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If you’re considering surrogacy, it’s normal to worry—after all, it’s your baby. However, many common surrogacy concerns are actually misconceptions. We spoke with Jennifer B., a Newborn Advantage client and new mom, to get an intended parent’s perspective on 10 Surrogacy Myths and Misconceptions. Here’s what she had to say.

Fear #1: Even though my baby is genetically related to me, I am worried that I may have trouble bonding after the baby is born.

JB: I can understand this concern, because I physically carried my first daughter—so I had already given birth—but then I had a uterus problem. I worked with a surrogate for my second child, and I was worried not only that I wouldn’t bond with my baby, but even more that I wouldn’t bond in the same way as I had with my other child. However, that ended up being a huge misconception.

A surrogate birth is beautiful because you are able to enjoy it more. Being there for the physical birth of your child, when you are not mentally and physically under duress, is an incredible way to bond with your child. With my first child, I was freaked out, my body was on fire, and I had a C section—all these negative things were happening, and the focus was more around my own body than around my baby. With my second, the focus was on the baby. I had the privilege of watching her come into this world, and I was the first person to hold her skin-to-skin. I bonded with her immediately, just as I had immediately bonded with my first daughter.

I also want to point out that people have bonding concerns all the time, even without surrogacy. Moms may wonder if Dad will bond with the baby. Will he still be able to love the baby, even though he didn’t carry him or her? Of course he will. There are so many ways to bond with your baby.

Fear #2: I am concerned that I won’t be able to connect with my child during the pregnancy because he/she is being carried by a surrogate.

JB: The connection during pregnancy, for me, was more to the surrogate than to the baby.
I have a deep affection for our surrogate, and even though my daughter was born almost four months ago, my surrogate and I still talk several times a week. We will remain close friends forever.
During a pregnancy with surrogacy, because you’re not feeling the baby kick, dealing with the effects of the pregnancy, there is less of a physical bond. However, after our baby was born, because I had not been carrying the baby, I felt great. I felt like myself. Instead of recovering from giving birth and having surgery, I was at my best. I could be up all night and not resent it. The other thing I would point to is, for women who may have gone through a miscarriage or had problems with previous pregnancies, it’s actually nice to be able to dissociate a bit from the anxiety of pregnancy itself and focus more on the relationship with your surrogate and planning for the baby at home.

Fear #3: I am worried that I won’t be able to trust a perfect stranger. Will the surrogate eat well? Will she take care of the baby as if it were her own?

JB: I think this concern stems from one of the biggest misconceptions people have about surrogates, and it’s the worst one, in my opinion. Many people are suspicious that the surrogate is just doing this for money, and that they don’t care. That is absolutely not the case. I interviewed many surrogates, and they were all similar in that they were mission-driven. They had made a family for themselves, and they wanted to help someone else. All the surrogates I spoke with seemed to have a calling, and felt that by being a surrogate for another couple, they were doing something good. Many were religious or spiritual and felt they were doing God’s work, which I also believe.

The idea that surrogates smoke and drink and will eat poorly is just not accurate. Women who become surrogates love being pregnant, love having children, and want to help others become families themselves. And because they’ve already been pregnant with their own children, they know what is medically necessary to carry a healthy pregnancy. I was also worried about this initially, but after meeting and talking to several potential surrogates, my perspective changed completely. My surrogate was also very honest. When I asked if she drank alcohol, she said, “I have a drink every couple of weeks, but when I’m pregnant, I don’t.” Surrogates are loving, wonderful people who are trying to help. They are like angels, sent from God.

Another note on the concerns about diet— one of my best friends is a pediatrician. I asked her, “What if she eats a different diet than I do?” She explained that the reality is, as long as you’re not drinking, smoking or doing drugs, and you take prenatal vitamins and have enough food, the baby will be just fine. Obviously, you don’t want the surrogate to eat a pound of tuna every day, but people all over the world have babies, in very different conditions, eating very different things, and they turn out fine.

Fear #4: I’ve had problems with pregnancy, and I worry that pregnancy with a surrogate won’t be successful, either.

JB: I had a very late miscarriage, so that was certainly a fear I had. One of the benefits of surrogacy is that you can relax and separate things in your mind. Since I was not physically pregnant, I didn’t have to worry about whether I was miscarrying if I had a cramp or was spotting. Also, since I was not hormonal, I could be more rational. Just because it happened before, doesn’t mean it will happen again. It’s nice to be able to separate yourself a bit from those fears.

Fear #5: What if I don’t get along well with the surrogate?

JB: I was so grateful to have the opportunity to work with a surrogate, that this was not as much of a worry for me. Whether or not she would be my friend forever wasn’t the first priority. But I also happened to love my surrogate, and got lucky in this respect because she truly has become a close friend. We have an incredible bond. I think the most important thing is, like anything else, you want to make sure the surrogate has the same values and you can trust her, work with her, make mutual decisions as you would with a friend, husband or co-worker. It is important to understand that often surrogates come from different places than their intended parents in terms of geography, demographics, or even religion. I live in the city, and I love that my surrogate lives in the countryside. We had so much fun. Your surrogate won’t look, talk, or act like you. You aren’t going to find your twin to carry your baby. But just like any other relationship, you grow into it and it is uniquely beautiful.

Fear #6: What if the surrogate changes her mind and wants to keep the baby after it’s born?

JB: I understand the concern, but these women aren’t trying to “get” you. A requirement for surrogates is that they have already had children of their own, so it’s not like they don’t know what it’s like to have a baby, or are doing this for the first time. They know what they are getting into, and they are very happy to do it. If a surrogate wanted to have a baby, she would simply have her own baby. In the case of my surrogate, I gave her and her husband full access to the baby in the hospital, and brought the baby to her house after the birth to meet her children and show them what a beautiful thing she had done for our family. It was almost like our children were cousins! She loved our baby, and never wanted her for herself.

Something I did not consider at first was that the surrogate actually has more reason to be worried than the intended parents. What if you don’t want to take the baby? That is a big concern for surrogates. They’ve already completed their family. What if the parents don’t show up? Of course, this is all covered in the legal agreement, and both parties are protected, but the concern goes both ways as well, which is why trust is so important on both sides.

Fear #7: I have legal concerns about working with a surrogate. What if the surrogate does not hold up her end of the agreement?

The agreement has provisions in place to protect everyone. In gestational surrogacy, the egg is legally not the surrogate’s egg. Eggs are provided by either the intended mother or a donor, and sperm is provided by either the intended father or a donor—so the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby at all. In the past, it might have been my husband’s sperm and the surrogate’s egg—but that isn’t done anymore (to my knowledge). So technically, it’s not legally possible for a surrogate to keep the baby.

We also had a pre-birth order that my husband and my names were to go on the birth certificate, and that our baby would be discharged to us, not our surrogate. So legally, after birth, it continues to be our egg, our sperm, our child.

Fear #8: I’m worried that I won’t be able to breastfeed my child, and I don’t want to miss out on that opportunity for bonding.

JB: I had that same concern. I breastfed my first child for a year, and thought it was the only way to bond. Now, I know there are many different ways to bond with a baby. Providing for them physically is a great way to bond, and cuddling and giving them a bottle is just as effective from my experience.

I explored re-lactating. In the end, I decided not to try to lactate because it is often unsuccessful, and would require me to take substantially more hormones, when I had already done that for multiple rounds of IVF. I did want my child to have breastmilk though, so I posted on Facebook that I was having a baby through a surrogate. I ended up receiving over three months’ worth of donated breastmilk. There was an amazing community of moms who came together to help me.

Fear #9: I have preconceived notions about my surrogate, but I know they may not be true. After I am matched with the surrogate, will I have the confidence to move forward?

JB: I have had this conversation a lot with families considering surrogacy, and I tell them, “You will feel so much better once you meet your surrogate.” The scariest thing is the fear of the unknown. But once you meet your surrogate, it is no longer a scary, nebulous concept. Your surrogate is actually a real person with a name and a face. You no longer worry, “What will she be like? What will I be like?” You just feel so much better.

We interviewed many candidates and could have gone with several of them. When I met our actual surrogate, we were totally on the same page with our goals and our redlines, and she was wonderful. I felt so much relief. Maybe everyone doesn’t have that exact experience, but once you get to know your surrogate, it’s different. She said, “I want to treat my body like it is yours.” She even asked, “Are you comfortable with me getting a flu shot?” before we had even signed a contract. I replied, “Absolutely,” and she didn’t have to ask—but those small interactions start to build trust and take the mystery and fear out of the surrogacy process.

Fear #10: What is a misconception you had about surrogacy, or a worry you had about surrogacy?

JB: I was concerned that we would be very, very different people, and that it would be difficult to relate to one another. One of the most beautiful things about surrogacy is that it brings two different families together in ways they never would have otherwise interacted.

I was holding chickens on her family’s farm a few months ago. I had never even been on a farm before. What, to me, was a fear or a misconception, that you’re totally different and that’s a bad thing—was actually a wonderful thing. I’m Jewish, and she’s Christian. I was worried she wouldn’t be comfortable with that. In fact, it was just the opposite. We talked about our different holidays and traditions. She asked if she should modify her diet to keep Kosher while she carried the baby. It was so sweet, especially since I have never even kept Kosher. It was amazing to see that while we were different in many ways on paper, we are actually very similar and happy about our differences, and excited to learn about one another.

Any closing thoughts?
Surrogacy was a great experience for me, and I enjoyed working with Newborn Advantage. I love spreading the word about surrogacy. It’s a wonderful, life-changing experience.

Do you have any concerns or worries about surrogacy? Let us know.

Call or contact Newborn Advantage today to discuss any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you, and welcome the opportunity to be part of your surrogacy journey.

Chances are, you know someone who has breast cancer. One in eight women (13%) will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in their lifetime—and one in 39 women (3%) will die from breast cancer. Fortunately, early diagnosis and treatment can save lives. From 1989 to 2017, about 375,900 breast cancer deaths were averted in the U.S., thanks to improvements in treatment and earlier detection.1 Many people who advocate for breast cancer awareness do so in honor of someone they care about—and at Newborn Advantage, we do, too.

Newborn Advantage Founder, Mindy Berkson, has a heart for breast cancer patients, and has helped many women explore surrogacy options after battling breast cancer.

“I have had many clients who had breast cancer in their 30s, and their cancer treatments stripped them of their fertility,” Berkson says. “Surrogacy can be a great option for people who want to have children after cancer.”

While breast cancer is rare for women in their 30s (it accounts for less than 5 percent of all cases), it does happen—and it’s also the most common cancer for women in this age range.2

When breast cancer affects women in their childbearing years, their fertility may be affected, but there are still many options to explore. Women who have not yet begun cancer treatments may be able to preserve their biological fertility by freezing an egg or embryo. If this is not possible, another option is egg donation. Through gestational surrogacy, using a woman’s own previously frozen egg, or a donated egg, women who lost their fertility to breast cancer can still become mothers.

“When breast cancer is diagnosed and treated early, many women are able to overcome it, and go on to live long, healthy lives,” Berkson says. “Surrogacy gives them back something that cancer could have taken away—the ability to become a mother. It’s very rewarding to see that dream come true through a successful surrogacy journey.”

As part of her advocacy for breast cancer awareness and research, Berkson serves on the board of the American Cancer Society’s Dallas Chapter. Her son, Jason Berkson, is a top fundraiser for the cause and an active member of American Cancer Society’s Real Women Wear Pink initiative. Last year, his fundraiser was the organization’s second-highest fundraiser in Dallas—and this year, with your support, it could be the first. Click here to visit Jason’s fundraising page and donate to this important cause.

“Every day, the American Cancer Society is saving more lives from breast cancer than ever before,” Jason says. “They’re helping people take steps to reduce their risk of breast cancer or find it early, when it’s easier to treat. They fund groundbreaking breast cancer research and they’re working to ensure access to mammograms for women who need them. By raising money and awareness through Real Men Wear Pink, I’m helping to save more lives from breast cancer.”

In addition to his online fundraiser, Jason is also selling T-shirts made by Puppymelons, a nonprofit organization created to raise funds for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). Proceed from this exclusive design will support the American Cancer Society and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Donations to the American Cancer Society are always welcome—but Jason’s fundraiser ends on October 31, so give today, if you can.

“Your donation will help women across the U.S. get access to life-saving breast cancer screening and treatments—and it will also help advance research to improve the treatments currently available,” Mindy says. “This cause, like surrogacy, is dear to my heart—and I hope you’ll join us in supporting breast cancer awareness and research.”

1American Cancer Society. Breast Cancer Facts & Figures 2019-2020. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, Inc. 2019. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures/breast-cancer-facts-and-figures-2019-2020.pdf, accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

2 Healthline. Everything You Should Know About Breast Cancer in Your 20s and 30s. Healthline, 2020. https://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/breast-cancer-20s-30s#takeaway, accessed 15 Oct. 2020.

There are many reasons to become a surrogate. Becoming a surrogate mother is a generous act, giving the gift of life to a child, and giving intended parents the opportunity to build a family. Surrogate compensation can bring new opportunities to your life, too, such as the ability to stay home with your children, enroll in college courses, or make a down payment on a new home. Becoming a surrogate can also be very emotionally rewarding. Surrogates often form long-lasting relationships with intended parents and their children. If you’re curious about how to become a surrogate, this blog will help you understand the surrogacy process, surrogacy requirements, and how to get started.

What are the requirements to be a surrogate?

Surrogacy requirements differ from one agency to another, but in the U.S., they generally are based on the recommendations of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. At Newborn Advantage, our surrogates must meet the following requirements:

• Be between 20 and 42 years of age (depending on your state laws—some require you to be 21)
• Height and weight in proportion (BMI 30 or below)
• Healthy physical condition
• Non-smoker
• Have demonstrated uncomplicated pregnancy(ies) and delivery(ies)
• Free of sexually transmitted diseases
• Not dependent on government assistance
• Must pass criminal background verifications

How much do surrogates get paid?

Surrogate compensation varies from state to state, and by region, but on average, Newborn Advantage surrogates earn renumeration starting at $30,000. Surrogates who have prior experience can earn more than first-time surrogates. (As with any career, experience counts.)

How does the surrogacy process work?

The surrogacy process will vary from one surrogacy agency to the next, but the general process of becoming a surrogate includes the following steps:

1. Find a reputable surrogacy agency.

When choosing a surrogacy agency, look for one with an established history in the industry, positive reviews from both surrogates and intended parents, and a caring, personal staff. Don’t be afraid to call a surrogacy agency and ask to speak to someone. In addition, it is important to make sure an escrow account will be set up for you to ensure that funds are available for your payments over the course of the pregnancy and can be made in a timely fashion.

2. Review the surrogacy agency’s requirements to see if you qualify.

Most surrogacy agencies will have their surrogacy requirements listed on their website. If they don’t, call and ask.

3. Complete an application and submit it to the surrogacy agency.

4. Provide your medical history and social history information.

This step usually takes place after your application has been reviewed. Some
surrogacy agencies use an automated system to qualify candidates. While this
may reduce costs to the agency, we take a more personal approach at Newborn
Advantage. We walk each accepted applicant through a detailed profile,
asking questions about your goals for becoming a carrier, and making sure to set
realistic expectations. We want to make sure you’re comfortable with surrogacy,
and with us. There is never any obligation to proceed if you don’t feel we are the
right agency for you.

5. Complete a physical evaluation.

The physical evaluation will ensure your body is healthy enough for pregnancy. This helps protect you, and increases the chance of a successful pregnancy.

6. Complete a mental health evaluation.

Surrogacy is an emotionally intense experience, for surrogates and intended
parents. This evaluation will ensure you are prepared for the challenges of becoming a surrogate. You may also be asked to meet with a social worker for an in-home assessment.

7. Pass a background check.

8. Match with intended parents.

If you pass all of the required checks and screenings, your surrogacy agency will recommend you to intended parents. Your surrogacy goals, personality and preferences will all be taken into account, to find the best match. You will have the opportunity to meet with intended parents either in person or via videoconference, to get to know one another better and decide whether or not to move forward.

9. Complete a surrogacy contract.

When intended parents and surrogates are successfully matched, your surrogacy agency will help facilitate the creation of a legal surrogacy contract. This document will specify the terms of the arrangement, including surrogate compensation. All parties must sign the surrogacy contract.

10. Undergo fertility treatments.

To prepare for in vitro fertilization (IVF), you will be required to undergo fertility treatments. This will include blood testing, prescription medications, injections, and ultrasounds.

11. Transfer the embryo.

With gestational surrogacy, the intended father’s sperm (or donor sperm) is used to fertilize the intended mother’s egg (or a donor egg) in a laboratory. The fertilized embryo is then transferred into your uterus for implantation. The procedure is painless and no medication is required, although you may be asked to rest at the fertility clinic for a few hours, and avoid heavy activity for a few days.

12. Receive prenatal care, and visit your doctor regularly.

You will be required to visit your doctor for scheduled check ups throughout the pregnancy. The costs of doctor visits will be fully covered through your surrogacy agreement.

13. Deliver the baby, and relinquish it to the intended parents.

The completion of your surrogacy journey can feel very rewarding, as your pregnancy ends and the intended parents finally get to welcome a new baby into their home. Many surrogates keep in touch with intended parents after the surrogacy journey is complete, and enjoy seeing photos of the babies they carried as they grow with their new families.

How do I Become a Surrogate?

If you’re interested in becoming a surrogate, please contact Newborn Advantage today to receive an application. If you have any questions, or would like to learn more, feel free to contact us by completing the form below or calling 847-989-8628. We look forward to hearing from you.

Our team has listed the top five blog posts for 2019 from Newborn Advantage. Each post has a great meaning and value to each aspect of surrogacy with Newborn Advantage, from different tips for helping men out in their surrogacy journey to the legalities involving surrogacy in your area. Our founder Mindy Berkson strives to create a comfortable experience for both the family and the surrogate. We included a blog about how much our surrogates love to work with us and the families they bring a child to.  

 

Fertility for Men: 3 Ways to Help You Become a Dad, Faster

Dads teach us so many life lessons starting from birth; from the typical dad joke to exploring the world and encouraging us to grow and learn. We are very happy to help a man become a father when he otherwise could not. In this post our team addresses different reasoning behind most male infertility and why surrogacy is a great way for single aspiring dads, and gay couples to become fathers.

Link to Full Blog Post

Fertility Planning for Men and Women

Fertility Planning for Men and Women

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are very special holidays to most but can be very sad and heart wrenching to those families that cannot have a child or have continuously tried and were unsuccessful. For families of the same sex we understand it can be a tough experience not being able to conceive a child and we love to help bring that possibility to life. In this blog we discuss infertility for men and women, and this post addresses different reasons behind infertility. Our team hopes to build a family for those who have almost lost hope.

Link to Full Blog Post

Understanding Surrogacy Laws

This post is all about the legalities and different laws involved in surrogacy. Surrogacy has many different laws in different states and countries. Couples of the same sex go through many more different legal issues throughout the process, Newborn Advantage is here to make this a simple stress-free process. Our team is here to address certain questions and how we can make it work for everyone’s circumstances. Our founder Mindy Berkson spoke with Richard B. Vaughn, Esq., Founding Partner of the International Fertility Law Group about the different laws involving surrogacy. He answers some very valuable questions pertaining to our specific audience. Mindy wants you to be completely knowledgeable on the process and this post has successfully hit on major legal issues. 

Link to Full Blog Post

The Safer Way to Conceive Twins

Tips on using two surrogates.

Having twins is a goal for most same sex families to expand their family at once. This is a main goal for most using surrogacy, IVF, and ART. Newborn Advantage recommends using two surrogates versus a multiple pregnancy because it reduces the risks for low birth rate, and developmental issues. Using two surrogates also lowers the cost of insurance versus a multiple pregnancy. Our team strives to match each family with a match of a surrogate in a very timely manner. Our founder, Mindy Berkson understands the struggle of wanting a family fast and not being able to conceive on your own, our team is here to address all your concerns and help build your family.  

Link to Full Blog Post

What is it like to be a surrogate mother?

Testimonials from surrogates at Newborn Advantage, and how they love what they do. 

In this blog post our team showcases some testimonials from our surrogates. Each one has an amazing story expressing how much they enjoyed their experience working with Newborn and how much they loved being able to help out our families. They all expressed how comfortable the process was for them and majority became lifelong friends with the families they helped. Our surrogates all have a love for helping people and enjoyed the experience of bringing a child to a family of the same sex who without help can otherwise not conceive on their own.

Link to Full Blog Post

It’s almost Thanksgiving—and here at Newborn Advantage, we have a lot to be grateful for, including our wonderful clients and the incredible surrogates who work with us. If you’re looking for ways to show appreciation to your surrogate for making parenthood possible, we have some great ideas. Why thank your surrogate? Expressing gratitude and support can strengthen the relationship and show her you appreciate all she has done to help you achieve your dream of parenthood. Of course, intended parents are under no obligation to buy gifts, as you have already invested a lot into the surrogacy arrangement. However, there are many ways to show appreciation that don’t cost a thing—like writing a card, making a phone call, or just saying, “thank you.”

Here are 10 ways to say “Thanks for being our Surrogate.”

1. Be present during the process.
If you live in another city, state or country than your surrogate, you may not be able to travel often for meetings or appointments. However, if your surrogate is nearby, make it a point to be there for major appointments, like the embryo transfer and heartbeat ultrasound. Being present shows your surrogate that you care, and makes the relationship more personal.

2. Give empathy.
Medications and pregnancy can take a toll on the body. Be understanding and empathetic, and
check in on your surrogate from time to time to see how she’s doing. Surrogates should also be empathetic toward intended parents, understanding that the surrogacy journey can be stressful and emotional.

3. Say thanks.
Sometimes a simple “thank you” goes a long way. Surrogates give so much of their time and their bodies, and gratitude is always appreciated.

4. Send a card.
Handwritten cards can be very meaningful—and in today’s digital age, they are more rare than ever. When you have a few moments, send a Thank You card, whether it’s before, during, or after the surrogacy process is complete. If you have other children, ask them to sign the card, or even draw a picture. It just might make your surrogate’s day.

5. Remember birthdays and holidays.
Birthday cards and holiday cards are always well received. Sending a holiday card to your surrogate is a kind gesture—and a birthday card is an even more personal one.

6. Send a Surrogate Care Package.
Everyone sends gifts for the baby—but what about the surrogate? Fill a gift basket or box with maternity items like lotion or oil, a cute maternity top, and healthy snacks. You can also add fun and unique items like books, CDs or DVDs, warm socks, foot soak, or a massager.

7. Give a Gift Card.
If you really want to make her smile, tuck a gift card inside a Thank You card. A nice dinners, healthy salad, cup of decaf coffee, or frozen yogurt is a welcome treat that can make pregnancy more pleasant.

8. Share a Quote.
Do you have a favorite mantra? Ever share inspiring quotes on social media? Every now and then, send an uplifting quote or a funny meme with your surrogate, to brighten her day.

9. Remember the Partners.
Is there a partner in your surrogate’s Life? Remember to recognize and acknowledge the man or woman who stands by her. Although they don’t play a direct role in bringing your new baby into the world, they do provide invaluable support for the woman who will.

10. Give Yourself Grace.
Remember to be kind to yourself throughout this journey as well. As an intended parent, you’re about to have the most rewarding (and challenging) job of your life—so recognize your own commitment and courage, and give yourself a little “me time,” while you still can. You’ll thank yourself later!

Interested in learning more about surrogacy?

At Newborn Advantage, we are grateful to each and every one of our clients—and we look forward to the opportunity to serve you. Give us a call or email us with any questions you may have.

You’ve survived breast cancer—that’s amazing! As you get ready for the next chapter of your life, you may be wondering about pregnancy after breast cancer. Here’s the good news: you can have a baby after breast cancer, and there are many options available to do so. You may be able to get pregnant naturally, with in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, or via gestational surrogacy. Adoption is also an option. Here are a few common questions we hear from women who have had breast cancer, and are curious about pregnancy after cancer treatment.

Can I get pregnant after breast cancer?

Many women who have had breast cancer are able to get pregnant naturally, and recent studies have shown that having a child after breast cancer treatment does not seem to lower your chances for long-term survival. In fact, it may even increase survival rates.

Fertility after chemotherapy depends on your age, as well as the types and dosages of chemo medicine you received.

Generally, the younger you are, the greater your chances of becoming pregnant without IVF. Women who are under 30 have the highest fertility rates after breast cancer, and those who are closer to menopause, which usually starts around age 51, have the lowest fertility rates after cancer.

Women with lower doses of chemotherapy are also more likely to get pregnant after cancer treatment than those who received higher doses. Certain chemotherapy drugs, like Cytoxan, Platinol, and Adriamycin can increase risk of losing fertility. Other drugs, like methotrexate, fluorouracil and vincristine are less likely to cause infertility. For some newer drugs, like Taxol, Taxotere, and Abraxane, the effects on fertility are unknown.

I haven’t started cancer treatment yet. Is there anything I can do now to preserve my fertility?

For women who want to have children after breast cancer, there are several ways to preserve fertility before your treatments begin. Talk with your doctor, as well as a fertility specialist, before making treatment plans. Ask what your options are to increase fertility. You may choose to freeze an egg, store embryos before cancer treatment begins, or take medication to protect your ovaries from damage. The sooner you speak with a fertility specialist, the greater your chances are of preserving your fertility after cancer.

How long should I wait to get pregnant after cancer treatment?

If you get pregnant during your cancer treatment, or too soon afterward, the drugs in your system could harm the fetus. Chemotherapy patients are advised to wait at least six months before attempting to get pregnant. Depending on your treatment and the drugs you are taking, your doctor’s recommendations may vary, so it’s best to check with your doctor first.

Should I use IVF to increase my chances of getting pregnant?

IFV is an option for many women after breast cancer, but check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you to take fertility medicine. If you have had hormone-sensitive cancer, there are medications you can take to reduce the amount of estrogen in your body during your fertility treatment. The costs of IVF should be considered, too. Your health insurance provider may be able to cover some of these expenses.

What if I can’t get pregnant after cancer treatment?

Women who are unable to get pregnant after cancer may wish to consider gestational surrogacy. With gestational surrogacy, an embryo is created via IVF, using the eggs and sperm of the intended parents or donors, and then transferred to a surrogate. The surrogate mother is not biologically related to the child she carries—but you, and/or your partner, may be, if you choose to donate your own eggs and/or sperm.

With gestational surrogacy, you may use your own eggs, or donor eggs, which can be fertilized with your partner’s sperm, or donor sperm. Gestational surrogacy is a great option for women who have frozen an egg or an embryo prior to their cancer treatment, or women who are able to get pregnant, but unable to carry the baby to term.

Interested in learning more about surrogacy for women with breast cancer?

At Newborn Advantage, we’re committed to helping clients achieve success in pregnancy after cancer treatment. We recognize and respect that your journey to motherhood may be different than someone else’s. But that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. If you’re interested in learning more about gestational surgery, give us a call or email us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

If you’re considering surrogacy, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about how to find the right surrogate—someone with good health, a great personality, and a heart for helping others. One of the best ways to find a high-quality surrogate is to work with a surrogacy agency, and that makes choosing a surrogacy agency as important as choosing a surrogate. The best surrogacy agencies are experienced, professional, friendly, quality-focused and well-connected. They should be willing to answer your questions and happy to guide you through the surrogacy process. Here are a few things look for when choosing a surrogacy agency:

How are surrogates selected and screened?

You want to give your newborn an advantage in life—so it’s important to choose a surrogate with the best genetics available. When interviewing agencies, ask about their surrogate selection and screening process. Surrogates should be screened for physical and psychological health—and they should also have a personality that meshes well with yours.

How long does it take to be matched with a surrogate?

The sooner you are matched with a surrogate, the sooner you will be able to welcome a new baby into your home. While some surrogacy agencies can take up to eight months to match you with a qualified surrogate, the best surrogacy agencies are well-connected to a large group of surrogates—which means they can match you much faster. Newborn Advantage can place you with an ideal gestational surrogate within just two weeks.

Does the agency offer a surrogate guarantee?

What happens if you’re matched with a surrogate, but she is not able to go through with the pregnancy? Look for surrogacy agencies that provide a surrogate guarantee. With Newborn Advantage, if your candidate does not pass your doctor’s medical clearance, you will be re-matched with another qualified candidate, at no additional cost.

Will the agency guide you through the surrogacy process?

The surrogacy process is about more than pregnancy and birth. There are legal, financial and health-related aspects to surrogacy as well. Look for a surrogacy agency that will guide you through the surrogacy process and provide you with professional referrals to

physicians, attorneys, financial and estate planners, and mental health professionals, if needed.

How much experience does the surrogacy agency have?

The best surrogacy agencies earn their reputations through experience. Look for surrogacy agencies who have been in business for ten or more years, if possible. People who have worked in surrogacy for many years will understand the nuances of the surrogacy process, and can help you avoid problems they may have seen in the past. Experienced surrogacy agencies are also more likely to have professional relationships with doctors, attorneys, financial service providers, and of course, surrogates.

What is the surrogacy cost?

Surrogacy is expensive, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Surrogacy costs include surrogate compensation, medical costs, surrogacy insurance, surrogacy agency fees, and other expenses. Ask for a detailed breakdown of surrogacy costs, or a sample gestational surrogacy contract. If the surrogacy agency is not transparent about pricing, this may be a cause for concern.

How are their people skills?

When choosing a surrogacy agency, look for one with friendly and helpful people. When you call the agency, is the phone answered by someone who is kind? When you ask questions, do they help you find the answers you need? If a surrogacy agency isn’t easy to work with at the beginning, you may run into more problems down the line.

What is your confidence level with the surrogacy agency?
After you evaluate a potential surrogacy agency considering the factors above, consider your feelings. If your confidence level is high, it’s a good sign that you may have found the right surrogacy agency for you. If not, you may want to keep looking.

Ready to take the next step?

At Newborn Advantage, we understand how important it is to evaluate surrogacy agencies and choose the one that works best for your family. If you’re interested in learning more about how our surrogacy process works, give us a call or email us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

The cost of surrogacy is high — but you won’t find a better ROI.

Most parents would agree that children are priceless—but no one would argue that having children is expensive. If you’re considering surrogacy, you may be wondering about the average cost of surrogacy, which includes surrogate compensation, surrogate health insurance and surrogacy medical expenses. In this blog, we’ll discuss the cost of surrogacy, as well as its benefits. At Newborn Advantage, we believe that while the cost of surrogacy is high, the return on your investment can be even higher.

“What you invest in surrogacy will yield a great return: a healthy pregnancy, live birth, and happy, healthy life for your child,” says Mindy Berkson, Surrogacy Consultant at Newborn Advantage. “Surrogacy is an investment in your family and your future. It is rewarding, and you will reap the value over time.”

What is the average cost of surrogacy?

The average cost of surrogacy is about $120,000 to 130,000. Below is a breakdown of some of the biggest expenses covered in that total, and what you will receive in return.

Medical expenses:

$25,000 to $30,000

Surrogate medical expenses include medical screenings, creation of the embryos through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer fees. If your end family building goal is to have more than one child, this expense can be amortized over time, as you will control the disposition of all embryos created through IVF. Identifying a fertility center with above national average success rates is paramount to maximizing your IVF cycle and results.

Surrogacy Insurance Coverage:

$12,000 premium | $16,000 deductible per baby

The cost of surrogacy insurance coverage is high—but it is certainly worth the investment. The cost of a surrogate insurance policy includes a policy premium, and an additional charge per baby. Instead of transferring more than on embryo to a single surrogate, many parents choose to work with two surrogates and have two singleton pregnancies, which is healthier for the babies, as well as the surrogates. While you will pay more for insurance coverage with two surrogates, you will be paying for a reduced risk and healthier outcomes.

Surrogate Compensation:

$30,000 and up

Surrogate compensation starts at $30,000, and experienced surrogates will earn more. This does not include medical or other costs—this is purely surrogate compensation for the woman who will be devoting nearly a year of her life to carrying your child. When you think about it, it is a pretty unbelievable deal! At Newborn Advantage, we only work with the best surrogates, who have passed medical and psychological screenings, helping to give you the greatest advantage in conceiving a healthy child.

Legal Expenses:

$11,000 and up

Because surrogacy is a contractual arrangement, surrogacy legal expenses are important to consider. Attorney fees for intended parents start at $11,000 and vary greatly per state. Working with a surrogacy attorney ensures that your legal rights are protected while working with a surrogate. Your surrogacy attorney will also help navigate the legal processes in the state where your surrogate resides. Newborn Advantage specializes in gay surrogacy, and we partner with attorneys who understand legal issues for gay and lesbian parents. Legal expenses for surrogacy may seem steep, but if you don’t enlist the services of a surrogacy attorney, you may encounter legal issues that are much more expensive.

Surrogacy Agency Fees:

Agency fees start at $25,000. Why work with a surrogacy agency? Surrogacy agencies act as your advocate, protecting you from many of the risks of surrogacy. Given the costs of surrogacy, some intended parents may be curious about independent surrogacy cost. Potential clients often ask, “How much does surrogacy cost with a family member?” or, “What is the surrogacy cost with a friend?” In either of these scenarios, you could deduct the agency fees and the surrogate’s compensation, saving yourself approximately $55,000. If you’re feeling very risky, you might elect not to pay a surrogacy attorney, saving an additional $11,000 in surrogacy legal expenses.

But what happens if things don’t go as planned? Without a legal surrogacy agreement, who protects your rights in the surrogacy arrangement? And what about personal matters? What happens if the surrogate is unable to conceive, if you can’t agree on surrogate compensation, or if personal problems arise? While a surrogacy attorney handles legal arrangements, it is the role of the surrogacy agency to match you with a healthy surrogate who has an excellent chance of having a healthy child. It’s also our role to act as an intermediary between intended parents and surrogates, protecting your interests and helping navigate sensitive issues. If an intended match does not work out, we will re-match you at no additional charge. Think of the surrogacy agency fee as a price you pay for peace of mind, to help the surrogacy process go smoothly, and to avoid potential problems.

Invest in your Family

The cost of surrogacy gives many intended parents pause, but when you consider surrogacy as an investment, it is worth the cost. The joy of starting a family, creating an incredible bond with your children, and carrying on your legacy can’t be measured in dollars and cents. If you’re ready to become a parent and interested in gestational surrogacy, we can help. We look forward to hearing from you!

Boosting Your Fertility

Dads teach us so much about life. They care for us and protect us when we’re small, encourage us to explore the world around us as we grow, and are always there to make us laugh (or groan) with a “Dad joke.” No matter what type of Dad you happen to have had, he’s sure to have influenced the person you are today. At Newborn Advantage, we love Dads, and want wish each one a Happy Father’s Day. If you are seeking to become a father, that includes you! Newborn Advantage specializes in helping expectant parents build their families—and this month, we’re focusing on Dads to Be.

Here are three common challenges to male fertility, and three solutions to boost conception for men:

1. No / Low Sperm Count

Low sperm count is a common cause of male infertility—however, men with low sperm count can still father children. Normal sperm density ranges from 15 million to greater than 200 million sperm per milliliter of semen. Men who have fewer than 15 million sperm per milliliter, or less than 39 million total sperm per ejaculate, are considered to have low sperm count.

Sperm Washing

Sperm washing is a technique that separates the most active individual sperm from semen, and removes non-motile sperm and mucus, in order to the improve chances of fertilization. Sperm washing is a standard procedure in in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Decrease HIV Transmission

Beyond increasing fertility, sperm washing also helps reduce the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. For HIV-positive men, sperm washing reduces the risk of transmitting HIV. The infection is carried in the seminal fluid rather than by the sperm, so washing sperm can be very effective. In one study from 2005 involving 567 serodiscordant couples (couples where one partner is HIV-positive and one is not), who used washed sperm to conceive, no HIV transmission occurred. However, washed sperm is not 100% guaranteed to be virus-free.

2. Single Male/No Partner

Single women who wish to conceive may visit a sperm bank. But what about single men? If you are ready to become a parent but you don’t have a partner, gestational surrogacy can be an ideal solution.

What is Gestational surrogacy?

You may be familiar with traditional surrogacy, where a woman agrees to be inseminated with a man’s sperm, carries the child, and gives the baby to the man, or to a couple, after it is born. With gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother uses donated eggs rather than her own. Donated eggs are fertilized with your sperm in a laboratory, and transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. The eggs may be supplied by an anonymous donor, or someone you know.

Why is gestational surrogacy better for single males?

When you work with an agency that specializes in gestational surrogacy, like Newborn Advantage, the process is safer, more effective, and more beneficial for all parties. We work with the highest quality surrogates, increasing the chances of healthy conception, and can match you with a qualified surrogate in two weeks or less. We also act as your advocate, helping you navigate the legal and financial surrogacy processes, and ensuring the proper agreements and contracts are in place to protect your interests. Unlike traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacy always includes a formal contract that guarantees you will be recognized as the parent. Because gestational surrogates do not use their own eggs, they do not have a genetic connection to the child they are carrying—it is your baby from the beginning.

3. GBTQ Males

In the not-so-distant past, gay male couples who wanted to start their own families faced many challenges—but today, there are many options to help you become fathers. Newborn Advantage specializes in gay surrogacy. Our gestational surrogacy services can match you with a highly qualified surrogate in just two weeks. Once you’re matched, you and/or your partner may provide a sperm donation, which will be used to fertilize donated eggs in a laboratory. You may work with one gestational surrogate to carry one child, or you and your partner may each be matched to a separate surrogate, allowing you to father two children, who are biologically related to each of you.

For gay couples who wish to become parents, there are also many legal issues that must be considered. Newborn Advantage can connect you with experienced legal professionals who will ensure the correct procedures are followed for the countries and cities where both you and your surrogate reside, ensuring the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Find a Gestational Surrogate

Interested in gestational surrogacy? Newborn Advantage can help. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, or for more information about surrogacy. We look forward to hearing from you!

Fertility Planning for Women

Moms are amazing. They hold us close when we’re babies, teach us and help us grow, and continue to support when we become adults. Even for those of us who have lost our mothers, their love continues to impact us today. Here at Newborn Advantage, we want to wish moms everywhere a very Happy Mother’s Day—including moms-to-be. As one of the best surrogacy agencies in the U.S., we understand how many women desperately want to become mothers, but are struggling with fertility problems. We love helping moms achieve their dreams of starting a family, so we’re dedicating this month’s blog to fertility planning for women. Here are three ways to boost your chances of becoming a mother:

1. IVF

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is one of the most popular methods for treating infertility. In ART procedures, eggs are surgically removed from a woman’s ovaries, and combined with sperm in a laboratory. Then, they are either returned to the woman’s body, or transferred to a surrogate. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC)’s 2017 Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report, 284,385 ART cycles were performed in the United States during 2017, resulting in 68,908 live births. Approximately 1.7% of all infants born in the United States every year are conceived using ART.

In virtro fertilization (IVF) is an ART procedure in which a woman’s eggs are extracted and fertilized as described above, resulting in the creation of embryos, which are transferred into the woman’s uterus through the cervix. IVF can improve female fertility for patients with the following conditions:

• Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
• Male infertility, including decreased sperm count or sperm motility
• Ovulation disorders, such as premature ovarian failure or uterine fibroids
• Genetic disorders
• Women who have had their fallopian tubes removed
• Unexplained infertility

The American Pregnancy Association reports that the live birth rate for each IV cycle started in the U.S. is approximately:

• 41-43% for women under age 35
• 33-36% for women ages 35 to 37
• 23-27% for women ages 38 to 40
• 13-18% for women ages over 40

Live birth rates can vary depending on the fertility clinic you’re working with. If you’re interested in IVF, Newborn Advantage can help you find the best fertility clinics in your area. As gestational surrogacy specialists, we can also match you with a surrogate, who will carry the embryo created via IVF to term.

2. Egg Donation

Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have—and as a woman ages, the number of eggs she has left declines naturally. Some women may also have a diminished egg supply due to congenital, medical, surgical, or unexplained causes. These women may still be able to conceive naturally, but they will produce fewer eggs in response to fertility treatments. If diminished egg quality is preventing you from getting pregnant, egg donation can be a solution. Here are a few examples of conditions where egg donation can be helpful in boosting fertility:

• Early menopause
• Premature ovarian failure (POF)
• Poor egg quality
• History of genetic disease
• Ovaries do not respond to stimulation
• Hormonal imbalance
• Over the age of 40

Newborn Advantage can provide assistance in identifying egg donors for in vitro fertilization (IVF). We work with the best fertility agencies in the nation, to ensure you receive the healthiest eggs. Egg donors are screened for a history of birth defects or diseases, medical and social issues, physical health, psychological health, and sexually transmitted diseases. With egg donation, donors take medications to stimulate egg development and ovulation, undergo ultrasound testing and blood work, and receive the hormone HCG, before eggs are retrieved. These procedures help to optimize egg donation results.

If you’re working with an egg donor, your cycle will be synchronized with theirs, using hormonal medications. This helps to ensure your uterus lining is prepared to support the embryo. If you’re conceiving with a male partner, he will provide a semen sample the same day the eggs are retrieved from the donor. Lesbian couples, or couples with male fertility problems related to sperm, can use donated sperm. From there, the IVF cycle continues as described above.

3. Gestational Surrogate Carrier

IVF and egg donation can be very successful in increasing your chances of getting pregnant. But what if you are unable to safely carry a child to term? If you have struggled with infertility and becoming pregnant yourself is not an option, gestational surrogacy can be a wonderful solution.

With gestational surrogacy, the child is not biologically related to the surrogate mother, or gestational carrier. Instead, she carries an embryo that was created via IVF. This allows you to have a child who is genetically related to one or both parents. Unlike traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacy does not require adoption, because your baby will be genetically linked to you. Gestational surrogacy is the most common type of surgery in the U.S. today.

While gestational surrogacy has many benefits, it can be a complex arrangement. Intended parents will need to identify a healthy and qualified surrogate, complete legal contracts, navigate medical procedures and cover medical expenses for the surrogate. Working with a surrogacy agency can make it easier to match with the best surrogates, follow your state or country’s laws, and prevent legal and financial complications.

Interested in Gestational Surrogacy?

Newborn Advantage has deep experience in the surrogacy industry, and can match you with an ideal surrogate in as little as two weeks. We can also connect you with top fertility clinics and legal professionals, and manage every aspect of the surrogacy process, making it seamless for you. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions, or for more information about surrogacy. We look forward to hearing from you!