Ireland Drops Surrogacy Legislation Plans

Irish surrogacy lawThe latest version of a plan that would overhaul family law in Ireland no longer addresses surrogacy, according to the Irish Times. The original proposal was published earlier this year by the former Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, and had included provisions on surrogacy arrangements and children born through surrogacy.

The current Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, explained the change and noted the subject of surrogacy is being evaluated by the country’s Supreme Court in a decision expected next month. That decision will be the result of an appeal of an earlier High Court decision that allowed genetic parents to be registered on the birth certificates and recognized as the legal parents of their twins born through surrogacy.

Fitzgerald also noted that more consultation needed to be concluded before surrogacy legislation could proceed. Her predecessor, Alan Shatter, believes that removing the surrogacy provisions from the proposed legislation is a mistake.

While the legislative plan no longer includes surrogacy, it does allow same-sex civil partners and cohabiting couples who have been living together for at least three years to adopt a child. Same-sex marriage is currently not legal in Ireland.

Another provision of the proposal would ban the use of anonymous sperm or egg donation in Ireland and require clinics and hospitals to report the details of the donors to a national register. In the United Kingdom, all donors are identifiable and have been for the past nine years. Any child born from a donation that occurred after April 1, 2005, can request the name and last known address of the donor once he or she reaches the age of 18.

Circle Surrogacy last offered consultations and an information session to Irish intended parents in March of this year. During our time in Dublin, Circle’s Legal Director, Dean Hutchison, appeared on Irish national television to debate surrogacy. We also contributed a letter to the editor of the Irish Times.

We’ll continue to monitor developments on surrogacy and gamete donation in Ireland and post them on our blog.

To learn more about pursuing surrogacy in the United States, download our free information guide here.

photo credit: nathangibbs via photopin cc

Explaining Surrogacy to My Children (and Intended Parents)

parent through surrogacy My name is Nancy Weatherby, and I am fortunate enough to be a mom to two beautiful children born through the gestational surrogacy process.  I am also an Outreach Coordinator at Circle Surrogacy.

Many intended parents who contact me to learn about the process of surrogacy are concerned about how they will explain their journey to their children later down the road. While I cannot speak in a professional manner to this question (I am not a licensed social worker or mental health provider), I thought it might be helpful to share my personal experience on the matter.

What has worked for my family, simply put, is transparency. We never felt like we needed to consult with a child psychologist or draft a detailed plan on how and when to inform them. Instead, we chose to make it a non-issue – meaning it was never kept a secret or hidden from our children. It was always part of their birth stories from day one, and photos of the joyous occasions can be found all around the house.

Our kids know how they came to be, and we continue to maintain close relationships with our gestational carriers, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to be a mom thanks to the unselfish acts of kindness bestowed upon us by our surrogates.

For those interested, there are several great children’s books on the subject of surrogacy, which many people find helpful when they are explaining their children’s birth stories:

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Packing Suggestions for Delivery Day

surrogate delivery day Around the 30-week mark of your surrogate’s pregnancy, you’ll want to start preparing for the big day. And come delivery day, you’ll want to have all the essentials in tow. Here we offer packing pointers for your surrogate’s delivery day. Please remember that these are only suggestions! You can also check in with your surrogate to see what she recommends bringing.

For the Hospital:
a) Your birth plan, prepared with the surrogate and her OBGYN
b) ID (driver’s license for domestic parents, passport for international parents)
c) Insurance information (if the baby will be placed immediately on your insurance after birth)
d) Pediatrician’s contact information
e) Any hospital or legal paperwork you have been instructed to bring
f) DNA testing, if applicable
g) Cash for parking and change for vending machines
h) Going-home outfit for the baby(ies)
i) Receiving blanket

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Frequently Asked Questions about the SPAR Program for Surrogates

SPAR surrogate motherby a former SPAR surrogate

It has been six months since I’ve had a c-section, delivering twins to a gay, HIV-positive international couple in the SPAR program. Where has the time gone?! I have seen countless pictures and videos of these angels several times a week, close to daily. Excessive? Maybe, but our connection has not stopped, and I don’t see it ending anytime soon.

During the last six months, the curiosity of others in regards to my surrogacy has also not stopped. Sometimes, I even have the “pinch me I’m dreaming” feeling about the entire experience. Did I really help create a family for two men who were complete strangers to me at the start of all this?

To help assuage people’s concerns and address any concerns about the program, I’ve listed some questions I’m commonly asked about my experience as a surrogate for an HIV+ couple.

Q: How does the SPAR process work in layman’s terms?
A: I am not a doctor, and don’t pretend to be. After having a conversation with Dr. Kiessling from Bedford Lab, which is something every carrier for SPAR will have the opportunity to do, I learned about the process. I had no idea that not every semen sample contains the HIV virus. Bedford Lab then takes these negative samples and puts them through a washing cycle. For the full process, click here.

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What’s the Hold Up? Why breastfeeding and IMPLANON may put you on hold as a surrogate applicant.

medium_2127063197I’m currently breastfeeding but plan on self-weaning. Why do I have to wait to move forward with my surrogacy?

It is typically recommended that a gestational surrogate who is breastfeeding stop doing so at least one month before undergoing an IVF treatment cycle whereby an embryo is transferred into her uterus.

The process of breastfeeding induces the secretion of certain hormones, including prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin induces amenorrhea, or lack of ovulation and periods. Timing during an IVF cycle is critical, and doctors need to synchronize a surrogate’s menstruation with that of the egg producer, hence the need to know when the surrogate is getting her period. Also, elevated levels of prolactin associated with breastfeeding might have a deleterious effect on implantation, although we don’t have strong data to support it.

Finally, the hormone oxytocin, released as a result of breastfeeding, causes uterine contractions, which in turn could be harmful to the implantation process when an embryo is trying to attach to the lining of the uterus.

What about IMPLANON? I was told I can’t move forward until I stop using this form of birth control and return to my natural menstrual cycle.

IMPLANON is a hormonal contraceptive that slowly releases a form of progesterone. It prevents pregnancy in several ways. One way is by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. But more important, IMPLANON also changes the lining of your uterus. During in vitro fertilization, the uterine lining has to be in perfect synchrony with the growing embryo. If this is altered in any way, such as the premature secretion of progesterone produced by IMPLANON, the embryo will fail to implant.

photo credit: fikirbaz via photopin cc

7 Useful Ways to Manage the Back-to-School Season

back to school Has the back-to-school season led to some mommy angst? Not to worry, you’re not alone. However, fewer people are probable navigating the hectic season while also pursuing a surrogacy. You go girl! To offer some guidance, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can help minimize the BTS chaos.

1. Accept that it’s going to be a hectic time of year. Unfortunately, you can’t fight it. The lazy, hazy days of summer are long gone, replaced by new binders, sharpened pencils, and backpacks packed to the brim. Once you’ve accepted the hustle and bustle, you’ll be ready to start managing your time more effectively.

2. Exercise. (If you’re pregnant, keep this limited to what your OB allows.) Going for daily walks, practicing yoga, and bike riding are all great ways to get the heart pumping while not overdoing it. In addition to keeping your body healthy, exercise encourages mental clarity and a more peaceful state of mind. Something you won’t take for granted during the next few months!

3. Have your post-school schedule figured out. The kids are at school for most of the day, giving you more time to manage the household and take care of things on your never-ending to-do list. Great! But what happens when you reach 2pm dismissal? Arranging your afterschool care gives everyone in your family a sense of security and routine, which is helpful during any transitional period. If you plan on having the kids come home after classes end, look for some ways to keep them engaged (after they’ve finished homework assignments, of course). Check out these 101 after-school activities for kids.

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The Program Coordination Team

Role of PC

When intended parents (IPs) sign on with Circle, they are assigned a program coordination (PC) team, which consists of a program manager and program coordinator. The PC team provides IPs with information, offers assistance throughout each stage, and coordinates between relevant Circle departments and third-party agencies. The PC team also fosters open communication between intended parents and their surrogate and/or egg donor. The benefit of the team approach is being able to offer intended parents back-up and support at all times.

Information
Each journey is complex with several different parties involved. Program coordinators and managers remain in contact with intended parents, surrogates, donors, IVF clinics, insurance companies, etc. to gather and relay information to the necessary parties.

The program coordination team provides information and guidance about the next steps in a surrogacy arrangement and help intended parents navigate the various decision-making points of a journey.

Communication
The PC team provides information to intended parents, surrogates, and donors at key points throughout the surrogacy. If intended parents have questions or concerns about the events in their journey, they should feel free to direct them to the program coordinator or program manager, who may then answer their question(s) or refer intended parents to others who will be better suited to respond. If intended parents have specific requests for communicating with their program coordinator, they are encouraged to speak openly with their PC team to establish a communication plan.

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