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By Mary Ellen McLaughlin

Maybe I’m alone, but I’ve never thought of gestational surrogacy as being particularly funny. Still, the folks in Hollywood seem to think so. This spring, both a sitcom on FOX and a movie starring Tina Fey have characters who use a surrogate to have a baby.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted that gestational surrogacy is getting some national attention. I just hope that it doesn’t make surrogacy seem like a quick fix for infertility. Or worse, that anyone can be a surrogate. As this article in the Columbus Dispatch points out, surrogates are required to have been pregnant before. Another flaw is that both the movie and TV show are set in New York City. But surrogacy has been illegal in New York since 1993.

The surrogates aren’t exactly terrific candidates. On the TV show “The Return of Jezebel James,” the surrogate is the main character’s sister, an unemployed former drug user who has never been pregnant. “Baby Mama,” features a surrogate who is uneducated, immature and possibly mentally unbalanced (the previews show her peeing in the sink after she can’t figure out how to lift the baby-proofed toilet seat). She also loses her apartment and shows up at the intended mother’s door. That’s not how I want to see surrogates represented. The women we match are mothers with stable home lives.

Surrogates – we’d love to hear from you! How do you feel about the way gestational surrogates are being represented by these roles?

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By Jennifer

When I blogged several weeks ago, I talked about the reasons I decided to donate my eggs. Now, I’d like to share more about the medical aspect of my donation experience.

ARR matched me within a few weeks of submitting my application. I soon met with my recipient couple’s doctor and took a fertility test and a genetic test. Then it was time to match up cycles with the recipient mother so that when my eggs were extracted, her uterus was ready to accept the created embryos.

This cycle began by suppressing my ovaries to get everything to a base level before starting the stimulation. In a sense, I went through a mini menopause because all of my estrogen was suppressed. This happened during midterms. I was studying with a friend and started getting hot and sweaty for no reason. It kept coming in waves. Luckily the suppression only lasted about a week and then I was on to stimulating.

I got started on the hormones, which I injected every night to stimulate the follicles. During the stimulation, I had appointments twice a week to monitor the hormone levels in my blood and check how big the follicles were. You can’t miss these appointments because they show whether you need more or less of the hormones depending on how your body is responding.

Once the follicles reach a certain size you take a “trigger” shot that starts ovulation. This is timed exactly so that the extraction procedure takes place four hours before you begin to ovulate, when the follicles are ready to release the eggs. The procedure itself is a minor surgery where all the mature follicles are drained with a needle. It lasts about 15 minutes, and isn’t really painful – you just have some cramping like a bad day during your period. I was fine by the next day, ready to go back to classes.

I hope that learning about my experience can help other women who are interested in donating to understand what comes after saying yes.

Visit our Web site at www.arr1.com.

About Us

Conception Connections is a blog about alternative paths to family creation. It is maintained by Alternative Reproductive Resources. Contributors include intended parents, egg donors and gestational surrogates in addition to ARR staff. Our goal is to facilitate conversations about trends, issues, current events, technology and personal stories surrounding infertility, egg donation and gestational surrogacy. If you'd like to contribute, please e-mail shodge@hodgemediastrategies.com. We also welcome your comments and suggestions. Note: Comments are moderated and posted on approval.

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