I'm very excited to introduce this month's theme. October is known for several things: Pumpkin Spice Latte's, the color of fall leaves and of course, Halloween which brings both tricks and treats. Some people love to be scared; whether it's a horror film, a haunted house or riding a roller coaster that looks simply terrifying.
When it comes to third party family building though, being scared is the last thing I want people to experience. Yes, understandable concerns and even some anxiety is normal. If anything, it shows how much you care and how seriously you're taking what lies ahead. However, I aim to remove any unnecessary fears.
For example, have you ever heard or read any of these statements?
Statement: Women can donate their eggs as many times as they'd like.
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, woman should limit the number of cycles they complete to six for their safety.
Statement: Any woman can become an egg donor.
Also, not true. There are very specific requirements such as age, BMI, overall health, genetic background as well as education level. Egg donors are thoroughly vetted not just to ensure their eggs are healthy but to also make sure that the woman donating her eggs feels both confident and comfortable with the process.
Statement: If you donate your eggs, you won't have any left when you want to have your own children.
Women are born with approximately 2 million eggs in their ovarian reserve. Each month from the time you are born, thousands die before they ever reach puberty. By the time you've reached puberty, you have approximately 300,000 eggs left. The eggs produced from a cycle is already in your body. The hormones you take produce them faster than the normally would every month. When you do a round for egg donation, the clinics typically retrieve around 20 eggs (sometimes more, sometimes less). There are still plenty of eggs left in your body even if you completed 6 cycles (maximum suggested cycles allowed).
Statement: Donors will eventually be contacted by "their child" down the road OR donors will want to contact "their children".
Not true necessarily. Egg donation is still very much anonymous in most cases. There are some agencies as well as clinics that have open donations but both parties must agree to an open donation. Sometimes even though a cycle maybe anonymous, both parties may agree that the child resulting from the donation could contact the egg donor if she agrees to it later on. You determine what your comfortable with.
Statement: Surrogacy is only when a woman doesn't feel like being pregnant.
Aside from the fact that surrogacy is a very common option for same sex male couples, the overwhelming majority of women who need a surrogate to build their family would love nothing more than to be pregnant themselves. Due to health issues or previously unsuccessful pregnancies, surrogacy may be one of their limited options.
Gestational Surrogacy is just for incredibly wealthy people.
While surrogacy is far from inexpensive, there are options that you can explore that can help with how to pay for a surrogacy journey. When working with an agency, be sure to ask how they may be able to assist in helping to keep the cost down.
Statement: Egg donors and gestational surrogates only care about the money.
It's true that both receive compensation. However, they entail a level of commitment and physical undertaking (especially being a surrogate) that the women I work in particular truly want to help couples have a family.
No doubt some of these misconceptions have scared people off from either being a surrogate or donating their eggs, seeking the assistance of one or the other and they aren't correct.
This month, we're going to continue to explore all of these fears; What you should be scared of, what you genuinely shouldn't be and what you may have heard that doesn't exist, much like ghosts and ghouls!
Check back weekly and share with those who may be interested!