What is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)?

PGD testing For many parents pursuing surrogacy and/or egg donation as a family-building method, the term PGD may come up. This reproductive technology is used with an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle and can be used to diagnose genetic disease in early embryos prior to the implantation in your surrogate mother. You may have also heard of the term preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), which doesn’t look for specific diseases, but uses PGD techniques to identify at-risk embryos. Here we take a look at how the test works to help you determine if it’s right for you.

How does it work?
PGD begins with IVF that includes egg retrieval and fertilization in a lab. Over the next three days, the embryo will divide into eight cells. Then one or two cells are removed from the embryo. The cells are then evaluated to determine if the inheritance of a problematic gene is present in the embryo. Once the procedure has been performed and embryos free of genetic problems have been identified, the embryo is implanted in the surrogate’s uterus in hopes of a successful pregnancy.

What are the benefits of PGD?
The reason intended parents (IPs) opt for PGD is because it can test for more than 100 different genetic conditions. Since the procedure happens before implantation, it allows IPs to decide if they wish to continue with the surrogate’s pregnancy. It’s important to keep in mind, however, it doesn’t completely eliminate the risk of conceiving a child with a genetic disorder.

If you’re interested in learning more about PGD testing, talk to your IVF doctor. And if you’re part of the Circle program, your program coordination team can connect you to the right people.

photo credit: thehermosas.com


What Marriage Equality Will Mean for Surrogacy

Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in what will likely be the most important marriage equality case in U.S. history.

marriage-equality-surrogacy It is especially exciting for my husband Cliff and me, and for all of us at Circle, as longtime supporters of the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). We’re thrilled to see the organization that helped make our home state of Massachusetts the first in the nation to recognize same-sex marriage continue to lead the charge for marriage equality nationwide. If anyone can do this, it’s Mary Bonauto and the GLAD team.

In my mind, the core to the Court’s last same-sex marriage decision in United States v. Windsor was its belief that it means something to children to have their parents’ relationships recognized. In that opinion, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court stated:

“The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.” 570 U. S. ____ (2013) (Docket No. 12-307)

From my own personal experience, I can say that it was tremendously important to my kids that my husband and I were married. It means something to a child to be the result of a recognized, committed relationship.

When you’re married, you gain the support of the community – you have a set of laws that protect your relationship and that encourage you to remain connected to each other. Society supports that law, and with that comes a feeling of security, which means people feel more comfortable about venturing out and having children. For many people, they gain confidence about having a family when they have an established, recognized relationship.

At the moment, surrogacy is possible in 90% of states, but the problem is that it is only truly possible for heterosexual couples to pursue surrogacy unencumbered in those states. Gay couples will find that states like Texas continue to refuse to name same-sex couples on birth certificates. They will find that they need to complete additional legal work in their home states in order to secure their parental rights – just because they are same-sex couples. A nationwide marriage equality ruling would change that.

We’ve seen positive changes happen already in Virginia, Utah, Florida, and North Carolina. States where same-sex marriage has recently become legal, with surrogacy statutes that require that intended parents be married (originally drafted with this language as a way to prevent gay couples from having children through surrogacy in their states) are now treating same-sex couples the same way as heterosexual couples – granting pre-birth orders, parentage actions, and amending birth certificates. A positive Supreme Court decision would remove the remaining obstacles to same-sex couples who continue to face discrimination when it comes to surrogacy policy in a number of states.

Nationwide marriage equality is not just an advance for same-sex couples and their children. It represents a step in the direction of a society that recognizes that families come in many shapes and sizes. That means a family formed through surrogacy or egg donation deserves just as much protection as any other family.

6 Tips to Help Prepare for a C-section Delivery

Samantha oliveAs a mother of two and gestational carrier for a singleton, I have experienced one vaginal birth and two C-section deliveries. While each delivery was part of a unique and special journey, the end result of each experience was a healthy, beautiful baby. For each of the deliveries, the goal was the safety and well-being of the baby and me. As I reflect on these two birthing experiences, I believe that preparing for a C-section delivery is important. To that end, there are some essential steps to include in the preparation process.

1. Talk with your provider/doctor about the expectations of a C-section delivery. Ask questions about the process, the medications used, and the timeline for recovery. Write down a list of questions and concerns about having a C-section delivery so the provider can give you factual information about the entire process. In my case, the C-section was one of the safest and lower risk options for birth.

2. Talk with your support system about the expectations of a C-section delivery. Once you obtain information from your provider, you can share this information with your support system and answer any questions. I made sure to discuss the process with my children. I wanted them to be prepared and I did not want them to be scared that Mommy was in the hospital for a couple of days after the delivery. My spouse and I planned on how to speak to the children about the C-section process and recovery to make everyone comfortable and at ease.

3. Make a logistical plan ahead of time to plan for the delivery. Discuss any childcare arrangements, work arrangements, pet care considerations, and other logistical considerations to plan for 2-3 days away from home. Create and share this plan with your support system to ensure that everyone is on the same page for the upcoming delivery.

4. Talk with the intended parents (IPs) about the expectations of the delivery. Will they be in the operating room? If not, what is the plan for post-delivery? This is a personal decision between you and the IPs. For us, we felt most comfortable with my husband in the operating room. Then we made a plan for the IPs to meet in the recovery room after the birth, so everyone could meet the baby and celebrate.

5. In addition to the planning for the actual delivery, it was also important to plan for the days post-birth. As a C-section is a major surgery, there are considerations related to recovery. Most important, prepare to have a longer recovery time, which means the possibility of not driving or performing other duties while on prescription pain medicine. I did not drive for at least three days after returning home. So I did need to prepare for this period of time in terms of household tasks (i.e., grocery shopping, driving kids to school or daycare, etc.). This recovery time will be unique to each person and should be discussed with your provider.

6. Be prepared to take it slow and rest. Carve out that time for yourself and your family to ensure a safe and healthy recovery. Most of us mothers have a tendency to want to jump right back into the flow of life-keep in mind your body needs ample time to recover.

If you have more questions on how to prepare for your C-section delivery, always ask your doctor. He or she is there with the information needed to help you feel at ease during this amazing time!

surrogate mother pay

U.S. Surrogacy Consultations for Domestic Intended Parents

Circle Surrogacy is traveling to the Eastern seaboard this spring. We are holding in-person private U.S. surrogacy consultations for prospective parents interested in learning about surrogacy in the United States.

Check out our upcoming travel agenda:

  • Denver, Colorado: Private chats with an experienced parent, as well as private surrogacy consultations on April 23-25, 2015. If you’re interested in meeting with us in Denver, please click here to register.
  • Boston, Massachusetts: Private surrogacy consultations on Saturday, May 2, 2015, as well as an information session on Friday, May 1st from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at our Boston office. If you’re interested in meeting with us in Boston, please click here to register.

Circle at CancerCon!!!

OMG 2014On April 24-26, 2015, hundreds of young adult cancer survivors, caregivers, and advocates will arrive in Denver to participate in Stupid Cancer’s CancerCon. The largest three-day event of its kind allows those affected by cancer, and their supporters, to come together with a common goal: to “empower those affected by young adult cancer by building community, improving quality of life, providing meaningful survivorship.”

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U.S. Surrogacy Consultations for European Intended Parents

Circle Surrogacy will be traveling throughout Europe this upcoming April and May. We will be holding in-person private U.S. surrogacy consultations, and offering information sessions for prospective parents interested in learning about surrogacy in the United States.

Check out our upcoming travel agenda:

Flag_of_Denmark.svgCopenhagen, Denmark: Private consultations on April 17-19, 2015, as well as an information session on Saturday, April 18th from 1830 to 2030.  If you’re interested in meeting with us in Copenhagen, please click here to register.


United_Kingdom_FlagLondon, England: Private surrogacy consultations on April 24-26, 2015, as well as an information session on Saturday, April 25th from 1830 to 2030. If you’re interested in meeting with us in London, please click here to register.


Netherlands Amsterdam, Netherlands: Private surrogacy consultations April 27-28, 2015, in Amsterdam. If you’re interested in meeting with us, please click here to register.



Flag_of_GermanyFrankfurt, Germany: Private surrogacy consultations May 15-17, 2015, as well as an information session on Saturday, May 16th from 1830 to 2030.  If you’re interested in meeting with us in Frankfurt, please click here to register.


What is the difference between a private consultation and the information session? Our consultations are geared at those who have done their research and are ready to start their surrogacy journey within the next 12-18 months. Circle’s U.S. surrogacy consultations are more focused on the individual’s or couple’s needs and questions, whereas the information session covers a broader range of topics— they are designed for those in the early stages of discovery (gathering information). At the end there will be time dedicated to a question and answer session.

I would like to have a consultation, but I’m not available on these dates. Is there another way of meeting with your team? Yes, of course!  We’re always available for private consultations via Skype or at our Boston office. Please click here to request one today!

For a full listings of our travel schedule, please visit our events page located on our website.