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By Nidhi Desai

As an attorney helping to navigate Intended Parents through a difficult and stressful process, I am asked that question all the time by intended parents seeking to make arrangements with a gestational surrogate.

Surrogates often advertise on their own. Agencies are expensive. Things seem to take longer than clients want them to take.  Still, I have found over the years that money spent on the right agency is money well spent.

Many clients come to me with a gestational surrogate “in hand,” saying they have been e-mailing for months, have become close, and know there will be no problems. Yet, 90% of the time, their first surrogate candidate does not end up being the final one.  In the meantime, money is spent on psychological screening, legal representation, and medical screening, and at the end of the day, months can go by without any resolution.

There is an art to choosing the right agency. This is a very long relationship that requires a tremendous amount of trust, and different agencies have unique personalities.  When you find the right agency, you will find its people are thoughtful in their approach and do extensive screening with the gestational surrogate before moving forward. By the time you meet her, the gestational surrogate is well informed and excited to move forward.

The right agency also provides a buffer and guidance in discussing complicated issues like pregnancy termination and reduction, as well as compensation and bed rest. They will hold your hand and walk you though what may feel like a strange and surreal situation that is both foreign and frightening.

I have also seen the rewards when families are formed. Thanks in large part to the agencies who have helped guide and navigate the process, the intended parents and the gestational surrogates and their families form incredible and lasting bonds.

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By Anonymous

We got pregnant during our one-year wedding anniversary vacation getaway. It happened naturally and my pregnancy went smoothly, so I never thought a second pregnancy would be a problem. After our first child turned one, we started trying again, except this time, nothing happened. We tried for a year. I finally decided to talk to my ob-gyn, who told me I was dealing with secondary infertility.

I suffer from endometriosis, which had gotten progressively worse since I had my first child. I saw a reproductive endocrinologist, who then put me on fertility treatments and three months later I was pregnant. Unfortunately, I miscarried.

After that, my doctor felt IVF would be a better option. I went through four IVFs, three miscarriages and one treatment that did not transfer. My husband had given up, “Let’s adopt,” he’d say. I just couldn’t give up that feeling of being pregnant one more time. I was determined and I had one last option – egg donation.

The idea came to me after chatting on an infertility support Web site. I spoke with my doctor about the possibility and she said my odds were better because the eggs were healthier. Sold! I started to do my research. My biggest concern was finding African-American donors, who are few and far between. Some of the agencies I researched did not have any.

I decided on ARR as my egg donation agency. Robin von Halle was so warm and friendly. It was like I had known her for years. Plus, 17 percent of its donors were African-Americans. ARR made the egg donor process so uncomplicated. Robin spoke with such hope, I thought, “How could I lose?”.  I needed that cheerleader in my corner.

We hit a few bumps during our process (our first donor did not pass a medical exam); however, ARR held our hands the entire time and had a new donor prospect right away. In the end, it all worked out for the best. Today, I have my beautiful second baby.

Dealing with secondary infertility is not easy. You have hope that it will happen again naturally, and when it doesn’t, it feels as though all hope is lost.  For me, the egg donation process gave me back that hope.

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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