Families are built in many different ways, and as the year winds down, we’d like to recognize all those in our surrogacy community – from intended parents to gestational carriers to the professionals who make it all possible – salud 🥂
We’ve seen a lot of amazing things in the Surrogacy Learning Center this year.
The story of fertility doctor Angie Beltsos, who completed her family through surrogacy.
“We absolutely love [our surrogate] Jodi. When our baby was born, her family was in the room afterwards with us holding the baby, loving her. She brought a photographer, so we could take those first day pictures. Our surrogate was just recovering from giving us this most precious gift, so we wanted to celebrate her first day of life together. Jodi’s husband, who is this tough guy in the Army, cried when it was time for us to leave. The people in your life that take care of your child, whether the child is an embryo or toddler, are very invested in the success and the health of the child. It's magical and it's important. So don't be afraid of it, embrace it. You'll find that that journey becomes even more precious, even many years later.”
Harrison Katzen, whose baby was born via surrogacy, wrote about his first Father’s Day.
"Watching Jonathan’s birth on FaceTime was such a surreal experience, and it all happened so quickly. Jenna and her husband were simply amazing – they made sure that we experienced the entire birth and our connection to the two of them grew stronger through that experience. Jenna did skin to skin for us in our absence, and her husband cut the umbilical cord which was an honor. The doctors and nurses at the hospital were also so unbelievable. They knew we were missing the birth in person and were so accommodating given the situation. Although it was not our ideal situation, there was so much beauty in that experience and seeing the best in humanity."
Surrogate Bri Buck shared her surrogacy journey.
"I often get asked how the kids feel about this surrogacy pregnancy and it makes me laugh because really they only know what they know... so to them it’s totally normal. Hudson asked another pregnant lady who she would be giving her baby to 😂 But in truth we talk about this baby and his family and how excited they are to meet him. They give him kisses and hugs but always talk about when he will come out and go to his family. My hope is when they look back and see pictures of me with this big belly that they remember how it connected us to another family in such a special way and all of the joy that that has given us."
We looked at the celebrities who have used surrogates, including Kim Kardashian, Tyra Banks, Anderson Cooper, Nicole Kidman, Nate Berkus, and Elton John.
Recognizing and celebrating the legalization of paid surrogacy in New York:
"This is a triumph for modern families," said Nazca Fontes, the CEO of ConceiveAbilities, a nationwide surrogacy and egg donation agency with an office in New York City. "New Yorkers will no longer have to hopscotch around the country, incurring ridiculous costs, absurd inconvenience and now the risk of COVID infection, just to become a parent."
Surrogacy laws still vary throughout the United States with all but four states allowing paid surrogacy. In Louisiana, paid surrogacy is prohibited, while uncompensated surrogacy is legal only for hetero, married couples. And in Michigan, paid surrogacy is illegal and all surrogacy contracts unenforceable.
Fertility expert Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, board certified in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endoccrinology and Infertility with Fertility Centers of Illinois, discussed the safety of Covid-19 vaccinations during pregnancy:
"Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. Strongly, yes. About 22 healthcare organizations have supported the vaccine including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine and the CDC. What helped these organizations support the vaccine is a study out of the UK, looking at about 1,300 patients, retrospectively, and identifying about 30% of those that were vaccinated compared to those that were not. They looked at pregnancy markers like miscarriage and stillbirth and showed that those who were vaccinated and those who were not vaccinated had equal risk. The vaccine did not increase your risk of any of those concerns. The vaccine does not increase your risk of miscarriage. Some of the concerns are that the vaccine can temporarily give you a fever. We do not believe that a fever that is induced in the relationship of a vaccine is the same as a fever from certain viruses. Fevers from certain viruses have been linked to miscarriage, but the vaccine itself has not. As more studies are done and the data accumulates, we’ve become more and more reassured that they continue to support the safety of the vaccine. They do not increase your risk of infertility. They do not worsen the pregnancy. They protect the pregnancy, because the virus is a risk to your pregnancy."
We also hosted Ask the Expert Q&As with:
- Nurse Practitioner and former surrogate Kristina Fabis,
- Fertility expert Dr. Hirshfeld-Cytron,
- Experienced surrogate Laci Compton,
- Experienced surrogate Ashtin Gurevitz,
- Egg donor program manager Allison Margolies,
- Mental health support professional Lori Jurecko,
- Surrogacy legal expert Gina-Marie Madow,
- Surrogate husband Jonathon Compton,
- Intended parent Crystal Patel,
And we shared the stories of many members of our community in the very popular Surrogate Feature series.
Do you have ideas for blogs or resources you’d like to see in the Surrogacy Learning Center in 2022? Join us in the comments below and let us know.
Thanks to all of you for being part of community, and we wish you all the best over the holidays and in the new year ✨