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November 19, 1996 EvaS : Our guest is JoanB0047, aka Joan Barnes, President of TASC, The American Surrogacy Center, Inc. Joan, what does surrogacy mean? What is it?

JoanB0047 : Surrogacy is when another woman assists a couple in carrying a child for them.

Lilybug123 : Joan, how do I know the surrogate won't change her mind and want custody?

JoanB0047 : 99.9% of the time a surrogacy arrangement is successful. Adoption has a 15% FAILURE RATE....foster care has a 24% failure rate.

MaknMyWay : My husband and I are considering using my sister as a surrogate. There is no way we can afford IVF. How would an arrangement like this work?

JoanB0047 : Very easily. You can do traditional surrogacy with your sister donating her egg if you are comfortable with that arrangement. Many people have achieved a family through the assistance of a sister or sister-in-law.

MaknMyWay : Does one go into the DR's office and have insemination?

JoanB0047 : ABSOLUTELY! It is imperative that testing be done for HIV, etc.

MacAnnieB : Just how many births (approx) have resulted from this?

JoanB0047 : 8000 births for surrogacy in the USA, but in the last few years, it has really begun to soar.

EvaS : Joan, what is in-vitro fertilization, for those of us who don't know?

JoanB0047 : In-vitro is the sperm and egg producing an embryo in a dish outside of the uterus.

RKLSKL : Joan, are you finding more DES daughters turning to surrogacy?

JoanB0047 : We are finding many DES daughters, such as myself, turning to surrogacy for assistance.

EvaS : Joan, what is frozen embryo transfer?

JoanB0047 : FET is when embryos, that have been deep frozen, are thawed and transferred through a small tube to a woman through an in-office procedure. There is no pain to the surrogate and I have had a child born through FET. I laughingly call him polar boy. LOL!

TOAOK827 : What is DES?

JoanB0047 : DES affected daughters who were exposed to that chemical in their mothers womb which dramatically alters their reproductive system.

Lilybug123 : What is the cost of surrogacy?

JoanB0047 : It depends.

Lilybug123 : What's the range?

JoanB0047 : It can range from a compassionate surrogate who is interested in being a surrogate and may not charge a fee to many of the top agencies that have fees for surrogates ranging from $12-16000. It simply depends.

DXSMac : Can I just walk in and "donate" an egg, for someone, anyone, to use later? Of course, I would have to be in good health and all.

JoanB0047 : Egg donors are extensively screened and it is not a simple task to be an egg donor on many levels. It is important to really research andunderstand before you make this decision.

DXSMac : But I could do it, if I passed the screening, right?

JoanB0047 : Yes! You can be an egg donor either anonymous or to a couple that you have a relationship with.

RKLSKL : Joan, how long did the surrogacy process take for you?

JoanB0047 : My surrogate delivered my child exactly one year from the time I met her! I ran an ad in the local newspaper and found her and her husband.

RKLSKL : Also, being a DES daughter, did you have many eggs with the fertility drugs? I am a DES daughter.

JoanB0047 : I had 13 eggs. 5 fertilized. 2 transferred fresh. 2 frozen. 2 children. 1 IVF cycle. Excellent results. :)

RKLSKL : Did you use fresh for your first child and frozen for the second?

JoanB0047 : Yes.

Lilybug123 : Joan, I understand you had great results with IVF. How old are you?

JoanB0047 : 35 at IVF. 37 at the transfer of 2nd child. Surrogate was my same age.

RKLSKL : What fertility drugs did you use?

JoanB0047 : Clomid and Pergonal. I hyperstimulated.

RKLSKL : Injections?

JoanB0047 : Yes, they were injections.

RKLSKL : Only one cycle?

JoanB0047 : I was lucky. I only did one cycle.

RKLSKL : How long did it take to synchronize with the surrogates cycle?

JoanB0047 : We synchronized totally on our own. We were just planning to go with FET the next month, but we synched our cycles within 12 hours of each other. That's when I new a miracle was about to occur.

KBOK86 : A friend offered to be a surrogate for us after 4 failed IVFs. Drawbacks?

JoanB0047 : Not if you thoroughly talk out every detail and hire professionals to assist you through this road less travelled. ;)

KBOK86 : What should be my major concerns/questions?

JoanB0047 : Communication is the key.

RKLSKL : My mother offered to carry for me. Too high risk?

JoanB0047 : How old is your mother?

RKLSKL : She feels guilty due to the DES. She is 53.

JoanB0047 : She may be a good candidate for gestational surrogacy.

RKLSKL : Not too high risk due to age? She's a little heavy with high blood pressure.

JoanB0047 : Not necessarily. A lady in NY gave birth 2 years ago who was 53. You should not have a surrogate who is over-weight, when it involves IVF.

RKLSKL : My mom needs to lose about 20 lbs. How did people react to you using surrogacy?

JoanB0047 : People reacted differently. Some were very positive and the friends that were negative turned out not to be my friends at all.

EvaS : Joan, would you define DES, again, please? For those who missed it before.

JoanB0047 : DES is a drug that was administered to women between 1937 and 1971 that altered the reproductive system of daughters born when this was given to their mothers while they were pregnant.

EvaS : Thanks, Joan. :)

KBOK86 : Are there any physical requirements for a gestational surrogacy...i.e. blood type, etc.?

READ MORE ABOUT IT: Surrogacy (rev. 11/18/96 - jlc)

[NOTE: These brief bibliographies are not intended to be an exhaustive treatment of a topic .... instead they are intended to provide a starting place for reading on the topic.]

After Baby M : the Legal, Ethical and Social Dimensions of Surrogacy. Trenton, NJ, New Jersey Commission on Legal and Ethical Problems in the Delivery of Health Care, 1992.

Changing Conceptions of Motherhood : the Practice of Surrogacy in Britain. London, British Medical Association, 1996.

Cooper, Susan. Beyond Infertility : the New Paths to Parenthood. New York, Lexington Books, 1994.

Redefining Family Law : Adoption, New Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy. Minneapolis, National Practice Institute, Continuing Professional Education, 1994.

Shalev, Carmel. Birth Power : the Case for Surrogacy. Yale University Press, 1991.

Taub, Nadine. The Surrogacy Controversy : Making and Remaking the Family. In: Controversy : Politics of Technical Decisions. 3rd ed. Newbury Park, CA, Sage, 1992.

Wertheimer, Alan. Is Surrogacy Exploitative? Toronto, Law and Economics Programme, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, 1992.

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