Weekly Roundup: Surrogacy and Other Stories in the News

A lot has happened this week. One state’s governor vetoed an anti-gay bill, other states began considering these kinds of right-to-deny-service bills, the FDA reviewed 3-person DNA technology, and a judge struck down another state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Welcome to the second edition of “Weekly Roundup.”

marriage equalityArizona Vetoes Anti-Gay Bill
A bill that would have allowed Arizona businesses to deny service to LGBT patrons out of religious conviction has been laid to rest. The “Religious Freedom” bill was vetoed by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Wednesday. The proposed legislation galvanized quite the debate. Opponents said that it encourages discrimination against gays while supporters argued that it protected for religious freedom. Currently, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, and Missouri are considering similar bills.

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FDA Weighs in On 3-Person DNA Technique

FDA 3 Person DNA The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is meeting in Washington to discuss a raised ethical quandary. If science allows us to make a baby free of certain defects, should we do so? That’s exactly what mitochondrial manipulation technologies in assisted reproduction do. Women with mitochondrial diseases can have their own biological children without passing them on. According to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, as many as 4,000 children are born in the United States every year with mitochondrial dysfunction.

The practice is currently limited to animals, but researchers are eager to apply the technology to humans. According to The New York Times article, “Genetically Modified Babies,” these techniques would change every cell in the bodies of children born as a result of their use, and these alterations would be passed down to future generations.

Such genetic methods have been controversial in the United States. Critics wonder how far such technology will takes us, whether or not new problems will result, and if this could lead to the creation of designer babies, a widely debated topic.

While mitochondrial technologies can do a lot of good, there is one potential problem. Some of the mother’s unhealthy mitochondria may survive the transfer and show up in the child. Or it can go unnoticed perhaps for generations before someone in the bloodline gets sick.

The FDA’s meeting, however, is meant to address the scientific issues around the procedure— not the ethics.

photo credit: mimitalks, married, under grace via photopin cc

Weekly Roundup: Surrogacy and Other Stories in the News

surrogacy in the news weekly round up

A lot has happened this week in the world of assisted reproduction. To help keep you abreast of all things surrogacy and egg donation, we’ve compiled a list of the past seven days’ most popular headlines.

Record Number of Women Using In Vitro to Get Pregnant
The number of women using in vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant has experienced a marked increase in recent years. According to The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), 1.5 percent of all babies born in the U.S. in 2012 got a push in the lab. SART’s 379 member clinics, which represent more than 90 percent of the infertility clinics in the country, reported that in 2012 they performed 165,172 procedures involving in vitro fertilization (IVF), in which an egg from the intended mother or an egg donor is fertilized in a lab dish. They resulted in the birth of 61,740 babies. To view the full article, click here.

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Hearing a Heartbeat for the First Time

Mike and Jamie in Chicago We just heard a heartbeat for the first time. It was…magnificent.  And quite literally left us speechless.

A post-ultrasound check-in with our Program Coordinator and the simple question “how are you feeling?” elicited a surprising response: overwhelming joy that we weren’t quite sure how to express in words.

As it turns out, we’re feeling a lot of things. Sure, we’ve been chatting non-stop about this exciting time in our lives, but we hadn’t really been asked, pointedly yet broadly, about our feelings.

What followed was an almost embarrassing outpouring of thoughts.

We’re happy. Very happy. And we’re excited. My husband claimed to be nervous…but that hasn’t hit me yet. With two parenting books down but a hundred more to read, we already know we can do this. Admittedly, our confidence is greatly bolstered by the legions of family and friends lining up to hold our hands through all the excitement that is only a mere months away.

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Get Involved with Circle’s Video Production!

Surrogate mother

We are excited to be working with 5th Street East Productions on our next creative endeavor: Videos for our website! What’s even more exciting is that we get to ask you to join in on the process. After all, our agency wouldn’t be where it is today without all the incredible intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors we work with each year.

How to Participate:

1. Gather home videos and pictures. Have a photo of your surrogate on delivery day? Did you capture your tyke’s first moments on camera? We want to see (and share) it all!

2. Email your submissions to bmanning@circlesurrogacy.com.

3. Prepare to share your beautiful faces, and stories, with the world!

New Webinar! Becoming a Surrogate: The Application

Circle Surrogacy is excited to present its first webinar for prospective surrogates. During this one-hour session, you will hear from experienced surrogates and Circle staff members about the process of applying to be a gestational surrogate. And you’ll have an opportunity to ask us any questions!

What: Webinar “Becoming a Surrogate: The Application”

Who: Presented by Circle Surrogacy staff and former surrogates

Where: Register at http://bit.ly/MxvvPe

Why: Because so many women inquire about what steps are involved in becoming a surrogate. This webinar is intended to educate the many women who are interested in helping intended parents to start a family.

When: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014, 3:00-4:30pm, EST

In the meantime, review our application requirements for gestational carriers:

  • Are between the ages of 21-41 years of age
  • Have given birth to a healthy child within the past 7 years
  • Have had healthy births since any miscarriage
  • Do not participate in certain government aid programs including section 8 housing
  • Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 32 (some clinics allow up to 33)
  • Live in a surrogate-friendly state in the United States (we are very sorry but we can not accept gestational carriers who reside in Washington, Washington D.C., Nebraska, Michigan, New York, New Jersey, or anywhere outside of the United States)
  • Have the support of family and friends
  • Do not use illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or abuse alcohol
  • Have not had more than three previous births by caesarean sections
  • Generally have medical insurance (though this is not a requirement)
  • Women with IUDs are welcome to apply, though additional qualification requirements may arise that may affect a projected timeline.

Anxious to start the application? Great! You can start the online questionnaire by clicking below.

NY Court Ruling on Adoption Raises Concern for Same-Sex Couples

new york same-sex marriageMothers Amalia and Melissa of New York married in 2011, the year same-sex marriage became legal in the state. The enacted law allowed both parents to be on their son’s birth certificate. However, like many other same-sex parents, Amalia decided to pursue second-parent adoption since not all states legally recognize gay marriage or the presumption of parentage.

When Amalia, the non-biological mother, chose to pursue to adoption, she was refused by Brooklyn Surrogate’s Court judge Margarita Lopez Torres. While acknowledging that her ruling leaves room for risk, Lopez Torres said her decision stemmed from her belief that all married couples, gay or straight, should be treated equally. The judge said that granting the adoption would mean that “true marriage equality remains yet to be attained” and that “same-sex marriage remains somehow insufficient to establish a parent-child relationship.”

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ASRM Committee’s Opinion: Misconduct in Third-Party Assisted Reproduction

ASRMThe Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) released a new report that identifies potential areas of misconduct by individuals participating in third-party reproductive arrangements. The ASRM considers physicians and health professionals, gamete donors, agents, and attorneys third-parties. The report, which also discusses a range of suitable responses to conflict(s) from assisted reproductive technology (ART) practitioners, was released in effort to improve the regulation of ART practices.

“In collaborative reproduction cases, physicians may find themselves learning of circumstances or information related to third-parties that have the potential to affect their patients’ health, well-being or chances of conceiving a successful pregnancy,” says Rebecca Sokol, M.D., M.P.H., acting president of ASRM. “This ethics opinion provides guidance to help practitioners chart a course through conflicting obligations and uphold their responsibility to their patients to avoid harm.”

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4 Elements of a Conflict-Free Surrogacy

surrogacy arrangement According the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies, surrogacy arrangements have nearly doubled in recent years—738 surrogate babies born in 2004, and 1,448 surrogate babies born in 2010. With that in mind, we thought we’d share the key factors to a happy and successful surrogacy arrangement.

1. Working with an agency. If you take anything away from this blog post, let it be this. Working with a surrogacy agency affords you support, a multitude of services, and legal protection. All aspects of your surrogacy arrangement, from matching and screening, to legal work and social work support, are handled by a team of professionals. If any issue(s) should arise, rest assured you’ve got a team behind you.

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