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By Tina

Being a surrogate was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. But it put me in the position of having to make some difficult decisions – like facing the possibility of becoming pregnant with multiples and facing the issue of selective reduction.

Last year, the Washington Post, in an article titled “Too Much to Carry,” explained why selective reduction is used and how high-risk multiple pregnancies can be difficult for some women. It also told what the couples went through in choosing selective reduction, a decision that does not come lightly.

I’m not getting into the abortion debate. That is not what this is about. It is about the surrogate knowing her medical risks when carrying multiples. Remember: This is not just about the parents-to-be, it’s also about the surrogate and her health, her family and the lives she is carrying.

In these types of in vitro situations, multiples easily occur. Surrogates need to know what their bodies can handle before agreeing to carry someone else’s child – or children.

I told my intended parents that I was willing to carry twins but would do selective reduction if triplets resulted from the egg transplantation. Before making this decision, I consulted with my doctor to understand my physical limitations and risks. I was told I was too small to carry three babies to term. It would be too risky for the babies and me. (If it were up to me, I would have carried multiples.) Luckily, I got pregnant with twins and did not have to face this decision (phew!).

Discussing selective reduction is not easy. It must be discussed carefully and candidly and specified legally (read: put it in a contract) before anyone enters into any surrogacy relationship. The couple I helped was very understanding of my choice to selectively reduce if the situation called for it.

I know that selective reduction is not for everyone. It wasn’t something I would have considered, but in my case, the medical risks were too great.

How do others feel about selective reduction? If you’ve been a surrogate or an intended parent, how did you handle this issue?

By Robin von Halle

A lot of people have been paying attention to the steep rise in first-time pregnancies among some of our more mature celebrities.

A recent post on Knifestyles of the Rich and Famous, points to the amazing incidence of “multiples” among older celebs like J-Lo (38) and Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon (41), and singletons among others like Halle Berry (41), Helena Bonham Carter (41) and Nicole Kidman (40).

In fact, these geriatric pregnancies, as Oprah put it, really are miraculous: Statistically, a 40-year-old, sexually active woman has a whopping 5 percent chance of conceiving.

God love these celebrities and the children they’re bringing into the world. I just wish they’d own up to how they came about.

On one hand, is it anyone’s business whether they were conceived through ordinary means or through the assistance of a young woman who donated her fresher eggs? Taking this route to creating families is, indeed, an intensely personal decision.

On the other hand, these women are celebrities and, by definition, public figures. By owning up, they could be doing a world of good – informing others that options are available and that egg donation (not to mention gestational surrogacy) is a viable route worthy of exploring.

By Erika

Some women are afraid to donate their eggs more than once. Not me. Guidelines by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) suggest a limit of six donation cycles. That’s how many times I’ve done it. I found the process very simple, and since my last donation in 2007, I haven’t yet experienced any side effects or physical trauma.

I’ve worked with Alternative Reproductive Resources (ARR) throughout. It follows the ASRM’s guidelines and won’t allow women to donate their eggs more than six times. I appreciate that limits are placed. You never know what kind of new information or research will surface in the years ahead. I believe that by putting a limit on donations, we are offsetting the risk of future medical complications.

A recent ABC News article on a woman who donated more than 12 times, suggested that she may have put her health at risk by doing so. I wonder if she was aware of the risks and the ASRM guidelines. I hope she doesn’t pay the price.

If you are considering donating your eggs, do your homework and know your medical history. Make sure you work with an agency that follows ASRM guidelines. ARR also has a code of ethics, which made me feel better about my decision to donate as often as I did.

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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