Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Viva La France! Surrogate Children are Granted Legal Recognition Finally!

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Viva La France!  Surrogate Children are Granted Legal Recognition Finally!

According to news reports out of France from last week, it appears that France has finally changed their tune regarding surrogacy births overseas.  There have been many of our own clients over the years who have had to live in fear regarding the legal recognition of their children, but not any longer.

Time Magazine stated the following:

France’s highest court has granted legal recognition to surrogate children, in a major turnaround that will make their daily lives easier and could lead to greater acceptance of new forms of families.

The Cour de cassation ruled Friday that, while surrogacy will remain banned in France, children born abroad through this practice will now be legally tied to their parents and will be granted birth certificates and immediate means to prove their French citizenship…

Until now, surrogate children were deprived of any legal connection to their parents, or any civil status in France. They were considered as children born from unknown legal parents, since their foreign birth certificates weren’t recognized. One lawyer has described them as “ghosts of the republic.”

Unlike other children born abroad to a French parent, these children couldn’t get automatic ID cards or passports, or register for state health care or other services.

This exposed them to frequent problems, because many basic tasks are impossible in France without an ID or authorization from a legal parent.

Congrats to all of the parents in France who have been dealing with this issue for so long – Viva La France!!

Read more here about France legally recognizing children born via surrogacy.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy in France Ruling

Conceptual Options Surrogacy in France Ruling

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Surrogate Support & Our Surrogate Community

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Surrogate Support & Our Surrogate Community

At the end of last month, Conceptual Options was honored to show our gratitude while spending quality time with our community of surrogates.  This summer’s party was attended by all and was a huge success (see party photo below).  Children, spouses and significant others also attended, and there were gifts and prizes for everyone.

Feel free to come join us for our monthly support group meetings and our Summer and Holiday Parties that are thrown twice a year for the spectacular women and their families who mean so much to all of us here at Conceptual Options.  Join our community of surrogates that understand that they are a community of empowered women making the world a better place for families, including their own families.  Thank you!!!

Conceptual Options is a Premier Southern California Surrogacy Agency that is focused on the whole person experience for both the Intended Parents and their Surrogates.

Surrogate Community and Surrogate Support: Conceptual Options

Surrogate Community and Surrogate Support: Conceptual Options

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: The Real Face of Surrogacy

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: The Real Face of Surrogacy

At Conceptual Options all of us have come across friends and family that know nothing about surrogacy.  But, we have also found out over the years that what we often come across people who could really benefit from surrogacy but were always to afraid to ask – until now.  Well, that just happened to one of our staff members last week.  She sat down with friends for dinner that she hasn’t seen in almost a year, and they got right down to business, so to speak.

A little back story on this couple, they have been trying to have a baby for over 10 years. They have tried it all from holistic medicine to IVF. Their savings is quickly dwindling, as fertility treatments can be quite expensive, and they are tired. They are over it. They just want a baby. They wanted to know if Conceptual Options could do to help.

They were ready to start today. They weren’t afraid of the cost, they understood all the medical risks .. what they were afraid of was related to all the negative stories they have been seeing the last few days about Baby Gammy. Could the surrogate decide to keep their baby? Could she prevent them from being with their child?

She told them, just as with anything in life, there are never any guarantees, however there are certain precautions they can take to ensure a safe, healthy and happy surrogacy journey. Not all surrogacy stories are negative, in fact I can list hundreds of positive stories as well.

Deciding to use a surrogate to build your family is the hardest part. Once you decide, you need to start doing your research. Find an agency that you feel comfortable with, ask yourself what type of relationship do you want with your surrogate, what type of experience are you looking for – do you want to be fully involved or do you want to take a hands off approach? And understand that the process is costly. Agency fees, surrogate compensation, psychological evaluation fee, health insurance, IVF costs, attorney fees, court fees.. they all add up. So be prepared.

Our recommendation to them was to interview three different agencies, speak to three different reproductive attorney’s and three different IVF doctors. Then go with the agency they feel most comfortable with, one that matches their style and aligns with their values.

Do your research, ask questions, be involved and be patient. Surrogacy is and can be a beautiful, life changing event for everyone. We all just need to work together to make sure it stays that way.

*Note that all parties approved of our disclosure of their story.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy Options

Conceptual Options Surrogacy Options

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Kim Kardashian & Kanye West Exploring Surrogacy for Second Baby

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Kim Kardashian & Kanye West Exploring Surrogacy for Second Baby

In news today it is clear that Kim Kardashian & Kanye West are having trouble having their second child – a heartbreak for anyone no matter who you are.  But, they are considering the option of using a surrogate mother, as IVF has not yet worked for them at this point.

According to US Weekly,

There are a lot of ways to grow a family, and Kim Kardashian isn’t ruling out any of them. After unsuccessfully trying for a year to get pregnant again, the reality star is exploring other options with husband Kanye West — including surrogacy, a source reveals in the new issue of Us Weekly

“Kim has been undergoing IVF,” the insider tells Us of Kardashian, 34, who welcomed daughter North West, 23 months, in June 2013, after a dramatic, difficult delivery. “It’s causing problems with her body.”…

Indeed, as Keeping Up With the Kardashians fans saw on a recent episode, the star had to undergo a procedure to “clear something out of [her] uterus.” And on the May 31 show, she’ll reveal that an implanted embryo did not take.
Read more here about how Kim & Kanye may be going the surrogate route in order to expand their family.
Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Kim Kardashian

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Kim Kardashian

Conceptual Options Surrogacy Update: In the Defense of Surrogacy Part II

Conceptual Options Surrogacy Update: In the Defense of Surrogacy Part II

Last week we posted Perez Hilton’s announcement on the birth of his second child via surrogacy, and how he felt that surrogacy should be legalized all over the country.   So, today, we wanted to take it a step further and post some thoughts written by one of our awesome employees here at Conceptual Options.

There are those that say that Surrogacy is not only morally wrong, but it should be outlawed because it exploits women, specifically women that are Surrogates. They say that Surrogates are not being treated as people, but as “breeders” or “wombs for sale.” In essence, they are saying that Surrogates are being exploited for their bodies.

However, what these critics fail to realize is that Surrogacy is about helping someone have the child(ren) that they always wanted and were unable to have on their own. Surrogates are not being exploited for their wombs, quite the opposite actually. These women are giving these infertile people the gift of life, the family that they have always wanted and could never have.

Of course, these critics do not see it that way, because they are being paternalistic and believe that women who want to become Surrogates do not understand the gravity of their actions and need to be “protected” from being used. If this were a third world country that argument might have merit, but here in the United States Surrogates are not destitute women doing anything they can to get by; in the United States Surrogates are smart, caring mothers who want to help people or couples who are unable to have children of their own experience the joy and unconditional love of a child.

And yes, there have been negative aspects to Surrogacy in the United States, but that is a small minority of experiences far outweighed by all of the good that Surrogacy and the women who are Surrogates have brought about. But all these critics want to talk about is the small minority, the negative, instead of looking at any of the positive aspects of Surrogacy.

We should be championing the heartening aspects of Surrogacy, giving the same if not more weight to all of the good that Surrogacy and Surrogates have done. Lets think of those now…Think of all of the children and families that have been created through the help of Surrogate mothers. Think of all of the dreams that have come true because a family is finally complete. Think of all the heartbreak and heartache that has been eased because a Surrogate helped the ultimate dream come true, a child. Think of the swell of unconditional love that a parent feels upon first meeting their child. Think of the wholeness that a child brings to a family. For some families, these thoughts would not be a reality without a Surrogate.

We hope you enjoy.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News - Defense of Surrogacy

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News – Defense of Surrogacy

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Perez Hilton & the Defense of Surrogacy

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Perez Hilton & the Defense of Surrogacy

Perez Hilton, celebrity blogger, is certainly not the first celebrity to have his child via surrogacy; but, this week’s announcement of the birth of his daughter, Mia Alma, brought him front and center to the defense of surrogacy.  We applaud his decision to make certain that those against surrogacy hear his voice.

According to Perez Hilton,

This is what I’ve dreamed of my whole life.

This dream of being a parent is something that many Americans share. Gay AND straight Americans both use surrogacy to start or add to their families. Yet, in many states, surrogacy is illegal.

As the Supreme Court is ready to make their landmark decision on same-sex marriage, I feel the need to get political and urge all politicians to please make surrogacy legal nationwide.

The dream I’m living is one that everyone should be able to live!

Having said that, my brain is mush right now. I am blissfully afflicted with baby brain and so relieved that my soul, Mia Alma, is here.

My son was born 4 weeks prematurely in 2013. So for the last month I’ve been living on edge and filled with a lot of anxiety.

That anxiety has not completely gone away, but my heart has been filled with so much more love!

Love is what matters most!

Well, said Perez!!

Conceptual Options & the Defense of Surrogacy

Conceptual Options & the Defense of Surrogacy

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: To Bank or Not to Bank your Baby’s Cord Blood?

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: To Bank or Not to Bank your Baby’s Cord Blood

We were recently asked by a couple if they should bank their baby’s cord bloodor not? They had heard about it, but really did not know much about it. They had done some research on-line and their delivering doctor didn’t really tell them much that they hadn’t already read about. They wanted to know what is it, why should they do it, and if they decide to do it, how should they do it?

In order to answer their questions about cord blood, we need to start from the beginning.

When a baby is developing in it’s mother’s womb, the umbilical cord connects from an opening in the baby’s stomach to the placenta. During pregnancy, the placenta which is an oxygen and nutrient rich organ, is attached to the lining of the womb. This organ sends all the oxygen and essential nutrients that your baby needs to develop via the umbilical cord. Basically, the umbilical cord is your baby’s life line.

When your baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut  (no it does not hurt as the cord is similar to your nails or hair, so neither you nor your baby will feel anything) and some of that blood from the placenta remains in the umbilical cord. This extra blood is what is known as cord blood.

What is so special about this extra blood?

This cord blood is full of stem cells and stem cells can save lives.  Stem cells are the building blocks of  blood and are also the foundation of our immune system. Not only that, these particular stems cells have the unique ability to divide and form into other types of cells such as more blood cells, muscles or bones. By having this unique ability, they can help repair tissues, organs and treat  diseases. According to the Mayo Clinic, “cord blood stem cells have been used successfully to treat more than 70 different diseases, including some cancers, blood disorders, and immune deficiencies. Among these are leukemia, aplastic anemia, thalassemia, Hodgkin’s disease, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.”

The umbilical cord isn’t the only place where we can harvest stem cells.  We can find stem cells from other  sources as well such as bone marrow and circulating blood. Bone marrow and circulating blood are found in all healthy adults. However, unlike these two sources, cord blood can only be harvested and stored at birth.

So why bother with cord blood when we can still collect it from bone marrow and regular blood?

Well, one of the main reasons is because unlike cord blood cells which have the unique ability to form into other types of cells, adult stem cells do not and this limits how adult stem cells can be used to treat diseases.

Also, it is much easier to match transplant patients with cord blood than with adult donors. For example, according to research only 30% of people who are in need of a stem cell transplant have someone in their family who is a match. In other words, 70% do NOT have a match..within their own family. So finding a match outside of their family, is pretty near impossible. But when using cord blood stem cells, if a first degree relative (parent, sibling or child) needs a stem cell transplant and you have cord blood banked, it is pretty much a guarantee that those stem cells will be a match.  Further, people who receive transplants from stem cells that come from someone they are related too versus someone they are unrelated too, have a better chance of recovering and recovering faster from the procedure. Also, because of scientific research, new therapies now exist whereby children can use their own cord blood stem cells to help their body repair itself.  Amazing.

We think it is pretty obvious that there is tremendous value in harvesting and collecting cord blood. Regardless of the value, there are still people who are not interested in doing so, in fact, more than 95% of all newborn cord blood is discarded. But if you are not interested in discarding or banking, you can also have the ability to donate the cells and potentially help save someone else life. With all the wonderful research being conducted, who knows what other life saving treatments  science will discover.

Now if you decide to save your cord blood, make sure to do your research. Finding a  bank that is reliable and credible is essential. If the cord blood is not handled and / or stored correctly, you may never be able to even use it. So talk to your delivering doctor or hospital and ask for a recommendation.  Seek out friends or family who have done this. Who have they worked with before? Research the different companies on-line and speak to a live person and ask questions.

Although cost maybe a factor in your decision regarding which bank you chose, don’t let that be your only deciding factor.  After looking through the various banking websites, I found that on average, banking for 20 years is approximately $4,000 or $200 a year. That’s it. Considering all that can be done using the stem cells, $200 a year does not seem like much of a cost.

There is a great site we found, a non-profit called Parent’s Guide to Cord Blood Foundation that tells you everything you need to know about cord blood. It is a great place to start your own research .

So to answer the questions for the couple who asked us if they should bank their child’s cord blood:

1. What is it:  Cord blood is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and the placenta after the birth of a baby. It contains stem cells that may be cryopreserved for later use in medical therapies, such as stem cell transplants or clinical trials of new stem cell therapies.

2. Why should you do it: it can save lives.

3. How should you do it? Do your research, ask questions BEFORE your baby is born.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News - Cord Blood Banking Benefits

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News – Cord Blood Banking Benefits

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: California Parents Fighting for Parental Rights for Baby Born via Surrogacy in Mexico

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: California Parents Fighting for Parental Rights for Baby Born via Surrogacy in Mexico

A couple from San Jose, California, decided to head to Mexico to save money on surrogacy in the small town of Tabasco, reportedly the only Mexican state where surrogacy is legal. But according to the Amirehs, the laws suddenly changed around the time when Grayson was born on April 16 and they’re unable to get the birth certificate for him that’s required to secure a passport for the trip to the United States.

According to the SFGate,

A San Jose family turned to a surrogate in Mexico when they were unable to have children of their own. Now, Haseeb and Christy Amireh are fighting to bring their newborn baby, Grayson, back to America…

“There are still agencies taking … intended parents, like us, so we’d like to get the word out,” Haseeb told CBS News

U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-California, told KPIX-TV, “From what we learned, the governor in that state has put a moratorium on all birth certificates for surrogate families … I think this just highlights why it’s really important to understand the laws of any country that you’re traveling to to make a health care decision.”

Read more here about the importance of knowing the laws of the country for your journey to creating a family.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Mexico Fight

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Mexico Fight

Conceptual Options Surrogacy Agency News: Intended Parent via Surrogacy Testimonial

Conceptual Options Surrogacy Agency News: Intended Parent via Surrogacy Testimonial

Here at Conceptual Options we were fortunate to have a wonderful couple prepare a testimonial of their surrogacy journey.  Their story is as follows:

Why I Chose Conceptual Options as My Surrogacy Agency to Create my Family

When my husband and I realized that we had to use a surrogate to create our family, we were devastated and confused at the same time.  There were many Southern California agencies and clinics that claimed to have surrogates waiting to be matched.  Well, for the most part that was not actually the case – most agencies either have no qualified, available surrogates or they have a six to nine month waiting list.  So, what is an Intended Parent to do?  Ultimately, we decided to select Conceptual Options to locate and select our surrogate after months of research.

Why Conceptual Options?  Because they have been in business since 1999 (for over 16 years!), have an excellent reputation that is above all others in the industry, and the staff is with you every step of the way in your journey to creating a family.  In addition, they have a staff that includes three psychologists that creates a program like no other agency or clinic in this industry.  Besides, we had the option you can pay another agency’s retainer and wait however
long that it takes until a surrogate that meets our criteria becomes available with that agency.  But, how long would that take?   And, what is the incentive for the agency to make certain that you are at the front of the line when they have other Intended Parents that have not signed their retainer yet?  Both answers are unknown and a scary prospect for any Intended Parent.

And, what about the six to nine month waiting lists?  Said surrogacy agency may be upfront about having a wait for surrogates, whereby you pay your first installment on the services retainer (often in excess of $10,000.00) and then get placed on their waiting list.   But what many Intended Parents do not realize is that most of these agency agreements place you on a list for the next available surrogate that the agency deems a good surrogate for you.  And, what if you decide not to work with the surrogate chosen for you?  Are you the next in line or are you at the back of the line again?   My husband and I were not willing to wait for the agency to decide for us or select us as next in line.

So, what does this all mean to you?  You wait and you wait while other agencies may have a surrogate that you would like to use to help create your family.  Why limit yourself by signing up and paying a substantial fee to be put on a waiting list and be provided the surrogate that they feel is best for you?  And why reject that woman, if you are then put on the bottom of the list?  It is a great business model for the surrogacy agency, but this is not in your best interest, nor that of your future family.

You should feel control in a situation where much of your control has been taken from you.  Yes, anything can happen along the way at any surrogacy agency, as in life, but why relinquish control when you don’t have to.  Be an active participant in your journey to creating your family.  And, that’s what we did – we selected Conceptual Options.  You should too.

Thank you to Conceptual Options and our wonderful surrogate.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Selecting an Agency

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Selecting an Agency

Conceptual Options Surrogacy Agency News: India Surrogacy Industry Dark Side Shown on HBO Vice

Conceptual Options Surrogacy Agency News: India Surrogacy Industry Dark Side Shown on HBO Vice

According to the Daily Mail,

When journalist Gianna Toboni traveled to India to explore the country’s rapidly growing, yet unregulated, gestational surrogacy industry for HBO documentary series Vice, she didn’t anticipate ‘how dark’ the story would get.

For nearly two years, the producer and host has been reporting on current issues across the globe and has covered everything from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay to the effect of climate change on polar bears – but nothing could have prepared her for the moment when someone offered to sell her a baby over dinner while she was working undercover in India. 

‘It was the most heartbreaking experience that I ever had,’ Gianna told Daily Mail Online.  

But the heartbreak did not end there.

As Gianna quickly learned during her time working on the Outsourcing Embryos documentary, surrogacy in India is a multi-million dollar business, and one which is made all the more lucrative by the high number of American couples traveling to the country in order to use the services provided by one or more of the ‘embryo outsourcing’ agencies featured in the Vice documentary.

Here at Conceptual Options, we hate to see this sort of story, but it is important for Intended Parents to understand that saving money is not always the best route to take when creating your family via third party reproduction.
Conceptual Options Surrogacy News - India Surrogacy Industry

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News – India Surrogacy Industry