Blessings from Heaven

Surrogacy the way I see it...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Quote About Mothers

I just love this quote...

The moment a child is born,
The mother is also born.
She never existed before.
The woman existed, but the mother, never.
A mother is something absolutely new.


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Traditional Surrogacy....A Personal Journey!

I remember when I first decided to become a surrogate and I was faced with the question...gestational or traditional?  After researching both, I was definitely all for gestational surrogacy.  I mean, come one, who could carry their own genetic material and then just give it away.  I definitely wasn't one of THOSE women!!  

So the time came and my husband and I meet the couple and I just fell in love with them.  They were warm, loving...everything I hoped they would be.  The intended mother had been on meds to try to stimulate her ovaries and the next day we went to the doctor together so she could have her blood work and ultrasound done, and so I could have the hystoslpingogram and all the other needed medical screening.  We were so excited that in the very near future we were going to transfer a couple of embryos!!  My husband and I sat in the doctors office and waited for the couple to finish their meeting with the doctor and I saw the look on the intended mothers face when she walked out of the back room.  They had just told her that she had not produced any follicles and she would have to choose an egg donor.  She was devastated.  

My husband and I went and sat outside and I am not quite sure what came over me, but I turned to my husband and said...." I want offer my eggs."  Wide-eyed he replied, ...."ummm, are you sure you can do that?".  "Sure I can, we aren't having any more children, so why not....!" I remarked without hesitation.  After making that statement, I remember tilting my head to the side, slightly closing my eyes and under my breath saying a little prayer...I said..."God...if this is something you know I cannot handle, you know that will break me, please close these doors." And I was content.  

Later on that evening, when we were having dinner, the waiter commented that we must be sisters...You would be amazed how much the intended mother and I looked alike. And it was even more unexpected because this was supposed to be a gestational arrangement.  At this point I truly believed, with all that was within me, that I was placed in their life for this purpose.

We were all on the way back to the hotel because my husband and I would be flying home the next day, I had to cease the opportunity to tell them before our time was through.  I knew I couldn't just blurt out..."Guess what, you can use my eggs!".  This was a sad time for them and I needed to be delicate in my wording, and as they discussed choosing a donor and how they were not sure how long that would take, I said that if they had a hard time finding a donor, my husband I spoke about it and I would be willing to donate as well as carry.  The car fell silent...oh crap, what did I just do.  I waited for them to pull the car over and leave me there, but they did just the opposite.  They were very excited and a little nervous at the possibility, but of course we had to speak with the agency first.

So needless to say, they didn't even look at donors and we were on our way!!  I was on the meds and they retrieved a 15 or so eggs and then a few days later, they placed 3 embryos in my uterus.  Two weeks later we had a positive pregnancy test!!  

I have to tell you that when I was a surrogate, I chose not tell anyone that I was a traditional surrogate.  They all knew I was a surrogate but I did not decide until later to disclose this to my Mom and Dad.  But so there I was, pregnant and I never really had the desire to rub my belly (although I did play him Mozart and read aloud frequently) or to visit the baby stores or to look at baby clothes as I did when I was pregnant with my own children. I knew I was there to nurture this baby and to take care of myself....and that is just what I did.  

I was so excited for them...for the journey they were on, for all the discoveries they would make and how much they were going to fall in love.  This child was born in their heart long before it was place in my belly.  Some people might think it is cold for woman to be able to carry a baby that is half her genetic material and then just give it away, but I never allowed myself the fantasy and honestly never had the yearning to. 

I was induced and to me it was imperative that the couple be there for his was their turn now and they held him every so delicately as if he would precious. After the journey was over, they went home and life went on. Everything feel in place just like it was supposed to and I was overjoyed for them.  I never felt as though I had this irreparable loss and I never once regretted the decision I made and I did not disillusion myself that they would send letters and pictures.  I completely expected them to want to forget those painful chapters of their lives and just move forward.

After my surrogacy journey and I began an agency of my own, I felt as though I could speak with the surrogates on a different level.  I could help prepare and walk them through this process like few woman could.  In fact, our very first surrogacy was a traditional arrangement.  I kept the surrogate fully aware of what she might feel emotionally, gave her pointers of what to avoid and always reminded her of how strong she was!  I have to tell you, I learned a lot going through that with her.  I really felt like I had done my job when after the baby was born and I was in her hospital room alone with her and I said okay, how are you doing...and she said to me,"Sarah, you really helped me through this.  I am so appreciative that you gave me such great advice." I could only think..."Wow, this girl is strong.  Wish I was like that!" .....guess maybe I am! 

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to explain surrogacy to your children

I can only speak from experience when it comes to this topic.  I won't pretend to be a psychologist or to know what the experts say regarding the effects of surrogacy on your children, but I understand that this is an issue for women who are contemplating becoming a surrogate and have reservations about how to tell their children.  Here is what I have found...

When I was a pregnant surrogate, I had a 9 yr. old, an 7 yr. old, a 6 yr. old and a 2yr. old, so I obviously had to find a different way to tell each of my children seeing how they were on completely different levels of comprehension.  

My daughter was the youngest and at two, I am sure if she could impart very well, she would wonder why my tummy was so fat.  I do, however, vividly remember her pulling her shirt up all the time to show me her belly, an obvious sign she knew there was something different.  Once the surrogacy was over, she no longer bared her belly, unless she wanted me to blow on it.  It was like she knew...and I am sure she once again sensed something had changed.  When she is old enough, I fully intend on sharing the full experience with her.

My two oldest boys were the easiest to explain the details regarding the surrogacy.  They asked very "adult" questions and I gave them semi-adult answers.  I was not graphic in description, but I did not speak down to them as if they could not grasp what I was talking about.  I explained the scientific side of surrogacy (attention grabber for them) and kept them acquainted with each part of the process.  They were fully aware that I had been going to the doctor quite often and they kept asking why.  I was actually surprised at the amount of knowledge they already possessed.  

If their friends asked any questions, they were never afraid to answer them and then the topic was rarely brought up again.  They were at not teased or taunted for their mom's choice, but rather I found most children were very accepting and quite curious!! This tactic might not be for everyone, but my two oldest boys have always been remarkably mature for their ages. Maybe this is why I chose to go that route with them.

I left my youngest son for last because I just have to tell you a story about him.  He was in the first grade when I was a surrogate, and it was nearing the end of the school year when I was close to delivery.  Some of the mothers were familiar with the fact that I was a surrogate, but those whom I was not acquainted with, had no clue.  They probably just figured we were non-tv watchin kinda folk :-)  

I remember being in his class room with a few other mothers and the teacher walked up to me (mind you I was very pregnant) and she said, Mrs. Aguiar, I have to let you know what Jacob just said to me...(wasn't quite sure what to think at that very moment...just prayed I didnt have to move to the next town)...she continues...I asked Jacob if he was having a baby brother, or a baby sister when he quickly replied, "oh no, we're not keepin this one.  My mom is carrying a baby for a woman whos tummy is broken."  I think it was one of the sweetest things I had ever heard.  It was such a relief that he had not only grasped what I had explained to him...(that mommy was just an "oven", and she is helping another mommy with a broken belly so they can love their baby like I love mine)...but also, that he was able to convey this thought so entirely to a teacher.  She followed with...I figured you were a surrogate and I think that is awesome!  So proud I was at that moment!

As a parent, you know what your child will comprehend....what you should disclose and what you should keep under wraps.  You need to decide what will work best for you, but I guarantee that surrogacy is nothing to be ashamed fact it is one the most amazing acts of selflessness you could ever teach! Most people will think what you are doing is sensational, and those who oppose, more than likely never dealt with infertility...but that's a whole other blog....

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

How Long Does it Take Before I am Matched?

I am asked this question all of the time, and
generally, it can take anywhere from six (6) to twelve (12) months before you are matched with the intended parents.

Once you have visited our website and filled out the screening application, we determine if you will make a good candidate for our surrogacy program.

Providing you pass the initial screening, you are then sent a personality inventory by either email (PDF attachment) or standard mail. This is a 18 page questionnaire that asks an assortment of questions regarding your childhood and upbringing, personal goals and expectations throughout the surrogacy process. Once you have finished filling out the inventory, send it back along with a copy of your drivers license and photos of yourself. This personality inventory is viewed by the intended parents and gives them an in depth look into your life. This inventory is also crucial in establishing the type of relationship you desire with the intended parents

To match you properly with intended parents that you will work well with, we must get to know you on a personal level. This obviously does not happen over night and we would not be doing our job to match you too quickly before knowing what you expect from this process. What we mean by “your expectations of this process” is, let’s say, you may feel that after the baby is born, you would like to be updated about the baby every so often by a card or picture. In turn, we would match you with a couple that desired the same “after the baby relationship” that you did.

Expectations of circumstances, such as these, are essential to know. Some surrogates desire no contact with the couple what so ever after the birth. It is our job to know you well enough and to ask the appropriate questions in order to ensure a successful match. Some matches are made very quickly, you could almost say that it was a meant to be type of occurrence, but other matches take time with careful thought and consideration.

During this time, it is imperative that the you keep in contact with Little Blessings. If the you move or changes your phone number, we will have no way of contacting you and letting her know if an intended parent were interested in meeting with you. Little Blessings also understands that since you began your surrogacy journey, you then decided it was not for you. There have also been times where the motherly instincts have been stirred during this time, and the surrogate decides that she wants more children of her own, so she decides not to proceed. We completely understand and whatever the reason, all we ask is that you take a moment and let us know of your decision.  The last thing we want to do is keep hounding you when you have decided not proceed.

Trust me, there is a bit of work to do in the mean time.  So visit our website, begin the process because we would love to have you around for the long haul!


What Motivates a Woman to Become a Surrogate?

There are many reasons women want to become Surrogates. Some women cannot imagine not having their own children, so they are very compassionate toward the Intended Parents desire to have a family of their own. Some women have uncomplicated pregnancies, and are willing to help a family in need. Some may become a surrogate for the financial gain and Some women just love to be pregnant!

You, as a mother, have felt the most indescribable, the most incredible, the most astounding love there is...the love for your child. Now, imagine, the frustration, pain and helplessness that an infertile couple must feel. Imagine there is nothing you can do on your own to have a baby. The infertility treatments have failed and the doctors have done all they can do to help your situation...all seems hopeless. Could you even imagine?

So in becoming a surrogate, you give the gift of life to parents who are unable to do so themselves.  

If you are motivated by any or all of these reasons, then becoming a surrogate may be a wonderful opportunity. As a surrogate, you possess the unique ability to have a miraculous transform on another family.

You can be their Little Blessing!

Become a Surrogate

Infertility Answers

Surrogacy Blog 101

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What is Surrogacy?

Surrogacy is a contractual agreement between one woman (the surrogate) who is willing and able to carry a pregnancy for an infertile woman (intended parent) who is unable, for whatever reason, to carry a pregnancy to term.

These reasons vary from woman to woman, but here are a few.  Inability for embryo to implant, repeated miscarriages, hysterectomy or other disorders associated with the uterus, blood pressure issues or other conditions which would pose serious health risks for them to carry a pregnancy.  Surrogacy is a unique way for a woman  not only to help an infertile couple on their journey to parenthood, but to provide monetary gain for her family.  

There are two different types of surrogacy to familiarize yourself with:

Traditional Surrogacy is when a woman (surrogate) uses her own eggs to achieve a pregnancy, whether it be through artificial insemination or IVF (in-vitro fertilization) which would be necessary if the surrogate has undergone a tubal ligation.  In this case, the child would be biologically related to the surrogate.

Gestational Surrogacy is when an embryo is transfered into the surrogate. Generally the egg is either from the Intended Mother or an egg donor and the sperm from the husband.  There is no biological relation between the surrogate and the child.  

Although Traditional Surrogacy is still widely established and a common practice, we tend to gravitate toward and encourage Gestational Surrogacy. Choosing which route to take is one of the most important and earliest decisions to make about your surrogacy journey.

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What is the Criteria for Becoming a Surrogate?

What is the Criteria for Becoming a Surrogate?

Surrogates committed to Little Blessings Surrogacy Consultants are pre-screened with the following criteria in mind. We also have carefully considered a huge range of variables in making these decisions.

~Be between 19-35 depending of health
~Have prior children with no complications during pregnancy or birth
~Have regular periods
~Have no history of any genetically or sexually transmitted diseases
~Have no history of any serious or ongoing medical conditions
~Never had a positive AIDS or HIV test
~Have reliable transportation
~Be a non-smoker and live in a smoke free household
~Never taken recreational drugs
~Be average weight for her height- BMI under 30
~Be able to withstand injections and fertility medications
~Be committed to being a surrogate. This includes being available to attend medical office appointments during treatment, cycle and pregnancy. Keeping the agency and the intended parents updated with current contact information, and once there is a confirmation of pregnancy, speaking with the couple at least once a week.
~Complete a lengthy application and submit photographs of yourself and your children, which is reviewed by Little Blessings and held for possible matching with intended parents who are clients of Little Blessings.

If you are within this criteria and you are interested in becoming a surrogate, we would love for you to visit Little Blessings and begin the process by filling out our initial screening application.

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