National Women’s Health Week

by Admin on May 17, 2017

National Women’s Health Week is now- May 14-20th, 2017. This special week is in place to honor all of the strong women who make a big difference in our lives, and to encourage them to take care of their own well-being. There are always ways to improve yourself and build a healthier lifestyle, no matter what age you are.  Here are some tips from our team to help improve your health and wellbeing.

Take Control  Of Your Health

Whether you are in your 20s, 30s, 50s, or even 80s, there are many things you can do to take action. Here are specific ways to gradually improve your life:

  • Start a fitness plan: By exercising several times per week, you can see results and feel better in a matter of weeks. By making a plan for yourself to go on a walk with a friend, join a gym near your home, or even get your heart rate moving at home will make a difference. You will feel great mentally, and look great physically.
  • Change your diet: Eating well will promote good health down the line. By cutting out some carbs, sugars, and fats in your typical diet, you can not only lose weight, but lower cholesterol, diabetes, and blood pressure. We suggest eating more greens, fruits, protein, and good fats.
  • Get more hours of sleep: It is very important to sleep for at least 8 hours every night. This way, you will not feel fatigue as you attend work, school, run errands, etc. Having a great night’s sleep will put you in a better mood, have you eating/feeling better, and get you more motivated to keep going. If you do not have time to sleep for 8 hours per night, taking mid-day naps can help boost your energy as well.
  • Quit smoking: If you are a heavy smoker, this can not only cause severe health complications, but can also stop you from doing the things you love to do. Smoking can lead to death, and it is important to be aware of the circumstances. You can get help with quitting to smoke, as there are many alternative solutions. By putting an end to your smoking habit, you are already one step ahead of living a healthy life.
  • Get regularly scheduled doctor check-ups:  By visiting your primary care doctor regularly and obtaining physicals & blood work will ensure good health. It is important to always stay on top of your mental and physical health and taking the necessary medications and/or vitamins to do so.

 

Family Creations proudly supports and encourages all women to stay healthy and happy. National Women’s Health Week can motivate women to take action. There are also many women who are currently struggling not only with health but with infertility issues. If you are considering an egg donation or surrogacy program to grow your family, give our specialists a call today for a free consultation!

 

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In recent years the topic of infertility has been brought to light through the brave individuals and couples who shared the stories of their fertility struggles. We’ve heard of the celebrities that used surrogacy and or IVF to grow their families including Sarah Jessica Parker, Elton John, Amy Smart, Tyra Banks, Lucy Lui, and Giuliana Rancic. This list is far from comprehensive, yet gives insight into the fact that infertility can happen to anyone no matter their age, race, socioeconomic status, religion, or sexual orientation.  1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. This means that if you have not experienced infertility, it’s likely you know someone who has.

National Infertility Awareness Week is all about informing the general public of an issue that impacts millions of people worldwide. Whether the celebrities listed above had set out to be advocates of infertility or not is unknown to us, yet in sharing their stories they have contributed to the conversation. They became advocates of spreading infertility awareness.

 

What can you do to become an advocate?

 

RESOLVE is an excellent informational source and a good place to start your research on getting involved. They have recommendations on how to get involved on a local level, through social medial, as well as lists of events around the country that everyone- infertile or not-  are welcome to attend. Most important is sharing your story. Are you struggling with infertility? Do you know someone who is? Have you been an egg donor or a surrogate? Share your story. Talk about your experience with anyone who will #listenup. Advocacy starts with YOU.

Family Creations supports the infertility community everyday through our efforts in assisting our clients through their egg donation and surrogacy journeys. We understand that infertility can create financial and emotional hardships. Family Creations can expertly guide you through the many facets of the egg donor and or surrogacy process. No one with infertility should have to walk alone.

 

 

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Have you considered becoming a surrogate? One of the questions we ask during the interview process is, ‘Why do you want to become a surrogate mother?’. The responses we receive vary from applicant to applicant, though it’s fairly consistent that women who choose to become a surrogate mother do it because they can. Surrogacy is a mostly selfless journey one undertakes simply to help a person or couple start or grow their family.

Here are a few reasons to become a Family Creations surrogate:

Giving the Gift of Life:

“Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Norman MacEwan. As mothers, we know you appreciate the joy your child or children have brought into your life. In becoming a surrogate*, you are able to help in providing this remarkable gift to another person or couple. This is truly an amazing gift to give.

Financial Incentive:

In addition to receiving a monthly allowance and maternity clothing stipend, Family Creations offers competitive compensation for our surrogates. This often allows our surrogates the option of staying home with their children during the surrogate pregnancy. Some surrogates choose to continue working and instead use the compensation from the surrogacy to pay off debts, pay for school, or for planning a lovely vacation with their own family. There are many possibilities- it’s entirely up to you how you spend your compensation.

Health Care:

We make sure that our surrogates do not incur any out of pocket expenses as a result of the surrogacy. This includes health insurance. If your current health insurance does not cover the surrogacy pregnancy, your Intended Parent(s) will purchase a plan for you that does.

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Proper Care and Guidance:

We will assign you your own professionally trained case manager. She will be with you throughout the entire surrogacy process. Additionally, your case manager deposits the fees you will receive into a reputable escrow company’s account to be held for you in trust. This ensures that you are promptly paid when payment is due.

Additional Support:

Family Creations has a private support group that we invite all of our surrogates in join once approved into our program. Our surrogates share stories of their experiences during their surrogacy pregnancies and deliveries. It’s a fun way to stay connected with other surrogates who are going through the same journey as you!

Do you feel that becoming a surrogate may be your next big journey in life? Check out our qualifications:

  • Age between 21-40
  • BMI (body mass index) under 35
  • Non-smoker and must not use drugs
  • Reside in California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Georgia, or Nevada
  • Has had at least one easy pregnancy with no complications
  • Not receiving any type of government assistance

If you fit the above qualifications, we’d love to hear from you! Give us a call and we’ll walk you through the process of becoming a Family Creations Surrogate.

 

*At Family Creations we facilitate Gestational Surrogacy: Pregnancy where the surrogate is genetically unrelated to the baby. The embryos are created using the eggs from the intended mother or an egg donor and sperm from the intended father(s) or a sperm donor.

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National Infertility Awareness Week

by Admin on April 5, 2017

As National Infertility Awareness Week is approaching, we want to take a few moments to recognize the 1 in 8. The women, men, couples, and families affected by infertility- we know it’s not easy – this is why we stand with you in both your struggles as well as your successes.

April 23rd to the 29th is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), a movement that started in 1989 to educate the public about reproductive health and to reduce the stigma associated with infertility. RESOLVE founded this movement with the mission to empower those struggling to build or grow their families, and to connect these individuals with the community of professionals that are here to help.

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We’re proud to be a part of that community providing alternative options of family building. We work hard to make this process easier on our clients because we know they depend on us to provide only the most qualified egg donor and surrogate candidates. Family Creations was founded in 2006 with the mission to make parenting possible for those in need of assistance, and to ensure the process for all involved is as easy and rewarding as it can be. Our clients can count on us for our knowledge, caring, and ethics as we assist them through this uniquely wonderful process.

Looking for ways to get involved in supporting infertility awareness? Head over to the RESOLVE website and check out their Get Involved and Calendar of Events links to see what’s going on in your area.

For more information on Family Creations’ surrogacy or egg donation programs, please contact us directly. We’d be honored to assist you in your family building journey.

 

 

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Choosing The Right Egg Donor For You

by Admin on March 21, 2017

You’ve reached the point in your journey in which egg donation is the next step in growing your family. There are many factors to take into consideration when selecting an egg donor. It’s likely that your doctor will discuss with you the desired health traits of a donor, such as a healthy family history and/or donor’s ovarian reserve quality. Family Creations knows there are other factors to consider, factors that are less about the medical aspects and more about what feels right for you. We’ll talk with you about the characteristics you’re looking for in a donor. This gives us the information we need to assist in selecting the right donor for you.

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We know this is a sensitive process, so we’ve done some of the work for you. We created our profile template with our recipients in mind. It was important to us to provide you with valuable information, while still keeping the donor’s identity anonymous.

Each of our donors creates a profile which allows our recipients to get a snapshot of the donor’s life. Physical characteristics can be viewed through the donor’s photo gallery, and current height, weight, natural hair color, etc. are all listed on the profile. In addition, donor’s profiles include their health history, as well as her family’s health history. Each profile also contains character and personality information through the donor’s responses to questions such as, Who has been the most influential person in your life, and why?, What are your future goals?, and “for fun” questions like, ‘what’s your favorite movie, book, and type of music?’.

*Additional information may be available upon request.

Once a suitable donor candidate has been selected, we’ll walk you through the matching process then manage the cycle, assisting you throughout the entire egg donation process. One of our goals at Family Creations is guiding our recipients and their donors through a smooth egg donation cycle from match to retrieval- we’ll be there for you, every step of the way.

Please contact us directly for a free consultation to learn more about our egg donor program.

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You’ve been matched- Congratulations!

Your Family Creations case manager is going to be there to support you along every step of the way. Your case manager is your go-to person if you ever have any questions about the process, and there’s no need to be shy. No matter how personal, we’ve likely heard the same question from previous donors. Think of your case manager as your donation cycle bestie. You can talk with us about anything.

Here are 5 other tips we thought would be helpful:

  • Communication is really important during a cycle. You’ll want to be sure to check your voicemail, emails, and texts often as the donation process is time sensitive. You wouldn’t want to miss instruction from the doctor or your case manager. Also, if you have any questions about what to expect next, just ask your case manager (a.k.a, cycle bestie).
  • Write it down. We know, life gets busy. Many of our donors are students, have jobs, are mothers -or all three at once! It’s a good idea to take notes on all information you receive from the doctor or nurse to avoid any confusion about medication dosage, follow-up appointment times/dates, etc.
  • You can’t pour from an empty cup. Your body is hard at work producing multiple eggs in just one cycle. You’ll want to be sure you stay rested, hydrated, and well-nourished throughout the cycle. This means taking a break from intense workouts, drinking plenty of water and electrolyte rich beverages, and eating nutrient dense foods.
  • Combat the bloating. It’s very common to experience bloating as a side effect of the stimulation medication. To add to the previous tip, eating well and drinking lots of water will help you prevent or lessen bloating. Drinking water helps to flush out excess fluids in the system and high fiber foods will keep your digestion working efficiently. Try avoiding high sugar and high carbohydrate foods as these may contribute to excess bloating. Be sure to talk with the doctor/nurse about an appropriate nutrition plan for you during the cycle.
  • Remember your ‘why’. Your ‘why’ is the reason you chose to become an egg donor. Whatever the reason, this may be one of the most meaningful jobs you have in your lifetime. By donating, you’re helping a person or couple create the family they’ve always dreamed of… and that’s pretty amazing.
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Things to Consider when Selecting a Surrogate

by Admin on October 7, 2016

How exactly do you decide who to trust to nurture your child while in utero? Selecting a surrogate to help you grow your family is a big decision- one that you don’t have to make alone. Prior to matching, we’ll work together in reviewing our qualified surrogate profiles. You’ll also learn more about the surrogacy process and we’ll answer any questions you have pertaining to specific surrogates. We don’t rest until we’ve found your ideal match.  Family Creations makes the matching process as stress-free as possible by coordinating a meeting time (phone, Skype, in-person) and facilitating the match meeting between the Intended Parent(s) and surrogate. While we cover all of the basics in making sure our surrogates are eligible, there are some other things to consider when determining whether or not a particular surrogate will be a good match for you. Check out this info-graphic for more on selecting a surrogate:

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Family Creations: On the Road Again!

by Admin on August 24, 2016

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Recently, Family Creations hit the road and visited with several clinic coordinators and third party reproduction nurses around Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. It’s always a wonderful experience meeting with the nurses and coordinators we work so closely with throughout donation cycles and gestational surrogacy journeys. Not only do we love to meet the people with whom we have already established working relationships, we also strive to build new relationships with clinics we’ve yet to have the pleasure of working with.

Family Creations only partners with the most reputable clinics in the US. The Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology site is a great way for us to check statistics in regard to success rates. However, meeting with the staff, doctors, and nurses allows us to confidently refer our clients, donors, and surrogates to these clinics. We are in the business of creating families. It’s important to us that the clinics we work with feel the same way and treat each of our clients, donors, and surrogates just as we do- like family.

We can recommend you looking into any of the following clinics if you happen to be in the Tri-State or Boston area:

If you are interested in finding a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility doctor that is local to you or in a particular area of the country (international clients), please contact us directly as we have many wonderful clinics we can refer you to based on your individual needs.

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Recently NBC News posted an article on the emotional experience of becoming parents as same-sex male couples. There are many ways that gay fathers enter their journey into parenthood such as egg donation, surrogacy, adoption, and even some that became parents while in previous heterosexual relationships. No matter the route they took to create their families, these men all had one thing in common- their deep desire to become fathers.

In this heartwarming video, several gay fathers share their stories of the path they took to becoming parents.

Brian Rosenberg and Ferd van Gameren, pictured below with their son and two daughters, started the website GaysWithKids.com, an online community that offers support to gay men in navigating fatherhood.

“When people outside of the gay community see gay … and lesbian families, they see we are exactly the same – we go to the same school, we go to the meetings after school, we take our kids to sports or play dates,” explains Rosenberg. van Gameren added, “[Heterosexual parents] look at you with your kid and immediately think, I get that“.

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Egg Donation: Do You Have What It Takes?

by Admin on July 22, 2016

Thinking about becoming an egg donor?

Check out this list to see if egg donation is a good fit for you:

You Must Be Responsible Egg donation is a time sensitive process. Missing an appointment or failing to take your medication correctly can be detrimental to the cycle. While every donor is assigned a case manager to guide them through the process, the donor herself is responsible for making sure she follows all instruction given by her case manager and IVF doctor.

Flexible scheduleEgg donation is time sensitive as it is a biological process that is coordinated around the menstrual cycle of the donor and recipient mother or gestational carrier. For this reason, doctor’s appointments are not flexible. An ideal donor candidate has some flexibility in their schedule in order to attend doctor’s appointments and take off 7-10 days for the egg retrieval trip.

You’re comfortable with doctor’s appointments and needlesThroughout the course of an egg donation cycle, each donor is required to attend several doctor’s appointments and is required to administer medication through subcutaneous self injections (see our blog on cycle medications).

Ethnic backgroundFamily Creations welcomes donors of all ethnic backgrounds into our program. We have a beautifully diverse pool of exceptional egg donors available. Certain ethnic backgrounds such as East Indian and Asian are in high demand since there are not many available egg donors from these specific ethnicities. Jewish egg donors are also highly sought after by recipients.

Physical and mental healthAll donors are required to undergo medical, genetic, and psychological screening. Ideal egg donor candidates are in good physical and emotional health. One important health factor is falling within a healthy BMI range. Also, if you’re considering egg donation it’s a good idea to gather information on your family’s health history and ethnic background for the mandatory genetic consultation. The geneticist provides a report based on the donor’s family history that helps the recipient’s IVF doctor determine what type of testing is needed.

Non-smoker Studies show that the ovarian reserve, egg quality, and quantity are reduced in women who smoke. Smokers also have lower numbers of follicles when stimulated for egg retrieval, and have lower numbers of eggs retrieved- none of which makes for an ideal egg donor candidate.

AgeFamily Creations accepts women between the ages of 21-29 into our egg donor program. Even in the healthiest of women, studies have revealed both egg quality and quantity decreases with age, with a significant decline around age 30.

Compassion This is such an important quality to have as an egg donor. The person or couple you are donating for is counting on you to help them make their dreams of becoming a parent a reality. They are in a vulnerable position as recipients. An ideal egg donor candidate understands this and does everything they can to ensure a successful cycle.

So, do you think you have what it takes to be an exceptional egg donor?  If so, we welcome you to apply with Family Creations.

Have more questions? Give us a call! 818-225-1700

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

References:

Sherbahan, R. (n.d.). Smoking Tobacco and the Effect of Cigarette Smoking on Fertility, Infertility and IVF Success. Retrieved from http://www.advancedfertility.com/smoking.htm

Sherbahan, R. (n.d.). Female Age, Fertility and Infertility. Retrieved from http://www.advancedfertility.com/age.htm

 

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