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By Felix Ramos

My wife is the most amazing person I know.

When her brother and his wife discovered they could not carry a child on their own (they went through IVF twice), my wife offered to bear one for them herself as their surrogate. But the money was gone.

This devastated my wife, but she had another idea. She would be a surrogate for another couple and give the compensation to her brother so they could try again. Even though they decided against trying again, that didn’t stop my wife. She still wanted to help, and as a gestational surrogate she helped a wonderful couple become parents to twin boys four years ago.

Our lives did not stand still just because my wife was a gestational surrogate. The most intimidating part of the process is the fertility treatments (I had to give her the shots). Life went on as usual. We even took a family vacation. We are the parents of four, so I know what to expect when it comes to families with an expectant mother in the house.

Many of my friends and family, including my father, thought I was crazy for “letting” my wife make such a decision. I had to explain to them that we made the decision together. Once they heard the story behind it, they all were very supportive and understanding.

So if your wife is thinking of being a gestational surrogate, my best advice is to keep an open mind and be her number one supporter throughout the process. Many couples are desperately seeking ways to create a family. Even through I played a small part in the process, helping create a family was one of the best experiences of my life.

How do other husbands feel about their wives being a gestational surrogate?  What was your experience like? Share your comments.

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By Mary Ellen McLaughlin

In the years I’ve been a partner of ARR, I’ve helped match hundreds of intended parents with egg donors. And over that time, it’s been obvious how difficult it is for the parents to make their decision. Rightfully so.

They’re not choosing a flavor of ice cream, after all, but making a decision on the genetic characteristics that will distinguish their child. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Yet egg donors are highly sought after. So many intended parents feel pressured to make a quick decision to avoid losing the donor to another couple.

We thought there has to be a way to alleviate some of the pressure that our intended parents feel during this process. Our team decided to initiate a program called Extended Choice, which offers intended parents “first choice” for the donor they select, for up to 72 hours.

This means that participants have that window of time after viewing a donor to decide if she is right for them prior to making a selection. During that period, other prospective parents may view the donor’s profile, but can’t choose her until the 72 hours are up.

Peace of mind. We hope our program gives our parents more of that much-needed commodity during a very stressful time in their lives.

By Katie

It started for me when I came across one of ARR’s ads looking for egg donors.  Egg donation was something that I had contemplated on various occasions throughout college, but at the time, I wasn’t sure if I was emotionally prepared to deal with it.

After meeting with Mary Ellen, I realized that donating my eggs was something I really wanted to do. The pros by far outweighed my qualms about the procedure.  So, I began my journey.

ARR asked me to provide photographs dating back to my childhood to show to prospective intended parents. I also completed medical forms detailing my personal health history and that of my family members.  The other steps included a psychological evaluation and a gynecological exam.

It’s important to acknowledge that throughout this entire process, Mary Ellen responded to my questions and concerns in a prompt, professional (yet kind) manner. I never felt confused or unsure of what would be happening next.

Once I was matched with the intended parents, I started taking birth control pills to sync my ovulation schedule before starting hormone injections. Other than some initial nervousness about giving myself a shot, it was quick and painless – feeling like a light pinch.

After the egg retrieval, I felt back to normal within about 36 hours. While there are potential side effects to the procedure, ARR and my doctor made sure I was aware of the symptoms and what to do if any complications arose. (They didn’t!)

I recently contacted ARR and found that 22 eggs had been retrieved!  I am quite optimistic that at least one of them was fertilized in the intended mother.  It’s been less than a month since my retrieval, and though I have not heard if a pregnancy has been achieved, I wish the couple all the best and hope their dreams are fulfilled.

This experience was rewarding in so many ways!  I am looking forward to donating again in the near future!

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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