You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2009.

By Robin von Halle

Parents who have used egg donation always struggle with how to tell their kid(s) how they were conceived.

Here’s a very affecting YouTube video that tells the kid’s perspective. It also gives a great perspective on nature vs. nurture.


By Robin von Halle and Mary Ellen McLaughlin

Once again, the media has picked up on the risks of do-it-yourself surrogacies.

We are referring to the New York Times article that focused on a Michigan couple trying to become parents through surrogacy. They found a surrogate online and worked with a fertility clinic that apparently completely skipped the process of psychological screening. In the end, the Michigan couple lost their babies to the surrogate after she sued for legal guardianship. All because the wife had a mental illness that was not disclosed during the process and no psychological screening was done on either party.

We cannot express enough how critical it is to consult with an agency that works with mental health professionals and lawyers who specialize in fertility counseling. This is extremely important in both surrogacy and egg donation.

Reputable agencies help couples, surrogates and donors with legal contracts to ensure that certain procedures, including psychiatric and background checks of egg donors, surrogates and intended parents, take place before anything is agreed upon, offsetting the risks that can be involved with this lengthy process.

It’s also important to note that no one in this process looks at children as a commodity, as one Boston bioethicist asserted in the New York Times article. Agencies are here to help guide people through the very sensitive and complicated process, and ensure that healthy babies are being born to stable and loving environments.

Stories like this leave us sick. We have worked hard for so many years to bring ethical guidance to the fertility community. Unfortunately, when couples set out on a quick, “less expensive” path to make a family, they increase the risk of being misguided or worse. In this case, you most certainly get what you pay for.

By Allison

I guess you can say my compassion for those who deal with infertility started early in life. When my sister and I were in high school, we found out that my sister had to have one of her ovaries removed. Lucky for her she still had a healthy one, but it just made our family think how easily one’s fertility can be taken away.

Several years later I came across an article on surrogacy. While I was reading it, those old feelings stirred up from my sister’s diagnosis. I felt so badly for this couple that couldn’t experience having a child. Then I got to thinking… I am the perfect candidate to be a surrogate. I am in my early 30s, have had two healthy children, a supportive husband and most importantly, textbook pregnancies. I could do this.

So I did. I spoke with my husband about the idea and at first he was a little skeptical, but after doing the research and going in for a consultation on the process, he agreed that this could be a great gift for someone. So we signed up.

And, just like my pregnancies, I had a textbook surrogacy. Everything just fell into place. It’s like I was meant to do this. The hardest part was meeting the intended parents and telling my 10-year-old daughter.

Meeting the parents was a big deal for us. You have no idea what this couple is going to be like. There is this fear you have about not really meshing with the couple, then what? It also didn’t help that my husband is very protective and had his guard up. But when we met our intended parents, all that anxiety just melted away. (Kudos to ARR for matching us.) Something clicked and before we knew it two hours had passed.

As for telling my daughter, we didn’t say anything to her until I started to show. We explained to her that the baby was not related to us and we were helping a couple start a family. She was so grown up about it. She was more curious about how the process worked. To be honest, I was more freaked out then she was.

I am sure most surrogates say this all the time, but this truly was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I created a family for two people who could not otherwise do so. If it weren’t for my sister and what could have been for her, I probably never would have thought twice about it.

Visit our Web site at

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 We also welcome your comments and suggestions. Note: Comments are moderated and posted on approval.


Twitter Updates

%d bloggers like this: