Stupid Cancer and Circle Surrogacy Host “Family Building after Cancer” Group Meet-Up

Circle Surrogacy and Stupid Cancer team up to educate cancer survivors about family-building through surrogacy and egg donation. The informal information session and group discussion will be led by Circle’s outreach coordinator, Jen Rachman, who is a cancer survivor and parent through the process. Attendees will receive an overview of the surrogacy process and have a chance to ask questions and share stories.

Big Stupid Cancer

Please note that spaced is limited. Light refreshments and fare will be served.

What’s New at Circle? Our Team Approach

Agency Update If you’re an intended parent, surrogate, or egg donor, you may have likely heard about our recent shift from having program coordinators guide your journey to being assigned a program coordination team. So what’s this new team approach all about? Just that: A team of experts who can provide more support throughout your surrogacy.

With this new model, every intended parent will have not only a program coordinator, but also a more experienced program manager on their case. This system is designed to strengthen our program in many ways. First, we have hired additional staff to better manage the number of surrogacies at our  agency. Second, there will now be two people familiar with each journey. Therefore, if either the program coordinator or program manager is away, there will be a back-up person available. Third, should Circle hire additional staff, the tiered approach allows new team members to train and help on cases with more direct supervision.

Have questions? Reach out to your PC team at any time for clarification. They’d be happy to schedule a Skype or phone call to go over any questions you may have. At this time, we are truly excited about the new team approach as well as the ability to offer intended parents back-up and support at all times.

For a full explanation of what the PC team does, read The Program Coordination Team.

 

Your Sibling Surrogacy: 5 Things to Consider

sibling surrogacy To help ensure that a sibling surrogacy is as rewarding as your prior one(s), it’s important to manage expectations of the surrogacy process. Remember that no two surrogacies are the same. If you take anything away from this blog post, let it be that!

Want more insight? If so, here are five pointers we give intended parents who plan on returning for a sibling surrogacy.

1. Don’t become overconfident. The possibility of complications increases if parties become inattentive or refrain from reviewing key factors, such as insurance and legal issues. With that said, we encourage all of our intended parents to keep an open mind.

2. Accept that the outcome is out of your control (like it was the first time). Certain elements are out of our (and your) control. A surrogate may not respond to the medications, or a flight may be delayed. Remember, surrogacy is a human experience for everyone involved. 

Continue reading “Your Sibling Surrogacy: 5 Things to Consider” »

State Spotlight: Surrogacy in Massachusetts

Surrogacy in Massachusetts Circle is dedicated to informing intended parents and surrogates as much as possible about surrogacy, including the state laws addressing the practice.

Here we break down the legal framework on assisted reproduction in Massachusetts—our home state!

Favorable Law
Massachusetts statutes don’t directly address surrogacy agreements. But a number of cases from the state’s highest court have treated surrogacy favorably. Finalizing Massachusetts surrogacy arrangements is typically done by pre-birth order, which allows the surrogate and intended parent complete all necessary paperwork before the birth even occurs. Some intended parents will require a post-birth second-parent or stepparent adoption. In either case, surrogates sign all necessary documents and generally won’t ever need to appear in court.

Massachusetts was the first state in the country to allow same-sex marriage and its track record on family building options for gay couples is equally positive. Gay couples can have both their names on a Massachusetts birth certificate—whether through a pre-birth order or an adoption.

Medical Coverage and Care
Massachusetts has some of the best hospitals in the world, including two of U.S. News & World Report’s Top-Ranked Hospitals for Gynecology. Massachusetts also mandates maternity coverage for insurance plans.

To learn even more about surrogacy in Massachusetts, click here.

 

Supreme Court Denies Review of Several Cases, Marriage Equality Moves Forward

The U.S. Supreme Court denied seven petitions for review of pro-marriage equality decisions from five states this morning. As a result, same-sex couples in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin should be able to marry soon. The addition of those five states brings the total of states that allow same-sex marriage to 24 and the District of Columbia.

The decision by the Supreme Court not to grant review of the petitions means decisions from the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeals will go into effect. There is some analysis that suggests that other states in those districts will now be subject to the same rulings. That could bring marriage equality to the following states: Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, and Oklahoma in the Tenth Circuit; Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia in the Fourth Circuit; and Wisconsin and Indiana, in the Seventh Circuit.

The story is still developing. We will continue to monitor it and update this page.

Ireland Drops Surrogacy Legislation Plans

Irish surrogacy law The latest version of a plan that would overhaul family law in Ireland no longer addresses surrogacy, according to the Irish Times. The original proposal was published earlier this year by the former Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, and had included provisions on surrogacy arrangements and children born through surrogacy.

The current Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, explained the change and noted the subject of surrogacy is being evaluated by the country’s Supreme Court in a decision expected next month. That decision will be the result of an appeal of an earlier High Court decision that allowed genetic parents to be registered on the birth certificates and recognized as the legal parents of their twins born through surrogacy.

Fitzgerald also noted that more consultation needed to be concluded before surrogacy legislation could proceed. Her predecessor, Alan Shatter, believes that removing the surrogacy provisions from the proposed legislation is a mistake.

While the legislative plan no longer includes surrogacy, it does allow same-sex civil partners and cohabiting couples who have been living together for at least three years to adopt a child. Same-sex marriage is currently not legal in Ireland.

Another provision of the proposal would ban the use of anonymous sperm or egg donation in Ireland and require clinics and hospitals to report the details of the donors to a national register. In the United Kingdom, all donors are identifiable and have been for the past nine years. Any child born from a donation that occurred after April 1, 2005, can request the name and last known address of the donor once he or she reaches the age of 18.

Circle Surrogacy last offered consultations and an information session to Irish intended parents in March of this year. During our time in Dublin, Circle’s Legal Director, Dean Hutchison, appeared on Irish national television to debate surrogacy. We also contributed a letter to the editor of the Irish Times.

We’ll continue to monitor developments on surrogacy and gamete donation in Ireland and post them on our blog.

To learn more about pursuing surrogacy in the United States, download our free information guide here.

photo credit: nathangibbs via photopin cc

Explaining Surrogacy to My Children (and Intended Parents)

parent through surrogacy My name is Nancy Weatherby, and I am fortunate enough to be a mom to two beautiful children born through the gestational surrogacy process.  I am also an Outreach Coordinator at Circle Surrogacy.

Many intended parents who contact me to learn about the process of surrogacy are concerned about how they will explain their journey to their children later down the road. While I cannot speak in a professional manner to this question (I am not a licensed social worker or mental health provider), I thought it might be helpful to share my personal experience on the matter.

What has worked for my family, simply put, is transparency. We never felt like we needed to consult with a child psychologist or draft a detailed plan on how and when to inform them. Instead, we chose to make it a non-issue – meaning it was never kept a secret or hidden from our children. It was always part of their birth stories from day one, and photos of the joyous occasions can be found all around the house.

Our kids know how they came to be, and we continue to maintain close relationships with our gestational carriers, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a mom thanks to the unselfish acts of kindness bestowed upon us by our surrogates.

For those interested, there are several great children’s books on the subject of surrogacy, which many people find helpful when they are explaining their children’s birth stories:

Continue reading “Explaining Surrogacy to My Children (and Intended Parents)” »

Packing Suggestions for Delivery Day

surrogate delivery day Around the 30-week mark of your surrogate’s pregnancy, you’ll want to start preparing for the big day. And come delivery day, you’ll want to have all the essentials in tow. Here we offer packing pointers for your surrogate’s delivery day. Please remember that these are only suggestions! You can also check in with your surrogate to see what she recommends bringing.

For the Hospital:
a) Your birth plan, prepared with the surrogate and her OBGYN
b) ID (driver’s license for domestic parents, passport for international parents)
c) Insurance information (if the baby will be placed immediately on your insurance after birth)
d) Pediatrician’s contact information
e) Any hospital or legal paperwork you have been instructed to bring
f) DNA testing, if applicable
g) Cash for parking and change for vending machines
h) Going-home outfit for the baby(ies)
i) Receiving blanket

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Frequently Asked Questions about the SPAR Program for Surrogates

SPAR surrogate mother by Kristi, former SPAR surrogate

It has been six months since I’ve had a c-section, delivering twins to a gay, HIV-positive international couple in the SPAR program. Where has the time gone?! I have seen countless pictures and videos of these angels several times a week, close to daily. Excessive? Maybe, but our connection has not stopped, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon.

During the last six months, the curiosity of others in regards to my surrogacy has also not stopped. Sometimes, I even have the “pinch me I’m dreaming” feeling about the entire experience. Did I really help create a family for two men who were complete strangers to me at the start of all this?

To help assuage people’s concerns and address any concerns about the program, I’ve listed some questions I’m commonly asked about my experience as a surrogate for an HIV+ couple.

Q: How does the SPAR process work in layman’s terms?
A: I am not a doctor, and don’t pretend to be. After having a conversation with Dr. Kiessling from Bedford Lab, which is something every carrier for SPAR will have the opportunity to do, I learned about the process. I had no idea that not every semen sample contains the HIV virus. Bedford Lab then takes these negative samples and puts them through a washing cycle. For the full process, click here.

Continue reading “Frequently Asked Questions about the SPAR Program for Surrogates” »

What’s the Hold Up? Why breastfeeding and IMPLANON may put you on hold as a surrogate applicant.

medium_2127063197 I’m currently breastfeeding but plan on self-weaning. Why do I have to wait to move forward with my surrogacy?

It is typically recommended that a gestational surrogate who is breastfeeding stop doing so at least one month before undergoing an IVF treatment cycle whereby an embryo is transferred into her uterus.

The process of breastfeeding induces the secretion of certain hormones, including prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin induces amenorrhea, or lack of ovulation and periods. Timing during an IVF cycle is critical, and doctors need to synchronize a surrogate’s menstruation with that of the egg producer, hence the need to know when the surrogate is getting her period. Also, elevated levels of prolactin associated with breastfeeding might have a deleterious effect on implantation, although we don’t have strong data to support it.

Finally, the hormone oxytocin, released as a result of breastfeeding, causes uterine contractions, which in turn could be harmful to the implantation process when an embryo is trying to attach to the lining of the uterus.

What about IMPLANON? I was told I can’t move forward until I stop using this form of birth control and return to my natural menstrual cycle.

IMPLANON is a hormonal contraceptive that slowly releases a form of progesterone. It prevents pregnancy in several ways. One way is by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. But more important, IMPLANON also changes the lining of your uterus. During in vitro fertilization, the uterine lining has to be in perfect synchrony with the growing embryo. If this is altered in any way, such as the premature secretion of progesterone produced by IMPLANON, the embryo will fail to implant.

photo credit: fikirbaz via photopin cc