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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!

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are wonderful holidays—but for anyone struggling with fertility problems, they can also be a reminder of unfulfilled dreams to start a family. At Newborn Advantage, we believe every intended parent deserves the opportunity to become a mother or father. Over the next two months, we’ll discuss female fertility, male fertility, and ways to boost fertility to increase your chances of getting pregnant. So, even if you’re not a mom or dad this year, perhaps the next time Mother’s Day or Father’s Day rolls around, you will be.

Fertility for Women

As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10 percent of women in the United States ages 15-44 have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Most problems are caused by ovulation difficulties, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Advanced age, smoking, alcohol use, stress, diet, athletic training, being overweight or underweight and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can also lead to fertility decline. Age is a major factor. Today, about 20 percent of U.S. women now have their first child over the age of 35. One-third of these women face fertility problems. Fortunately, there are many ways to increase fertility. You can boost fertility by working with a fertility specialist and using assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods like in vitro fertilization (IVF) with egg donation. Another approach is to work with a gestational surrogate carrier. Newborn Advantage can match intended parents with a surrogate in just two weeks—faster than most surrogacy agencies.

Fertility for Men

Male fertility is every bit as important as female fertility to ensure conception. The Mayo Clinic notes that one-third of fertility problems are attributable to male infertility—the same percentage attributed to female infertility. Male infertility can be caused by age (over 40), low sperm production, abnormal sperm function, blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm, illnesses, injuries, and chronic health problems. However, there are many ways to boost fertility for men, as well. Sperm washing can optimize results with IVF, and decrease the risk of HIV transmission for men who are HIV positive. Working with a gestational carrier as a surrogate can also be a solution for single men, gay couples, and couples with male fertility. We’ll share more about this topic in our Father’s Day blog, coming in June.

Learn More About Fertility Planning

Revisit our blog on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to learn more about female fertility, male fertility, and how to increase your chances of becoming a parent. Of course, you can also feel free to contact us any time with your questions, or for more information about surrogacy. We look forward to hearing from you.

Answers to Legal Questions from a Leading Fertility Attorney

When you choose gestational surrogacy, your baby may or may not have a biological connection to you. Gestational surrogacy is possible using donor egg and donor sperm in several states. So whether your baby will carry your DNA or not is an important consideration before you match with a surrogate.

Newborn Advantage works with intended parents from all over the world, guiding them through the gestational surrogacy process from start to finish. The legal issues surrounding surrogacy are complex, but with help from an experienced attorney, navigating legal hurdles becomes much easier.

To help intended parents learn more about gestational surrogacy law, we spoke with Richard B. Vaughn, Esq., Founding Partner of the International Fertility Law Group, Inc. Vaughn served as Chair of the American Bar Association – Family Law Section’s Assisted Reproduction Technology Committee from 2013 – 2018, and has a deep understanding of gestational surrogacy and the law.

Q: How much do fertility laws vary from state to state, and around the world?

A: Quite a bit. Assisted reproductive technology, or ART, is a relatively new and rapidly changing field that has changed the definition of family and parenting. For that reason, laws governing reproduction and parentage have not caught up to the technology in many parts of the world and in some U.S. states, and legislation and case law vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

Q: What if intended parents live in a different state or country than their surrogate? Do they need to understand the surrogacy laws in both regions?

A: Yes. It is important that intended parents and their attorney become familiar with and consider carefully the laws in the state where a surrogate will give birth, the laws in the country or countries where the child’s citizenship will be registered, and the laws where the intended parents and their family plan to reside, before entering into any surrogacy arrangement.

Q: The legal issues surrounding gestational surrogacy can be complicated. What’s the best way for intended parents to get started—especially with international surrogacy?

A: Because the laws are so different across the world, it’s a good idea to consult with an international fertility attorney early in the surrogacy process—ideally, before you are matched with a surrogate. Any attorney experienced in fertility law will understand the issues surrounding gestational surrogacy, and can answer questions and guide intended parents in making the best decisions for their families and avoiding unexpected legal hurdles and heartaches.

Q: What steps can intended parents take to ensure they’re recognized as legal parents of their child?

A: In ART law, the “gold standard” is for intended parents to be legally recognized as the baby’s parents from the moment of birth, with both intended parents’ names listed on the birth certificate. Most states allow intended parents to obtain a court order establishing them as legal parents before their baby is born. However, not all states and countries accommodate this process. Some will not issue an order of parentage until after the birth. And of course, with other countries, the law is different as well. Your attorney can help you navigate the legal procedures in your state or country, as well as your surrogate’s place of residence, to ensure you’re recognized as the legal parents as soon as possible.

Q: How does sexual orientation affect the legal process with surrogacy?

A: This varies greatly depending on the country or state. For example, if the intended parents are a gay male couple from a country outside the U.S., it may be necessary to list the surrogate as mother on an initial birth certificate in order to comply with the laws of their home country. In this case, we would then obtain an amended birth certificate after the birth, without listing the surrogate and only listing the biological father. The same might apply to a same-sex married couple, depending on what country they live in, or in what country or countries they hold citizenship.

Q: What advice do you have for intended parents who want to avoid legal issues with surrogacy?

A: Each situation is unique, and the most important thing is that you are represented by legal counsel who knows and understands the laws in the jurisdiction where your baby will be born and the jurisdiction where you and your family will reside.

IFLG International Fertility Law GroupNewborn Advantage is a leader in gestational surrogacy around the world, and we specialize in working with same-sex couples and singles, professional singles, infertile couples and cancer patients. We match intended parents with surrogates faster than most surrogacy agencies, usually within two weeks. Our goal is to give your newborn an advantage at birth and in life. Working with a fertility attorney gives you a legal advantage, too. To learn more about international fertility law, Esq., visit the International Fertility Law Group Inc.’s website.

Interested in surrogacy?

Contact Newborn Advantage today to learn how we can help you find the right surrogate, and connect with a legal professional who will protect your interests. We look forward to hearing from you.

Three gestational surrogates share their experiences as a surrogate mother

In recent years, gestational surrogacy has made healthy pregnancy possible for many parents who were not able to carry a child on their own. Using a surrogate allows intended parents to welcome a child into the world who is biologically connected to them. It’s an incredible thing. But have you ever wondered, “How does it feel to be a surrogate mother?” At Newborn Advantage, we work with gestational surrogates every day—so we asked a few of them to share what it’s like to be a surrogate. Here are their stories.

Jasmin C.

Jasmin had four healthy children of her own when she decided to become a gestational surrogate. She has since carried two children for other families, as a Newborn Advantage Surrogate. The first child she delivered was born on July 4, 2017.

“It was so special,” she remembers. “Both dads were there, and their reaction, seeing their baby for the first time, made it all worth it.”

Jasmin admits that pregnancy isn’t her favorite part of surrogacy, although she’s used to the aches and pains of carrying a child by now. “My favorite part is the delivery,” she says. “Seeing what my body is able to do is amazing.”

She also enjoys the friendships that are formed with the families she works with. Both couples send letters, thank you notes and photos of their children.

Many parents wonder if it’s hard for surrogates to give the child they carried back to its parents. But for Jasmine, it isn’t difficult at all.

“It’s not like I’m giving my baby up. It is their baby,” she says. “The doctor transferred it to me nine months ago, and now I am just giving it back.” The explanation makes sense, because gestational surrogates are not genetically related to the children they carry—although the child is genetically related to one or both of its intended parents. “It just feels like a friend’s baby,” Jasmin says.

For Jasmin, working with Newborn Advantage has been smooth and easy, and she recommends that anyone considering surrogacy should also consider working with a surrogacy agency.

“Newborn Advantage covered my medical and travel expenses, booked hotels for me, arranged rental cars, helped me with my health insurance, and handled the financial aspects, too. It was a very good experience,” she said. “If you have any questions or worries about the process, they take the time to answer your questions and ease your concerns—and there is never any pressure.”

Christina G.

Christina has three children, and is currently pregnant—but the baby she’s carrying is not her own. She has been a surrogate mother for four couples with Newborn Advantage, helping families all over the world—in Switzerland, India, New York, and now, London. Like Jasmin, she appreciates the friendships she has gained.

“Mindy does a really good job of matching personalities. That is definitely a trait she has that is second to none,” Christina said. “I have formed friendships with all four of the couples I have been paired with. In fact, with my first couple, I got more attached to the family, than to the baby I was carrying for them.”

Christina enjoys getting to know the couple she is helping, and sharing in their joy and tears throughout the process­—over the months leading up to a pregnancy, during the pregnancy itself, and even after the birth of a child.

“Turning a baby over to the parents for the first time, it is in that moment that you feel complete—happy, whole, and overjoyed for them,” she says

Giving to others comes naturally to Christina, who, in addition to being a gestational surrogate, is also a volunteer firefighter and a career EMT.

“I have three beautiful children myself, and surrogacy is a little something of me that I can give to other women who have struggled to become pregnant,” she says. “People often say, ‘I could never be a surrogate,’ or, ‘I couldn’t be firefighter or an EMT, and run into a burning building.’ Well, I can. I can do it, I choose to do it, and it completes my soul being able to give that part of me to people who can’t or are unable to.”

Olivia C.

Olivia recently completed her first-ever surrogacy experience with Newborn Advantage.

“They helped make the experience so enjoyable,” she said. “Everything was done in a timely manner. Doctor bills were always paid quickly, if I needed flights or hotels it was always done promptly, and compensation was always on time.”

Surrogacy is very personal, and communication is important throughout the journey.

“They were always checking up on me and asking how I was doing and feeling,” Cappel said. “I didn’t feel like I was just another client to them; they made me feel appreciated.” 

Surrogates Make it Possible

Newborn Advantage would not exist without surrogates—and we are very grateful to each one who works with our agency.

“I have had the privilege and honor of working with such fabulous, selfless women over the past 14 years,” said Mindy Berkson, Surrogacy Consultant at Newborn Advantage. “I am consistently impressed with their morals, values, ethics, the genuine hearts that bring them to surrogacy, and the gift they give to make others so happy.”

Where can I find a surrogate?

Considering using a surrogate mother? Contact Newborn Advantage today to work with the highest quality surrogates in the industry.  We look forward to hearing from you.

When you dream about welcoming a new baby into your family, you probably imagine joyful newborn snuggles in the beautiful nursery you spent months decorating—not stressful months waiting in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), until your baby is healthy enough to bring home. If you’re considering gestational surrogacy using in vitro fertilization (IVF), one easy way to reduce risks of premature labor, birth defects and developmental problems is to follow the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)’s recommendation of transferring only one embryo. While these risks are present with every pregnancy, they are significantly higher with multiples.

To learn more about why single embryo transfer is now the recommended approach for all patients below the age of 37, we spoke with Sinem Karipcin, MD, FACOG, Board Certified Fertility Specialist at Conceptions Florida Center for Fertility and Genetics.

“When there is a transfer of multiple embryos, the risks are increased in virtually every pregnancy complication across the board, including preterm labor, C-section delivery, pregnancy hypertension, gestational diabetes and blood clots,” Dr. Karipcin said. “When using a gestational surrogate, transferring more than one embryo at a time puts the surrogate at risk of having all these complications. But also, it increases risks for the children.”

In the United States, the preterm delivery rate in twins is 59 percent before 37 completed weeks of gestation and 11 percent before 32 completed weeks. Preterm infants may have cerebral palsy, resulting in intellectual or developmental disability, underdeveloped lungs, which can cause respiratory problems, or an underdeveloped digestive system, which can cause gastrointestinal problems.

“Fortunately, most of these children will recover from health problems associated with preterm labor, thanks to current technology—but there are certainly children who suffer as a result,” Dr. Karipcin explained. “There are financial consequences as well. Parents could end up with huge hospital bills because of NICU stays or pregnancy complications with the surrogate.”

Especially, if the embryos are tested for chromosomal balance (pre-implantation genetic testing for aneuploidy), there is no excuse for transferring more than one embryo. BEST trial, published by Eric Forman in 2013, demonstrated the superiority of single embryo transfers. The study compared the transfer of a single chromosomally balanced embryo to the transfer of two untested embryos. The ongoing pregnancy rate was the same. However, the multiple pregnancy rate was 50% in the double embryo transfer group.

“In my clinic, when the source of the egg is a woman younger than 35, the ongoing pregnancy rate is higher than 60% with single embryo transfer, with or without aneuploidy testing,” Dr. Karipcin said. “When the young moms ask about the possibility of multiples with untested embryos, I tell them expect to 50%.”

Dr. Karipcin also notes that transferring two embryos does not necessarily mean two babies. An embryo could split and make an identical twin, so intended parents could end up with triplets—or even quadruplets.

While Dr. Karipcin is a strong advocate for single embryo transfer, she acknowledges that ultimately, the decision is up to patients. When patients request a transfer that is outside the ASRM guidelines, she refers them to a maternal fetal medicine specialist, who provides additional counseling about the risks of multiples. Most patients choose single embryo transfer when they return.

“If the goal is to have a live, healthy birth, let’s not lose sight of how to get there,” Dr. Karipcin said. “There are fewer complications for all parties when it is a singleton pregnancy.”

In addition to being an exceptional clinician, Dr. Karipcin has also led a number of original studies to optimize IVF protocols at Harvard and Cornell, and conducts ongoing research in the field of pre-implantation genetic testing.

Are you interested in gestational surrogacy?

Newborn Advantage partners with industry experts like Dr. Karipcin, and fertility centers like Conceptions Florida, across the country. Contact us today to find out more about gestational surrogacy.

Connect with Conceptions Florida

Conceptions Florida specializes in vitro fertilization, genetic testing, surrogacy, egg freezing (cryopreservation), and egg and sperm donation. Learn more at

An internationally recognized expert, Mindy was recently quoted in the Spanish-language publication Miercoles. Access an English translation here: Berkson_MiercolesArticle.

Mindy was asked to share her expertise with the readers of Circle+Bloom. Read her expert tips for a successful fertility journey.

Link: Three Expert Tips

Mindy Berkson spoke to journalist Nicole Villalpando of the Austin-American Statesman and Raising Austin about finding a surrogate, egg donation and the journey to parenthood.

Link: My Statesman

Mindy Berkson was invited to sit down with a reporter from the Winnetka Talk, of the Pioneer Press newspapers, which is now a part of the Chicago Tribune,  to discuss the growth and success of her business, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Did you know that the Lotus Blossom Consulting team of infertility consultants is responsible for the birth of close to 700 babies?

Link: Winnetka Talk

Mindy is quoted in an article on women in their thirties and forties who are struggling with infertility— which is why more young, single women are freezing their eggs.

Link: The Washingtonian