Surrogacy: Compensation

Surrogacy Compensation
One of the most talked about parts of surrogacy is compensation. I have seen quite a few heated conversations about the matter. However, it is an important part of the process, whether you're an altruistic surrogate or paid surrogate.

What your compensation is, is reimbursement for your time, energy, pain, suffering, etc. Sometimes it's all inclusive, but more often it does not include "extras" such as maternity clothes or post-partum recovery time.

Standard Compensation

In my personal opinion, the standard range for surrogacy compensation is between $20-35,000. Of course, I've seen drastically different numbers and this number is influenced by whether or not your insurance is surrogacy friendly and if you've successfully been a surrogate previously, among other factors.

Related Post: Getting Started with Surrogacy

Extras

The so-called "extras" part of compensation is widely varied in what it covers and how much. It is also separate from your regular compensation. Some things you might commonly see are monthly allowance, maternity clothes, c-section fee, multiples fee, etc.

Surrogacy Reimbursements

Here's a mock up of surrogacy fees and extras (not made by me). It's a fill in the blank PDF but also has an example page. This might be especially useful to independent surrogates.


Altruistic Surrogates

An altruistic surrogate volunteers herself and her womb without compensation. These surrogates typically still receive reimbursements for out of pocket costs. At the end of a surrogacy journey for an altruistic surrogate, the assumption is that her out of pocket cost is $0, but she's also not financially benefited from the surrogacy in any way.

Altruistic surrogates might receive gifts, but this isn't written into their contracts and the parents aren't obligated to do so.

Low Comp Surrogates

You might see the term "low comp" thrown around some while researching surrogacy, especially if you get involved in any chat communities. Surrogates usually consider themselves low comp if their compensation is less that $15,000. However, $15,000 is an imaginary bar I'm setting. It's not a standard, by any means, for low vs standard compensation. It just fits the trends I've seen.

Related Post: Becoming a Surrogate

Don't Stress

Choosing

As far as compensation goes, figuring out what's right for you may be difficult. If you plan to match independently (without an agency), you should definitely have this all figured out before seeking out intended parents. While everyone's "right" compensation (or lackthereof) is different, the amount that intended parents can afford greatly varies. Costs associated with surrogacy are high! Think upwards of $100,000 or more. If what you're expecting is high, you will be turned away by intended parents and so agencies.

As with all parts of surrogacy, do your research. Agencies often have a publicly posted fee/compensation page, such as this one by Circle Surrogates agency.

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Planning a Shared, Unisex Birthday

Shared, Unisex Birthday
Have I mentioned that two out of three of my children were born on the same day? There's exactly four years age difference and they're different genders. So, my middle and youngest share a May 2nd birthday.

I'm always pretty stumped when birthdays roll around (especially when it's two for one). What should I buy? Should we have a theme? Here I've shared some of the ideas I've either used or am considering using in the future!

IMAGE HERE

Silly (Not Scary) Monster Party

This is what I think we're doing this year! It's fun and quirky and pretty easy (most important) and affordable (second most important) to pull together! I found these silly monster balloons, monster head suckers, and some silly monster invites all for less than $20 total!

Cakes always stress me out but one time I thought cupcakes was a better idea. Wrong! Either way, there's really affordable monster cupcake toppers and monster cake toppers to finish off the theme.

Related Post: 20 DIY Baby Shower Gifts

Lego Party

We did a lego themed party last year. Actually, I spent most of the party budget on awesome cakes, so there wasn't a whole lot of other lego stuff. These lego gift bags would have been cool!

They also have cool, edible cake or cupcake toppers and lego party masks. So, I basically failed at our lego party last year. No one seemed to notice and here's picture of the kids' awesome cakes!
A photo posted by momingabout (@momingabout) on


Related Post: A Minecraft Birthday


Mad Scientist Party

Since my youngest is only turning two, I think we might save this idea for another year or two. However, I look forward to this fun theme. I'm just imagining the kids in these adorable safety glasses, examining the world with magnifying glasses.

No Theme

Seriously, you can skip the themes. Kids are totally okay with a cake you baked at home and simply celebrating their birthday with loved ones. They won't miss the themes much.

What's your favorite way to celebrate double birthdays?

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Surrogacy: Becoming a Surrogate

Become a Surrogate
Now that you've done some research, as directed in the last post, and have decided to move forward to become a surrogate (or are just curious to learn more about this process), we'll discuss how to get started.

Related Post: Surrogacy: Getting Started

Independent versus Agency

There are two different ways to become a surrogate. One way is to choose a surrogacy agency and they will match you with a couple.

Taking this route, the agency will have you fill out an application and typically do some pre-screening (psych/social work evaluations). Then they match you with a couple of similar values and interests; someone they think is a good "fit" for you and your expectations and vice versa.

When using an agency, the intended parents are paying a premium that is not present in independent matches. This is because agencies typically handle screening surrogates, matching surrogates and parents, assign legal reps, handle payments and reimbursements, etc. Basically, they do all the management and back end stuff...grunt work, if you will.

The alternative is to independently seek out an intended parent or parents and then match yourselves. This is more cost effective on the intended parents end, but requires more grunt work all around. Also, if there's any issues (payment, person disagreements, etc) then you have to work them out yourselves and/or involve your legal rep if it's very serious!

You'll see preferences on either side, so just do some more research on the pros and cons and decide which is best for you and then proceed from there!


Becoming a Surrogate

Evaluations and Screenings

While there's some variations, after you've signed up with and agency or matched independently, it's time for you to under the microscope while other people dissect your health and life. This was, honestly, my least favorite part. I was confident I'd pass all "tests" but I hated feeling like I was being tested and examined. Otherwise, it's a painless process that may include a social worker, psychologist, and other medical professionals.

You'll give your personal history, your medical history (including records), your blood, and a doctor will examine your uterus. Depending on the doctor, clinic, and/or agency other requirements, such as some evaluations of your significant other, may be required.

Sometimes part or all of this process happens while also matching with and getting to know the intended parents. Other times, some or all of this happens before you are matched.

Related Post: What is a surrogate mother?


Meeting the Parents

Of course, this list is not in order, because if you are going to be a independent surrogate (that is, without an agency), the matching process happens in the beginning stages. During or before the evaluations and screenings processes, you'll "meet up" with a couple or single person who wants you to carry for them.

Whether you have an agency you gives you a profile of intended parents or you find some yourself, it's basically like a blind date. If they're local, you'll be one of some lucky few who are able to meet their intended parents face to face and possibly have more frequent face to face contact with them.

I don't think that's as common as long distance surrogates and intended parents, though. In these cases, skype is a very common means of communication.

Once you found a couple or person who you feel comfortable with and want to carry for, you can move forward from wherever you are in your process. If you're with an agency, you usually privately communicate with them
after the first "meet" with the parents to let the agency know if it's a go or no go. The parents have the same opportunity to green or red light you.

Becoming a Surrogate Mother

Surrogacy Contracts (Legal Work)

Once your intended parents and you have chosen each other, the work can start on the legal contract (one of the most important parts of the journey). The legal contract will cover compensation and reimbursement, termination, travel, and more.

Read your contract verbatim when you get it and take notes to discuss with your legal rep.

This part sometimes makes people uncomfortable but it's important to make sure you're getting fair treatment and everything is in order for you. That's what your legal rep is for. The parents should have their own, separate rep, to keep their best interest in mind.

There may be some negotiating, but neither party should take it personally and eventually compromise and the signing of the contracts will lead to the next step!

Baby Time!

If all screenings are passed and you found the perfect person or couple to carry for and all legal work in finished; it's time to move on to the best part...the baby! Or babies, as the case may be!


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Surrogacy: Getting Started

Surrogacy: Getting Started
Wow! Has it been awhile! The blog is always on my mind, but life has surely been crazy lately. In January we transferred 2 embryos in my surrogacy journey, a new college semester started, and I was working on transferring positions at my out of the home job!

I wanted to share with you some answers to questions I frequently get about surrogacy. Today, I plan to focus on how to become a surrogate and where to start. This will cover some of what to do before you actually become a surrogate to be!


Gestational vs Traditional Surrogate

I posted about this before, but I'll quickly recap. A gestational surrogate carries an genetically unrelated baby or babies transferred via IVF, while a traditional surrogate donates her egg(s) as well as her womb. If you want to know more about this, please read the relate post below!

Related Post: What is a surrogate mother?

Basic Requirements and Info

Some requirements are pretty much universal, but things change and I'm not claiming to be an expert. These are just things to keep in mind that you'll most likely see among the requirements to become a surrogate.
  • Have had at least one successful pregnancy.
  • Be at least 21 years-old, though many agencies or doctors require 23 years of age.
  • Be financially stable and not on government assistance.
  • Pass a psyche, social work, and medical screening (this may include your significant other in part or whole, as well).

Before Surrogacy

State Laws & Other Legalities

In a few states, it's actually illegal be to a surrogate! You can check out more states laws regarding surrogacy at The Surrogacy Experience.

The legal part of surrogacy is one of the most important parts. Don't skimp. You will need a legal representative in your state that is different from the parent or parents' rep, so they can properly advocate for you. This is typically at the parents' expense.

Related Post: 6 Benefits of Babywearing

Research Surrogacy...Thoroughly

I touched on some important points in this post and made some recommendations, but before even thinking of seeking a person or couple to carry for; you need to spend a lot of time researching surrogacy.

Pregnancy and childbirth are arguably among the most intense and dangerous experiences a woman's body undergoes. Even with each woman's own traditional pregnancies, there are risks. Be aware of what's at stake not only for surrogates for for an intended parent of parents.

Related Outside Links:

Connecting with surrogates in various stages of their journeys is another great way to gain personal insight into the nature of surrogacy. One of the easiest ways to do this is to look up surrogacy groups on Facebook. There are some larger ones and usually different geographical areas have one, too! Do this after you've done some research.

Then if you're ready you can move onto the process of actually becoming a surrogate!

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5 Step Parenting Confessions

Truth About Step Parenting
Step parents come in as many variations as any other kind of parent. Some are good and some are bad. Just like all other forms of parenting and child rearing, step parenting is often highly misunderstood, under appreciated, and over stereotyped.

I have been a primary parental figure in my oldest child's life since he was around 18 months old. I wasn't officially his step mom for a few more years, but I have always taken a motherly role in his life.

I have always hated labeling myself as a step parent because I don't feel like it justly represents my role and all that I do. As we've all grown together as a family and issues have come and gone, I've thought of the realities of step parenting.

Step parenting is lonely.

My husband can't really understand. My closest friends cannot relate. The other step parents I know mostly play a secondary parenting role. In my experience, sometimes it is really lonely being a step parent. People can't really understand, unless they've been there.

Even if you know other step parents, they might not take on the same role in their step child's life that you do. Therefore, they can't understand your struggles or they're completely baffled by the issue(s) you face.

Related Post: Tips to Survive College as a Mom
Confessions of a Step Mom

People second guess you.

Even though I've been a step parent longer than I biological parent... And even though I loved my step child since before I had biological children... Well, sometimes people second guess my intent, my love, etc. when it comes to my step child and decisions I make or my actions. Now, I've been around for a while, so this isn't as common now. However, it still happens. It's still as aggravating as ever.


You second guess yourself.

Given my previous point and the judgement that can sometimes be passed after somebody perceives I've miss stepped, I have found myself second guessing myself. Or evaluating, after the fact, whether or not I gave the impression that all my children are loved fairly and equally. I know that love them all! But it's sometimes hard not to second guess your decisions when people seem to be so critically evaluating them.

Step Parenting Truths

You're extra hard on yourself.

With all the passed judgement and sometimes second guessing yourself, it's not too much of a stretch to believe that you're extra hard on yourself when you're a step parent. I have found myself beating myself up over minuscule meaningless things and really just making a big deal out of nothing because I want to be a perfect parent (whether it's step or bio parent, who cares?!).

Related Post: 20 Pieces of Terrible Parenting Advice

It's worth it!

This post isn't suppose to just be all Debbie Downer on step parenting! It really is a beautiful, wonderful privilege with it's own set of rewards! I am so grateful for all my children and really step parenting prepared me for the children I later conceived and has taught me so much I wouldn't have otherwise known. I'm blessed that my heart if fuller because I am blessed with more than just the children I created!

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