Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Being a Stay At Home Mom and Loving It as a Surrogate

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Being a Stay At Home Mom and Loving It as a Surrogate

We meet a lot of women who consider becoming a surrogate on a daily basis, but consideration goes only so far.  You need to be a dedicated individual who knows what she wants and how she wants to get there.  As with most of our Conceptual Options surrogates, many women are supplementing own income or they are using the money to allow themselves the ability to stay at home with their children.    But, being a surrogate is not for everyone, nor should it be.
In fact, one of current surrogates just let us know that she is glad she decided to become a surrogate – and she is loving the ability it gives her to be at home with her kids.

Jenny, Jessica, Tina and Staff – thanks so much for the opportunity to join your group of wonderful surrogates at Conceptual Options.  All of you there have given me the ability to stay at home and raise my kids.  I know that it is not for everyone, but it works for me and my husband.  Thank you again !  I am enjoying this entire experience beyond belief (although not so much in the morning with this morning sickness 🙂

Rachel

Need we say more?  Learn more about becoming a Super Surrogate at Conceptual Options here.

Conceptual Options Become a Super Surrogate

Conceptual Options Become a Super Surrogate

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: A Royal Sickness – an Update

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: A Royal Sickness – an Update

As we all know, Princess Charlotte was just born to the royal couple, Kate and William, last month.  But, Kate’s morning sickness was the original media story – for both Charlotte and George.  Instead of speculating on the gender and possible name of the new royal baby, all news outlets had been focusing on Kate’s horrendous battle with morning sickness.  Now, that the worst is behind Kate, we wanted to remind everyone about morning sickness, and how you can counter the effects to provide you a safe and healthy (and happy) pregnancy.

As was with her first pregnancy, the Duchess has once again been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). Unfortunately, this isn’t just your regular “I feel a tad nauseous” type of morning sickness, we are talking about a sickness so severe that it can cause hospitalization and even death if not properly treated.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than 50% of all pregnant woman experience some sort of morning sickness during their first trimester. Whereas only a very small percentage of women (1% – 2%) are diagnosed with HG.

What is the difference between your typical morning sickness and HG? Below is a chart by the American Pregnancy Association, detailing the differences:

Morning Sickness: Hyperemesis Gravidarum:
Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting
Nausea that subsides at 12 weeks or soon after Nausea that does not subside
Vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration Vomiting that causes severe dehydration
Vomiting that allows you to keep some food down Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down

Additional signs and symptoms of HG include:

  • Rapid Weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Headaches
  • Fainting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Low blood pressure

Why does HG and or morning sickness even happen? Although research has not nailed down the exact cause, it is believed that it may be due to a rise in hormone levels. Specifically, the rapidly rising levels of the hormones: human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen.

What is hCG? When an egg is fertilized and attaches to the uterine wall, the placenta  starts to develop. This developing placenta then begins to release hcG. The function of this hormone is to basically ensure the production of progesterone, thereby preventing a woman’s body from having her period, which in turns helps to maintain a pregnancy.

What about estrogen? What is it and what does it do? During pregnancy, estrogen is also produced by the placenta. It’s role is to help the uterus grow, and to maintain the uterine lining, it also helps increase blood circulation and after birth helps with milk production.

The increased combination of these two hormones can throw things off in your system, producing the symptoms mentioned above. However, typical morning sickness is not harmful to you or your baby, in fact, many doctors think morning sickness is actually a good sign! Studies have found that women who have signs of morning sickness are less likely to miscarry and even have a reduced risk of preterm birth. But, not having morning sickness does not mean that you are at a higher risk of these things either, just means you lucked out!  Although typical morning sickness is not harmful to you or baby, hyperemesis gravidarum, if severe enough and left untreated, can be harmful.

How is it treated? For mild cases dietary changes, antacids and rest will do the trick. However for more severe cases, the mom-to-be will most likely be hospitalized so she can be hooked to an IV to replenish all her lost nutrients and electrolytes.

According to research,  here are some things you can do to relieve morning sickness:

  • Eat small meals throughout the day
  • Drink fluids before or after a meal, but not with meals
  • Eat soda crackers 15 minutes before getting up in the morning
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Avoid warm places since heat can add to nausea
  • Acupressure  also has been used by many to help relieve the duration and severity of the sickness.

During pregnancy, a women’s body is put through a million different physical changes.. some pleasant and some not so pleasant. Regardless, it is very important for all women to be their own advocates. If something does not feel right, please speak to your doctor right away.

Read more here about Morning Sickness and How to Treat it in a healthy way for you and baby.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Morning Sickness

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Morning Sickness

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Understanding your period.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Understanding your period.

How much do you know about your menstrual cycle? A recent poll done by yours truly, indicated that many of us do not really understand what happens to our bodies every month.

I recently had a conversation with a woman in her 30’s about her fertility and menstruation. I was shocked by her lack of education about her own body. I was curious to know if this was an individual case or if other women lacked this knowledge as well. I started asking other women questions about their body’s – specifically about their periods. I was again surprised by how little women seemed to know about what was happening inside their own body.

So for this week’s blog topic, I want to discuss your menstrual cycle.

Your menstrual cycle has four distinct phases:

1. Follicular
2. Ovulation
3. Luteal
4. Menstruation.

1. Follicular phase
The follicular phase lasts about two weeks. The last 5 days are considered your fertile window. As an aside, a woman is only able to conceive on six days out of her entire cycle. So, women can only get pregnant on the day of ovulation or during the five days before ovulation.  Amazing!

Back to the follicular phase. During this phase your endocrine system specifically your pituitary gland, (a pea-sized structure located at the base of the brain), releases a hormone called follicle-stimulating hormone better known as FSH. This hormone stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles.

Ovarian follicles are cells that each contain one immature egg. Although anywhere between 10 and 20 ovarian follicles may initially develop, by the end of the follicular phase, only one will remain. This means that you will only have one mature egg which will be released during the ovulation phase.

During this time the lining of your uterus (known as the endometrium) begins to thicken so it can be ready to receive a fertilized egg.

2. Ovulation
The day before you ovulate, your estrogen levels peak, triggering the lutenizing hormone (LH). The rise in LH causes your ovarian follicle to burst and release the egg. The egg moves into the fallopian tube and towards the uterus. If the egg is not fertilized, the egg will disintegrate.

 3. Luteal phase
During this phase the follicle that released the egg releases large amounts of hormone known as progesterone, this is to maintain the thick endometrium in case fertilization occurs. If fertilization does not occur, the progesterone levels will decline and the lining will disintegrate.

4. Menstruation
Menstruation occurs when the disintegrated endometrium flows out of the vagina.

There you have it, the 4 phases of your menstrual cycle.
Read more here about understanding your period.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Understanding your Period

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Understanding your Period

Conceptual Options Surrogacy & IVF News: “Test Tube” Baby No Longer a Rarity

Conceptual Options Surrogacy & IVF News: “Test-Tube” Baby No Longer a Rarity

There are reports that now claim that “Test tube babies” are not that rare these days.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1.5% of babies born in the US are conceived using what’s called Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), of which the most common procedure is in vitro fertilization (IVF).

According to Business Insider UK,

Though thousands of IVF cycles are done every year in the US, it’s tricky to get a sense of an individual woman’s chance of conceiving with the procedure. Graphs from the CDC show exactly how often IVF resulted in a baby for women who went through the costly treatment using their own eggs, not donor eggs. A single IVF cycle costs an average of $12,400, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), and women often need multiple tries to get pregnant.

About 36% of IVF cycles result in pregnancy, and 29.4% of cycles result in a baby…

A live birth rate of about 30% for IVF cycles is really pretty respectable. A healthy, fertile 30-year-old woman has about a 20% chance of getting pregnant without assistance every month that she tries, according to the ASRM. That decreases to 5% chance each month for women aged 40.

For couples who try to conceive through IVF, a lot more is at stake financially, emotionally, and physically, even if the success rate is often better than the traditional method.

While looking at the national averages for IVF success rates is a good start for dispelling misconceptions, pregnancy and live birth rates differ from clinic to clinic, and the data don’t tell the whole story. There are many different causes of infertility, and IVF does not address the direct problem for every cause. Only a doctor can say what chance IVF has of success for a particular couple.

Conceptual Options News: Test Tube Babies

Conceptual Options News: Test Tube Babies

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Kim Kardashian is Pregnant – Hold the Surrogate!

Conceptual Options Surrogacy News: Kim Kardashian is Pregnant – Hold the Surrogate!

For those of you who have been watching all of the media attention surrounding Kim Kardashian and her quest for a second baby, even if it involved using a surrogate – we have good news!  Kim K is pregnant.  We congratulate her and her family on the news.  And, we are happy that she and her family were willing to share their fertility struggles before the cameras.

Conceptual Options Surrogacy: Kim Kardashian is pregnant again!

Conceptual Options Surrogacy: Kim Kardashian is pregnant again!

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 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 IVF & Surrogacy News: German Grandmother Pregnant with Quadruplets

Conceptual Options IVF & Surrogacy News: German Grandmother Pregnant with Quadruplets

A 65-year-old German woman is set to become the world’s oldest mother of quadruplets.

According toBioNews,

Annegret Raunigk, a language teacher and mother of 13, went to a Ukrainian fertility clinic to undergo treatment using donated gametes because egg donation is illegal in Germany. It took over a year and a half to conceive and she is now in her 21st week of pregnancy, reports RTL.

In an interview with the German news broadcaster, Raunigk dismissed questions over whether her age would make caring for four infants difficult. ‘I’m healthy now, why wouldn’t I be in five years time?’ she said.

Raunigk also said she was not concerned about being judged by others. Although she did not say in the interview exactly why she decided to have more children, RTL quoted her as explaining that it was because her youngest daughter wanted a new brother or sister.

Raunigk’s oldest child is 44 and her youngest is nine years old – a birth that made headlines in Germany at the time. She also has seven grandchildren. Her children have five different fathers.

What are your thoughts?  Is 65 too old?  Who decides the age that is appropriate?

Conceptual Options Surrogacy & IVF News

Conceptual Options Surrogacy & IVF News

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 IVF & Surrogacy Agency News: Hawaii Legislation Needs Work for Same Sex and Single Families

Conceptual Options IVF & Surrogacy Agency News: Hawaii Legislation Needs Work for Same Sex and Single Families

Hawaii is one of the few states that cover IVF for families; however, the current legislation only applies to married, heterosexual couples.  With so many others being left out, legislation is now being introduced that will close that gap.

According to the Associated Press,

…same-sex couples and single women are left out because the coverage rules only apply to married, heterosexual couples. That’s because the Hawaii law states that a patient’s eggs must be fertilized by her spouse.

Advocates are calling the practice discriminatory. They’re hoping to change the law.

A bill is pending in the Hawaii Legislature that would remove the spousal sperm requirement.

The infertility association Resolve says Maryland and Arkansas have similar coverage mandates for heterosexual couples. An effort to update Maryland’s law passed the Legislature but hasn’t yet been signed into law by the governor.

Barbara Collura of Resolve says Hawaii’s law desperately needs to be updated.

Read more here about current Hawaii IVF Legislation.

Conceptual Options Hawaii IVF Legislation

Conceptual Options Hawaii IVF Legislation