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Getting Started As An IP

intended parent getting started tips

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#1 Daysha

 
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Posted 18 April 2017 - 12:33 PM

Hi All,

 

My husband and I just recently learned that I won't be able to naturally carry a pregnancy to term (chance of getting pregnant super low and chance of miscarriage even after the first trimester super high).

 

We've just started looking into gestational carriers as an option and would love some advice on the things that we should be considering as we choose an agency to work with. We've done quite a bit of research online but it seems that each company has a different policies in terms of how involved they are, services they offer, requirements for matching etc. We haven't conducted any interviews yet as we'd like to be prepared and make sure that we ask the right questions. If there's anything that other IPs can share that you wish you'd known going in, or anything that GCs can share that you wish IPs knew it would be really helpful.

 

Also, we live in WA which doesn't allow surrogacy so are exploring agencies in OR and/or ID (and maybe Northern CA if necessary) so that we can find a GC close to home as we'd like to have a relationship with her (if she's interested). If anyone has any experiences in those regions with agencies any recommendations would also be appreciated. Thanks much and best of wishes to all of you on your journey as well.

 

<3



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#2 traci72

 
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Posted 18 April 2017 - 12:44 PM

I only have a moment, so will try to remember to come back, but wanted to correct some of your information. Surrogacy *IS* legal in WA state, only you cannot compensate the surrogate if SHE lives in WA. If your surrogate lives elsewhere, the laws in her state will dictate whether or not you can compensate. (in most other states you can) 



#3 Daysha

 
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Posted 18 April 2017 - 01:36 PM

Thank you Traci. That's a fair correction. 



#4 beachalice

 
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Posted 18 April 2017 - 06:54 PM

:welcomerainbow:

I'm sorry for your recent news. It's a lot to process. 

 

You're exactly right that agencies are all different. It will take some soul searching and heart to heart to decide what your priorities are.  After months and months of research, you'll get a feel for how very different each journey can be. Then it's only a matter of interviewing with agencies to find one that matches your needs best.  

 

The only thing, so far as a GS, that I wish my IPs knew was how surrogacy consumes my entire life. What I eat, where I travel, how I plan for my future is entirely dependent upon my IPs' journey.  I'm happy to wait for them.  I'm not in a hurry.  But they matched with a surrogate (me) before creating embryos, and now they're finding out that the financial and medical process to even get started is going to take way longer than they anticipated. In my opinion, the matching process should be the last step, not the first. 



#5 Daysha

 
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Posted 18 April 2017 - 08:03 PM

Thanks Beachalice.

 

I think you're absolutely right that each journey is different. It seems that you're very patient and understanding though. Do you think it's common for people to match before they have the embryos? In our case we're just starting so we haven't started the embryo retrieval/fertilization process but now that you've mentioned it I assumed that we'd start that process once we've selected an agency. Is that common? Is there a best time to start that process? Overall, we're assuming the entire process (interviewing agencies, IVF, matching, pregnancy etc) will likely take around 16-18 months, does that sound about right?



#6 traci72

 
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Posted 18 April 2017 - 10:44 PM

It is def. NOT uncommon for IP's to start the process w/an agency and matching prior to creating embryos. I've done 5 transfers w/the IP's had to create embryos after we matched. For some, it works out better this way and doing a fresh transfer vs a FET. (frozen embryo transfer) There def. are benefits to creating embryos prior to looking for a surrogate. It can help break up the cost so that it doesn't feel quite so overwhelming to have to come up w/all that $$$ at once. Many agencies will break down their fees and when you deposit them. Such as '$x' due at when you sign a commitment to working w/the agency. Then '$x' amt when you're ready to match and '$x' amt before the transfer takes place. (this is not an exact description, as all agencies are different, but this gives you a rough idea of how it could work) If you want to create embryos prior to matching, it can give you a little bit of extra time, as well as if you choose to have testing done on the embryos, if you end up w/none that are normal or viable, you would have the ability to cycle again for another ER w/out having the surrogate continue to be put on hold.

 

Your timeline is reasonable, however, there is always the potential for it to take longer. I have a surrogate friend that was working w/her IP's for almost 5yrs before a successful pg. Other's I've seen go 12-15mos. Remembering that surrogacy is all about the hurry up and wait and as much as we hate them, speed bumps happen. Some are just small things that don't really impact the journey while others are more....challenging. 

 

As far as agency involvement, this is something you need to ask for what YOU need. My 1st journey, the agency was super involved and communicated w/both my IP's and myself on a regular basis. They offered to help make appts for me if I wanted them too (that's just too inconvenient for me, so I do all my own), checked in w/us on how we were doing, if we needed anything, they supported us through any/all testing, celebrated the highs w/us and were just wonderful. My 3rd IP's, we did 2 surrogacies. I carried their DD and then their twin boys. We were w/the same agency both times, but we had less involvement, which was what we wanted. (I was very comfortable doing everything on my own after my 1st time, so didn't need the same level of hand-holding as the 1st time. My 3rd IP's wanted more hand-holding for them their 1st time, so the agency focused more on them than me. W/our 2nd surrogacy, we really just wanted them to handle all of the business part of things) We did a fresh transfer where they created the embryos after our contracts were done and then the 2nd journey we did a FET that ended in a BO, so did another ER and created more embryos. There is just under 2yrs between their children and from start to finish, we worked together for 3yrs. 

 

When you find the right agency for you, the right match w/the surrogate and a good attorney, things can move along pretty expediently.



#7 beachalice

 
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Posted 18 April 2017 - 10:51 PM

Every journey is different.  I would say 18 months is good starting goal. 

Many families have to get finances in order before beginning the surrogacy process. 

 

It's not uncommon for fresh transfers or egg retrieval after matching. And I'd be willing to match with a family in the future who didn't have frozen embryos already. However, to be READY (financially, medically, mentally) to make embryos takes time.  As a surrogate who is putting her life on hold for another family, I only wish they had known what it takes to be ready to move forward prior to matching. 



#8 Surromom360

 
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Posted 18 April 2017 - 11:33 PM

I'm so sorry to hear about your recent news! I am a surrogate with "the gift of Surrogacy". It's an agency based in Idaho and I have really enjoyed working with them. All of the women in this group are based out of Idaho (except a few due to recent moves) but Alicia the agency owner meets with every single one before matching them to make sure they are a good fit for the agency. The agency is more about relationships and having that long lasting relationship between IPs and Surro's so we generally don't have many international IPs. I'm currently pregnant with twin boys and my IPs are from Montana. It has been such an amazing experience! There are many agency's here in idaho and many have Surro's all over the US. The website is thegiftofsurrogacy.com. This agency isn't for everyone but I can tell you personally I have had an amazing experience with them and I believe my IPs would say the same because we were matched based on believes and personality rather than convenience. I hope you find what you are looking for! I look forward to following your journey!

#9 Daysha

 
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Posted 20 April 2017 - 10:05 AM

Thanks Surromom360. We'll add A Gift of Surrogacy to our list to consider, and I appreciate that you added that they're very focused on the relationship. That's something that is very important to us as it's a very personal decision and (for us) we don't want just a transactional  relationship (although I'm sure that works well for some). 



#10 Daysha

 
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Posted 20 April 2017 - 10:17 AM

Traci, thank you for that perspective. We're not rushing per se but also know that this could take longer just based on the dynamics of needing to find an agency and then a good match and then the medical side which may or may not happen right away. But good to know that the timeframe is somewhat reasonable. It's the unknown aspects that are driving us to move a little faster, at least for now.

 

I haven't done anything in terms of looking into egg retrieval/fertilization yet. I think the master plan is to find a couple of agencies to speak with and then figure out what there process/recommendations go for the retrieval. I know that standard IVF can take some time in terms of collecting eggs and making sure embryos are viable etc. I'd just read (somewhere?) that fresh eggs had a higher success rate than frozen but maybe it's not that different.



#11 traci72

 
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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:13 PM

Actually, w/the process used now for freezing/thawing embryos, the success rate is very comparable for fresh vs frozen. Each clinic of course has their own stats. Some do more FET's than others and I still see some clinics w/much lower success rates, but in general, both are great options. If you're looking at having the embryos tested at all, you will be doing a FET. Also, please remember that even w/tested embryos, "normal" does NOT mean "viable" or that the transfer will be successful. There can still be normal tested embryos that lack an ICM (inner cell mass = what turns into the baby) and will never be viable and testing is also for a very small, limited number of things, so there could still be a defect w/the embryo that wasn't tested for.

 

FYI, I delivered a baby at the end of this past January that had been created in India, shipped to Thailand, then Nepal and then to the US, and he'd been frozen for 3yrs by the time we transferred. He was a FSET (frozen single embryo transfer) and took the 1st transfer.



#12 beachalice

 
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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:16 PM

 I'd just read (somewhere?) that fresh eggs had a higher success rate than frozen but maybe it's not that different.

I think fresh cycles used to be preferred as the cryropeservation process was a challenge for some embies.  But now that vitrification has improved, I think the studies are indicating the cycles are about the same or even favor frozen transfers.

 

 Of course most of the research has been collected from mothers who undergo hormonal treatment for egg retrieval then attempt to transfer fresh embryos in the same cycle when the body hasn't had a chance to settle down yet from stimulation. 

Here is an article from less than a year ago:

http://advancedferti...ansfer-for-ivf/

 

Hang in there!  You're asking the right questions :)



#13 beachalice

 
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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:16 PM

Sorry Traci.  You type faster than me ;) 



#14 traci72

 
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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:48 PM

Sorry Traci.  You type faster than me ;)

Not really...I just have the benefit of being able to respond at the same time as I approve new posts! Once she hits her min. # of posts that turns off moderation, you'll be faster than me...LOL!



#15 beachalice

 
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Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:54 PM

At least we've been on the same page each of the times I blindly duplicated your post.  

Hopefully that gives Daysha some confidence.  :bouncy2:


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