Made in Boise: documentary review by Ellen Glazer

Posted On October 12th, 2019

When I heard that there is a new documentary about surrogacy titled Made in Boise, I wasn’t sure what to think or expect. As a long time supporter of surrogacy, I have come to brace myself for such critical comments as “surrogacy exploits women” or “it’s a way rich people can make babies.” Hence it was with caution and a “wait and see” approach that I ventured off this week to a screening of Made in Boise at a Boston Globe documentary film festival.

So here is the good news: Made in Boise presents a largely positive picture of surrogacy. The beautifully filmed and edited documentary follows four gestational carriers, all level headed, responsible, caring and compassionate women. Like the “GC’s” I have known, they are good communicators who genuinely like and care for their “IP’s.” Similarly, the IP’s—a gay couple, a single man and two heterosexual couples—all have compelling reasons for seeking surrogates and all interact with their GC’s with kindness and respect. And without giving too much of the story away, the collaborative efforts of GC’s and IP’s bring healthy and long awaited babies into the world.
Although I enjoyed the film and left the theatre pleased that surrogacy was presented in such a positive way, my reaction to Made in Boise was not all positive. Having worked in the field for many years, I know that surrogacy is complicated. In my experience, women who become GC’s think about it for many years and go through an arduous screening process before being matched with IP’s.


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A Very Long Pregnancy

Posted On November 1st, 2017

I always knew that pregnancies after infertility felt extra long. Over the years I have counseled countless people to be prepared for a very slow start to their pregnancies. I took to reminding them that the old dictim, “you can’t be a little bit pregnant” doesn’t really apply to ART pregnancies. You do feel “a little bit pregnant” when there is an embryo and a bit more when it is transferred and more still with a first pregnancy test…. “Be prepared, “ I said, “for the hours and days to crawl by at the start. It will feel like forever going from five and one-half weeks to six weeks.” Little did I know…

My daughter’s experience with surrogacy taught me just how long an ART pregnancy can be. What I hadn’t really taken into account before was what I have come to call the “pre-mesters.” Before your gestational carrier starts her first trimester, there has been so much lead time. You have waited to see how many follicles there are, how many eggs are retrieved, how many fertilize and how the embryos grow. You have waited to find your GC and for her to pass all her screening. Together you have slogged through lawyer’s meetings and psychologist appointments. All this before day one of the first trimester.

The good news is that time does not crawl by throughout the pregnancy. Round about Week 18 or 19 or 20 things begin to pick up—or at least that was our family’s experience.


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The Holiday Cards Are Coming By Guest Blogger Ellen Glazer

Posted On November 28th, 2016

In a few weeks the holiday cards will begin arriving. First a trickle–one or two a day –and then something of a family pictures tsunami. Working with infertile individuals and couples, I know how painful this can be. Many get to a point where they cannot even open these greetings of the season. Too many cards hold surprises—a third child, people whose wedding seemed minutes ago now have two children and worst of all, a family photo with a mom way too visibly pregnant.

For me, the annual cascade of photos is a very different experience and one that brings great delight. For me the cards are not simply photos of children: they are photos of stories. As I admire the children, I remember the back stories: the miscarriages, still births, quandaries over egg donation and adoption, worries about surrogacy and puzzles over embryo donation. I remember the mother who survived a life threatening delivery and went on to welcome her second child through surrogacy and the dad who said he never wanted to adopt and then became the over—the—moon dad to three daughters from China.

The cards have many stories but they bring with them one message and that is surely my message for the holiday season: people “get to baby.” That phrase—“get to baby” or G2B—has become my watchword and one I share with all my clients. I’ve seen it again and again—people who want to be parents or to expand their families with a second or third child find a way to do so.


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The Good Enough Donor

Posted On May 26th, 2016

Several years ago, the notion of “the good enough mother” became popular in psychology. The idea was that striving for some idealized notion of parenthood was fruitless and even harmful. By contrast, parents who accepted that they could not be perfect, served themselves and their children well. Lately, I have been thinking about how this approach relates to egg donation. Along the way, I’ve become a strong believer in “the good enough donor.”

Many women embarking on egg donation find their “good enough donor” with relative ease. She is usually someone who resembles the intended mom in broad brushed strokes. The good enough donor is ready and willing to donate and she has communicated some things about herself that resonate with the intended parents. They like what they see in the photos she sends and what they read in her responses to questions on their donor agency questionnaire. Their good enough donor is someone they feel they can relate to, someone who shares their values to some degree and either has interests and talents similar to or complementary to theirs. And perhaps most important, the good enough donor is likely to have an ample number of “good” eggs.

Were that it was that simple. Unfortunately, not everyone subscribes to the idea of the good enough donor. There are some people on a quest for what I would call “the idealized donor” For them, the search for a donor is not “short and sweet;” it is long and arduous.


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