Donor Concierge - 博客供稿 Kirby Wed, 10 Nov 2021 00:00:00 -0500 我们博客的近期更新 What's new at Donor Concierge blog/what-s-new-at-donor-concierge Wed, 10 Nov 2021 00:00:00 -0500
  • The Donor Concierge Sperm Search package launched in 2021
  • We’ve helped a record number of hopeful parents
  • Welcoming new team members to the Donor Concierge family
  • A new and improved Donor Concierge is coming!
  • With 2021 drawing to a close, our team is reflecting on the lessons we’ve learned and the shifts our company has seen. We celebrated our 15th year in business and are humbled to see so much growth: we’ve created new service offerings, hired new team members, and worked on exciting new projects. So… what’s new at Donor Concierge?

    Introducing Donor Concierge Sperm Search
    That’s right – Donor Concierge now offers a comprehensive sperm donor search package. We spent years establishing unique partnerships with all FDA-approved sperm banks and developing our service to best serve hopeful parents.

    So, how does it work? After an extensive intake process to understand your family’s needs, we get to work to search through our partner sperm banks and agencies to identify the best sperm donor candidates for your unique priorities. We’ve negotiated unique partnerships and have access to a multitude of sperm donor databases to help us find candidates who fit your physical, ethnic, and academic criteria. Then, our team of experts curates a portfolio of sperm donor candidates who align with your family’s requirements. Your Case Manager will follow up directly with each sperm bank to find out any additional information you would like about your top sperm donors. We’ve already helped many families grow through sperm donation, and we are excited to continue helping hopeful parents from all backgrounds to create their families through sperm donor conception.

    A record-breaking year
    This year, we’ve matched a record number of clients with their egg donor, sperm donor and gestational carrier. We’ve worked with over 200 different agencies and 100+ fertility clinics.We know there are many hopeful parents still struggling to begin their fertility journeys, or unsure about taking the leap to third-party fertility. But the success stories we have seen this past year make us confident that there is so much hope and potential for those struggling with fertility. 2021 has shown us that progress is still possible in the toughest times.

    Welcome Kylee and Joanne
    We’re excited to share that we’ve welcomed several new team members this year, including Kylee Warren and Joanne Zhang!

    Joanne has had an extensive career as a university lecturer, where she taught English and English for Law. She has always loved teaching and the ability to share meaningful information with students and help them discover and reach their dreams. After sixteen years in academia, Joanne transitioned to working as an education consultant and tutor while raising her two sons. Joanne understands the struggles and hard decisions that can come with family building, and credits her own family-building experiences with giving her the knowledge to help other parents on this path. We’re so happy to welcome her to the Case Manager team.

    Kylee joins the Donor Concierge team with 8 years of experience in Third Party Reproduction. She worked for one of the top fertility clinics in the U.S. with her primary focus helping international clients build their families with egg donation and gestational surrogacy. With her medical background and passion for helping others she brings both a deep understanding of the complexities and kindheartedness to her work in helping create families. Kylee holds a BS in Health Sciences and Pre-Nursing from Portland State University and is currently pursuing her Masters in Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina. We’re so grateful for the expertise Kylee brings to our team.

    New and improved look
    Finally, we’re thrilled to announce that Donor Concierge is getting a new look. We’ve been hard at work developing new services and supporting clients, and our new site will better reflect everything we offer hopeful parents. We’re launching a Preferred Provider program and will introduce new resources for our clients to better arm themselves with the confidence to move ahead with their third party family building journey.. We can’t wait to show you the new and improved Donor Concierge!

    California Egg Donation: What you need to know blog/california-egg-donation-what-you-need-to-know Fri, 29 Oct 2021 00:00:00 -0400 Donor Concierge is based out of California, and over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of California parents build families via egg donation. If you’re looking to pursue egg donation in California, we’re sharing the information you need to know.

    California Egg Donation Laws

    California is a fertility-friendly state, meaning that there are laws in place that support parents pursuing assisted reproduction. These include laws protecting parents pursuing fertility treatments who are unmarried and parents who may not be biologically related to the child. For a full breakdown of these recent legal protections, you can check out the fact sheet put together by NCLR, Our Family Coalition and Equality California. Or, you can ask your Donor Concierge case manager to help walk you through any legal concerns you may have.

    As more and more people turn to fertility treatments, laws like this help diverse couples from a wide range of backgrounds build their families.

    California Egg Donor Requirements

    California does not have specific laws regarding egg donor eligibility. Rather, California egg donors must meet the criteria set forth to donate eggs by the FDA and criteria set by individual egg donor agencies or clinics. These requirements are typically the following:

    • 21 to 29 years old
    • Good physical and mental health
    • 19 to 25 BMI
    • Nonsmoker / has not smoked cigarettes in the previous 12 months
    • Regular monthly period cycles
    • Not currently on a hormonal IUD
    • Participation in physical and mental screenings
    • Willing to take injectable medication
    • Free from sexually transmitted diseases in the previous 1 year
    • No history of drug use
    • Refrain from getting tattoos or piercings six months prior to and during the egg donation cycle

    California Egg Donors

    As both a fertility-friendly and populous state, California has a sizable number of women participating in egg donation. There are many fertility clinics and agencies in California, each with their own pool of California egg donor candidates. In fact, couples from out of state often find their egg donors in California.

    Most large cities in California have multiple fertility clinics and/or egg donor agencies where you may begin your California egg donor search. Finding a Los Angeles egg donor, San Diego egg donor, San Francisco egg donor, Sacramento egg donor or other local California egg donor is definitely doable. (And if you need assistance or want to search multiple regions, our team can help.)

    The wide array of egg donor candidates in California is a benefit for anyone looking to begin their California egg donor search, but the number of choices can be difficult to navigate. With the use of egg donation steadily rising, more hopeful parents are searching for California egg donor candidates. So if you find a California egg donor that meets your criteria and perfectly fits your family, we encourage you to act fast!

    Still have questions about California egg donation? Need help finding a great local California egg donor? Schedule a free consultation and speak with a Donor Concierge case manager today.

    How To Talk To Your Child About a Surrogate Sibling blog/how-to-talk-to-your-child-about-a-surrogate-sibling Thu, 07 Oct 2021 00:00:00 -0400 Reposted from

    Our founder Gail Sexton Anderson recently spoke with Sharon Feiereisen at Momtastic about all things surrogacy and parenting. We've previously covered parenting during the surrogacy process, how to parent during surrogacy, and more considerations for surrogate parents. But how do you speak with your child and family when you're expecting via surrogacy? Sharon covers all that and more, below. Thank you Sharon and Momtastic for including us and highlighting this important topic!

    When you have a big brother or sister in your home who is about the get a new surrogate sibling, it’s important to address the issue accordingly. Preparing for a new surrogate baby on the way will have a slightly different process because there’s a good chance your current child won’t witness the stages of pregnancy unless your child meets the surrogate carrier.

    “Children are amazingly understanding when it comes to hearing ‘hard’ things,” says Gail Sexton Anderson, the founder of Donor Concierge and co-founder of DIY egg donor search platform, Tulip. “We worry that it will be too much for them but in reality, if a child is given information that is correct and matter of fact and in language that is aimed at their age group, they are very likely to accept the situation in a healthy manner.”

    It’s never too early to start talking to your children. It’s usually best to keep things simple and answer the questions as they come. “There is no need to avoid answering questions, but there is also no need to share more information than is requested,” says Anderson. For addressing the topic of a sibling coming from a surrogate, she recommends talking to a therapist who specializes in third party reproduction if you’re feeling unsure of how to start the conversation.

    “It’s also okay to ask your child what they think or why they are asking a question. Sometimes what they are asking might not be what we think. Children don’t have preconceived ideas of how families are created. The important thing is to keep communication open, honest and age appropriate.” Anderson also singles out books about surrogacy that can help the conversation.

    Read on for specific tactics.

    Create a ‘baby book’ together with your older child so that they can be part of the journey.

    “You could make it a scrapbook with pictures of you and your child, copies of the ultrasound or a photo of the surrogate,” says Anderson. “My friend Lisa Schuman, LCSW created a Lifebook for this reason – to help families document a child’s journey.”

    When matching with your surrogate, ask her if your older child could meet her.

    “If you’re doing virtual calls, have your child on the conversation so that she can show off her pregnant belly. The surrogate likely has young children of her own – ask her how she explained it to her kids too!”

    You can share with your child in an age appropriate way how babies are made.

    “For example: Mommy’s uterus (or tummy) is broken so the surrogate is helping us. There are all kinds of families, some have two moms, some have two dads, some have just one parent but not all of these parents have a working uterus. The uterus is a special place where babies grow. When the baby is ready to come into the world we will take them home with us.”

    How to ask your employer for fertility benefits blog/how-to-ask-your-employer-for-fertility-benefits-fertility-insurance Tue, 21 Sep 2021 00:00:00 -0400 Exciting news: we've partnered with Carrot Fertility! We're working together to bridge gaps in fertility access by bringing third-party fertility coverage to more hopeful parents. If fertility benefits feel out of reach, Carrot Fertility is here to help. To kick things off, they're sharing their expert advice to help YOU advocate for fertility coverage. Read on!

    If you’ve had to take out a loan or ask family for support funding your egg donor search or gestational carrier (commonly known as surrogacy) journey, you’re not alone. Donor-assisted reproduction is expensive and rarely covered by insurance. To help close the gap, some employers offer fertility and family-forming benefits. These benefits provide financial and logistical support for fertility care and other family-building services. Want to get your employer on board? Asking for fertility benefits can be daunting but with a bit of preparation about how they work — and how they can benefit your company — you can make a strong case for yourself and your colleagues.

    Step 1: Know that your HR team wants to hear from you
    If you’re feeling nervous, it’s helpful to remember that many benefits programs get off the ground because of employee demand. Especially in a competitive job market, HR teams want to create employee benefits packages that meet the needs of their existing employees and make the company more attractive to job seekers. In other words, assuming your HR team is committed to creating the best benefits package they can, they want to hear from you.

    Step 2: Gather your evidence
    Data is important to HR teams. They might ask questions like, how many people would use a potential new benefit? How much will it cost? How does it impact their bottom line? While you don’t need to go into your meeting with a PowerPoint deck and spreadsheet prepared, having a few numbers in your back pocket can help support your request. Here are some powerful stats to consider sharing:

    • Infertility is common. One in eight couples are affected by infertility in the United States.

    • Medical infertility isn’t the only reason people seek out fertility and family-forming care and services. 63% of LGBTQ+ couples and individuals plan to use donor-assisted reproduction such as donor-assisted reproduction and gestational carrier (GC) services to grow their families.

    • Offering fertility benefits can help improve employee recruitment and retention. 88% of respondents in Carrot’s Fertility at Work survey would change jobs for fertility benefits — and 77% would stay at a company longer if they had access to fertility benefits.

    • Just 24% of companies offer fertility benefits and even fewer include coverage beyond in vitro fertilization (IVF). Offering an inclusive fertility benefit that covers donor-assisted reproduction and adoption can help your employer stand out even more.

    • Many employees don’t feel comfortable discussing fertility and family forming at work. If you’re the only person approaching HR about this topic, that doesn’t mean you’re the only one going through it. Nearly a third of respondents wouldn’t feel comfortable asking for fertility benefits at work.

    Besides data, personal stories are powerful, too, but it’s understandable if you don’t feel comfortable getting into the details of your own. Instead, you can share examples of parenthood journeys a fertility benefit can support. For example, Carrot Fertility shared a series of personal stories for National Infertility Awareness Week that highlight some of the ways fertility benefits impact employees.

    Step 3: Get specific about the support you want — but let your HR team know there are flexible options
    Though fertility benefits are growing in popularity, your HR team may not necessarily be familiar with them. They may also associate fertility benefits with egg freezing or IVF support, leaving out services like sperm freezing, donor-assisted reproduction, and GC services. When discussing fertility benefits with your company, share that to be truly inclusive of all paths to parenthood, their fertility benefit should include support for IVF, IUI, donor-assisted reproduction, GC services, and adoption.

    Your HR team may also be under the impression that fertility benefits are too expensive, especially if your company is on the smaller side. While some large companies do make a significant investment in fertility benefits, solutions like Carrot Fertility also offer flexible options that can expand as a company grows.

    Step 4: Consider finding allies.
    There’s power in numbers, so if you can, consider enlisting other employees when you make your request. If your company has employee resource groups (ERGs), they can be a great liaison between employees and HR teams. ERGs are employee-led groups of individuals with a shared identity or experience. Some common ERGs include:

    • Culture, race, and ethnicity
    • People with disabilities
    • Women
    • Religion or faith
    • Gender identity
    • Sexual orientation
    • Parenting

    If your company doesn’t have ERGs, another option is to join forces with a co-worker who agrees that fertility and family-forming benefits are important — even if they’re personally not going through a family-forming journey. Surveys show that when companies offer fertility benefits, just knowing they’re available boosts morale even for those who aren’t planning to grow their families.

    Finding an egg donor or GC takes time, money, and patience. Employers can help by providing fertility benefits that are inclusive of all paths to parenthood. It can be intimidating to start the conversation, but advocating for fertility benefits at your company could mean that both you and your colleagues can access the family-forming care and services you need.

    About Carrot Fertility: Carrot Fertilityis the leading global fertility benefits provider for employers and health plans, built to support people through their entire family-forming fertility journey. If your employer offers Carrot Fertility, you have access to discounts with Donor Concierge/Tulip. Want to request Carrot at your company? Fill out our request form and we’ll be happy to reach out to your HR team on your behalf.

    Should surrogates get the COVID Vaccine? blog/should-surrogates-get-the-covid-vaccine Thu, 26 Aug 2021 00:00:00 -0400 Last year, the coronavirus brought fertility clinics to a halt and drastically changed procedures for fertility treatments, birth, and more. Now as the Delta variant prompts new preparations and conversations about safety, more hopeful parents and surrogates alike have COVID vaccine questions.

    When it comes to third-party fertility, intended parents are getting a helping hand in having a child. This can get tricky when complicated subjects like vaccination come up, and there are multiple opinions at play. How do you navigate COVID vaccination during surrogacy? Should surrogates get the COVID vaccine? Is the COVID vaccine safe for pregnancy? We’re answering your questions.

    Some surrogates are concerned about vaccination
    Surrogates are providing a huge gift to intended parents by carrying their child, and none of them take the responsibility lightly. Surrogacy requires in-depth health information, strict screenings, frequent doctor’s visits, and legal contracts. Every woman who moves forward as a surrogate is committed to the process.

    We’ve encountered several surrogates who do not want the COVID vaccine. Some of them are concerned that it may affect their health. Many are concerned that it could affect the health of the baby they are carrying. Carrying someone else’s baby is a big responsibility, and we understand why surrogates may be cautious of anything that could affect that process. Meanwhile, many intended parents prefer a vaccinated woman to carry their child, because they don’t want their surrogate to fall seriously ill.

    COVID-19 risks and pregnancy
    According to the CDC, COVID-19 infection presents a danger to pregnant women. “Pregnant and recently pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 compared to nonpregnant women,” says the report. “Additionally, pregnant women with COVID-19 are at increased risk for preterm birth and might have an increased risk of other adverse pregnancy outcomes.”

    These risks are the reason why many intended parents hope to find a vaccinated surrogate – for her safety and the safety of the child. Luckily, these dangers are preventable, thanks to the COVID vaccine.

    The COVID vaccine and reproduction
    But does the vaccine have an effect on pregnancy or reproductive health? According to experts, there is “no plausible reason — no medical or scientific mechanism — for this vaccine to interact with a woman’s reproductive organs or have any interaction with an egg that’s been released or fertilized.” The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), “remains steadfast” and committed to vaccination, stating that “COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for women who are contemplating pregnancy or who are pregnant to minimize risks to themselves and their pregnancy. ASRM also released a recent study confirming that there is no indication that the Covid-19 vaccine could cause female sterility.

    Here at Donor Concierge, we continue to encounter surrogates and intended parents who are concerned about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines. So where did this worry come from? According to experts at Johns Hopkins, misinformation spread that confused the COVID spike protein and a protein involved in placenta growth. This “false report said that getting the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight this different spike protein and affect her fertility.” However, the experts explained that the Coronavirus spike protein and the spike protein involved in placenta development during pregnancy "are completely different, and getting the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect the fertility of women who are seeking to become pregnant, including through in vitro fertilization methods.”

    The COVID vaccine and pregnancy
    Information on vaccine safety for pregnant women has been harder to find than for the general population. According to the CDC, the way the vaccines work in the body means they “are unlikely to pose a risk for people who are pregnant.” The CDC also noted “limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people.”

    This limited data was due to the fact that pregnant women were excluded from initial clinical trials of the COVID vaccine. Since then, though, more data has become available around COVID vaccines and pregnant women. Over 130,000 women in the U.S. who received the COVID-19 vaccine while pregnant or breastfeeding have joined the V-safe registry. Initial findings from that registry show no safety concerns from the vaccine.

    How to talk about vaccination
    The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating, and we understand why there is fear and tension around the subject. When it comes to tricky topics like this, communication is key. Your surrogate’s agency and your Donor Concierge case manager will act as a liaison for this discussion, so that both sides can voice their opinions.

    “We are seeing a lot of surrogate candidates who do not want to get vaccinated,” says Gloria Li, Program Director. Meanwhile, many intended parents are requesting that they match with a gestational carrier who HAS had the vaccine. "Our goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page," Gloria continued, "which means that it may take a little longer to find a good fit." Intended parents can’t make a surrogate get vaccinated, obviously – it is a personal decision that each individual must make.

    The COVID vaccine and surrogacy contracts
    Lila Seif, attorney at New Family Fertility Law, weighed in on the legal decisions involved in surrogacy and COVID vaccines. “If a Gestational Carrier does not wish to receive the vaccine, she cannot be forced to do so,” Lila said. “However, Intended Parents can absolutely require that they only match with a vaccinated Gestational Carrier, and this is a critical factor to consider when matching the parties. If a Gestational Carrier agreed in the contract to receive the vaccine and later refused, this again could not be forced upon her. However, to the extent that her breach of that term caused damage, she theoretically would be responsible. For this reason, it's recommended that if vaccination is important to a particular Intended Parent, they should be matched with a Gestational Carrier who is in fact already vaccinated.”

    As for the contracts? While both parties are reviewing contracts, Lila recommends “to be very clear with the matching agency on their position regarding Covid lifestyle issues, including vaccination status, social distancing considerations, and other relevant factors.” She walks her clients through concerns, and asks them to “discuss the medical risks with their trusted physician so they can better explain their position and concerns with a matching agency.” With her gestational carrier clients, she also “reviews the contract in detail about these issues to be sure they are comfortable.”

    Remember it’s a team effort
    In the surrogacy process, the pregnancy becomes a team effort. So intended parents and surrogates need to be on the same team! Both of you are bringing this child into the world, and everyone’s opinion matters. Knowing where you stand on key issues like vaccination will help you decide whether a candidate would be the right surrogate for you. Lila agrees with this, explaining that the goal with surrogacy contracts is to “come to a fair agreement that makes all parties comfortable.”

    We hope this helped as you navigate through surrogacy during the time of COVID-19. Remember to listen openly, communicate clearly, and keep in mind that your surrogacy journey needs to be a team effort. Good luck!

    How can I bond with my baby during surrogacy? blog/how-can-i-bond-with-my-baby-during-surrogacy Wed, 18 Aug 2021 00:00:00 -0400 We’ve all seen the posts, tips and highlight reels describing the magical experience that is pregnancy. Many hopeful parents beginning a surrogacy journey may have feelings of uncertainty or inadequacy because they don’t fit the typical narrative. But trust us, these feelings are normal for all parents – especially parents taking a path they may never have expected. If you’re wondering how to best bond with your baby during surrogacy, we’re sharing our best advice.

    Emotional support
    First and foremost, a surrogacy journey is unexpected for most couples. Whether you’ve suffered through infertility struggles, or simply do not have a uterus to carry a child, most parents don’t know the surrogacy process until they start their journey. Worries about the process are totally normal, but it can be incredibly helpful to speak with a support professional to navigate your concerns. Specialized fertility therapists have experience walking parents through the fears that come with surrogacy, and are a great resource if you feel in over your head.

    Open communication
    One of the best ways you can be present for your baby during this journey is to be there for your surrogate. Keep in mind that there is a fine line between supportive and overbearing, and the last thing you want to do is stress out your surrogate, so it is important to plan your communication ahead of time. When you begin your surrogacy journey, make sure you lay out what you want your communication to look like and ensure all parties are comfortable. This could mean weekly video calls, text or email communications, attending medical appointments, or even using apps or devices to connect more with your baby during development. Laying out these plans beforehand will make everyone involved feel prepared and connected during pregnancy.

    Connect with tech
    We know it can feel strange to go through your pregnancy journey with someone else being actually pregnant. By now, hopefully you’ve emotionally prepared for the surrogacy journey and have built a solid plan with your partner, your surrogate and all needed medical professionals. If you want to try out creative ways to be “present” as your child grows during pregnancy, there are a few tools and tricks you can use.
    Studies have shown that babies can recognize music and voices that they heard in utero – and there are ways to mimic this effect, even from afar. “Belly headphones” or “bump headphones” allow you to play music or recordings to your baby. If your surrogate agrees, you could share your favorite songs or even recordings of your own voice to play for your baby. You could even record yourself reading your favorite books, singing lullabies, and more.

    Parenting is the real connection
    Your worries during surrogacy are valid, but we want to remind you that the most important thing during pregnancy is that your baby is healthy. Tech tools and tips for connection during pregnancy are all well and good, but the most important bonding will happen after your baby arrives. We’ve worked with countless parents who felt a sense of “imposter syndrome” during surrogacy, but soon realized the connection that truly mattered was parenting their child.
    If you’re concerned about bonding during your surrogacy journey, we encourage you to work with a counselor, communicate openly with all parties, and use whatever tools or tips make everyone feel comfortable. But don’t worry – you will have plenty of time to connect as you raise your child. Whether you carried the pregnancy does not make you any less of a parent!

    How do I feed my surrogate baby? blog/how-do-i-feed-my-surrogate-baby Sun, 01 Aug 2021 00:00:00 -0400 August marks National Breastfeeding Awareness month, a month dedicated to celebrating breastfeeding and the health benefits that go along with it.

    We absolutely support breastfeeding and condemn the stigma that mothers and fathers get for simply feeding their children. However, not everyone has the ability to breastfeed, and we have received many questions about feeding over the years from our clients. What happens if your baby was born via surrogacy? Can you breastfeed a surrogacy baby? What are the feeding options for parents using a surrogate? What formula is best for a surrogacy baby?

    At Donor Concierge, we are committed to supporting all parents through their family building journey, and our team walks clients through each of these considerations. Our Private Client team provides bespoke journey management, supporting clients through pregnancy, birth and beyond. All in all, we have quite a bit of experience finding the best feeding options for our clients.

    Want to know how to feed your surrogacy baby? Let’s go over your options.

    What are the options?
    There are several options for feeding your baby: donated breast milk, and formula. Believe it or not, all of these options are possible for parents via surrogacy. Surrogacy may complicate your feeding options, but you do have options. Many parents don’t consider feeding during their surrogacy journey – and that’s okay! We know there are much more pressing concerns through the process, but we also don’t want parents to reach the feeding stage and regret not planning ahead. So let’s get into the options.

    Many parents actually end up choosing breast milk for their baby, through an outlined agreement with their surrogate. Contractual provisions in the gestational carrier agreement can outline the terms for pumping and shipping breast milk.

    Donor milk is another option that parents unable to breastfeed often turn to. There are accredited milk banks where parents with excess milk can donate after passing strict screenings. Parents unable to breastfeed can then sign up on a list to receive breast milk as it becomes available. This is a great option for many parents, but we urge you to do your research and to choose an HMBANA accredited bankto avoid scams or poorly screened milk.

    Last is baby formula. Many babies in this day and age are formula fed, and it is a great option for parents of all kinds. This is another good option for surrogacy parents, since it is much more readily available and reliable.

    Which is best for my baby?
    We can’t answer that for you. Only you can! Every family is different, and every family has different needs. The best option for you will be the one that best fits your specific needs. To figure out what those are, we recommend doing your research and talking through some important questions. Is your surrogate open to pumping breast milk? What is your budget? Are you able to find donated sources that you trust and get on their lists? Do you have any concerns about formula?

    Knowing your own priorities and individual situation will help you decide. If you have the budget and your surrogate is happy to pump, then breast milk might be a great option for you. If you can find a great baby formula brand that fits your budget, then that might be your best option. And we will be clear – it is not necessarily an “either/or” situation! Many parents take a hybrid approach and use multiple sources to feed their babies.

    Preparation is key
    As with any important decision, preparation is important! As we discussed before, receiving breast milk from your surrogate is an option, but it needs to be outlined in a contractual provision in your gestational carrier agreement. This provision will establish the flat fee for pumping (your surrogate’s compensation), shipping costs, and more. If you strongly prefer breast milk for your baby, it is important to discuss the issue early to ensure your gestational carrier is on board. Talk it through and come to an agreement that is right for everyone.

    If you are looking into donor milk, there are a few considerations. Milk banks require a prescription from your doctor, and it is a good idea to look into several accredited milk banks to get on their lists. These lists are prioritized by infant health, so high-risk babies will be first in line. It is definitely possible for healthy parents and babies to receive donor milk, but milk banks often have high demand and low supply. There are also for-profit milk banks to consider, but commercial milk banks’ screening protocols often don’t meet HMBANA’s requirements.

    You will also want to do your due diligence when choosing formula. Whether you choose one of the above options or not, you may use baby formula to supplement your feeding. Or you may go straight to formula. Regardless, you will want to seek out a high quality formula option that fits your price point. (Pssst - we will have more to share on this soon!)

    There’s no wrong answer
    Here’s the thing - there’s no wrong feeding option. As long as you do your research and choose a safe, high-quality feeding option for your baby, you have chosen correctly. We know this topic can be scary, and there is undue pressure and stigma around all types of feeding that is absolutely undeserved. We support feeding of all kinds, as long as everyone involved is happy and healthy. Pick the right option for you, and remember that how your baby is fed does not equal how much you love your child. Good luck!

    Brian and Jerry: Our Egg Donor Search blog/brian-and-jerry-our-egg-donor-search Tue, 15 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0400 Brian and Jerry are a Donor Concierge couple who worked with us to find the egg donor of their dreams. We connected with them after they landed in Idaho to undergo retrieval and spoke about their fertility journey, experience with Donor Concierge, and more. We are huge fans of them, and can’t wait to see them grow their family. (If you want to contribute to their building journey, go here!)

    Did you know much about the fertility process beforehand?
    Jerry: I didn’t know much about the process, other than what my parents told me. I was an IVF baby myself – I was a test tube baby! I think that’s why it’s so easy for me to talk about. I wasn’t made the normal way, so this is normal to me.

    What has your journey to build a family been like so far?
    Brian: It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster. We started two years ago and were going to use a known donor, but it didn’t work out.
    Jerry: But it’s okay because we found Donor Concierge, and you all helped us find a donor.
    Brian: Right – during quarantine, I decided I needed to start researching how all this works. I began speaking to lawyers, and we started looking, but Jerry was being picky! I heard about you all on a podcast, and then we signed on with Donor Concierge.
    Jerry: I was a little picky. I wanted to find someone who fit our energy. Since we were meeting this person through their profile, I was hoping your team could find what we were looking for! You guys interpreted it really well, and were able to get us a list of great matches.

    What were you looking for in a donor?
    Jerry: We were initially planning to freeze both our sperm and just trying to find an egg donor that would fit our family. After genetic testing, we decided to go with mine and started looking for a donor that looked more like Brian.
    Brian: He has such strong genes – you should see his family! So we were looking for someone more like me, a blonde blue-eyed egg donor, but we knew we really just wanted someone who would fit our family.

    Genetic testing can bring up difficult emotions. That type of choice is hard. How do you feel about that now?
    Brian: It was emotional. As hard as it was to give that up, I was happy, too. Because the genetics don’t matter, it’s still our child.

    How did our team help support you in your search?
    Brian: Nancy was on top of it. We checked through the donor profiles each night as they were added to our portfolio.
    Jerry: It was awesome – Nancy shared profiles and we let her know what qualities we were leaning towards. Within two weeks we were deciding between our top candidates, and then we were done in three weeks.

    So where are you now in your journey?
    Jerry: We’re cycling with ICRM in Idaho, and they’re awesome. They really wanted to make sure we felt welcome and comfortable flying out here.
    Brian: Our donor is cycling soon, and so far her FSH is through the roof. We’re really excited. It’s going to happen!

    Do you have any advice for hopeful parents who are starting this process?
    Brian: If I could go back and tell myself, I would say: Start with Donor Concierge. Because it’s not easy. Signing up with a ton of agencies or clinics and searching all of them isn’t easy.
    Jerry: No, it’s more stress that you’re putting on yourself. When you’re committing the money to this process, it’s worth it to take the stress off your shoulders. Just do it, because you want it done right.

    Brian and Jerry are fantastic, and we are so happy to have helped them start their family building journey. We’re looking forward to sharing even more of their story with you, and we can’t wait to see them become dads. They are currently fundraising to cover the rest of their family-building process, so if you’d like to support them, their GoFundMe is here!

    Finding A Sperm Donor blog/finding-a-sperm-donor Mon, 14 Jun 2021 00:00:00 -0400 “Today is insemination day! We are so excited and so grateful that we found the perfect donor. We just wanted to write to tell you again just how grateful we are to you both for making this possible, and to let you know that you are in our hearts on this very special day. Thank you.” - Lauren and John

    Words like this mean the world to us. Even after 15 years of helping intended parents start their families, knowing we have found the perfect sperm donor (or perfect egg donor, perfect surrogate… you get the picture!) for our clients never gets old.

    We’re best known for finding the perfect egg donor or top surrogate for our clients, but we
    kickstarted our Sperm Donor Search offering years ago to offer the same value to couples like Lauren and John. Fertility issues are often seen as a “women’s problem,” but infertility affects men and women equally. Often, there are years of “unexplained” fertility issues before couples begin their sperm donor search. And even then, finding the best sperm donor can be difficult!

    In Lauren and John’s case, they realized they needed to pursue sperm donation due to John’s genetic carrier status. When starting a third party fertility cycle, whether donor egg or donor sperm, the first thing you need to do is undergo a series of genetic screening tests. At Donor Concierge, we say that “everyone is a carrier for something.” Often, genetic carrier status is harmless and won’t pass on serious problems or conditions down the line. But we’ve also worked with many hopeful parents who needed to find a sperm donor or egg donor to avoid serious genetic issues.

    After learning more about John’s genetic status, Lauren and John quickly accepted that donor sperm would be part of their path to parenthood.(FYI, if you’re searching for a sperm donor and struggling, that’s totally normal and resources are available!) We got to work right away.

    Lauren and John had done some searching on their own before they came to us to find a sperm donor. They had questions: “Can you see pictures of your sperm donor? Can you see sperm donors’ current photos? How do we choose a sperm donor? Is there a way to get more information on sperm donor profiles?”

    In truth, looking for a sperm donor is different than looking for an egg donor. Sperm donor profiles can be more limited. They often only include baby/early childhood photos and don’t have the videos or long-form answers that give parents a true sense of their donor’s personality. We are committed to finding the absolute best sperm donor candidates for our clients, and luckily have the ability to search all of the FDA-approved sperm banks in the US.

    Lauren and John were looking for a sperm donor that they liked on a personal level and someone who shared physical traits similar to John’s. Tall, blonde, educated sperm donor. Should be easy, right? Well, the search for their top sperm donor was actually a little complicated!

    When Lauren and John were searching on their own, they ran into roadblocks. They found a sperm donor they liked but over a weekend, the donor’s sperm vials were bought by another intended parent. They were hoping to find someone with a robust history of academic success - John is a civil engineer with an Ivy-league education but they also needed to address some specific genetic health issues that were discovered during Lauren’s genetic carrier testing.

    A Donor Concierge sperm search consultation

    We started by having a video consultation with J and L, to get to know them and for them to get to know us. Their case manager Cynthia, an expert in donor sperm searches, talked to them about what they were hoping to find in their sperm donor, what traits would help them feel connected to him and where they were in the journey so far.

    Giving up the genetic connection to a child and pursuing sperm donation can be fraught with complicated emotions. For men in particular, it’s not something that is often talked about.
    For John, a family history of a major illness meant that any child he produced is at risk of severe health issues. This was something that he and Lauren discussed. They decided that by using a sperm donor, they could avoid this issue and still have the family they’d been planning since they met.

    Finding a Sperm Donor

    Lauren and John were working with Cynthia Lim, one of our sperm donor specialists, who carefully reviewed all of the sperm donor profiles listed with our partner sperm banks. This meant going through hundreds of profiles and creating a portfolio of sperm donors that meet the requirements of our hopeful parents. We look at everything: genetic carrier status, ethnicity, height, academic achievement. Because we know our clients so well, we can very quickly identify sperm donors who could be the best sperm donor for our client families.

    We presented 49 different candidate profiles to Lauren and John.

    Lauren and John went forward with the best sperm donor for their family, with the confidence that they’d done everything they could to choose the best match.

    Now we wait for the results of Lauren’s pregnancy test… sticky thoughts as they say!

    Finding A Super Donor blog/finding-a-super-donor Wed, 17 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400 Many of our male couples want to find a donor who produces a large number of eggs so both husbands can be bio dads. This is a common practice and it can work out very well. However, if you have very strict criteria when it comes to the type of person you’re looking for in a donor, you may be putting too many restrictions on your search.

    There are some basics you need to remember about the egg donation:

    a. A women’s cycle fluctuates from month to month
    b. Even if she is a repeat donor there is no way to truly predict how many eggs and embryos she will produce in any given cycle
    c. Donors self-inject follicle stimulating hormones which cause them to produce more eggs than they would in a normal cycle. Your doctor will carefully calculate how much the donor should inject. It must be done carefully to not over or under stimulated the donor. Over stimulating also known as hyper stimulation can at it’s worst, be life threatening. While it may produce more eggs that doesn’t always equally more high quality embryos
    d. It may be to better reserve your donor for a second cycle should her first not produce the desired number of eggs

    We asked Dr. Melvin Thornton his thoughts on how male couples should assess whether a donor is a good fit for them.
    “I try to discourage split egg donor cycles unless the male couple is using one sperm source.  This type of couple will need at least 20-25 mature eggs to work with, especially if they are doing PGS, in order to have enough embryos for both of them to be biological father's.  The rule of thumb to remember is that you get one good blastocyst for every 5 eggs on average.”
    “So you can see the number of usable embryos quickly goes down when you are looking at a male couple doing a split donor egg cycle and two sperm sources as well as PGS,” says Dr. Thornton. Add to that specific criteria such as finding an ivy-league donor, a tall egg donor or someone from a specific ethnic background, and suddenly you’ve narrowed your possible options to an impossibly small sample of donor candidates.

    Most importantly, a twin pregnancy is considered high risk. If you’re thinking of a twin cycle please discuss this with your doctor in advance. Be aware that many surrogates would prefer a single embryo transfer due to the potential risk to themselves and the babies.

    In the long run it may be less costly to have one donor do two cycles, and two singleton births rather than one twin birth that could include scary and expensive neonatal intensive care, a four times higher chance of cerebral palsy, and higher level of learning delays.