Friday, October 8, 2010

Choosing between Egg Donor and Surrogate

How to cope when they say,“I’m sorry…we’ve done all we can do apart from egg donation or surrogacy".

Article sponsored by Souad Dreyfus of Open Arms Consultants

You’ve tried so hard. You’re overwhelmed and emotionally bankrupt. You’ve spent endless amounts of energy and dollars in your longing to create your family. But tests, time and tears have not produced results, and now you are wondering…what’s next? Do I give up my dream? What about egg donation or surrogacy?

You are not alone.
Stop. Breathe. Step back and know that you are not alone. There are kind, caring professionals who can gently guide you toward your best decision. With your partner, talk to a counselor, find a support group or agency and process this difficult time in a healthy, open way.

Take time out.
Take time for yourself when you have exhausted traditional means of conceiving. Pause before moving to the next step. Pamper your body and soul with a healthy diet, gentle exercise, stress-busting rest and relaxation. Nurture your spirit with quiet prayer, meditation or readings according to your beliefs. Regroup.

Do your homework.
Choosing whether egg donation or surrogacy is right for you requires arming yourself with knowledge, but help is at hand. Websites, organizations and agencies offer information and consulting. Read testimonials of others who have created a family with the help of others. Learn.

Considerations: choosing an egg donor.
If your doctor reports that you need an egg donor, you may grieve about losing the genetic link to your child. Take time to process this loss. Many intended parents choose to focus on the joy of raising a child regardless of physical characteristics. This child will be your family’s treasure…chosen, planned for and delivered with great thoughtfulness.

Working with a reputable egg donor agency or a fertility clinic can be critically important, as they can help find an ideal match from a broad spectrum of donors with various cultural backgrounds and physical characteristics. Egg Donor agencies and fertility clinics often pre-qualify donors with requirements relating to age, health, education and maturity.

One of your biggest decisions will be whether to choose a donor who is anonymous, semi-known or known. An anonymous donor is one you will never meet. A semi-known donor is one who shares limited information. A known donor is friend, relative or even a stranger you have chosen through an agency, but one you will meet within agreed-upon boundaries.

Considerations: choosing a surrogate.
Surrogacy is the act of carrying a child for prospective parents. The child may be genetically theirs, or the egg and sperm may be obtained from donors. Many agencies offer online surrogate matching, and determining whether these agencies are authentic and qualified is the first step. Look for a real address and phone number. Ask if you can contact references.

Once you’ve selected the surrogacy agency, choosing a particular surrogate mother requires careful review of their qualifications (criminal background check, previous delivery records, support system, age, healthy BMI... ) and motives (materialistic, empathy with the infertile wife, the drive to generate parenthood for others...). You’ll speak personally with the candidate. Agencies may arrange conference calls before an actual face-to-face meeting. Be patient, as finding the right surrogate mom is beyond important.

“We were very skeptical,” shared one mother-to-be about her twins’ surrogate. “About 45 seconds into the conversation, we fell in love with her!” The parents soon realized that their surrogate shared values that meshed into their family’s culture. After meeting face-to-face, the mother-to-be said, “It was like it was meant to be! When we hugged, I felt like I was hugging my own sister.” Of course, not every surrogacy results in such kinship, but using a reputable agency’s selective matching process can significantly improve your results.

Are you ready to take the next step?
There’s so much to think about. Take time out. Learn all you can. Contact a reputable agency. And finally, reach deep inside and pull out your secret weapon: women’s intuition. If a voice inside insists on keeping the dream alive of starting your family, then there’s only one thing to do: chase your dreams!

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