Heart and Head are Not on the Same Page!

I figured it out! The snowflakes cause distress because my heart and head are not on the same page. What makes sense intuitively and cerebrally, just doesn’t feel good to my heart yet.

But it’s coming. I went out and bought a piano for Jarvie and Giles today. It’s a Baldwin and has rich tones. It looks brand new but it’s used so it’s a pretty good value. Between the piano and the lessons for two it will be a bundle! Now imagine if I were paying for three or four or more. On the one hand more fun, but more labor intensive and many more dollars! So here is the reality of having 2 versus 3 or 4 children. In my current situation 2 is far more practical.

We are also going on vacation. We were supposed to first stay with my sister North Shore of Boston and then with my brother near Hanover, Vermont. Now if I had 4 kids would we really get an invitation? I think not. Moreover, the plans had to be altered because there will be a memorial service the weekend we were expected to be there. So we are staying at a Resort on Lake Fairlee and then moving onto a place on the beach in Rockport, MA. The places are small. If I had four kids the accommodations would have to be entirely different, as would the car we would rent.

These are just a few sobering thoughts, which help pull my heart out of the clouds and bring it back down to earth, where it belongs. You see I can be a soldier. And my snowflakes will be just fine. They will be given an opportunity to thaw out and have life. They will be afforded the right environment to make their journey and see if they can go from snowflakes to stickies. Stickies are embryos that implant or stick to the uterine wall and then grow and develop until it is their time to be born.

My egg donor is all for the donation. This is a very good thing too, because it can’t go forward without her written approval. This was all stipulated in my original contract with her.

Enough for now. More details later, as the story unfolds.

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Steps to Acquiring a Surrogate

Finding your surrogate mother is a bit different from finding an egg donor or sperm donor. You will not be weighing through a mountain of data, but rather more than likely, listening to the agency liaison describe the available surrogate mothers. Remember this is a deeply personal relationship you are about to embark upon. Give this process the respect it deserves.

This article dovetails nicely with “How to Find Your Surrogate Mother.”

1) Google search surrogate mother
2) Complete applications for agencies with surrogate mothers
3) Speak with agency liaison about available surrogate mothers
4) Select a surrogate mother to explore further
5) Arrange a telephone interview
6) Find someone to participate in the call with you
7) Develop a list of questions to ask the surrogate mother
8) Consider what you might like to share with the surrogate
9) Conduct the interview
10) Debrief with trusted other
11) Decide if you want to have to a face to face interview
12) Schedule interview
13) Determine venue
14) Conduct the interview
15) Debrief and write down your observations
16) If she is the one for you, find out if you passed her test
17) If yes, celebrate
18) If no, complete steps 9 – 18 again

If you found your surrogate, you have done an amazing job. Finding your surrogate is half the battle of having your baby. Be sure to celebrate or reward yourself richly!

Your surrogate mother will now need clearance from your doctor before you can get started and before legal documents are reviewed and signed.

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
ASingle Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Steps to Acquiring a Sperm Donor

There are a variety of steps, that once taken, will likely lead you to the sperm donor of your choice. This will be the person who will provide the directions, if you will, from the male perspective, to help your child become who he or she is intended to become. It is worth your while to spend some time on this leg of your race! You are, after all, searching for your child!

This article dovetails nicely with “How to Acquire your Sperm Donor.” Follow the steps below to find your golden treasure.

1) Google Sperm Donor
2) Peruse Database
3) Establish criteria for ideal candidates
4) Put criteria in writing
5) Have your partner establish criteria
6) Create an ideal candidate
7) Search for ideal candidate in database
8) Select a few
9) Get a staff impression of the donors
10) Acquire photos or other supporting data
11) Review supporting materials
12) Make final selection
13) Purchase
14) Make arrangements to ship sperm
15) Celebrate your achievement

Take some time right now to jot down what criteria were important to you. If you have already completed this process note any factors that made this leg of the race easier.

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written at Penske Automotive in Beachwood, Ohio

Location Matters!

The question of location is an interesting one. It may be easier for you in the short run to find a local IVF doctor and a local surrogate mother. It may be more convenient for you when your baby is born too. For example, you and your infant could skip the airport altogether and opt for a cushy ride home in the family vehicle after your hospitalization. However, the law is more conducive to your overall needs in the state of Calfornia, than anywhere else in the United States. And Southern California, San Diego in particular, is the greatest hotbed of surrogacy all over the world.

The law in Calfornia permits you to have rights to your baby, technically your fetus, while it is still in the surrogate mother’s womb! This fact calms many a nervous heart, be it yours or those belonging to members of your proverbial peanut gallery. The sheer fact that others felt more comfortable with my process given the fact that the surrogate mother essentially could not change her mind at the last minute, was extremely valuable to me. It meant I wasted very little time convincing people that I was safe and babies waiting to be born were safe from the possibility of my surrogate mother changing her mind. Simple couldn’t happen. I had not only an iron clad agreement, but also one the was signed and sealed by a judge.

There are many contracts out there in the world, but the ones that have been signed off on by a judge in a court of law are the ones I feel confident would hold up in a similar court of law, if a dispute were to occur.

In my case, my twin fetuses were quite literally mine in my surrogate’s womb, 5 months before they were due and 3 months before they were born. My lawyers in California filed these documents for me and represented me through this leg of the journey, while I remained in Ohio. It was a relief once these proceedings were taken care of. Again, I never really worried about my surrogate mother changing her mind, bit this made it virtually impossible for her to do so!

Finding a surrogate who lives in San Diego makes your life a whole lot easier. The doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel are actually quite used to surrogacy arrangements there and consequently deal with them effectively and professionally. When you show up at the hospital they understand that you are the legal parent and have all the rights and responsibilities of a legal parent. They also have experience taking care of the needs of the surrogate mother before and after the birth. Finally, they understand the needs of your baby, who will transition from the surrogate mother to you during their hospital stay.

In the same vein, the staff at the hospital are comfortable following the law and putting your name on the baby’s birth certificate, so there is no need to adopt your own baby after the fact. In many cities, this is quite literally what you have to do. Having to adopt your own baby simply confuses the issue and is another legal step which hardly seems necessary.

Last but not least, in San Diego, at the Social Security Office, staff are accustomed to creating social security cards for children born through surrogacy arrangements. This makes your life much easier! Imagine approaching someone who has never encountered such a situation and can’t seem to figure out how to complete the forms for your child. This could be rather frustrating. In San Diego, this problem is alleviated merely by the fact that this situation is routine.

Laws, medical practices and social conventions change overtime. The state of the art of surrogacy puts southern California squarely ahead of the rest of the pack at this juncture. Choose wisely when you are making your plans. Location matters!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Snowflakes

By now, you all know that the fact that my embryos have been frozen all this time causes me some grief! I came across a term that is used in the embryo adoption / embryo donation world that somehow softens the blow. From this moment forward, my embryos are going to be thought of as my darling little snowflakes!

I am making arrangements to adopt out or donate my snowflakes to a friend, who so very much wants another child or two for her brood. She has been trying aggressively, cycle after cycle, and nothing has given rise to a little one that would stick. So now she enters the world of embryo adoption. She will be the one, who is adopting my darling little snowflakes.

I trust her implicitly. None of the following questions have anything to do with her integrity. Nonetheless, as I move forward in donating my snowflakes I have to be in awe of what I am giving up.

Interestingly here, my coaching role helps me in my journey. Through coaching I have been trained to ask opposing powerful questions. I have been taught to ask, “What do I give up, if I accept this?” As well as, “What do I get, if I accept this?”

In this case, by donating my snowflakes, I understand I have more love and resources to share with the wonderful boys that I already have. And I do love Jarvie and Giles so very much! I would never want to do anything to compromise their lives or life style, only enrich it.

Conversely, if I were to keep the snowflakes and have them thawed specifically for the purpose of growing my own family, I would have the joy of knowing and loving the babies that might actually come to life. I would also get the opportunity to watch all of my children grow and interact over the course of our lives. I would savor watching the them of them! But I would also have one sad friend!

This is the first time that I have ever been in touch with any feelings associated with changing my mind or even with understanding how others at the brink of giving a child or embryo away, could ever change their mind. In this very moment it all makes sense to me. Someone could very sanely change their mind and no longer be able to walk away. I truly never understood this before this exact moment. This is a complete revelation to me.

Now feeling more rational and less emotional, I know I do not have the wearwithal to have more children. Nonetheless, somehow giving them away causes me so much pain. I never knew it would. It is such a surprise. I always thought it would just bring relief that they would no longer be suspended in that nearly everlasting freeze. Alas, it causes pain as well. I will just have to learn to bravely soldier on. Who knew?

I suspect with time, the pain will ease and I will get used to the choice I have made.

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Matters
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Options for Reproductive Legal Counsel

Legal counsel is imperative in the surrogacy arena!  There are several lawyers involved, but a few who are outstanding in their field.  The lawyers I would recommend include:

Thomas Pinkerton  
San Diego Office:
Reproductive Law Center, Inc.
8340 Allison Ave., Suite A
La Mesa, CA 91942

1-800-259-6000
1-619-464-6640

Michelle Keeyes
San Diego Office:
Reproductive Law Center, Inc.
8340 Allison Ave., Suite A
La Mesa, CA 91942

1-800-259-6000
1-619-464-6640

Rich Vaughn
International Fertility Law Group, Inc.
5757 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 645
Los Angeles, CA 90036

1-855-405-7501
1-323-904-4733

Steve Klein
Falletta & Klein Law
1520 6th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101, United States

1-619-235-8913

Contact any one of these lawyers and know that a legal representative is looking after your best interests.

Lisa J Lafave PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Summer Fantasies of Santa Claus

image
My 5 year old Giles

Giles: Mom do you think Santa Claus shrinks down to my size to to get through the chimney fast?

Mom: Well gosh do you think that’s possible?

Giles: Well m-a-y-b-e Mom! Or m-a-y-b-e he just stays in his sleigh and attaches a parachute to each gift that goes down the chimney and it disappears once it lands!

Mom: M-a-y-b-e. Sure is a good theory!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Presenting Sir Standsalot!

 

Hanging out with Sascha and Sir Standsalot!
Hanging out with Sascha and Sir Standsalot laying down!

Our babysitter Sascha’s family got a new kitty! An  orange tabby! They named him Livingston or Sir Livingston, if you will. Her brother doesn’t care for the name Livingston and calls him Ston or Stan, instead! Giles decided to do him one better and suggested they call him Sir Standsalot!

I must say I rolled when he made this joke on Sir Lancelot! I think the impetus came from a joke book we have been reading, which frequently invokes a play on words. I then have to translate or explain the exact reason why the joke, which is not immediately funny to him, is actually funny indeed! I guess all that ‘splaining is paying off!

Now just try to make one up like that. I dare you!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

How a Question Can Become A Declaration!

The other day, I was cleaning up the kitchen when my 5 year old son Giles said to me, “Mom, do you think I will be a good man when I grow up?”

My reply? “Well I certainly hope so. That is clearly the plan. Come to think of it, I do think you will be a good man when you grow up!”

To which Giles remarked with strong conviction, “That’s right Mom, I am going to be a very, very, very good man when I grow!”

The fact that he is pondering this at all suggests a desire to lead a meaningful life. One filled with purpose. This desire means he has begun to create a positive path for himself toward his manhood.

I am really going to love watching him grow. And you know what? As his mom, I have front row seats!

Yes today was a good day. A very, very, very good day!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little a Brick in University a Heights, Ohio

Steps to Aquiring an Egg Donor

The initial phases of finding an egg donor are the same as finding a sperm donor. However, the egg donor’s service is more involved, given that she takes medicine to hypersecrete eggs and then often has to travel to the IVF doctor of your choice for retrieval, compared to the one-time visit the sperm donor makes to deliver fresh sperm to the cryobank.

Consequently, the egg donor’s fee is higher and most of the time intended parents will meet with her to be sure it’s a good fit.

The telephone and face to face interviews are very important parts of your final selection process. Never forget she is interviewing you too! This is a very personal meeting. Please be sure to treat it as such!

1) Google search egg donor
2) Complete applications to utilize the database
3) Create a list of criteria for ideal candidate
4) Put the criteria in writing
5) Have your partner do the same
6) Create a profile of the perfect egg donor
7) Search for ideal egg donor on database
8) Select a few options
9) Schedule telephone interviews
10) Create a list of questions for the egg donor
11) Determine what you want to share about yourself
12) Conduct interviews with a partner
13) Debrief with you partner after each interview
14) Schedule face to face meeting with one or two candidates
15) Develop list of comments and questions for meeting
16) Select Venue
17) Conduct Face to face interviews
18) Debrief after interviews
19) Determine if you have met the right egg donor
20) If yes, claim her
21) Find out if she is willing to work with you
22) Celebrate or repeat steps 7 – 21!

Hopefully, there will be a match and you will not have to repeat steps 7 – 21, however, stranger things have happened and you should be prepared to repeat these steps if necessary. This ride down the surrogacy river is not always smooth, but it frequently makes people’s dreams come true. So it’s worth the bumps!

Tell us below what the surprises along the way were for you. Tell us what the salient points were.

Leap Into Action!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twins
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio