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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Surrogacy Mythbusting: The Surrogate Cannot Keep the Baby!

Posted On May 21st, 2019

The most common misconception about surrogacy is that the surrogate can change her mind and keep the child. In this video I discuss the origins of this idea in the notorious Baby M case, and explain the difference between traditional and gestational surrogacy.


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Foreign Couples in Limbo After India Restricts Surrogacy Services (Wall Street Journal, Nov 17)

Posted On November 21st, 2015

Authors Joanna Sugden and Aditi Malhotra quote the British medical journal The Lancet when they state that having a baby in the US with a surrogate costs about $250,000. In fact it is more like $125-150,000. This inflated number was used to compare to the $25,000 they quote for surrogacy in India.

The US is the safest place to conduct a surrogacy, not only because of the excellent medical facilities and technology, but also because of the relatively stable regulation.


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Surrogate Offered $10,000 to Abort Baby: CNN

Posted On March 5th, 2013

Here is a case of everything done wrong: as reported by CNN, Crystal Kelley, a financially desperate single mother with two previous miscarriages, refuses to abort a fetus with serious developmental problems, defying the demands of the intended parents.

Crystal Kelley is not a good candidate for gestational carrier, and should never have been accepted by any program or clinic. Although a surrogate is being paid, her financial situation should be stable. She should also be married or have a stable partner for support. Any potential carrier who is categorically against abortion under any circumstances is not accepted into our program; furthermore, the possibility of abortion is discussed in detail at the first meeting between carrier and intended parents. This meeting should not take place casually in a playground, as it was here, but in an office supervised by experienced professionals who navigate both parties through this sensitive endeavor, making sure expectations are set and met.

Did the intended parents know of their carrier’s attitude on abortion before they decided to work with her? It does not appear that they did, and this indicates serious negligence on the part of the professionals (agency, social workers, etc) who handled this case.

It is regrettable that the public perception of surrogacy may be tarnished by this tragic case. The contrast between the right and wrong way to conduct a surrogacy is well illustrated here.


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International Egg Donation and Surrogacy Program to Launch

Posted On July 20th, 2011

NAFG has launched a specialized International Program offering comprehensive egg donation and surrogacy programs for citizens of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and beyond.

The International Program offers one-stop customized assistance, including:

• access to our exclusive database of highly desirable egg donors
• matching service with our pool of carefully selected gestational carriers (surrogate mothers)
• help with finding and registering at the appropriate IVF clinic
• legal referrals
• travel assistance
• complete support in all other aspects of the complicated egg donation process

These services are often restricted or nonexistent in other countries; furthermore, the United States offers state of the art medical care.

Read about NAFG’s International Program in English, Spanish, French, Italian, and German; our press release announcement of this new branch of our egg donation and surrogacy program is also available in these languages.


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