Surrogacy 101

What You Need to Know About This Growing Reproduction Option

Whether you are interested in hiring a surrogate or becoming one, this opportunity to help families grow is increasing in popularity across the United States. At the most basic definition, surrogacy is when a woman carries and delivers a baby for another couple. However, that really is an oversimplification of multiple vast and rewarding reproductive options.

If you are on this page it means you have been drawn to surrogacy for one reason or another. Maybe you and your partner have struggled to conceive by traditional means but want to experience the pregnancy journey and have a biological baby. Perhaps you are on the other end and want to help another couple grow and build a loving family. Either way you have questions, and we’re here to provide you with some basic answers.

What is surrogacy?

Surrogacy, a type of reproduction option rapidly growing in the United States, helps intended parents start or add to their families. The rates of surrogacy have skyrocketed in the last few decades, increasing by 89 percent from 2004 to 2008. A surrogate mother is implanted with a fertilized embryo and then carries and delivers a baby for the intended parents. The surrogate waives all legal rights for the baby and has no legal claim as a parent.

Is the baby biologically mine or the surrogate’s?

For many heterosexual couples, the egg from a female parent and the sperm from the male parent are fertilized in a lab and then implanted in a surrogate mother who carries and delivers the baby. In this situation, the baby is 100 percent biologically the intended parents. If the carrier is a gestational surrogate, then her egg is the one used and therefore she is the biological mother of the child. For singles or same-sex couples, an egg or sperm donor will be needed in order to fertilize the embryo. It’s uncommon for the surrogate to provide the egg. In some cases, for both heterosexual and same-sex parents, egg donors and sperm donors may be needed in addition to the surrogate.

What is an egg donor and how do I become one?

Donating eggs for surrogacy can help make a dream come true for many intended parents. An egg donation is a way for intended parents to have assistance in how they build their family, and for an egg donor to help families grow while being financially compensated. There are many different kinds of egg donation situations, such as known (where the donor and intended parents interact with each other), semi-known (where some information is shared through a third party) and anonymous (where the intended parents and egg donor have no knowledge of each other). To become an egg donor, you must meet certain requirements for age, weight, education, family health history and more.

What kinds of interactions will I have with my family’s surrogate?

Working with a surrogate mother is a process that starts before conception and, in some cases, can extend beyond a baby’s birth. Many parents and surrogates develop a bond and deep friendships during the surrogacy process, often choosing to stay in each other’s lives. Others, while grateful for the experience, prefer to move on. When intended parents work with a gestational surrogate, one who is biologically related to the child, they often want to maintain a relationship for the emotional and physical well-being of their child. However, as the intended parent, you have the legal right to your child and the ability to decide what kind of relationship to have with the surrogate before, during and after the pregnancy.

Different surrogacy agencies will offer various packages catered to the kind of experience you want, from very basic interactions to a concierge experience. Your desires and goals, along with your budget, can help inform the kind of relationship you and your family have with the surrogate.

Surrogacy is a beneficial experience for everyone involved, from intended parents and surrogates to egg and sperm donors. Understanding what you can expect from the experience is instrumental in making sure everyone feel respected and elated for the journey ahead.

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Nurse Family Partnership – RGV

Expecting, new moms get support from Nurse Family Partnership :

When a woman is pregnant for the first time, she has dozens of questions and just as many opinions from friends and family. How can she learn to make the best choices for her and her baby? To help pregnant Valley women and new mothers through those unfamiliar times, the Nurse-Family Partnership pairs a first-time mother with her very own, personal nurse to guide her through pregnancy and give her expert health advice.

 

The national program launched in the Valley in 2012 and is offered for FREE by DHR Health Women’s Hospital. There is no waiting list at this time, and friendly nurses just like Gabby Calzada are ready to help expecting moms of all ages be the best moms they can be.

 

Vanessa Bocanegra was a high school senior and 24 weeks pregnant when she learned about Nurse-Family Partnership. Although she was nervous to meet Gabby, Vanessa was quickly put at ease and glad she made the decision to join the program.

Vanessa.Bocanegra

 

Gabby met with Vanessa every other week throughout her pregnancy. Vanessa’s son Damian is now 14 months old and doing well, and Vanessa credits her nurse with making her feel proud to be a mom and fall even more in love with her son. Vanessa is confident in her parenting skills, because she knows how to listen for or notice exactly what Damian needs. Gabby has also given her important parenting support and answers at the times when she needed them the most.

 

There is not a waiting list for the Valley’s Nurse-Family Partnership program.

 

Pregnant women in Hidalgo County who are eligible for these free services can enroll immediately. Once enrolled, a first-time mother is connected with a personal nurse who can answer her questions about what to expect during her pregnancy, childbirth and taking care of her baby. To find out more, pregnant moms can visit txnfp.org

Helping First-Time Parents Succeed – Nurse-Family Partnership

txnfp.org

With your very own free Nurse­-Family Partnership personal nurse, you will get the support, advice and information you need during your pregnancy and when your baby arrives.

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Acts of Random Kindness

Journey of Love:

I pride myself on being the type of parent that provides the world with something powerful, something that moves this world. We see so many things that are wrong with the world and unwillingly we expose our children to these wrongs. I choose to show my children that yes, these wrongs do exists but it the positive impact that you make of these wrongs that build your character, and to me… that’s power. My journey with my kids is that of compassion, strength, love, to be strong and always make a difference. I believe we have a choice to love one another and love is so important. It’s the good we have left in this chaotic world. Without further delay I’m going to introduce to you my children. My firstborn is ten his name is Jordan. What can I say about Jordan, he’s a fighter and generous and he always stands up for others. My son always stands up for the disabled which I admire very much. My daughter is brilliant and quirky. Miss Victoria is 7 and very independent. She has a million questions and sees this world so differently and so beautifully. My kids are my world and I want them to be amazing. This month our random act was giving less fortunate kids clothes for school.

 

Donate Computer Key In Blue Showing Charity And Fundraising

 

I volunteer with a special group that helps very desperate cases and I try every week to contribute my time and efforts towards this cause. This week I went through my closet and removed quite a bit of clothes and shoes I no longer needed. to my surprise, my very observant son did the same… I let him continue because I wanted to see the end results of his act. Before I knew it, he had a huge bag of clothes he no longer needed as well as shoes. He didn’t ask questions as neither did I. I waited patiently to see what else he would do. This is where it began. His journey. He came up to me and asked me when my friend would be picking up the stuff so he would help her load up. I said sometime later on tonight, she’s very busy helping tons of people out. We were sending out a shipment to Reynosa which is a very violent area in Mexico. My son later on told me that at church he helped kids in Africa by making them shoes out of blue jeans. I was in shock because he didn’t beach or boast. See these random acts have become rather regular for us. At that moment I realized that I was teaching him something so important, so beautiful. I sat there and as he was telling me how he lived helping and how it was so important to him, I saw such excitement in his voice. He looked at me and said thanks mom. I then asked for what he said nothing just thanks. We both understood why. It was a moment where we didn’t need words. We just knew. My friend arrived and he helped load up, told her thank you and left it at that. That night, I was a very proud mama. You have to be real with your kids but you also have to show them to give and give. Love will set you free and is just so beautiful to help the less fortunate. Our journey had just begun. Each month we will be doing a random act of kindness. I will be documenting each moment. I hope to inspire you to do the same. A small light can ignite a whole room imagine what more can be done if we all did just a little more.

 

Mom Squad Member,

Crystal

www.tots-tweens.com

By: Crystal
Mom Squad Member

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JBF McAllen Sale April 10th-11th!

JBF ( Just Between Friends) Sale is BACK! Mark those calendars for April 10-11, 2015 at the Nomad Shrine Club 1044 W. Nolana, Pharr TX.  Go shop or sign up to SELL! As parents we always have clothes, toys, books and more to get rid of.  Spring is just days away and that means time for Spring Cleaning.  This year instead of giving your stuff away try to SELL it and make some $$$.  Many have asked what can be sold and how does it work!  Here is some info we got from the JFB website to get you ready to sell.

What to sell??

 “Seasonally appropriate infants’, children’s and maternity clothing will be accepted . Please inspect your items carefully as they will also be inspected at drop off. To continue to offer an industry-leading sales event, only the highest quality merchandise is accepted. Clothes that are soiled, stained or with holes, will not be accepted”.

More Items Accepted:

  • children’s clothing
  • children’s books
  • family DVDs
  • carseats
  • highchairs
  • accessories
  • bedding sets
  • sports gear for children
  • dressy outfits
  • costumes
  • toys toys toys
  • outdoor play items
  • DS and DSi games
  • ride-on toys
  • dolls and action figures
  • coats and jackets for kids
  • ride-on toys
  • swings
  • joggers
  • electronic toys
  • strollers
  • Raincoats & rain boots
  • portable play mats
  • nursery decor
  • children’s shoes
  • baby carriers
  • diaper bags
  • onesies
  • nursing supplies
  • changing tables & so much more!

Make sure items are clean and not smelly!

 

Here is 5  Step process to sign up and sell!

Here is a quick overview of the consigning process with Just Between Friends.

1. Create a JBF Account to get a Consignor Number. Visit www.mcallen.jbfsale.com

2. Register with McAllen sales event.

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3. Prepare your merchandise, tag it and then bring it to the sale.

(Follow the instructions to enter your tag information and double-check to make sure all the information appears the way you want it to appear. Tags must be printed on white card stock or else the barcode scanner cannot pick up the information and your tags will not work properly. You can find white cardstock at local office supply stores or order online. Tags print 4 to 6 per page, depending on the information entered.)

When pricing your items JBF ( Just Between Friends) recommends pricing the items at 1/4 to 1/2 of the original cost! Boutique and brand names in style may be priced higher.

 
4. After the sale, you pick up any unsold items you do not wish to donate.
5. About 2 weeks later, you receive your consignor check in the mail!

 

We hope this information helps get you set up with JBF!

 

Shoppers don’t forget you can get some AMAZING deals at show!  Toys, highchairs, cribs, infant clothes, children’s clothes and yes even Maternity Clothes.  Make sure to use the JBF ad in Tots-Tweens to get FREE admission or click on the link for  Free Admission AD

April 10-11, 2015 Schedule!

Friday, April 10th
8am – 6:00pm Open to the Public! $2 admission  (admission proceeds benefit our charity partner) Children, strollers, and wagons ARE allowed on this day.

Saturday, April 11th
50% Off Day – Open to the public~Free Admission!
8am – 2:00pm Items without a star are 50% off today only.

They  accept cash, MasterCard, Visa and Discover.

Attention First Time Moms, Mommies to be, Moms with a child under the age of 1 , Teachers and Military Wives : Sign up for an EXCLUSIVE PRIVATE SALE.  Register here by clicking here!

 

Happy Selling and Shopping! For more info visit www.mcallen.jbfsale.com

 

 

Thanks,

Lulu Hanke

Tots-Tweens.com

 

 

 

 

 

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Simple Wishes Nursing Bra

Simple Wishes Nursing Bra – The BEST  nursing bra I’ve ever had. Since I have had a lot of engorgement I needed to pump from the breast that was not being fed from.

02-Black-front Being able to do that hands free was so nice. I also had to pump frequently and hands free pumping allowed me to massage my breasts while I pumped to relieve the pain and the pressure that I felt. The material is also very soft and not binding at all!

 

Simple Wishes B3 - Nursing and PumpingReview by: Monica Black from Belly View Ultrasound in McAllen, TX.

For more information on Simple Wishes visit www.simplewishes.com!

Another GREAT product RGV Tots-Tweens found at the ABC Kids Expo!

 

 

 

 

 

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Nuzzle Hug my New BFF

NuzzleHUG large taupe D-H cup

Nuzzle Hug I love this product. I dealt with major engorgement issues so I used it both hot and cold. Being able to remove the individual breast pads helped too so I could have one in the freezer if I needed it. The size of each pad is really perfect too, I had engorgement up into my underarms and the pads gave great coverage.

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The warmth on my neck was also such a relief!  You forget how heavy a newborn can seem in those first few days of constant carrying.  Cuddled up on the sofa with a cold glass of water and the nuzzle hug warming my breasts and neck, best feeling of relief!  Overall it’s a great product!

Review by: Monica Black

BellyView 4d/3d Ultrasound

 

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Winner of the 2014  Preferred Choice and  Top Choice Award!!!

Nuzzle Hug is available at http://nuzzlemom.com/index.php/shop/. Pricing starts at 49.99.

Another great product we found at the ABC Kids Expo!

 

Lulu Hanke

www.tots-tweens.com

 

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Milkies Nipple Nurture Balm!!!

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Milkies Nipple Nurture Balm =  LIFESAVER!  I was skeptical because the consistency is different than traditional lanolin. It’s thinner so I wasn’t sure it would create a good barrier but it really does. It’s not sticky at all. I really feel the healing properties. Since I was very engorged I was constantly feeding then pumping then feeding then pumping. My nipples started to feel irritated but the product really helped soothe them and heel them.  I never dealt with any cracking or bleeding so I don’t know how effective it is with open sores (unless the product helped prevent that issue). It smells like olive oil which seemed odd at first, but I got used to it right away. Baby never once noticed it or had any aversion to it!

Monica Black
Belly View 4d/3d Ultrasound
 

Nipple Nurture Balm is $9.95 available at http://www.fairhavenhealth.com/nipple-balm.html.

Recommended Use: Apply to the entire nipple after each feeding.

• 1.5 oz in each container, generally a 1-month supply.

• Soothes, protects, and heals sore and cracked nipples.

• Made from organic ingredients, safe for both mother and baby. Does not need to be washed off before feedings.

• Lanolin-free with no harsh chemicals or additives.

• Recommended by lactation professionals

• Contains no animal products and is not tested on animals

• Alleviates breastfeeding discomfort so you can better connect with your baby

Lulu Hanke

www.tots-tweens.com

Enter to win 3 Milkies Products! Winner will receive Nipple Nuture Balm, Milkies Freeze and Milkies Milk -Saver!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Organizing BreastMilk

The Milkies Freeze is a “first in, first out” breast milk storage system that fits in your freezer. Simply collect your precious breast milk in any milk storage bag, and place the bag on the metal quick-freeze tray at the top of the Freeze.

 

 

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Milkies FREEZE Product Review-  The tray that lays on top of the storage compartment really sets this item apart from others!  Perfectly flat and frozen baggies every time. The tray is metal though, so the condensation that forms from a warm bag of milk on a cold metal tray can cause bags to stick. I just put a paper towel between the tray and bag. Great product if you go through your milk quickly. I recommend storing 3-4oz per bag to keep bags from getting stuck in the compartment and to keep them flat enough to store and remove easily. Easy way to stay organized.

Review by: Monica Black
BellyView 3d/4d Ultrasound
Mcallen, TX

 

What does Milkies Freeze Do:

  • Enclosed storage keeps milk storage bags protected from damage and prevents leaks
  • Efficient, space-saving design stores more milk in less space
  • First in, first out system ensures that oldest milk is used first
  • Can be used with any milk storage bag
  • Disassembles for easy cleaning
  • Stores up to 60 ounces of breast milk in any brand of milk storage bag
  • Metal “quick-freeze” tray facilitates rapid freezing
  • Prevents contamination of your precious breast milk

Milkies Freeze is $29.95 available at http://www.mymilkies.com or call 1-800-367-2837.  Winner of the Cribsie Awards!  Another Great product we found at the ABC Kids Expo!

 

 

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MOMin- Really Works!!

Mosquito and Bug Bite Relief SAFE for the whole Family!!

 

Here is another great product RGV Tots-Tweens found the ABC Kids Expo in Las Vegas:

Living in Texas we have a mosquito and bug problem. The bugs LOVE to suck our blood. While at the ABC KIDS Expo we found this product called MOMin Outdoor Shield, Herbal Insect Bite Relief, all Organic and USDA approved product line. The owners swore left and right it WORKS. So we took some samples and here are our findings.

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My mom took the samples to Brownsville, and if anyone knows the Rio Grande Valley, it is MOSQUITOVille after a rain. Being the green thumb that she is, she decided to garden one afternoon. After being bitten she came in and applied the MOMin Outdoor Shield, Herbal Insect Bite Relief.  In less than 20 minutes all the redness, itching and swelling went away. She called me right up and said “It WORKS”!

 

Before

Before

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After

After

 

The other sample stayed in San Antonio, Texas. My husband after mowing the grass had numerous bug bites on both ankles. First night the bites kept him up. The next day he stopped at the local pharmacy and bought some cooling spray. That evening I mentioned the MOMin Outdoor Shield, Herbal Insect Bite Relief, he tried it and had a good night sleep.  The next day he had a few bites lingering, reapplied the MOMin Outdoor Shield, Herbal Insect Bite Relief and all the bites were gone that day. The results were amazing. This product WORKS!

For more info visit and to order:  http://www.mysmilebaby.com/

 

Register below for your chance to win a OutdoorShield® Organic Herbal Outdoor Repellent! 100% NATURAL and GMO FREE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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KeepSakes with Traditions!

Ifamily KC and  Tots-Tweens  attended the  ABC Kids Expo  in Las Vegas for the 2nd time!  We attended one of the largest shows for juvenile products in one place. Over 1 million square feet for back to back products and it some was AWESOME! Here are 2 great keepsake books kids and parents will enjoy

Help your kiddos with their FEARS:

Kids will always be afraid of something and why not help them cope with their fears with The Magnificent Sprinkles! Winner of the 2014 Creative Child Magazine Product of the year award and 2014  Creative Child Magazine Media award! The Sprinkles NEA, CAZI, SAM and LACI are each blessed with a special power that helps children to be brave and strong. With a spin and a song, the Magnificent Sprinkles bring comfort and joy to you! Now Available on Amazon!

the-magnificent-sprinkles-keepsake-gift-set-and-hardbound-ch_MAGS-MSKBS8

For the Holiday Season:

A must for all families that LOVE tradition! Heartfelt Letters from Santa To You.  Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards! Take milk and cookies to the next level and get feedback from the kiddos! Take a peak on what the author’s has to say Letters From Santa.

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Awesome books to start a traditions and spend quality time with the kiddos! Stay Tuned for your chance to WIN one of these Keep Sakes!

Photos Credit: Heartfelt Letters From Santa To You, The Sprinkles

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