Can I Trust My Egg Donor?

Posted On August 19th, 2019

How do you trust a person you will never meet to contribute half the genetics of your child? Kathy Benardo explains how donors are evaluated and what motivates them to be compliant.


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Same-sex couple sues State Department for denying daughter’s citizenship

Posted On July 28th, 2019

The anti-gay discrimination which Jonathan Gregg and James Derek Mize are ensnared in is an awful predicament which no new parent should have to endure. By refusing to confer US citizenship on their daughter who has a court-ordered birth certificate listing both fathers as parents (their daughter Simone was born in the UK to a surrogate mother who has no genetic link to the child – an anonymous egg donor and sperm from Gregg created the embryo), the State Department is trying to impose its view of morality via a tortured interpretation of federal immigration statutes. For other same-sex couples contemplating having a baby with the assistance of a surrogate mother (and unwilling to wait out the end of this Administration and its crackdown on human rights), it would be a good idea to focus on finding a carrier within an acceptable US state. The baby would be a US citizen at birth and the Trump Administration would stay out of your family’s business.


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Fresh vs. Frozen Donor Eggs: How to Choose

Posted On July 27th, 2019

Are frozen donor eggs just as good as fresh? I get this question all the time. Actually, there is no right answer: it all depends on your own particular needs and desires.

Before you begin looking for a donor (fresh or frozen), my advice is to prioritize these major factors:

Cost: are your funds very limited, or do you have some flexibility?

Time: are you on a deadline (for insurance, your clinic’s age cut off, or some other reason)?

Selection: are you looking for a particular ethnicity, education level, or some other specific quality?

One of these three factors must be number one, and one must be number three. They cannot all be number one!

First, you should have a general understanding of the difference between fresh and frozen eggs. Think of fresh eggs as a product and frozen eggs as a process.

Frozen egg banks recruit, screen and cycle donors “on speculation,” then freeze the eggs in batches of six or so (two or three batches can result from a single retrieval). Since the screening and cycling is already completed, frozen eggs are the faster option, available to ship to your clinic right away to thaw, fertilize and transfer whenever you want.

Frozen egg banks compensate donors on the lower end of the scale, starting around $5,000. Because the retrieval results are divided and donors are paid less, frozen eggs are less expensive than fresh.


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The Sinister Surrogate and other Myths about Surrogacy

Posted On July 12th, 2019

What is your favorite surrogate movie? When the Bough Breaks? The Surrogacy Trap? The Sinister Surrogate?
Although it’s a lot of creepy fun, the surrogate theme has everything to do with horror movie clichés and nothing to do with the reality of surrogacy. A welcomed outsider who eventually threatens or destroys the family is a common horror movie scenario, and the surrogate concept fits nicely.
Unfortunately, most people are more exposed to surrogacy through popular culture than through reality. Here are the top five myths about surrogacy that “give birth” to these “misconceptions”:

ONE: The Surrogate Can “Change Her Mind” and Keep the Baby: the stubborn resonance of the notorious Baby M case from the late ‘80s keeps this myth alive. In that case, the surrogate mother was inseminated with the intended father’s sperm, so it was actually her genetic child. Beforehand the surrogate signed an unlawful contract to award the father and his wife custody of the child: this arrangement was more like an illegal adoption than a modern surrogacy.
With gestational surrogacy, which is what is done today, the surrogate CANNOT keep the baby: the baby has no genetic relationship to her. The embryo is created by the parents’ and / or donor gametes (and then transferred to her uterus). The contract, signed in advance, is legal and binding.
An offshoot of this myth is the fear that the surrogate will go crazy or behave badly: in fact, surrogates are thoroughly psychologically and medically screened.


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Nurses Make Extra Money Through Egg Donation and Surrogacy

Posted On June 24th, 2019

Psychologists have observed that the pain and stress of infertility can be more debilitating and overwhelming than a diagnosis of cancer. Infertility affects about 10% of the US population across all socioeconomic levels and ethnic backgrounds. In the United States an estimated 7.3 million people, or 1 in 8 couples, are infertile. Nurses who specialize in reproductive medicine are especially sensitive to the states of mind of their patients as they guide them through their IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycles, which may include rounds of medication, blood tests, sonograms, and retrieval procedures.

Third party reproduction is a special subset of IVF, which involves donor gametes (sperm and/or eggs) or a surrogate (gestational carrier) — a woman who carries the baby (genetically unrelated to her) for another family. And in this specialized aspect of fertility treatment, nurses excel in unexpected ways: nurses (and all other types of health workers) form a large source of egg donors and surrogates for hopeful parents.

Why do nurses make such great egg donors and surrogates? They are compassionate and sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. They have an understanding of the medical processes and are comfortable with medications, blood work, and scans. They are effective communicators with other nurses and physicians. They have a balanced and rational appreciation of the risks. They have patience with anxious parents who worry at every stage of the process.

Furthermore, nurses can donate their eggs or serve as surrogates even if they work full time.


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New York Will Not Legalize Surrogacy This Year: What Does this Mean for New Yorkers?

Posted On June 20th, 2019

The bill to legalize surrogacy in New York did not get enough support in the Assembly to pass during this session, although the Senate approved it.

The old-school feminist view that surrogacy is exploitive prevailed, for now at least, over the more modern view that surrogacy is among the rights that women should have to make decisions about their own bodies.

“This is a decision that really relied on the feelings of the women in the conference,” Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, said Wednesday. “And I just think that there are a handful of them not ready. They still want to think more about it, and some of them are opposed.”

Although the bill put many safeguards and regulations in place, and compensated surrogacy has been going on in other states for years without incident, the lobby against it remained unpersuaded.

Governor Cuomo has always been a big supporter of the bill: “I say, how about a woman’s right to choose, which we just argued for Roe v. Wade?” Cuomo said. “But in this state we say the woman must have an attorney, the woman must have a health counselor, the transaction will be supervised under the Department of Health, the woman can’t be in dire economic conditions, but you still believe the woman is not competent to make that decision.”

What does this mean in practical terms for New Yorkers? If you live in New York and want to have a child through gestational surrogacy,


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Making Surrogacy Legal in NY? Catholics and Jews are on Opposite Sides

Posted On June 11th, 2019

God commanded the first man and woman to “be fruitful and multiply.” Does assisted reproductive technology fulfill that mandate? The New York State Catholic Lobby submitted a memorandum of opposition regarding the Child Parent Security Act, which would make surrogacy legal in New York. A group of 118 Jewish clergy (rabbis and cantors) released a statement in support of it. These opposing attitudes throw into relief the differences between Old and New Testament views of the human relationship to God and what, according to these dogmas, makes an act holy.

Catholicism has been clear and consistent in its position on assisted reproduction technology: it is categorically against it. In vitro fertilization (and third party reproduction) is not really a “cure” for infertility, as would be, for example, surgery to unblock Fallopian tubes. It is a “work around” that sidesteps the sacred procreative act, involving a number of ancillary actions that constitute mortal and venial sins, such as masturbation (required to provide the sperm), adultery (if a donor egg, rather than the intended mother’s egg, is fertilized with the intended father’s sperm) and even murder, with the freezing and possible disuse of any extra embryos (which are considered “persons”). If you believe that life begins at conception, as the Catholic authorities do, then there is intellectual consistency in rejecting assisted reproduction technology completely, despite the sympathy for infertile couples and their sincere desires to have children. If infertility is your own personal truth, you must, as a Catholic, accept it.


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