Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Risks of International Surrogacy

I admit that while I've been busy settling into my life in Colorado, surrogacy was not on my mind much.  So when I began viewing surrogacy news this week, I was fairly horrified at all the things that have been going on in Thailand.  (here, here and here)  Needless to say, the Thai government has started cracking down on surrogacy in will what will likely end in the commercial surrogacy industry being shut down completely.  Meanwhile, many parents and their new children have been barred from leaving the country.

I think for a lot of hopeful parents, going to a third world country can seem like an attractive option because of the cost savings.  But there is a lot to be said for choosing to have your children where both the baby and surrogate will have access to good medical care, and where there is a long and stable history for surrogacy, with laws and regulations to back up the rights of the intended parents as well as the surrogates.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I'm Back!

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost 4 months since my last post!  So much has happened since April.

In early April, I accepted a perfect job in Denver that practically fell into my lap.  We moved to Denver in mid-May, and I started working a week later.  About 2 weeks before we moved, we amazingly got an offer on the house.  For the last two months, we have been living with my parents while we waited for our house to close and looked for a new house in Denver.  The market here is tough.  We lost three houses in bidding wars before we finally found our home.  But we finally moved in two weeks ago and are starting to feel more settled into our new lives in Denver.

My surrotwins turned a year old on July 31!  It's hard to believe that it's been a whole year since they were born.  I received some pictures of them on their first birthday, and they sure are cuties!  I can tell that they are well loved and spoiled by their parents.

As far as the future, we have decided we would like to have another baby of our own before doing another surrogacy.  We are planning on taking a well deserved vacation later this year, and we will start trying for a baby shortly after.  So excited to see what the future holds for our little family!

Monday, April 21, 2014

What Reasons are "Good Enough" For Using a Surrogate?

Elle Magazine posted this article regarding women who choose to use surrogates to carry their children not because of a medical need, but as they put it, as "social" need.  They are worried pregnancy will hurt their career, their body, etc.

This is one of those articles that was put out there specifically to create more controversy about surrogacy, but I do think it brought up some good points and made me stop and think about whether I'd be willing to carry for someone like "Mari."  For me, the answer is a resounding no.

I understand that some people are very career driven, and that their absence from their field can be dangerous because they may be irrelevant by the time they return.  That's fine.  But in my opinion, those people shouldn't be having kids.  It seems that so many people have forgotten that kids are not a commodity that you simply acquire as a next step after getting married.  Children require your time, your love, and your presence throughout life.  You make sacrifices for them from the day they are conceived until the day you die.  If someone is worried that a 9 month pregnancy will hurt their job too much, how are they going to react when their kid has the stomach flu on the day of a big meeting, or they have to be up three times a night for a week soothing a teething infant?  Will they just hire someone to deal with those issues too?  Are they going to be willing and able to take maternity leave from their jobs?  Will they have enough time for their children to be there to celebrate their successes, soothe them in their sorrows, and just let them know they are loved?  Pregnancy is one of the smallest sacrifices you make in parenthood.  The hard part comes after they your baby is born.

Another thing about this rubs me the wrong way, and that is how she thinks she will just "hire someone" to carry her child in the same way she would hire someone to clean her house.  By saying she doesn't have enough time for pregnancy, it implies that she thinks surrogates are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to do.  Surrogates make many sacrifices - both personal and professional - to carry a baby for another.  To equate that to someone who provides any other service, even for compensation, ignores the fact that we are sacrificing time with our children, taking time off from our jobs, and putting our health and our LIVES on the line so that they can become parents.  And more importantly, the reason most surrogates do what they do is because they want to feel like they helped create or complete a family that wouldn't have come to be otherwise.

Now I realize that many of the IMs out there are this woman, fast forwarded 5 or 10 years.  In their 30s they were too busy with their careers to be ready to have children, now that they are finally ready they are in their 40s and it's too late.  Are these women really any more deserving of having children than the woman in this article?  After all, it's their fault they waited so long.

I'm sure this answer is different for each person, but for me, I do think they are more deserving. Why?  Because they are ready to have kids.  They are to the point where they want children more than anything else, and are willing to do whatever it takes to get them here.  And I think that woman, even though she may be considered "too old" by some to be a parent, is going to be a much better mother than she would have been if she had had children 10 years ago, when she wasn't ready to make them her first priority.

That said, this is America, and people are free to do whatever they want.  If this woman wants to hire a surrogate, I'm sure she'll find a match who doesn't have any problem with her chosen path to parenthood.  That's what's so great about this surrogacy thing, there is a match for everyone, and it helps all types of people achieve parenthood!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Stitch Fix #3 - Some Good, Some Bad

After waiting with much anticipation, I received my third Stitch Fix earlier this week.  I had been looking forward to it for weeks.  I had finally broken down and joined Pinterest to create a fashion board and link it to my profile, and I had been busy pinning other Stitch Fix pieces I liked from people's blog posts.

When I opened my box, I experienced two disappointments right off the bat.  First, despite that fact that I had specifically requested my stylist from my two previous fixes, I was assigned someone new.  Also, when I had requested my fix, I had specifically requested a skirt, and there was none to be found in my box.  Nor was there any reference in my stylist's note as to why I didn't receive one, which led me to wonder if my request had been read at all.  That said, my new stylist still did a good job picking out some nice items.

1) Collective Concepts Esten Button-Up Sleeveless Blouse ($54)

My first impression of this blouse was good.  It was a beautiful color and a nice, light material.  However, when I put it on, it looked very tent-like on me.  It also washed out my already pale skin.  Plus it was dry clean only, despite the fact that I had requested no dry clean items in my profile.  Status: Returned

2) Pomelo Corinna Striped Dolman Top ($48)

I really liked this shirt when I pulled it out of the box.  I don't have a lot of casual clothes that are also nice, since I usually gravitate toward spending my money on business attire for my work place.  As a result, I spend most of my off hours in sweatshirts or T shirts.  This one had a nice comfy feel and look, was a pretty color, and make me look more put together than I normally do on the weekends.  However, once I put it on I noticed that it was starting to come apart at the seams on both sleeves.  Sad face.

I emailed customer service to see if they had a replacement they could send me, since otherwise I really liked it.  They got back to me within a few hours to say that they didn't have any others in stock, but that if I thought it could be repaired, they would offer me a 15% discount if I wanted to keep it.  I debated for a couple days, but then when I put it on again, I noticed that some of the stripes didn't match up at the seams.  Overall I decided it was just not well made, and decided to send it back.  Status: Reluctantly Returned

3) Just Black Kristy Skinny Jean ($78)

These jeans are the same brand I bought (and still love!) from my first fix.  Like the last pair, they fit like a glove.  However, these were "ankle" jeans.  At first I was very put off by this.  As someone who has trouble ever finding jeans that are long enough, it just seems wrong to intentionally buy short jeans.  However, my husband thought they looked great on me - although I think he was more focused on my butt than my ankles. ;)  I went back and forth on these, and slowly started to come around to the idea of jeans short enough to show off cute shoes.  But eventually decided I just didn't feel confident enough in them to keep them.  Maybe if they had been another inch shorter, they would have looked like true ankle jeans.  As they were, they sort of just looked like they were regular length jeans that were too short for me.  Actually, I think the length looks better in the picture than it felt like it did when I had them on.  Maybe I should have kept them?  Status: Returned

4) Pomelo Carla Contrast Trim Drape-Front Cardigan ($54)

This cardigan was one of the items I had pinned to my Pinterest board, so I was super excited to see it in my box.  My stylist noted that she was including it because I had pinned it, so it's nice to know that she did take the time to check out the board I spent a lot of time creating.  I loved this.  SO comfy.  It's a lighter cardigan but still fairly warm.  I think it will be perfect for chilly spring days or summer nights.  The sleeves came buttoned up, but you can also roll them down and they were nice and long.  I will be getting a lot of wear out of this one.  For those interested, I do think it's worth noting that this is the only item I have received in all three fixes that was not made in the US or Canada (it is from China).  Even the other item from Pomelo was made in the US.  Status: Kept!

5) Vanessa Mooney Davenport Teardrop Nugget Earrings ($42)

These earrings were not my style at all.  They were way too big for me, about the length of my thumb.  Even if they had been my style, I would not have paid $42 for them.  After receiving these I decided to change my profile to reflect that I didn't want to be sent any more earrings.  I just don't like earrings enough to pay Stitch Fix prices for them.  Status: Returned

Overall, I am very happy I did another Stitch Fix.  I was a bit disappointed with the change in stylist, because it felt like a less personal experience this time.  But I still got some great choices of clothing and was able to try out some ankle jeans, which I would never have considered in the store.  I will plan on doing another fix, probably in the early summer.

Check out my previous fixes:
Stitch Fix 1
Stitch Fix 2

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

New Fertility Advance: Altering Mitochondria

This article is not directly surrogacy related, but it caught my eye when I was browsing the New York Times and I thought it was pretty fascinating.  A doctor has successfully found a way for women with mitochondrial genetic mutations to avoid passing those genetic defects onto their children.  The method involves combining the mother's egg with parts of a donor egg to leave out the mother's mitochondria.  Therefore, the resulting embryo actually contains DNA from three people - the mother, the father, and an egg donor.

Obviously, as with most scientific fertility advances, this discovery has caused lots of debate about the ethics/morality.  This procedure has not been approved for clinical trials at this point, but even if it is I'm not sure how many practical applications it will ever have.  It seems that if nothing else, the cost would probably be prohibitive for most people. 

Regardless of where you come down on the ethics of the issue, I find it amazing how many things they are able to do with science these days. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Push for the Legality of Surrogacy in New York

I saw this cute article and had to share.  Currently, compensated surrogacy is illegal in New York, which equates it with baby selling.  Now, support is growing to change the laws, primarily because of surrogacy's increasing popularity with gay couples as a way to build a family.  It's nice to see surrogacy positively portrayed in the media from time to time.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Stitch Fix Review #2

I know that fashion has nothing to do with surrogacy, but my first Stitch Fix review post had the second most views of my entire blog (right behind the babies' birth announcement).  So I figured I'd update with the results of my second fix!

Wondering what the heck I'm talking about?  You can see the review of my first fix, with a complete description of Stitch Fix here.

I counted down the days until my package arrived, and once I received the shipping notification I stalked FedEx's website until I saw it was waiting at my door for me.  The package arrived a little beat up (apparently FedEx does not have the same reverence for Stitch Fix as I do), but inside everything was packaged perfectly.

I opened my note from my stylist, Laurie.  I loved her styling so much last month that I requested her again, so I was super excited to see her name on my note.  She is the best!  I could tell she really reviewed all my feedback last time and took the time to really focus on things that would work well for me.  Then she explained why she chose them for me, and she not only told me how they could be combined together, but also which pieces would go well with the items I kept from my last fix!  I love the attention to detail.  I thought about not sharing her name for fear that too many other people would start requesting her and she would be too busy for me next time around, but I figured she deserved a shout out!

Then I checked out my items.  I was so happy to see a box full of COLOR!  Here's what I got (by the way, I apologize for the bleary eyes and bad lighting - it was after 9:00 pm and I had to force my husband away from the Olympics to snap a few pictures):

1) 41Hawthorn Rowson Colorblock Striped Sweater ($58)

From reviewing way too many other Stitch Fix reviews, I had seen this sweater several times in several different colors.  I liked it on other people, so I specifically asked for it in my fix.  I was so excited to see it in there, and in yellow - my favorite color!  Once I put it on, though, I was underwhelmed.  There wasn't really anything wrong with it, but it just wasn't super flattering.  I didn't think the shade of yellow went that great with my hair color, and it was a little baggier in the midsection than I generally like.  If it had been $20 I probably would have kept it.  But at $58, I would have really had to love it.  Status: Returned

2) 19 Cooper Clemency Diamond Print Tab-Sleeve Tunic ($68)

The piece I was most excited to try on in my fix.  I loved the print, and I had requested a tunic style top.  Once I put it on, I really wanted to love it, but it didn't do that much for me.  I tried it with and without a belt, and with and without a cami underneath, and I just couldn't get myself to love it on my body.  Then I looked at the tag and saw it was dry clean only.  That was the nail in the coffin - back in the box it went.  Status: Returned

3) 41Hawthorn Milano Twist-Front Crew Neck Knit Top ($68)

I wasn't super excited about this top pulling it out of the box, since it was just plain black.  But once I put it on, it was very flattering.  You can't see it all that well in this picture, but I thought the twist in the top helped give the shirt some interest and helped enhance my not-so-big bust.  I liked the length and the sleeves were long enough, which is hard for me to find.  Score!  Status: Kept!

4) Margaret M Kayla Skinny Jean ($98) - also pictured above

Red Jeans!  I loved the color, and I have no colored jeans.  Once I tried them on though, I was a bit disappointed.  First, they were super stretchy, almost more of a jegging than an actual jean.  The "pockets" were fake, and they were a tiny bit too short for me.  They did look good with the high boots and longer top.  But I'm just not willing to cough up almost $100 for jeggings that aren't even a perfect fit.  I did really love the color though, I am going to be on the look out for some red jeans.  Status: Returned

5) 41Hawthorn Amelia Multi Chevron Stripe Scarf ($32)

This was the only thing in my fix that I did not like at first sight.  I really like chevron print things, but I found the colors on this scarf to be very childish.  Then I took it out of the package, and discovered it was one of the softest scarves I have ever felt.  Once I tried it on, it definitely grew on me.  As my stylist pointed out, it would go with the purple dolman top I kept from my last fix, but I didn't really see it going with too much more than that in my closet.  Plus, it was dry clean only.  Dry clean a scarf?  No way.  If this had been under $20, I might have kept it for the softness alone, but this one went back to Stitch Fix as well.  Status: Returned

Even though I only ended up keeping one item this time, I still LOVED my fix!  It is just so fun to get a package in the mail full of goodies picked out just for you by someone who knows what they're doing.  I think my stylist did a great job, and I would have kept a couple more if they had fit me better.  But I was on a bit of a budget this month and I told myself I would only keep something if it was perfect, so the Twist-Front top is the only one that found its way into my closet.  The cost was $68 which was more than I normally want to spend, but I had already paid $20 for the styling fee which got credited toward my purchase, and I had another $25 referral credit, so it only ended up being $23 - not bad at all!  And now I have more money to save for my next fix!

Want to try Stitch Fix yourself?  Check it out here!  Please note: I do not get anything from Stitch Fix to write these reviews, but if you use my referral link to sign up for your first fix I will get a $25 credit toward a future purchase. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ethics of Embryo Screening

I saw this article on the New York Times website today.

The article is not related to surrogacy, but does deal with IVF in general.  My IPs did not choose to PGD test their embryos, but I know that many IPs do.  After hanging around in the surrogacy world for the last couple of years, I have heard of many people, even without known genetic issues, to screen all their embryos for various common diseases and abnormalities (such as trisomies) to be sure they are only transferring embryos that will result in healthy children.  I've also heard of people using PGD to determine the sex of the embryos and decide which to transfer based on that information.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Happy Half Birthday!

I can't believe the twins are six months old today!  The last half year has flown by so fast.

I received a few pictures of L & O a few days ago and it made my whole week!  They are such handsome little dudes.  That level of cuteness should not even be allowed.  I wish I could show them off on my blog, but their parents value their privacy and I'm honoring their wishes.

As I predicted, my contact with my IPs has been very little over the last several months.  They have made it pretty clear that they do not want an active relationship with me and my family.  At first this made me sad, but I completely respect their decision.  It has just taken me some time to get used to going from being very involved in each others' lives to almost nothing.  The only thing I had requested on my agency's profile when matching was occasional pictures and updates, so it makes me happy that so far my IPs have chosen to honor that request.  From here on out I'm just going to stay in the background and let them take the lead on how much communication they want to have with me.

I wasn't sure how I would feel about my experience in the months following delivery.  I'm glad to say that I don't feel sad or miss the babies.  I do think about them from time to time, and wonder how big they are now and what milestones they are hitting.  I think my first journey was a good learning experience going into my next journey whenever that comes along.  I'm not interested in forcing a relationship with my next IPs that might uncomfortable, but I plan to be a little pickier and work with someone with whom the relationship just forms naturally, and hopefully leads to a less awkward post-birth contact situation.  I'm not expecting to be actively involved in the lives of any future surrobabies, that would just be icing on the cake.  But it would be nice to be able to send a text or email occasionally without feeling like I am bothering them.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Breeders: A Subclass of Women?

"Breeders: A Subclass of Women? shares the stories of four women, and the unexpected consequences and heart-wrenching emotions as they are deprived of their maternal identity and personal autonomy in compensated service to people of greater means."

Sounds like they managed to find four women out of the countless surrogates who had unexpected emotional issues.  Makes me wonder if they sought out people who failed to go through the proper channels to do surrogacy, with medical and psychological screening, as well as an attorney-prepared and reviewed contract.

Also, it's interesting to know that I am part of a "distinct class of commercial provider."

Luckily, it looks like this piece of garbage will not actually be on TV, but if you are interested, "Viewings are scheduled throughout 2014 in numerous locations. Check the schedule at for a screening location near you."