What an amazing miracle, and a gift of true love. This is a very sad but also very loving story, a woman’s best friend carried her baby due to her having cancer, and that baby was born 4 months after her mother died. Another example of the selfless, amazing gift that surrogacy is to a family.
DES MOINES, IA (KCCI/CNN) – Nate and Laura Yoho looked like a model couple – in more ways than one. But looks can be deceiving.
“I found out I had a brain tumor, so it’s very, very bad, very serious, I guess you could say,” said Laura Yoho, 30, in an interview a year and a half ago. “There’s only about 2 to 5 percent that you’re going to be OK.”
One year into a marriage, that was heavy, even for weightlifters.
“You’re in uncharted territory. You don’t know how to feel,” Nate Yoho said.
Even her friends since elementary couldn’t believe this was happening. How could it to the girl who preached healthy living through college?
“She would get up and make breakfast while I was still in bed,” Kara Stetson, Laura’s best friend, said.
Laura Yoho kept fighting, while Nate Yoho kept hoping.
“I don’t think I’ve been more nervous for anything in my life,” Nate Yoho said.
But within nine months, Laura Yoho’s fight was over.
“All of her family, everyone that loved her was there,” Nate Yoho said.
“I told everyone she was my soulmate,” Stetson said. “Best friend doesn’t begin to describe what we were.”
Even the best obituaries struggle to summarize a life. But Laura’s also contained a surprise. She is survived, it read, by her husband Nate and her daughter Caralyn, due to be born through surrogacy.
“She was such an amazing person. I think a piece of her deserves to live on,” Nate Yoho said.
It was a plan they’d shared with only their closest friends.
“I told her if you ever have trouble carrying a child, I’ve done it twice,” Stetson said. “I know I can do it again, and I’d be willing to do it for you.”
The young couple had no idea that during Laura’s last year, her best friend had already been setting the stage.
“She said, ‘I’ve been going to the doctor and preparing myself for the past year knowing that I was going to carry this baby,'” Nate Yoho said.
“I really meant that and we … decided right then that we were going to do it,” Stetson said.
Laura lived to see her baby’s first black and white ultrasound and found out she was a girl. She knew, if the baby shower days before her death was any indication, her weightlifter was going to have plenty of spotters on this one.
Baby Caralyn was born four months and two days after her mother died.
Since baby Caralyn’s been home from the hospital, her dad’s been getting a lot of help from her grandparents and from Laura’s friends, including some who’ve even supplied her with many months worth of breast milk.
Both Caralyn and her surrogate mom are doing great.
This week Great Britain again issued a caution for couples considering surrogacy in India. It can be a troubling place to begin a surrogacy, especially with all of the legal machinations that can result from not thoroughly researching your options. Many enter into surrogacy in India believing there will be no issues returning to their home country with the baby, and enter into arrangements without thoroughly researching the conditions of the Carrier Mothers. This can result in a baby trapped in India, and great expense spent in trying to figure things out after the case.
We are thoroughly versed in International Surrogacy, and recommend a free consultation before beginning any surrogacy program so that we can demonstrate the benefits of Surrogacy in the United states with a reputable, thoroughly experienced agency. We will be attending the Family and Parenting Alternative show in Great Britain in September, and we will be offering free consultations during the week we are there visiting. Please contact us to schedule a consultation now, as our spots are already filling up this fare in advance. We look forward to meeting many more British clients on our visit in September.
BRITONS TOLD TO RESEARCH BEFORE BEGINNING SURROGACY
The Foreign Office on Tuesday issued detailed guidance for Britons considering surrogacy in India and other popular destinations such as the United States, Ukraine and Georgia. It includes details of the mandatory requirements for surrogacy in India.
The Foreign Office said UK missions abroad were dealing with an increasing number of people seeking international surrogacy as an alternative route to parenthood. Surrogacy arrangements can be a “long and complex process”, it said.
The process for getting a child born from surrogate mother back to the UK can be complicated, can take several months to complete and may vary depending on whether the surrogate mother is married.
Daisy Organ, children’s policy advisor at the Foreign Office said: “Many couples are choosing to enter into surrogacy arrangements overseas to build and grow their family. The legal processes around international surrogacy are complicated and the procedure for getting passports and confirming nationality for the child can be complex and take a long time”.
We wholeheartedly agree with the writer of the post below, the new bill introduced in Kansas is a travesty for women everywhere. If you live in Kansas be sure to write to email your representative to try and out a stop to the government again telling us how and what we are allowed to do with our own bodies!
Proposed Ban on Surrogacy Is Just Another Assault on Women’s Rights
- by Mindy Townsend
- January 29, 2014
- 11:30 am
In case you thought red states couldn’t get their hands any deeper into women’s vaginas, think again.
You see, last week the Kansas legislature turned into a damn circus – if circuses included public sonograms, that is. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, state senator Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook introduced a bill that would ban surrogacy in the state and had two women get sonograms in front of her fellow legislators.
I literally have no idea what conservatives in Kansas want me to do. They’re really going out of their way to eliminate access to abortion, and now they don’t want me to get pregnant on purpose to make some other person or people happy? What is their deal?
On Monday the Public Health and Welfare Committee heard testimony, so now we do know what their deal actually is. And surprise! It’s control over a woman’s body.
The language that was used was strikingly similar to some of the language we often hear from anti-choice activists. Women are such delicate flowers that we can’t have them making decisions about what they do with their bodies.
“Surrogacy undermines the dignity of women, children and human reproduction,” said Jennifer Lahl, a pediatric nurse who is now president of the California-based Center for Bioethics and Culture. “Consider deeply what is at stake for the dignity of women and what is in truly the best interest of the children.”
You see? They’re just worried about women and children! It undermines their dignity. Never mind that treating someone with dignity means letting them make their own choices. Never mind that parents who have to go to such great effort to have a child will probably actually want that child. Everyone knows that if you say something enough times it automatically becomes true.
The bill had its detractors, too. Testimony was given by a couple called Andrew and Kelsey Marske. They brought their 6-week-old twins, who happened to be born via surrogate. Kelsey was born with only a partial uterus. An adoption attorney even testified, saying that there are, indeed, protections in place for women acting as surrogates.
Martin Bauer, a Wichita attorney who’s specialized in adoptions for 30 years, said Kansas law already protects women serving as surrogates from being exploited. He said adoption laws limit couples to reimbursing a birth mother for her expenses, and in the 1990s, the attorney general issued a legal opinion that the same restrictions apply to surrogacy.
Perhaps if this hearing were geared toward getting those protections in the Kansas statutes, it wouldn’t be a waste of taxpayer money. But it’s not about that. It’s just another way for conservatives to keep women from determining what they do with their lives and fertility. If it weren’t, then we’d see the use of a scalpel, not a wrecking ball. There are, apparently, only two ways to be properly pregnant: first, in the confines of marriage where it is 100 percent, all the time a happy occurrence, and if it’s not then you’re an evil person; or, second, as punishment for being a whore. And those people who desperately want a child of their own? Tough.
Since this is Kansas, a legislative hearing wouldn’t be complete without someone saying something completely off-the-wall bananas. In this case, it was Pilcher-Cook, the sponsor of this bill. She said that surrogacy is “creating a child that you know is purposely not going to have either a biological mother, biological father or both.”
Wow. A person with no biological mother or father. Either Pilcher-Cook is privy to some pretty cutting edge science, or she’s just spouting nonsense. I’m going with spouting nonsense.
Luckily, the Kansas GOP doesn’t seem to be in lockstep on this issue. The state senate president and vice president both came out against the measure. The senate president even said, “Criminalizing surrogate mothers is not a priority of this Legislature.”
Oooooooo government bureaucracy burn!
In the end, this is just another assault on the reproductive rights of the women of Kansas. It’s another opportunity for the state to insert itself into the private decisions of its citizens and interfere with their happiness. I can’t say I’m not surprised.
Those in the surrogacy world are no stranger to the debate on termination, and who is willing to terminate and for what conditions. Now, North Dakota makes the decision for Intended Parents, by saying that is is now illegal there to terminate for reasons of Downs syndrome or for gender. Should courts really be making these agonizing decisions on behalf of parents, who will do the actual raising of the children?
And how will they be able to enforce this law, if an abortion can still legally be obtained for other reasons? And interesting discussion to have about who should determine our reproductive rights and responsibilities.
Judge’s Ruling Makes North Dakota First to Ban Abortions Based on Down Syndrome
by Steven Ertelt | Bismarck, ND | LifeNews.com | 9/12/13 12:37 PM
A judge’s ruling dismissing part of an abortion center’s lawsuit against a North Dakota law that bans abortions on disabled unborn children on the basis that they are disabled makes the state the first to have such a ban in place.
With the governor’s signature on the ban earlier this year, North Dakota has become the first state to ban abortions based on genetic “defects” like Down Syndrome. When diagnosed before birth, such genetic abnormalities prompt couples to have abortions 90 percent of the time.
The measure would also ban abortion based on gender selection, an issue of increasing concern in the United States has people from nations like China and India migrate to the United States and bring their cultural preference for boys with them.
Now, a judge has dismissed the legal challenge to a portion of the law the state’s lone abortion business challenged in its lawsuit. IN an AP report, the abortion center claims that’s okay with it since it reportedly doesn’t do abortions for those reasons anyway. However, it provided no proof that it asks abortion clients if they are having an abortion because of a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome or another condition.
A federal judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit challenging a new North Dakota law that blocks abortions based on unwanted gender or a genetic defect, such as Down syndrome.
The state’s sole abortion clinic in Fargo, backed by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, filed the lawsuit in June. That suit also challenges another new measure that bans abortion when a fetal heartbeat is detected; it was temporarily blocked in July.
The measures are among four Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed into law this year with overwhelming support by the state’s Republican-led Legislature.
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland granted the Red River Women’s Clinic request to drop the gender and genetic defects part of the lawsuit on Monday. The clinic has said the ban doesn’t affect it because it doesn’t perform abortions for that reason.
Hovland dismissed that portion of the lawsuit without prejudice, meaning the clinic can revive a legal challenge later.
Janet Crepps, an attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that “it is not clear that the measure will have a direct impact on any women seeking abortion services at the Red River Women’s Clinic at this time.”
At the time the law was signed this year, Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest told LifeNews she was delighted Rep. Bette Grande championed the bill. The law is based on AUL-model legislation and also makes North Dakota the fifth state to ban the sexist practice of ending a child’s life based on its sex. But importantly, North Dakota becomes the first state to end the practice of destroying unborn life based on potential genetic abnormalities.
“A civil society does not discriminate against people – born and unborn – for their sex or for disability. We should be celebrating diversity, not destroying it,” she said. “Women in particular have been targeted for death in the womb, and we’ve also seen dramatic abortion rates for children with disabilities which put them at risk for extinction. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Rep. Bette Grande and the legislators in North Dakota have shown courageous humanity in passing this legislation.”
“North Dakota House Bill (HB) 1305, sponsored by Rep. Grande, serves essential public interests by prohibiting both sex-selection abortion and abortion for genetic abnormalities,” she continued. “Sex-selection abortion is gender-based violence generally targeted toward females. Likewise, abortion performed solely because of genetic abnormalities is discriminatory and devalues the lives of the disabled.”
Yoest said that, while federal and state laws protect women and the disabled from discrimination, the unborn are not similarly protected. HB 1305 cures this deficiency in the law and ensures protection for unborn children who are targeted for death solely because of their sex or genetic abnormalities. The other states that ban sex-selective abortions are Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.
Our neighbors to the north are misguided when it comes to surrogacy and have recently introduced a new bill into the legislature that would make paid surrogacy a crime. They worry that women are being “exploited” by people seeking them to carry their babies. How awful that once again politicians should decide that they know better than women do what is right for their bodies! Thankfully, one brave family is standing up to protest this hopelessly backwards and misguided law.
The case in Tarrant county that was recently decided by the courts brings Texas’s law protecting the life of an unborn into question. If you have not been following along with the case, a woman who was pregnant with a 21 week old fetus, who was brain dead, was just removed from life support following the lawsuit filed by her husband to let her die. Texas has a law on the books that was believed to keep a pregnant woman on life support in order to safely deliver her child after viability is reached. This case now throws a wrench into that supposition, because as it was decided in court, if the pregnant woman is in fact brain dead, then she cannot be required to remain on life support.
How this applies to surrogacy is if a surrogate were pregnant, but became brain dead, and her husband requested her removal from life support, it now appears that there would be little that the Intended Parents would be able to do to stop the court from issuing an order to comply to the hospital. This makes it even more important that the Surrogate and her husband sign Living wills and medical powers of attorney stating that they agree to remain on life support until the child or children she is carrying can be safely delivered. Simple Surrogacy assures that each surrogate has these estate planning documents signed and notarized and on file once they reach the second trimester. These documents will assure that the surrogate and the person she empowers to make medical decisions for her in case of incapacitation both agree to allow her to remain on life support until such time the baby is delivered. With this paperwork signed and executed, the Intended Parents can be confident that their baby would remain in the womb until it could be safely delivered. Simple Surrogacy has been executing these documents for years now, benefiting the Intended Parents with peace of mind, and allowing the Surrogate and her family the assurance that their wishes are known and respected. These documents are another way that Simple Surrogacy, as your Surrogacy Agency, is doing everything we can to protect out Clients and Surrogates from even the most unlikely of events. And as this week’s court decision makes clear, you never know what could happen, so you should plan for the worst eventualities.
An Interesting article published today in the Daily mail, a UK newspaper, highlights just how challenging it can be for couples and surrogates to try to negotiated the world of surrogacy without a guide. A lovely, giving surrogate decided to help a UK couple, only to try over 5 different couples before getting a successful pregnancy. Her journey includes people who dropped out for financial reasons, people who changed their minds only after she began injections to have the pregnancy, and even a sad miscarriage.
For Surrogates to match on their own, without a trusted agency on their side, her journey is not really news, her experiences are common. For Intended Parents in the UK, there is a waiting list of couples who need a surrogate, and who struggle with the cost. I invite those couples to investigate surrogacy in the US with Simple Surrogacy, a trusted and affordable surrogacy journey, guided by experts.
Read the article here:
Surrogacy 101: PGD Testing and facts
PGD TESTING FACTS AND QUESTIONS
(Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis)
Does Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis have a role to play in Embryo Selection?
The concept of performing of PGD/ Fluorescence in-situ Hybridization (FISH) to exclude numerical chromosome abnormalities (aneuploidy) in order to select the “best embryos” for transfer is undoubtedly flawed and such practice should be discouraged. In contrast the performance of PGD using comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) for the identification of chromosomally (numerically) normal (euploid) embryos is a completely different consideration and is emerging as a valuable tool that might significantly improve implantation potential, reduce multiple births and , markedly reduce the risk of miscarriage and chromosomal birth defect. The following considerations will assist in better assessing the role of PGD in the selection of embryos for transfer:
1. Trauma to the embryo (through PGD) is always a potential problem. However this is far less likely when PGD is done for CGH than when FISH is performed: Here is why…..PGD for FISH requires maintaining blastomere chromosomes intact for specific analysis. This explains why 2 cells are often biopsied rather than one and why in the hands of the inexperienced, there is a greater potential to traumatize surrounding blastomeres and compromise the embryo. While nothing is more important than expertise (which requires a degree of experience and dexterity that is often lacking), the level of expertise needed to perform an atraumatic single blastomere biopsy for CGH is far less. The reason is that CGH targets DNA and unlike with FISH does not require that the chromosomes be maintained intact. Thus the removal of a single cell for PGD/CGH requires less dexterity and there is a lesser potential for causing trauma to the embryo.
2. FISH does not assess all 23 chromosome pairs for numerical chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploidy): Commercially available FISH, while capable of targeting no more than 12 chromosome pairs, usually only evaluates 8-9 pairs. Moreover, even 12-probe FISH fails to assess several chromosome pairs commonly associated with lethal aneuploidy. CGH on the other hand, accesses all chromosome pairs (i.e. full karyotyping).
Humans have an inordinately high incidence of egg aneuploidy which occurs primarily during meiosis which takes place in the hours leading up to ovulation or egg retrieval. Our own studies where CGH was performed on the first polar body (PB-1) of the mature egg (MII) have shown that in women <35Y, about 2/3 of the eggs are aneuploid (often complex aneuploid, i.e involving >1 chromosome pair). Preliminary data where PB-1 biopsy (with CGH) was performed on the eggs of older women suggests that the incidence of aneuploidy increased progressively as women age beyond 35Y such that at 40Y about 4/5 eggs are aneuploid and at 45Y the incidence of post-meiotic egg aneuploidy might even be as high as 9/10. In addition we have observed that the complexity of the oocyte aneuploidy increases (involving a greater number of chromosome pairs (i.e. chaotic aneuploidy with advancing maternal age.
It has been shown that when 9-probe PGD/FISH performed on embryos derived from the eggs of young women (<35Y) indicates no evidence of aneuploidy, there remains a 47% chance that aneuploidy resides in the untested chromosomes. The comparable error rate in women over 40Y is greater than 55%. This serves to explain why PGD with FISH in order to diagnose embryo aneuploidy, becomes progressively less reliable with advancing maternal age..
3. Performance of PGD when there are few Embryos available is both redundant and unnecessary. The following facts suggest the need for discretion when it comes to PGD/CGH performed to fully karyotype embryos so as to select the best one’s for transfer to the uterus:
· We have already shown that while achieving the blastocyst stage does not exclude embryo aneuploidy, failure to reach blastocyst means that such embryos were almost certainly aneuploid and unworthy of transfer or preservation. Taking embryos to the blastocyst stage automatically culls out many severely aneuploid embryos in the process. Because of the inevitability of an age-related increase in the incidence of egg aneuploidy, women with advancing age beyond 39Y are far less likely to have multiple pregnancies and the likelihood of high order multiple pregnancy (triplets or greater) is negligible beyond the age of 40Y regardless of the number of (unselected) embryos transferred. It follows that where fewer than 6 biopsiable day 3 embryos (i.e 6-9 cells) are obtained from women over 35Y it is probably wiser (in most cases) to allow them to develop to blastocyst and in the process cull out many obviously aneuploid embryos… whereupon those reaching the blastocyst stage can be transferred.
We wish a very merry Christmas and a Very Happy Holidays to each and every Family this Christmas Season. Simple Surrogacy and Simple Donations will be taking our customary Christmas and Holiday break beginning Monday so that our staff can spend the Holidays with their Families. We plan to reopen for regular business on January 6th. As we are in the business of helping people to achieve their dreams of family, it is only appropriate that we focus on the very valuable time that we give our employees over the holidays to spend with their Families.
Of course, all current clients have the direct contact numbers of their coordinators, should an urgent need arise over the Holidays. Our coordinators and urgent staff will be checking their emails over the break as they feel necessary. And all Surrogates and Donors currently in cycle should be assured that they will still be able to reach everyone involved in their surrogacy and donation, and that all payments will be processed as promised.
We look forward to helping our new clients and prospective clients in the new year, and to creating many more happy families in 2014. A Very merry Christmas and a very Happy Holidays to you and your family.
There is great news out of Israel this week. Same-Sex couples will be extended the same rights as hetero sexual couples in Israel once a new bill passes. This is encouraging news for Israeli couples, and will also hopefully make surrogacy in the United States more accessable to them as well.
Surrogacy rights to be extended to same-sex couples
Health Minister Yael German
Photo credit: Gideon Markowicz
Pending the passing of new legislation, same-sex couples will be allowed the option of paid surrogacy, putting them on par with heterosexual couples on the issue, Health Minister Yael German announced on Wednesday.
German also plans to control compensation for surrogate mothers, currently ranging from 200,000 to 250,000 shekels ($57,000 to $71,200), to prevent prices from rising even further due to high demand. The new bill is set to be presented for approval on Jan. 15.
“This is a revolution that will dramatically change the lives of people who, until now, have been unable to realize their right to become a mother or a father, to hold a baby in their hands and to enjoy him as he grows up. Just because a man does not have a womb, it does not mean that he cannot fulfill his longing to become a father and raise a child,” said German.
German accepted the recommendations given by a committee of experts headed by National Insurance Institute Director-General Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, one of which would allow same-sex couples to pay surrogates the way heterosexual couples do, rather than be forced to find a voluntary surrogate mother. The law on egg donation will also change to allow for homosexual couples to become parents this way.
Recent figures show that 58 babies were born to surrogate mothers in 2011 and 49 were born in 2012. About 100 requests for surrogacy are processed in Israel each year. Ninety-three babies were born to surrogates outside Israel, and adoption procedures were initiated by their Israeli parents.
Michael (name changed), who along with his partner is in the midst of the surrogacy process in India, said: “The total cost, before flights and board abroad, is more than 230,000 shekels [$65,500]. There is a lot of uncertainty in the process and we are very concerned.”
MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) called on German to advance the bill even without coalition support.
“The rights to parenting and family life are fundamental rights and everyone deserves them,” Horowitz said. “These important rights should not fall victim to the power struggle between parties.”
Israel’s National Association of GLBT (gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders) said in a statement: “We are talking about a significant landmark in equal rights for the GLBT community in the fields of parenthood and relationships.”