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Motherhood through surrogacy is not ‘all smoke and mirrors’—an impression that sensational media coverage of celebrity diva-moms like Nicole Kidman or Sarah Jessica Parker might convey.

According to WA state surrogacy consultant, Sharon LaMothe—a gestational carrier twice over who gave birth a second time at 41—“surrogacy is not out of reach” for the average gal next door.

But, for women over 40, there may be an added ‘caveat emptor’ when choosing a fertility clinic.

LaMothe (http://lamothesurrogacyconsulting NULL.com/)—with more than a decade working in the infertility community, and serving as an advisor to organizations like Parents Via Egg Donation (PVED) (http://www NULL.parentsviaeggdonation NULL.org/v2/index NULL.html) and OBGYN.net Women’s Health Forum (http://forums NULL.obgyn NULL.net/womens-health/)—says “a lot can go wrong” with surrogacy agreements.

Women thinking about becoming a parent through a surrogate should “ask a lot of questions” and not “run into it blindly.”

“The old adage ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ is very true in the case of surrogacy arrangements,” says LaMothe, who says the majority of her female clients are over 40.

First, ‘commercial surrogacy’ is not legal in many states across the USA (including Washington) and the “intended parent” must have a medical reason for using a surrogate in states where it is.

“Age can be a big factor, but so is cancer, hysterectomy, and diseases like diabetes, and single women or same-sex couples.”

LaMothe, whose work involves educating and assisting intended parents and their surrogates, knows the “do’s and don’ts” on their path to parenthood.

While “the list is a mile long,” there are some key issues not to play around with.

“Do not download sample surrogacy contracts from the internet,” she warns.

LaMothe urges that both the intended parent and the surrogate are better off hiring an attorney experienced in reproductive law.

“Make sure that all parties attend at least one session with a mental health service provider who is experienced in surrogacy evaluations,” she continues.

And to avoid the risk of things getting ugly over money, “use an escrow account for disbursements.”

When shopping for a fertility clinic, LaMothe advises her clients to look carefully at the clinic’s “take home baby” statistics, compared to their rate of successful pregnancies.

While conceiving is great; a failed pregnancy is a disappointment to everyone.

And this is where fertility clinic selection can get sticky for a woman of 40 or over—as in a recent FPM blog article—who wishes to conceive with her own eggs.

“Once you hit that magic 4-Oh, your eggs are not as viable as those of a younger woman,” says LaMothe.

“Some fertility clinics may discourage women over 40 from using their own eggs because they are concerned about their ‘take-home baby’ statistics,” she admits.

In these cases, says LaMothe, a woman of 40+ may have her “opportunity to .choose” her own eggs “taken away.”

There are other clinics who are more inclined to work women over 40 and it’s important to find a provider who is a good fit.

Once the surrogate is chosen, the pregnancy and birth can only take place in a state that allows surrogacy arrangements.

“Once the surrogate mother has passed stringent exams including a mental health evaluation,” says LaMothe, “she and the intended parents sign a legal agreement.”

The fertility clinic then places the surrogate and the intended mother or egg donor on a schedule that includes medicals, blood tests and ultrasounds.

The embryo transfer to the surrogate usually takes place about 3 to 5 days after the egg retrieval.

Two weeks after the transfer, the surrogate will have her blood drawn to see if she’s pregnant. Most contracts allow for up to 3 IVF attempts.

If an ultrasound taken 4-6 weeks after embryo transfer shows a baby’s heartbeat, the pregnancy is “confirmed.”

Approximately 10-12 weeks after the transfer, the surrogate mother is then released to the care of her OBGYN or midwife.

Of course, there are the common concerns of the expectant mother developing an attachment to the unborn baby.

LaMothe, who was a gestational carrier (meaning no biological relation to the child) twice says that she “did not have the same feelings” she had while carrying her own two children.

“Women who want to be surrogates,” she continues, “already have a family of their own.”

“There is compensation involved, but giving the gift of life via surrogacy is a very personal and life-changing experience.”

“Not everyone can be a surrogate,” she adds.

Given the virtual obstacle course of decision making, LaMothe’s advice is practical.

“Deciphering all of the surrogacy programs, laws and relationship concerns can be overwhelming.”

“Do your homework and, if you become overwhelmed, hire a consultant who can take away the stress of figuring out how the whole thing works.”

Notes for this blog:

Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com), a regular blog featuring news, commentary, real mom stories and expert advice about motherhood after 40.

Sharon LaMothe’s websites, blogs and services:

Infertility Answers, Inc.

http://infertilityanswers.org/ (http://infertilityanswers NULL.org/)

LaMothe Services, LLC

http://lamotheservices.com/ (http://lamotheservices NULL.com/)

LaMothe Surrogacy Consulting

http://lamothesurrogacyconsulting.com (http://lamothesurrogacyconsulting NULL.com/)

Sharon LaMothe’s 3 blogs:

The Business of A.R.T.

http://theagencyangle.blogspot.com (http://theagencyangle NULL.blogspot NULL.com/)

Surrogacy 101~Learn more about Third Party Family Building

http://surrogacy101.blogspot.com (http://surrogacy101 NULL.blogspot NULL.com/)

http://infertilityanswers.typepad.com/surrogacy (http://infertilityanswers NULL.typepad NULL.com/surrogacy)

Share (https://www NULL.addtoany NULL.com/share)

7 Responses to Surrogacy Shopping After 40

  1. Tweets that mention Surrogacy Shopping After 40 – Flower Power Mom -- Topsy.com (http://topsy NULL.com/flowerpowermom NULL.com/surrogacy-after-40/?utm_source=pingback&utm_campaign=L2) says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Flower Power Mom and Flower Power Mom, Flower Power Mom. Flower Power Mom said: Surrogacy Shopping After 40. Motherhood via surrogacy is not just for celebs like Nicole Kidman. But caveat emptor! http://bit.ly/fjukox (http://bit NULL.ly/fjukox) […]

  2. Lisa Williams says:

    Oh honey, I was told 35 was the magic cut off, that at the age of 35 a woman’s fertility drops precipitously. I had 3 fetal demises (always at the end of the first trimester) all naturally conceived pgs and spent much money on many failed fertility attempts. Even suffered two of the fetal demises (naturally conceived pgs) while in the care of a highly regarded RE (fertility Dr.) and was told such losses are always due to chromosomal problems, babies not “meant to be.” At the advice of a therapist whose help I sought to deal with the grief I got immunological tests run by a reputable lab (West Coast Labs) and came up positive for elevated NK count (natural killer cells) and positive for APA (antiphospolipid antibodies) So with the final IVF pg I injected lovenox, a blood thinner, and in the first trimester took oral prednizone (very low dose.) Being pregnant was one of the happiest times of my life. I talked to our daughter every day and rejoiced at each good ultrasound. Two days after ceasing the lovenox injections,(one week before the scheduled c section)I came down with HELLP syndrome, an extreme form of eclampsia that gave me a stroke and put me in a 3 week long coma. When I came to I did not recall having been pregnant or even know the baby was mine. My husband says I would gaze at her and comment wistfully, “She’s beautiful! Can we keep her?” Only the pregnancy journal I had made with ultrasound photos, etc. clued me in and I wept all over again, reliving the losses and the torturous journey that had brought her to us. I am not allowed to carry again since HELLP has a high incidence of repeat but if we do eventually want a sibling (we have frozen embies) I would need to hire a surrogate. However, I would only move forward after getting her tested for the APA herself. And I would only use a reputable US based agency (not one exploiting poor women in a 3rd world country.)

  3. Lisa Williams says:

    The other astonishing details: my daughter (baby) did not hear my voice until she was two months old because at first I was in a coma and then on a respirator with no speaking valve, but when she finally did hear my voice she knew I was “mommy,” turning and looking to find me no matter how far away from her in the room I was. My husband says everyone could see this and was amazed. The prenatal bond really is that strong. I’m just so glad that I talked to her each day as soon as I felt her movements.

  4. Lisa Williams says:

    And: before my daughter’s birth by c-section my husband and I each had powerful dreams (nightmares actually) that foretold the disaster about to fall us: I dreamed I woke up from the scheduled C-section with a giant hole in my belly but no baby, staggered out to the nursing station, gasping, “Where’s my baby, Where’s my baby?” and they looked thru me as if I were a ghost. On the same night he dreamed that unknown to him I had died months earlier and he’d really been living with my doppleganger or body double. For some reason keeping my corpse around was important so he kept my rotting body out in the garage. I kept a journal in which I recorded these dreams and only found it after I was allowed to return home from the rehab house to live (an awful place since it kept me from my husband and my daughter.)

  5. Lisa Williams says:

    Other interesting details:

    On the night HELLP hit my husband asked me if I wanted us to go to Tarzana hospital to deliver but he says I told him, “No, take me to Saint John’s” (in Santa Monica) so he did. It was a decision that saved my life though ordinarily St. John’s (a small community hospital) is where you go for an uncomplicated delivery. There just happened to be a brilliant neurosurgeon in ICU when I had my stroke and an operating room open. That surgery and that surgeon saved my life. I was later moved to UCLA and to Barlowe Respiratory and to Northridge Hospitals. I think that Northridge is the first hospital I am able to remember…

  6. shelly dilger (http://flowerpowermoms NULL.com) says:

    I am a 43 yr old woman with 4 children of my own.I have Always wanted to be a serogate. I have always wanted to give the Gift of Life to a good couple. My only regret is waiting so long. With age comes wisdom, and commitment. No scams, No mind changing etc…. I simply want to give back. You can reach me @ ‌shellydilger@‍yahoo.com (sh‌ellydilger null@null ‍yahoo NULL.com)

  7. Louise says:

    We are waiting the results of our third IUI, but want to move on to IVF, surrogacy, any way to fill the longing in our hearts to have a child and complete our family. We found each other in our early forties and new instantaneously that we were meant to spend the rest of our lives together. Are there any moms out there who conceived naturally at forty-five? I still have good mature follicles and we have no male fertility issues. I’d appreciate anyone in sharing their story of hope … Thank you.

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