the child?

Our answer:


You asked:

Will surrogates be able to find coverage under the Affordable Care Act?

Our answer:

Submit your surrogacy-related question here!

See you soon!

-Jennifer

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