How do we deal with the disappointment of not conceiving month after month?

Don’t blame yourself — or each other. If it’s taking you longer to get pregnant than you expected, feeling disappointed is natural. Building a family and parenting are, for most people, fundamental parts of life, and when they don’t come easily, it can make you feel as if something is wrong with you.

Realize and accept that you and your partner will have some ups and downs as you work at getting pregnant. For starters, talk to each other and seek out the advice of other couples who are still trying.

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If your life revolves around a strict regimen of basal body temperature monitoring and scheduled sex, consider taking a break. Make an effort to revive the love and fun that brought you together in the first place. Anecdotal stories abound of couples who conceived during vacation or when they just stopped trying so hard.

If certain gatherings or celebrations are too painful for you — all your siblings had babies two years ago, say, or you keep getting invited to baby showers — give yourself permission to avoid them when you’re having a particularly tough time. Going would only be torture.

To avoid hurt feelings, send a gift, advises Alice Domar, a Harvard University Medical School psychologist who specializes in helping couples with infertility. She recommends sending children’s books (you can order them online) to save yourself a potentially upsetting trip to the toy store or baby boutique.

And remember to pursue your other interests — or look for new ones. If you’ve always wanted to learn guitar, do that. If hiking is your thing, make sure you give it a try. Or take a class — painting, dance, or something else that’s always tempted you. Don’t forget, laughter is one of the best healers. See a funny movie, head out to a comedy club, re-read your favorite funny novel. Of course, it if makes you feel better, indulging in a good cry is just fine, too.

Finally, if you’ve been trying for more than a year, you might want to make an appointment with an infertility specialist. Many problems are relatively easy to treat, so you could end up sparing yourself a lot of further disappointment by getting diagnosed.

Common causes of infertility

No one knows for sure how many couples have difficulty conceiving, since some will decide against seeking medical help. In the UK, however, about one couple in seven does turn to doctors for help with getting pregnant.

It makes sense to go to the doctor as a couple when you first seek help with conceiving. Either one of you may have a fertility problem. Sometimes, you may both have a problem without realising.

The main causes of infertility are:

  • Male factors, such as poor quality sperm or ejaculation problems (30 per cent).
  • Ovulatory problems in the woman (25 per cent).
  • Tubal damage in the woman (20 per cent).

Endometriosis is the cause of female infertility in about five per cent of cases, as it can cause both ovulation problems and tubal damage. Other less common problems can also affect fertility, such as uterine abnormalities and problems with the lining of the uterus. Sometimes there are repeated problems at the fertilization stage or with the embryo which leave couples childless, too.

In about 40 per cent of cases problems are found in both the man and the woman. For about 25 per cent of couples the cause of infertility remains unexplained.

What causes ovulation and egg problems?

There are several different types of ovulation problem. The most common is triggered by polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can cause irregular ovulation or even no ovulation. The condition is caused by hormonal imbalances.

Possible symptoms

  • absent or infrequent periods
  • abnormally light or heavy bleeding
  • weight gain and extra body hair growth

Ovulation and egg production can be caused by problems with the pituitary gland and can also be affected by your age. Your egg quality starts to deteriorate from the age of 30 years, becoming more marked from the age of 35.

Possible solutions

  • fertility drugs
  • in vitro fertilisation (IVF)
  • the use of donor eggs

What can cause blocked fallopian tubes?

Your two fallopian tubes provide safe passage for your eggs to travel from your ovaries to your uterus. The following can lead to blockages in your fallopian tubes:

  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • endometriosis
  • scar tissue, adhesions and damaged tube ends (fimbria)

Even if you ovulate regularly, having blocked tubes means your egg can’t get to your uterus, and your partner’s sperm can’t get to your egg.

Possible symptoms

You may have no symptoms at all. Or, depending on the cause, you may have painful periods, deep pain during sex and general pain in your pelvis.

Possible solutions

The main treatment is usually IVF. However, if the blockage is only in a small area, it may be possible to clear it with a minor operation.

Infections such as chlamydia tend to damage the whole length of the tube. This means it’s harder to repair by surgery. Your doctor can carry out a laparoscopy, which is a keyhole operation to look inside your pelvic area and at your fallopian tubes. This will help your doctor to advise the best course of treatment.

A less common cause of fertility problems is fibroids. If you’re under 30 you may have no symptoms at all. Otherwise, you may have painful and heavy periods, and a feeling of fullness in your belly. Treatments to help you conceive are not always needed, but include hormones (gonadotrophins) or surgery to remove the fibroid.

What can cause problems for men?

In men, infertility can be the result of a blockage in:

  • the coiled tubes which store and carry sperm from the testes (epididymis) or
  • the two tubes that carry sperm from the epididymis ready for ejaculation (vas deferens)

Other causes include:

  • poor sperm quality
  • sperm not moving well (poor motility)
  • not having enough (or any) sperm to begin with

Possible symptoms

There may be no symptoms at all, unless it’s something obvious, like an erection or ejaculation problem. Certain injuries may cause pain in the testicles. And some conditions, such as swollen veins in the scrotum (varicoceles) or untreated undescended testicles, may give a clue that there’s a problem.

Possible solutions

Just as women can undergo surgery to open blocked fallopian tubes, men may have an operation to clear their blocked tubes. Depending on the problem, fertility drugs may boost sperm production. Other drugs can help retrograde ejaculation, which is when sperm shoots into the man’s bladder instead of his penis. Or healthy sperm can be chosen for a course of intra-uterine insemination (IUI).

However, the option that has become most popular for the treatment of male fertility problems is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

ICSI involves injecting sperm directly into the egg as part of an IVF treatment. The use of donor sperm remains the best solution for some couples. However, the number of ICSI treatments has been overtaking donor insemination treatments.

How can we pinpoint the cause?

As a couple, you’ll need to have a full assessment, including hormone tests. These tests will hopefully give you answers about why you’re not conceiving. The results will also help your specialist to advise the best course of treatment.

Trying to Get Pregnant? Stress May Be Your Worst Enemy

High stress levels in women can reduce their probability of conception.

In the study, 400 women (age 40 and younger) recorded their perceived daily stress levels on a scale of 1-4. Factors such as lifestyle, behavioral factors, menstrual characteristics, contraceptive use, and intercourse frequency were included in the study.

Women who reported feeling very stressed during their ovulatory window were approximately 40% less likely to conceive during that month compared to less stressful months. Similarly, women who reported feeling generally more stressed than other women were about 45% less likely to conceive.

On the other hand, the study also found that women who conceived experienced an increase in stress at the end of the month in which they became pregnant. However, epidemiologists hypothesize that most likely the increased stress was the result of changes in hormone levels caused by pregnancy itself.

The findings of the study reinforce the need to encouraging stress management techniques for aspiring and expecting mothers. It is recommended that women who want to conceive should take active steps towards stress reduction by exercising, meditating, enrolling in a stress management program or talking to a health professional.

Telling your Child about their Birth via Surrogacy

Many parents find the conversation about birth and where babies come from to be an uncomfortable discussion to have with their children. This topic may be difficult to talk about at first, but telling the truth and being honest with your children is always the best solution.

If your child’s birth story involves surrogacy, the conversation can be more overwhelming. However, surrogacy is an important part of your child’s story. Many people agree that it is important to be honest with how your child was born, as surrogacy is a significant part of them.

There are many reasons to talk to your child openly and honestly about surrogacy. Here are some tips for introducing and discussing this topic with your loved one.

  • A heavy burden is placed on intended parents, as well as friends and family members to conceal the surrogacy story
  • Lying or failing to tell the truth about your child’s story can create issues of shame, guilt and distrust, as well as a negative view of surrogacy
  • Lastly, donor-conceived children risk receiving inaccurate medical information if they don’t have access to their donor’s family medical history

When and How to tell your Child’s Surrogacy Story

Many intended parents recognize the importance of explaining surrogacy to their child. The hard part however is how to approach the topic.

Some put off this conversation until their child is old enough to understand. However, waiting to tell them can have negative consequences. It is recommended that you talk about your surrogacy experience with your child immediately. Very young children are often the most open-minded and are able to process this information.

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Preparing to Talk about Surrogacy

Intended parents sometimes need help to tell the story in an age-appropriate way. Start preparing to tell their story even before they are born. Gather information about the surrogacy process and your personal journey with it. Take pictures and document the process of the pregnancy. This way your child will have visuals and understand everyone that was involved in creating their life.

When your baby is born, begin telling them their story as an infant, even though they may not understand. The more practice you have telling it, the more comfortable you will be when your child is ready to really hear their story.

Steps of the Typical IVF Cycle

Actually, the procedure of IVF (in vitro fertilization) conditionally consists of 3 stages, namely: ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval and the last one is embryo fertilization and implantation. However, these stages can be divided into steps that are needed for successfully conceiving, pregnancy and birth of a healthy child.

The theory of the IVF cycle seems simple. But in the reality one IVF cycle takes 4-6 weeks. In other words, a woman loses 4-6 weeks of her life. Therefore, it is very important to the couple who have dared at IVF have clear idea what to expect and are able to spend their time for different tests, procedures, monitoring, etc.

Typical IVF Cycle

In fact, IVF cycle differs from the usual menstrual cycle with that things that there is no ovulation during IVF. It does not occur, because the doctor removes the egg for artificial insemination. The embryos which are fertilized in the laboratory, are no different from the ordinary embryos.

The embryos which are fertilized in the laboratory, are no different from the ordinary embryos

Here is an approximate cycle of IVF. Of course, each cycle is different and depends on the nature and causes of infertility, hormone levels and many other factors. But this list will help you clearly understand what to expect.

  1. Woman’s menstrual cycle.

IVF cycle focused on the female menstrual cycle and depends on it. Beginning of the menstrual cycle is the beginning of your IVF. At this time, the patient begins to use oral contraceptives and / or Lupron. This allows the doctor to control the level of hormones in the blood and to predict the timing.

Lupron is used as an injection to complete the pre-stimulation ovarian suppression. These injections are done every day for about two weeks. Contraceptives should be taken from two to four weeks.

  1. Baseline.

The proper baseline is very important thing when it comes to IVF. It means, that there are no any large cysts in the ovary, hormone level of some hormones is low, and your uterine lining is thin, clear and ready to begin a new cycle. Violation of these conditions significantly reduces the chances of pregnancy. Therefore, before starting a cycle of IVF doctor assigns a hormonal treatment to eliminate these problems.

  1. Ovarian stimulation.

Well, your hormones and ovaries are in sync, and it’s just the time for ovarian stimulation process. To do this, the doctor uses hormone (or hormone combination) that contribute to the emergence of multiple eggs in the follicles during one cycle. Name and dosage of drugs depends on the diagnosis and situation.

The use of hormonal drugs entails a number of side effects. Therefore, at this time the doctor carefully monitors the health of the woman and helps her to cope with the emotional rollercoaster.

The ovarian stimulation process takes about 8-12 days. During this time, the condition of your follicles and eggs into them is controlled via ultrasound.

  1. Egg retrieval.

At this stage the timing is very important. You must come to the doctor in 36 hours after HCG injection: it’s time for egg retrieval. It is mildly invasive procedure, so patient needs anesthesia. For retrieving a doctor uses ultrasound directed follicular aspiration (UDFA).  Due to it the doctor can remove ripe eggs delicately.

  1. Egg fertilizing.

Within a few hours after the egg retrieval specialist fertilizes them with sperm of the partner or donor sperm. Three days later embryos are checked for viability. In 24-48 hours after it results will be known. If one (or more) of the embryos meet the necessary requirements, the doctor determines the day of their transfer into the uterus.

  1. Embryo transfer.

So we have come almost to the end of our road.

This procedure does not need anesthesia. The doctor uses a thin, tiny tube to transfer your five-day embryo into the uterus. As a rule, the doctor uses a single embryo, because multiple pregnancy implies great risk.

The embryos remaining after the procedure can be frozen for later use.

  1. Pregnancy testing.

At this stage, the main thing is to stay calm. During the first week after the transfer your embryo should be implanted in the uterus. If this happens, the body starts to produce a special hormone, showing that pregnancy has come. Approximately two weeks after the transfer of the patient makes a pregnancy test.

Tests can be carried out on days 10 – 14: they need to make sure that the implantation takes place safely.

If pregnancy has come, you can be designated progesterone to maintain it. This hormone reduces the likelihood of miscarriage. If the test is negative, you can do IVF again: the chance of pregnancy increases with each subsequent cycle.

Getting pregnant after 35: Everything you need to know

Getting pregnant after 35 years of age is becoming much more common than it used to be but women can still be concerned about the risks for mother and baby.

Egg production peaks between the ages of 24-26 and so having a baby at 35 or over can be an uphill struggle as your natural fertility has already taken a dramatic decrease.

We spoke to Fertility and Birth Expert at Great Vine, Susie Gower to talk us through what you need to know.

Susie believes that taking hold of your life, keeping healthy emotionally and physically then you have every chance of having a happy and healthy pregnancy after the age of 35.

“You can’t control your fertility but you can control your food, you can control your health and you can control your stress levels so it’s about controlling the things that you can to help boost what you can’t,” she says.

So what are the risks of having a baby after 35 and how can you keep them to a minimum? We’ve looked into all this plus how to boost your chances of conceiving and how to keep you and your baby healthy throughout your pregnancy. So for all the advice on getting pregnant after 35 read on…

What you can do to increase your chances of conceiving:

A woman’s fertility naturally decreases with age and so getting pregnant after 35 is not going to be as easy as if you were in your twenties, which is the natural peak of your fertility.

However even though chances of getting pregnant after 35 are going to decrease it does not necessarily mean that it won’t happen or that you will even have trouble at all.

Susie says the main thing that prohibits women over the age of 35 from getting pregnant is the worry and stress of not being able to fall pregnant.

The main thing to do before anything else is to let that go. Susie says: “With anyone over 35 their age can act as a mental and physical block when they are trying to get pregnant.

They can feel like they’ve passed the system and their own stresses and worries can reduce the chance of them conceiving.

But more and more women are having perfectly healthy pregnancies at that age. The main thing they can do is emotionally prepare themselves before addressing any of the physical things.”

The recipe for success is to: “Rest, relax and release,” says Susie. Reducing the levels of stress in your life has a dramatic result on your chances of conceiving so this is the place to start.

Other things that you can do to help yourself conceive are to firstly see a health professional as soon as possible so that they can assess you. They can create a health record that will keep any information about your menstrual cycle, previous pregnancies, and any health problems to make sure that you get the right help that you need as soon as you need.

Your doctor may refer you for certain tests, including a hormonal profile (also called a hormonal panel). This is a simple blood test taken the first to the third day of your menstrual cycle to measure the levels of reproductive hormones, including FSH, estrogen, and luteinizing hormone (LH) in your body. As well as this you can also have another test taken later on in your cycle, around the 21st to the 28th day to have your progesterone levels checked.

You should also be aware of when you are ovulating so that you can make the most of it. You can track your cycle on a calendar yourself or you can also invest in an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) to let you predict your most fertile days.

Seemingly simple, but incredibly important things like quitting smoking if you smoke or cutting out alcohol from your diet can dramatically improve your chance of conceiving. Keeping fit and healthy is also a great way to boost your chances of conceiving.

Eat foods that will boost your endocrine system like things chock full of omega 3, essential fatty acids, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B6 and fruit and veg containing antioxidant vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene.

If you’ve been trying to have a baby for over 6 months and have not had any success then it might be time to see a fertility specialist so that they can work out the best way for you and your partner to move forward.

It is also worth getting your partner’s fertility checked out at this point – it’s not just on you!

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment can be an option for some couples, but the success rates with this treatment also decrease with age so it is worth really talking this through with your partner and the health professional.

What you can do to make sure you have a healthy pregnancy:

If you are pregnant and are over 35, first of all – Congratulations! There are many things that you can do to make sure that your pregnancy is a healthy one.

Susie’s advice is: “When you are pregnant continue what you started when you were trying to conceive because your body will need the same things to create your baby.

Talk to your doctor about medication –
Some forms of over the counter or prescribed medicines are not suitable for pregnant women so once you have got the confirmation that you are pregnant talk to your doctor about any medication that you take.

Go to regular antenatal classes –
Because of the increased risks for pregnant women over the age of 35, it is incredibly important that you attend regular antenatal care. This means that doctors will be able to keep a close eye on you and if any problems do arise they will be able to treat you quickly. Meanwhile, you can get the support and counseling and childcare education that you need.

Maintain a healthy diet –
Don’t eat food that isn’t pasteurized; eat fresh fruit, lots of vegetables and drink lots of water, watch the mineral content of your cravings and where possible, try to go organic.

Exercise –
Susie wouldn’t recommend taking on any new exercises when you’re pregnant, so if you didn’t run before pregnancy, this is not the time to start. Before you think about getting pregnant it might be worth starting yoga classes so that you have a form of exercise that you can do while pregnant.

Keep relaxed –
This can be harder said than done but a happy mother is usually the key to a happy baby so take some time to really pamper yourself during your pregnancy. It’s worth doing things like spending quality time with your partner, reflexology or anything that makes you relaxed and content.

Supplements –
Taking regular supplements are a really good way to keep your baby healthy and boost the levels of serotonin, zinc and folic acid in the body.

Stop smoking/drinking –
Like when you were trying to conceive, smoking is not an option if you want a healthy pregnancy. While some women like to have the occasional alcoholic drink during pregnancy they are strongly advised not to, especially in the first 3 months as this can greatly increase the chances of miscarriage.

After that, women can drink 1-2 units every one or two weeks if they would like but it is uncertain what effects this might have on your baby so it is strongly unadvisable.

The risks:
There is no denying that having a baby after 35 years of age increases the risks from conception to birth as your natural egg reserve has already started to diminish but this does not mean that you will definitely encounter these problems.

The chance of miscarriage increases dramatically over the age of 35 and so in the first trimester of pregnancy it is very important that you see your health adviser regularly so they can help in any way to reduce the risk.

As well as this, there is an increased chance that if you do become pregnant, your baby could be born with a genetic abnormality, most notably Downs Syndrome, the number of cases is approximately 1 in 300 in pregnancies of women over 35. There are tests that will show if your baby has any genetic abnormalities at 10-12 weeks if you wish to take it and there are various options available including counseling to couples if this test shows anything.

There is also an increased risk for pregnant women over the age of 35 to develop high-blood pressure or diabetes which can be a big problem for your baby. There is also an increased risk of ectopic pregnancies as well as placenta previa (where the placenta lies low in the uterus, partially or completely covering the cervix), pre-eclampsia and placenta abruption (where the placenta separates from the uterine wall).

This all sounds scary but the more that you look after yourself, the larger the chance that your pregnancy will be as normal and healthy a pregnancy as someone in their twenties. So remember a healthy, happy you means a healthy, happy baby.

For more advice on pregnancy over the age of 35 consult your doctor.

How it Feels to Be a Surrogate Mother

This Surrogate’s Moving Facebook Post About Carrying Other Women’s Children Is Going Viral

“He was the second baby I placed in another mother’s arms.”

Australian nurse and mother Mel Holman has never had trouble getting pregnant, as she wrote in a message shared on her blog and on blogger Constance Hall’s Facebook page on Tuesday. When she realized that others did, she was compelled to take action. Now, her letter on the joy she finds in assisting would-be mothers through egg donation and surrogacy has gone viral.

“While working as a nurse, one day I came across a woman in tears. She was devastated after yet another round of failed IVF,” Holman wrote. “All I wanted to do was fix it for her.” Holman added that now, 18 babies have been born thanks to her donated eggs, and that a few weeks ago, she gave birth to “the second baby I placed in another mother’s arms” as a surrogate.

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According to the CDC, some 12 percent of women of reproductive age have trouble getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term. While fertility treatments are evolving, some aspiring mothers’ best option — especially if they don’t have eggs or their eggs are unhealthy — is to work with a surrogate who becomes pregnant using the would-be mom’s chosen sperm and the surrogate’s own egg.

Holman says that the women whose dreams of motherhood she helps realize exemplify persistence: “While supporting women through infertility, I am constantly amazed at the strength, resilience and determination of these women,” she wrote. “Most of all, their endless capacity to love and care for their sisterhood … Maybe you can’t change the world. But you can give the world to someone, and change their life.” The most-liked response to Holman’s post, meanwhile, expresses appreciation from the other side of the surrogate-mom relationship. “Feeling [grateful] to my very own beautiful surrogate who is carrying my baby for me. We have 6 weeks to go. I feel blessed,” one commenter wrote. Fertility struggles are devastating for so many. It’s heartening to see an example of one woman helping others overcome them and start their own families, and receiving their gratitude and compassion in return.

Is fertility treatment with donor eggs or embryos for me?

If you’re older than 40 or unable to become pregnant with your own eggs, donor eggs can help you conceive and deliver a baby. If you and your partner both have fertility problems, or if you’ve had repeated miscarriages because of embryo issues, donor embryos may be an option.

Single women with fertility problems can also conceive using donor eggs or embryos, and men without a female partner can become fathers by using donor eggs or embryos and a gestational carrier. (In certain states, however, there may be laws restricting unmarried people from using gestational carriers. Some embryo donation agencies also require clients to be married.)

If you’re at risk for passing a genetic disease to your child, donor eggs or embryos may be an option, though many couples prefer to try IVF using their own embryos that have been genetically tested to screen for inherited disorders.

Where do I start if I want to use donor eggs or embryos?

Give yourself plenty of time to find a donor. It can take months to choose someone and address the legal matters, and longer for you and the donor to complete all the necessary medical and psychological screenings. Using an egg bank can be quicker because many of these steps are completed before any eggs are frozen. Here’s how it works:

  • Find a donor. If you’re using donor eggs, decide whether to use eggs from a friend, family member, or anonymous donor. If you decide to use donor eggs from an anonymous donor, you can find one through a fertility clinic, a frozen egg bank, or an egg donation agency. You’ll usually be able to choose the donor based on physical characteristics, ethnic background, educational record, and occupation. Most egg donors are between 18 and 30 years old and have had medical and genetic screening. Be sure to ask how candidates are screened – some organizations do less extensive testing than others. If you decide to use donor embryos, look for embryo donation agencies (also called “embryo adoption” agencies) or fertility clinics with donation programs.
  • Get counseling. Once an agency or clinic finds a donor match, you and the donor get professional counseling on the medical, ethical, and emotional impact of the donation.
  • Make it legal. You and the donor may have lawyers draw up a contract that defines parental rights, financial obligations, and future contact. Laws vary from country to country, but donors usually sign away their rights to any children.

What to Pack in your Hospital Bag: Your Complete Checklist

Whether you’re a surrogate or going through a traditional pregnancy, after nine months of carrying the baby, your next step is the delivery. This exciting part can be surreal and go by quickly, so it’s important to have all the essentials ready to go. This includes everything that you’ll need during the labor and birth, and for after the baby is born.

It is good to have a bag packed by the time you are approximately 36 weeks pregnant. Hospitals vary in their policies about what you are allowed to bring with you when you have the baby. It is recommended that you pack two bags. One for yourself and another one for the baby.

What Should be Packed for Labor?

  • Your birth plan and maternity notes
  • Dressing gown. This will be useful if you end up pacing hospital corridors in early labor. Hospitals can be warm, so pack a lightweight one
  • Slippers/socks. Believe it or not, your feet can get cold during labor
  • An old t-shirt and extra underwear
  • A birth ball. This can help you get into a comfortable position during pregnancy, labor and after the baby is born
  • Lip balm. Your lips tend to dry out quickly during labor
  • Snacks and drinks. It’s important to stay hydrated. Sport drinks are good to have during your labor
  • Hairbands. Make sure you have something to hold your hair back if you have long hair
  • Pillows. These will make the environment more personal and comfortable
  • Breast and maternity pads
  • Toiletries including: a towel, toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, and deodorant
  • Eye mask/ear plugs or anything that will help you sleep after the birth
  • A going home outfit. Loose, comfortable clothes for your journey home and time at the hospital will be needed

What to Pack for the Baby

  • 2 or 3 sleepsuits
  • A baby blanket
  • Nappies. Your newborn will go through as many as 12 in a day
  • Socks/booties
  • An outfit for the way home. Something stretchy, comfy and soft
  • A cloth. This will come in handy for mopping up any milk that the baby might bring up
  • Baby car seat. Some hospitals won’t let you leave without one

As the big day approaches, you as a surrogate mother, or as an intended parent will have plenty of questions that will arise. This checklist will help guide you through your delivery and after it.

Understanding The Importance of Surrogacy Contracts

The surrogacy contract is one of the most important pieces of every surrogacy process. The contract guides the entire surrogacy journey, clearly outlining each party’s rights, roles, and responsibilities before, during, and after the pregnancy.

A surrogacy contract can be overwhelming to consider and understand, but is designed to protect everyone involved equally.

Here’s a look at what the contract should include, and how to ensure that you receive a good one.

What Should be Included in your Surrogacy Contract?

The basic principle of the contract is to prevent conflict in the event of potential circumstances that could arise from a surrogate situation. It is critical that your contract includes:

  • Mutual agreement to number of embryos to be carried by the surrogate
  • What should happen to the baby in event of injury or death of the intended parents
  • Who will be present at the prenatal appointments and birth
  • Lifestyle choices of the surrogate, typically including an agreement to avoid alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs during the course of the agreement
  • Financial responsibility for medical bills earned as a direct result of the pregnancy

These are just a few of the common points that should be a part of the contract. It is important to remember that your contract can, and should, be catered to you. If something is very important to you, it should be noted in the agreement.

Who to Work with?

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to work not only with a lawyer for the drafting of your contract, but to work with a lawyer who specializes in fertility and reproductive laws. Reproductive law is managed on a state level, not a federal one, meaning the laws vary from state to state and are constantly changing. That’s why it is crucial to find a lawyer who is aware of these laws, in additional to having background in writing surrogacy contracts.

Understanding your Contract

Make sure you read over every page of your contract before signing it, and ask questions if you have any. This may be the first contract you’ve ever signed in your life. It is therefore completely normal to feel overwhelmed or intimidated by it, so asking questions is encouraged!

Don’t risk complicating this exciting time for you. The surrogacy contract is intended to protect both parties, and is the first step to a successful journey. Work hard on getting together a secure agreement with your lawyer or surrogacy agency.