Aliso Viejo, CA (PRWEB) December 28, 2009
Children – they’re everywhere, especially during the holidays. A chubby baby surrounded by a circle of admirers is a key visual icon of the season. For couples and individuals who long to conceive but cannot, such constant cues during the holidays can serve as painful reminders of their thwarted desire for a child. With recent advancements, most infertility cases -- 85 to 90 percent -- are treated with conventional medical therapies or surgery, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. However, for those for whom fertility treatments are not an option, gestational surrogacy – an arrangement whereby a woman agrees to become pregnant for the purpose of giving birth to a child for others (intended parents) to raise – is a bold route. Each year in the U.S., an estimated 750 babies are born through gestational surrogacy, a Dec. 12 article in the New York Times stated. For those determined to have children of their own, 2010 could be the year that their resolution becomes reality through the aid of a reputable surrogacy agency.
Gestational surrogates are extraordinary women who carry an intended parents’ baby to term and give birth. Embryos produced by the intended parents, with eggs from the intended mother or with the assistance of an egg donor, are implanted in the surrogate. The embryo is produced through the process known as in vitro fertilization (IVF). This process ensures the baby has no genetic relationship to the surrogate.
Although not suited to every mindset or budget, gestational surrogacy can deliver longed-for children and, sometimes, unexpected new relationships. The intended family and the gestational surrogate often remain in touch after the long, emotional journey they took together to create a new life.
Who are gestational surrogates?
At West Coast Surrogacy, Inc. (WCS), a Southern California agency, carriers are required to have already given birth to children they are raising. They are required to undergo rigorous physical and mental health screening prior to being accepted as a WCS gestational carrier.
“The typical profile of a carrier is a deeply compassionate woman who feels a calling to help others create the families they desire,” said West Coast Surrogacy director and founder Amy Kaplan. Kaplan herself fits this description. A respected authority on surrogacy ethics guidelines and reproductive technology issues, she worked in the reproductive technology field for 16 years before she carried and delivered healthy twins for a couple in 2006. The experience was so profound, she and husband Jon Kaplan founded their agency to make parenthood more accessible to those wishing to explore surrogacy.
WCS surrogate Laura Davis of Long Beach, California, successfully delivered healthy twins for a couple in Santa Barbara. Although her own family was complete, Davis, a mother of two, enjoyed being pregnant and, at 33, did not wish for that experience to be over. Davis underwent extensive background checks and physical and psychological testing to carry a baby for intended parents.
“I see this as a miraculous way to help people that few others can,” noted Davis. “I am an able-bodied person. I was excited to help this couple become a family."
Her husband was “completely on board” with her surrogate pregnancy, and her children, ages 3 and 4, were excited that their mother was “helping another lady have a baby because she couldn’t.” The twins she carried, a boy and a girl, were born Sept. 1, 2009. Although fulfilling, Davis said, she was eager to get back to focusing on her own family after giving birth.
Tom and Kimberly’s Story
After years of trying to start a family, Tom and Kimberly (not their real names) turned to West Coast Surrogacy, Inc. to produce the babies they craved.
“We'd experienced more than our fair share of fertility treatments and procedures,” the couple wrote of their experience. “There were surgeries, delays, medications, more surgeries, diets, invasive procedures, IUIs, IVFs, frozen transfers, pregnancies.”
An initial pregnancy resulted in the loss, at 22 weeks, of twins Kimberly was carrying. A subsequent pregnancy, though difficult, produced twins, a boy and a girl. The complications associated with the birth meant the couple could not have more children. Their desire for another child to complete their family brought them to WCS.
“We met with Amy Kaplan of West Coast Surrogacy to discuss our options. We felt very comfortable with Amy,” Tom noted. “She was extremely knowledgeable about the process, having worked in the field and having been a surrogate herself. We felt it gave her a unique perspective when interviewing potential surrogates and intended parents. She paired us with a wonderful surrogate and managed the entire process, from matching to legal to IVF procedures, and ultimately, to a successful result.”
The couple’s surrogate delivered a pair of twin boys in February 2009. “Throughout it all, Amy provided support, was an outlet when needed, bridged communication gaps, and so much more,” wrote Kimberly. “She attended to all the details and presented them simply and readily so we could focus on the pregnancy and our relationship with the surrogate. The personal and undivided attention really helped our journey. It was a wonderful experience.”
Amy Kaplan stated, “Because our process is so discerning and tailored to each individual’s needs, and our team of experts so thorough, we are confident in our ability to see the gestational surrogacy process through to a successful end in each and every instance.”
West Coast Surrogacy, Inc.
Surrogacy is a complex, sensitive process that requires the aid of experts. West Coast Surrogacy is an all-inclusive Southern California agency offering personalized, one-on-one support. Working with couples and gestational carriers worldwide, WCS uses a team approach that encompasses the highest levels of integrity, support, and compassion. WCS finds intended parents a qualified and compassionate surrogate, assists clients through the complex legal, medical, financial and psychological elements, and provides personalized, round-the-clock support and counseling.
Founder and director Amy Kaplan helms a team that guides clients and surrogates through every step of this life-changing process, acting as both a resource for information and an unparalleled support system. Kaplan has spent her career in reproductive technology; she is a trained birth doula, and was herself a gestational carrier. She attends all West Coast Surrogacy births and follows up for weeks afterward to ensure that all parties are satisfied with their experience.
West Coast Surrogacy has strict regulations in place to screen surrogate candidates as well as parents in need of surrogates. Legal contracts are required of all parties at the outset of the process. Although WCS itself does not provide legal or medical services, it refers clients and carriers to reliable, experienced entities well versed in assisted reproduction and surrogacy issues. For more information, contact Amy Kaplan at 949-362-8200 or visit http://www.westcoastsurrogacy.com.