Tuesday, October 2, 2018

FAQ From Potential Surrogates Pt. 1







Q: Who are Intended parents?  



A: Intended parent/parents individuals or couples who need someone else to carry their child. Some have fertility issues, some have medical conditions that do not allow for them to carry a pregnancy, and some just need the help of a third party to have a child. Other intended parents have gone through many challenging IVF cycles and have one/or more remaining embryos that they would like a surrogate mother to carry for them.





Q: Do intended Parents go through a screening process?


A: Yes, the intended parents (and gestational surrogates) go through a screening process and detailed consultations with both the fertility clinic and the surrogate agency.  This screening process is important as it ensures that all parties are healthy and able to proceed with this amazing journey.  All relevant medical issues must be known and shared with all parties before they are cleared to proceed. 


Q: How much will I be compensated for being a Surrogate?


A: You will receive payments for your efforts to be a surrogate mother. The average "compensation" can range from $30,000 to $50,000 plus expenses, based upon experience of the gestational carrier as well as negotiations during the preparation of the gestational carrier contract.  The payments are usually made monthly during a pregnancy another fees and expenses that are agreed upon are paid as well. Factors that are taken into consideration when figuring out carriers compensation are location of the carrier’s residence, experience (first time surrogate vs. 3rd-time surrogate) and the number of babies carried.




Q; What are the benefits are being a surrogate?


A: The biggest benefit of being a surrogate mother is giving the gift of life to an eager family who could not conceive on their own.  Becoming a surrogate mother takes a very special person, as you will be working with intended parents for approximately 12-15 months, will need to take medications to prepare for embryo transfer(s) and of course, will be carrying special cargo for 9+ months. The other benefit is that it can help you to provide for your own family; maybe to help buy a home, or plan for the college education for your children.  But the best benefit to you will be the satisfaction of building a family for someone else in a very special way. 

We also find that many women love being a surrogate mother because that means they get to go through the amazing experience of carrying a child all over again. Many women love being pregnant and carrying children, but do not want to raise any more children. 


What can be better than carrying another little baby, and seeing that child go to a loving, caring home with the happiest parents ever?

 

Q: How long does it take to be matched with Intended Parents?


A: First, we start by asking what is important to you in matching with intended parents, and if you have special requests. If you are open to working with a wide group of intended parents you will have a shorter wait time. If you are looking for more specific qualities than the wait might be a little longer. We estimate that a match can be made within about 1-6 months from the time you are fully signed on with the agency. 



Q: Is traveling needed during the Surrogacy process?


A: Traveling will need to take place for the screening visit and embryo transfer(s) if your intended parents are working with a fertility clinic that is not near your home. You will not be responsible for the travel cost. This will all be covered by the intended parents.


If working with international Intended parents, do not worry, you will not need to travel out of the country. All embryo transfers take place here in the United States.
 

Q: Do I need my own health insurance to go through surrogacy?


A: No, you do not need your own insurance, but it is certainly a benefit if you do have insurance. Any insurance plan you have in place will be reviewed and checked by the intended parent’s attorney to see if it will cover you for the pre-natal care through delivery of the pregnancy. If your insurance does not cover, or you do not have insurance, then we will work with you and the intended parents to find an insurance option available to cover the pregnancy, this would be at the expense of the intended parents. 



Q: When the time comes where will I be giving birth?


A: Depending on the location you will give birth at the closest hospital available to you. The hospital will be informed that you will be giving birth there, and you will register with them as you would have with your own deliveries. Once in labor, you will let the intended parents know, and they join you welcome their sweet baby into this world. 



Q: Do I Qualify to be a Surrogate Mother?


A: Here is a list of the qualifications that need to be met in order to start the surrogacy process:  
-Must be 21-43 years of age


-Delivery of at least one healthy pregnancy
-Must be a Non-smoker
-BMI should be between 21-35
-No criminal background

If you answered yes to all 5 of these qualifications, then please visit our website.


Here you will find our gestational carrier application to complete; www.ReproductivePossibilities.com


Q: Who will I be interacting with at the agency?

A: Once your application has been received and processed, you will receive a call from one of our gestational carrier coordinators who will conduct an initial interview with you, and introduce you to the process. Detailed interviews will follow.  Once you have been matched with intended parents you will be working with one person to assist you and your intended parents through the rest of your journey. She will be the one who will guide you through the entire process step by step and will be your go-to-person for anything you may need.

More FAQ'S to come :)






Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Join us for our FREE Open House for Surrogates!

Surro Social - Now Welcoming all Potential Surrogates in our NJ Office


Event Information

Date and Time

Location

Reproductive Possibilities, LLC
1 Paragon Drive, Suite 160
Montvale, NJ 07645
Event description

Begin an Amazing Journey ...

Reproductive Possibilities is opening its doors to young, healthy women (between 21-43 years old), who may be interested in becoming surrogate mothers. Discover how you can make someone's dream come true by carrying a child for parents who are unable to do so on their own. Meet our kind, caring, and supportive staff who can help you understand and begin the journey. RSVP now and register to receive a free gift on the day of the event. (Limit 15).

Wondering if you qualify?

  • Are you between the ages of 21-43?
  • Have you had at least one healthy pregnancy and delivery?
  • Non-smokers only
  • BMI between 21-35

Open House Agenda

  • Meet our staff.
  • Find out additional benefits of becoming a surrogate mother.
  • Refreshments served.
  • Your children are welcome too - games will be played!
  • Bring your sister or your friend (or both).

Referral fees of $1000 - for referring someone who is accepted into program

  • Paid $500 when contracts are signed and $500 after first embryo transfer procedure is completed.
  • No limit on the number of referral fees you can earn within the year!
Visit our website for additional information www.reproductivepossibilities.com or call us at 201-505-0078.

Looking forward to meeting you soon!
Gift to the first 15 attendees!


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

2 Different Types of Surrogacy



You’d be surprised with the amount of people who have trouble conceiving a child.  Surrogacy now provides options for those experiencing infertility issues, and with the help of some of the most caring and giving women, it allows for these individuals to fulfill their dreams of becoming a parent. The following is a guide in understanding the concept of surrogacy.  


Surrogacyis the involvement of a woman who carries a child to term and relinquishes her rights to said child over to the intended parent(s).


There are 2 types of Surrogacy: 

Gestational and Traditional Gestational Surrogacy


This is the most popular type of surrogacy; it includes the use of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments such as InVitro Fertilization and embryo transfer (implantation) procedure. 

In Vitro Fertilization is a procedure in which the eggs are extracted from a woman's ovaries, either from the intended mother or an egg donor, and then fertilized with sperm  from the intended father or a sperm donor. Once the eggs are fertilized, they are considered embryos and are soon ready to be implanted into the uterus of a woman who will carry the child to term, i.e. the surrogate or gestational carrier. 

Because the fertilization process occurs outside of the human body, unnaturally and in a medical laboratory, the process can be costly and often times is not covered by one’s insurance plan. . Once created, embryos may be frozen and stored in a lab, which provide a safe, stable environment. If donors are involved in this process, it adds to the cost.

Additionally, the intended parents often need a written contract with the donor (anonymous or known) to ensure that the donor has no rights to any child resulting from the embryos created with her genetic material.

In the scenario described above, the woman carrying the child to term is not genetically linked to the child; this means she is classified as the gestational carrier. 

Before transferring the embryo into the uterus of the surrogate for implantation, a written contract needs to be drafted between the intended parents and the gestational carrier. This contract confirms the gestational carrier’s intention to relinquish any rights to the child she may have simply as a result of her birthing the child. Also, she acknowledges that the intended parents are in fact the legal parents of the child.  


This now brings us to the question of compensation for a gestational carrier. In some U.S.States and other countries, it is legal for you to pay someone to carry a child for you -- above and beyond the medical bills and travel she may incur to the medical facility to undergo ART procedures. This is sometimes referred to as commercial surrogacy.

Commercial surrogacy is becoming very widely known, as it has become legal in many U.S. states. Unfortunately, some of our states and other countries are still against this and have not legalized surrogacy in many areas.

Commercial Surrogacy is when the gestational carrier and the intended parents have an arrangement where the gestational carrier is paid to carry the child. Not only do the intended parents cover the medical cost, travel, and clothing, but they’re also paying the gestational carrier for other fees and expenses throughout her pregnancy.

Since there is money involved, a contract is a necessary document to have in place. This establishes when payments will be given to the gestational carriers and in what circumstances and amounts. All of these fees and expenses are paid according to the terms the intended parents and the surrogate have agreed upon and included in their contract.


Traditional Surrogacy;


While gestational surrogacy is very popular, traditional surrogacy, on the other hand, is less common, but often less expensive. 

The surrogate will be using her own egg and will become pregnant via an insemination process where the sperm of the intended father, or that of a sperm donor, is transferred to her uterus. In this case, the surrogate is genetically linked to the child she is carrying. 

This means that once the child is born, she must relinquish her parental rights, usually through an adoption hearing, so that the child can be raised by both the intended father and his partner or wife.


The process used for traditional surrogacy is known as intrauterine insemination also known as IUI.  As part of the IUI process, semen from either the intended father or from a donor is collected and washed carefully in a laboratory. The semen needs to be specially washed as semen is not only made up of sperm.


The sperm is then separated from any impurities. This will ensure the sperm is concentrated; the more concentrated it is the higher the rate of pregnancy. This concentrated sperm is then transferred into the uterus of the surrogate. Insemination can take place in either a sterile medical facility, where it is constantly being monitored, or in a home setting.


No two surrogate journeys are the same. Each has its own path, and may be a bit of a roller coaster while others more like a lazy river. Before deciding which type of surrogate journey is best for you (gestational or traditional), please take the time to do further research.

We welcome you to check our website www.reproductivepossibilities.com for more information.









Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Nutrition During Pregnancy

                                       
Who doesn't love eating yummy foods? While most food is tasty and delicious, some precautions should be taken while you're pregnant. During your pregnancy, you will be consuming a bit more food than usual, since your body will be fueling you and a baby. Extra nutrients and proteins should be consumed in order to feed the growing baby. Eating a variety of different nutritious foods will keep your body healthy and in return will keep the baby healthy and allow continued growth. It is important to start exploring healthy eating options early in a pregnancy. It is essential that the baby’s growth and development continue to be strong throughout the pregnancy and eating foods to help boost your health is very beneficial to both you and the baby.

Remember the baby will be feeding on the foods you ingest. It is important that you eat enough foods that contain calcium, folic acid, iron, and protein; to help sustain the needs of the developing baby. You might be thinking to yourself that you need to change your entire way of eating... Good news! That is not true!  Adding certain foods and subtracting some high-calorie snacks, can help your transition to healthier habits.  Recipes for easy and delicious meals and snacks can be found online or in your recipe box, and within no time you will be eating nutritious and tasty foods that you will love and will benefit the developing baby.

Let us take a moment to discuss what calcium, folic acid, iron, and proteins do to help your body and how it benefits the development of the baby-to-be. We will also address what tasty foods these essential nutrients can be found in.

Calcium is essential as it is the building blocks for the baby's bones and teeth. It makes all the bones in the body nice and strong. Your body can't make calcium, so you need to get it from a variety of foods or with supplementsCalcium can also reduce your risk of hypertension and pre-eclampsia. Here are some food suggestions that are rich in calcium and that are packed with flavor:

                      Milk, oatmeal, orange juice, broccoli, kale, and almonds. 

Folic Acid also is known as folate. Folate is naturally found in foods. It is suggested to start eating foods that contain folate early on in your pregnancy (even prior to pregnancy); and/or foods that are fortified with folic acid. This means that the food has been enhanced with the nutrients. Folic acid plays a big role in helping to prevent birth defects of nervous tissue, the brain, and spinal cord. Folate can naturally be found in: 

Dark leafy greens, avocados, legumes, asparagus & citrus fruits like oranges.

Foods that are fortified with folic acid; 
Breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, and rice
*Please read all labels before consuming*


 


Iron is a crucial mineral that is needed during pregnancy. Iron in the body is used to produce extra blood; hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a substance found in red blood cells and they transport oxygen throughout the body. During your pregnancy,  your body supplies oxygen to the baby. This means the demand for iron goes up with the increase in blood supply. Iron is found in:
Spinach, raisins, kidney beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds AND
dark chocolate (YUM!)

Protein is a type of nutrient found in a variety of foods. Protein is made up of many amino acids joined together, that are the building blocks of your body's cells - and the baby's body and cells. A healthy protein intake during your pregnancy can result in a healthy birth weight. A healthy birth weight can reduce the risk of the child developing diabetes or becoming overweight later on in the child's life. Tasty and healthy sources of protein can be found in: 
Beans, chicken, liver, lean beef, lamb, pork and nuts 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Talking To Your Children about Being A Surrogate Mother




               Choosing to be a surrogate mother for a loving family that is unable to have children is the most wonderful gift anyone could give. One of the qualifications for being a surrogate is that you have already given birth. Since you have given birth before this means that you have children of your own. This is a new and exciting journey for you along with the child’s family-to-be. During this journey you are embarking on you will need to tell your family and children that you will be a surrogate for another family. Talking to your children about your new life adventure to be a surrogate mother can feel overwhelming and scary at the moment. You might even be more afraid to tell your children than your friends and family members. You can help relieve this feeling by preparing yourself for the discussion by doing research and talking with fellow surrogate mothers who have gone through this experience.

                Take it slow in the beginning don’t rush into the conversation, slowly introduce the children to the topic. Doing so it will not overwhelm the children and give them a chance to start thinking about what you are trying to tell them. For younger children between 2 and 8 years old, a great way to introduce the topic to them is by reading a book to them about surrogacy. By reading to them they will relate to the characters in the stories and will help them understand what is going on in their life. After you are done reading the books, bring up that you might want to help another family have a baby someday and ask your children what they would think of that; this is the perfect gateway for introducing them to your journey!

                When speaking with your children remember to keep it age appropriate. Older children in their teens will have a better understanding of the situation as their school should have taught them about the birds and the bees, also known as human reproduction. This makes it a little easier to talk to them since they will have a better understanding of the situation. All Children are going to have a plethora of questions to ask you since they are all so curious. Encouraging them to ask their questions will help them to feel like you are not shutting them out, and making them a part of the process. The best thing you can do while answering their questions is to be open and honest with them about the process. By talking about your journey and answering their questions this will help normalize the situation and it will make them feel involved. Normalizing the situation for the children is important, you do not want them to feel different, unimportant or that this is a bad experience. Make them feel as comfortable as they need to help guide them through the journey. 

                 Emphasize your excitement about giving the gift of life to a family who can't conceive a child on their own. When the children see you're happy and excited it will help them search their feelings to express how they feel. Even though they see how very excited you are the children might handle it very differently. Do not get upset with them if they do not agree; accept all the emotions that the child is feeling. This is normal for them to get emotional as they are trying to understand this new journey you are embarking on. To keep the lines of communication open, talk to them about each step of the process as you are experiencing it. Communication is key, children go through emotions like a mini roller coaster and want to be noticed and loved. Always remind them that you love them and you will always be here for them.

                 Preparing children for after birth; for younger children, they might get really excited about becoming an older brother or sister. You will need to gently explain to them that the baby will not be coming home with you. The baby will be going to its new family's house. They might feel that you will be giving them away also. Reassure them as much as possible that they are not going anywhere and they will still stay at home with you. Since the baby will not be coming home with you, this may leave the children with an empty feeling. For them to feel connected to the baby, you could have them draw pictures of your family with the baby. Maybe bring them to the toy store to pick out a very special toy for the baby from them. This will leave the children with the feeling that they are connected to the baby without the baby living with them.


            Each and every surrogacy journey is different. Your journey is ultimately yours and it is for you to choose, when, how and whom you share this experience with.  Giving the gift of life is no small gesture. This is a life-changing event for everyone involved. Keeping your children in the loop of your journey will make it an even better experience. With their love and support behind you, you can do this!

Here are a few book suggestions that younger children can relate to;

1.  The Kangaroo Pouch- Introduces young children, ages 2-to-8, to the concept of surrogacy. The story is narrated by a young kangaroo named Oliver whose mother has decided to help another family have a baby. The Kangaroo Pouch gently guides the reader on the surrogacy journey and answers questions they may have such as, why would someone choose to be a surrogate? What will family life be like during the pregnancy? And most importantly, what happens when the surrogate-baby is born and given back to their biological parents? 



2.   The Very Kind Kola- a charming picture book for young children which provides an introduction to surrogacy through the simple story of a koala bear and her husband who needed the help of a very kind koala to carry their baby in her pouch. Parents can begin reading this story to children as young as 3 years of age to begin the dialog about their own helpful surrogacy.


3.   Sophia’s Broken Crayons- Book for young children, recommended for children ages 2 to 6 years old which tells a story of surrogacy from a young child’s perspective in a practical way that children can understand and grasp. Follow the story of Sophia as she learns about sharing and helping out friends in need as well as why moms and dads choose surrogates to help grow their families and why surrogates choose to help other families that way.



4.   Growing In Another Garden- Introduces young children, ages 2 years old to 8 years old, to surrogacy. Follow the story of Mikey and his family as he learns about the unique way he was born into a loving family – through the kindness of a surrogate. Join with him discovers that “sometimes the sweetest and most beautiful creations are grown in another garden.” Mikey’s story helps to explain why some families choose surrogates to help grow their families and why surrogates choose to help other families that way.


Thursday, August 16, 2018

Pre-Natal Yoga Tips


Prenatal Yoga


                       Practicing Yoga during your pregnancy is great for your mind body and soul. It is an easy way to be active during pregnancy and can be done anywhere, anytime you want. No unnecessary equipment or heavy lifting; Just the baby, you and some relaxation time. You might even enjoy listening to some soothing music to get into relaxation mode. Yoga is a way for you to strengthen your body and help relieve tension and increase circulation all throughout the body. It also aids with sleep improvement, reduces stress and anxiety, increases the strength, flexibility and endurance of muscles need for childbirth. This all will help lead you to the path of having a stronger, healthy and happier pregnancy.

                        During your pregnancy your body is going through extensive changes and at times you might feel uncomfortable and experience growing pains, like lower back and neck pains. This is where the beneficial part of yoga comes into play; doing a few simple yoga poses each day can help alleviates those pains. While also alleviating pains you are learning how to breath which is called; Pranayama is the formal practice of controlling the breath. Learning how to control your breath sounds funny, but it will very helpful once the time comes to give birth. Using breathing techniques will ensure that adequate oxygen flows through the body. This is most crucial during pregnancy, where the unborn child completely depends on you for supply of oxygen. During labor using the breathing techniques will help you stay calm and centered which will help the baby stay calm as well and will not introduce any stress into the environment at time of birth.

                         Before you start this journey it is important that you find the right yoga practice for you. Whether it will be a yoga studio, finding a DVD or developing your own practice at home. It is very important that you listen to your body and do what feels right for you.

Here are 5 simple yoga poses that can alleviate back and neck pain and increase circulation thought the body;

  1. Side Angle Pose; Relieves stiffness in the shoulders and back & strengthens the legs, knees, and ankle 
     
     

     
  2. Triangle Pose; This wide stance and full body extension, you will find yourself with more balance and strength. When you feel tense or a little out of control, this is a great go to pose.
                                 
3. Sitting Side Stretch; Stretches the spine, shoulders, and hamstrings, Stimulates abdominal organs such as the liver and kidneys helps Improves digestion

4.  Cat / Cow Poses; gently rocking between cat and cow poses will work to warm up the spine and stretch the body, this will help alleviate back pain.






5.  Child Pose; helps relax the lower back, slowly opens your hips and allows your arms to get a good stretch as well. It’s also a great “take a break” pose. Use this when pure exhaustion creeps in and all you want to do is take a nap!








3 Breathing Techniques;

  1. Think of the word "relax"; It has two syllables, "re" and "lax". As you breathe in, think "re" to yourself, and as you breathe out, think "lax". Don't let your mind wander away from repeating the word "relax"' in tune with your breathing. When you breathe out, try to let go of any tensions in your body. Focus on the muscles that you know become tense when you're stressed. Remember, every time you breathe out, "laaaax". The out-breath is the one to focus on, as the in-breath takes care of itself.
     
  2. Counted breathing; As you breathe in, count slowly up to three or four, or whatever number seems comfortable for you. As you breathe out, count to three or four again. You may find that it's more comfortable to breathe in to a count of three and out to a count of four.
     
  3. Breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth; Keep your mouth very soft as you sigh the breath out. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. You may find it helpful to make a sound on the out-breath, such as "oooooooh", or "aaaaaah". Between contractions, have sips of water to prevent your mouth from becoming dry.

 













Thursday, May 31, 2018

Melissa Brisman Proudly Recognizes the Efforts of the many participants in the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act (A-1704)








TRENTON, New Jersey (May 30, 2018) –Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Gestational Carrier Agreement Bill sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Huttle, Annette Quijano and Mila Jasey.   The law will protect all parties involved in gestational carrier arrangements as well as promote the best interests of the children who will be born as a result. Gestational Carrier Contracts will be enforceable, and Intended Parents and Gestational Carriers will have the legal protections that were denied to them previously.

 

New Jersey insurance regulations define a gestational carrier as “a woman who has become pregnant with an embryo or embryos that are not part of her genetic or biologic entity, and who intends to give the child to the biological parents after birth.”  Under the New Jersey insurance regulations, many medical insurance policies are required to pay for gestational carrier procedures.  What had been missing in New Jersey is a law to protect the parties once these procedures result in a pregnancy and birth.

 

“This law corrects the problem of allowing gestational carrier arrangements to take place in New Jersey without legal protection for the parties, including the gestational carrier.” said Melissa Brisman, a New Jersey based reproductive attorney, who assisted with the drafting of the this law.

 

A pre-birth order under these circumstances clarifies and recognizes the rights of the various parties and the anticipated child.  It provides a measure of security to the intended parents, gestational carrier, and child.  Intended parents are given their rights as parents with all the resultant legal obligations of care and support for their child.  A pre-birth determination of parentage provides direction for hospitals and medical staff as to who may be present for delivery and immediately thereafter, and is a great aid in seeking consent and instructions as to the medical care for the child.  The order establishing legal parentage also allows for the parents to add their child to their medical insurance policy, apply for a Social Security Number for the child, make income tax return decisions, and obtain a passport for the child, etc.

 

“Finally New Jersey has followed the lead of many of our surrounding states.  It was imperative that this law  passed in order to provide distinction in the legal relationship between the gestational carrier and the parents of the child she is carrying.  This law promotes family building and should be viewed favorably by all ” argues Attorney Melissa Brisman.

 

Reproductive Possibilities is an agency owned by Melissa Brisman that facilitates gestational carrier arrangements.  Ms. Brisman has been involved in over 2,000 gestational carrier arrangements.  The women who are kind and caring enough to help a family have a child often tell us of the tremendous joy they feel by giving the gift of life to their intended parents.  These women are medically and psychologically screened and are well prepared for their journeys.  They do not create a maternal bond with the child as they enter into this relationship fully aware that the child is not theirs.  This law now protects them as well, once they make an informed decision to become a gestational carrier.

 

“It is astonishing that I have lived and worked in New Jersey most of my life, and the passion I have for helping parents realize their dreams of becoming a family could not be completed within my home state.  I have argued and won landmark cases in many other states and am so proud to now be able to add New Jersey to that list,” said Melissa Brisman who is blessed with a family of three children, all carried by gestational carriers.  “My family would not be here today without the wonderful gift of two compassionate women.  Having to find my carriers in other states made my personal journey a bit harder.  It would have been amazing for them to have lived in New Jersey so that I might have participated even more with my pregnancies.”

 

Melissa Brisman is a member of the New Jersey Academy of Adoption Attorney (“NJAA”), which assisted Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle with the drafting of the New Jersey Gestational Carrier Agreement Act (A-1704) and the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (“AAARTA”).

 

Melissa Brisman has worked in the field of third party reproduction and helped couples become parents since 1997.  She graduated Valedictorian from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School.  She is an attorney admitted to practice in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and is a licensed certified public accountant.  She is sole owner of Reproductive Possibilities, LLC, an agency that facilitates gestational carrier arrangements and Melissa B. Brisman, Esq., LLC, which handles legal work related to third party reproduction and adoption.