Friday, November 12, 2010

A View to a Search

I can't believe it has been 8 months since we have started this blog! Within that time, our research into the various IVF/Surrogacy clinics has given us a beautiful VIEW from Northern to Southern India.

Here is a SNEAK PEEK into the locations of some of the clinics we are strongly researching and some of the unique landmarks within each city:

New Delhi, India

Baha'i Lotus Temple

Mumbai, Maharashtra India

Victoria Terminus

Ahmedabad, Gujarat India

Ashkardam Temple

Anand, Gujarat India

Anand Milk Union Limited Complex

Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh India


Chennai, Tamil Nadu India

Makka Masjid

Stay Tuned...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Why Not Just Adopt?

Let me preface this post by saying I think adoption is a wonderful thing. It can be rewarding to the adoptive parents and the child being adopted, however adoption is NOT an easy process. Domestic adoptions, adoptions through foster care and international adoptions all require many tedious steps and an insurmountable amount of patience.

International Adoption
The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption is an international adoption agreement between participating countries on best adoption procedures. In order to adopt a child from a Hague Convention country, you must be found eligible to adopt within the United States. The form, I-800A, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country, needs to be completed and properly filed. Once found eligible to adopt, your ASP will send your I-800A along with your adoption home study to the foreign country's central adoption authority. They will then review the information and determine if you are eligible to adopt under their country's law.If found eligible, the country will send an Article 16 report, which is an official report on a child's psychological, social, and medical history. 4.Once you have accepted the adoption referral, you must apply for the approval to adopt the child via form I-800, Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. Once this is submitted, your ASP or you must submit a visa application to a Consular Officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate. The form I-800 will also be reviewed again by the foreign country. The above steps must be completed before moving forward with the finalization of the international adoption. This process will vary from country to country.

Domestic Adoption
While domestic adoption rates in the United States have declined since the 1970s, the number of adoptions in the country still number 25, 000 to 30,000 a year, a figure which represents an average of 19 000 more than international adoption rates.Eligibility requirements for domestic adoption vary from state to state. Birth families are becoming increasingly involved in the type of home into which their child will be adopted. This is known as an open adoption. Because of this, parents under 25 and over 45 will generally have a longer wait; also, couples and people with smaller families usually get selected more often than singles or families with several children. Domestic adoption is less expensive than international adoption because adopting parents don’t have to pay for expensive travel costs or foreign documents. Also, with a domestic adoption, your chance of adopting a newborn is higher, whereas in international adoptions children are generally placed from orphanages and so they tend to be a little older. On the other hand, domestic adoption is more difficult. Unlike in international adoption cases, where children are generally more needy, domestic adoption has more selective criteria, making it harder to adopt a child.

Single Parent Adoption
Agencies and institutions may give singles a hard time with approving their request for adoption. Some agencies have certain policies in regards to single adoptions. Meanwhile, other agencies do not accept single applicants at all. Single males who adopt children encounter more difficulties as compared to female singles. Men have difficulty adopting a child both within the country and overseas. Some nations overseas may accept female applicants who are single, but will not consider a male applicant. When rejecting male applicants, experts refer to a child’s need for nurture. Females are considered as nurturing, and capable of caring for a child. Meanwhile, suspicion is applied to the male who wishes to adopt a child. Isn't it ironic that we want more men to step up to the plate and take care of their children (aka not be deadbeat dads)but yet we don't allow them to adopt.

Same Sex Couple Adoptions
In a society that that deems that heterosexual couples are the norm, it is no wonder that same sex couples have difficulty adopting. What is really sad is that there are a lot of children who need homes and remain unadopted because of society's crazy stereotypes and pre-concieved notions about gay men and lesbians. Countries overseas will not let same sex couples adopt, they have to adopt as a "single man" or a "single woman". In a recent interview with The New York Times Senator John McCain appeared to imply that it is preferable for parent-less children to go un-adopted than be adopted by gay couples. So a child should grow up homeless or in a group home with no one to nurture them or with no family until the age of 18 once they are no longer a orphan/ward of their state? I think not Mr. McCain. Even though Florida is the only U.S. state that still has a legal ban on gay adoption, it is very difficult for same sex couples to adopt because the laws in most US states are NOT clear on this issue.

Singles/Couples who Have Filed for Bankruptcy
Being in the midst of a recession, it is no surprise many couple have or will have to file for bankruptcy. If you have a bankruptcy on your credit it may or may not impact your ability to adopt depending on the agency. Adoption agencies will go through your financial background with a fine tooth comb and "get all up in your business." Some adoption agencies may have no problem considering your application so long as a sufficient amount of time has passed since the bankruptcy -- as with mortgages and other loans, you should assume that "sufficient" time is at least two years.

Singles/Couples Who Have Been Convicted of a Misdemeanor or Felony
Criminal Background checks on all adoptive parents are required period. Unfortunately a lot of agencies frown upon and will not accept applicants who have a criminal record even if you made a mistake back in the days when you were "young and dumb." International agencies are very strict when it comes to this and I only found one domestic agency during my research that will let applicants apply with a criminal record because they let the birth mother's pick the parents.

Adoption Costs
Click the picture :)

As you can see adoption is a valid avenue towards starting a family however, it is a journey wrought with many twists and turns. I applaud anyone who has had the patience and sheer determination to go through this process and achieve their happy ending to becoming a parent. My hope is that people will understand that as wonderful as adoption is it is NOT the best avenue for everyone, and Surrogacy offers a different viable avenue for singles and couples who otherwise would not have been able to adopt.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Am The Face of Miscarriage

I am one of the 2,000 faces affected by pregnancy/infant loss everyday. Please go to to show your support and join the movement.

Today was named National Miscarriage/Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day back in 2007. Today, I remember my sweet angel babies who were taken too soon and all the other babies and families this horrible phenomenon effects. I Am The's goal is to bring light to Miscarriage & Pregnancy loss, instead of making a taboo topic that no one wants to talk about.

So tonight, at 7PM CST, I will be lighting a candle for my angel babies in heaven while saying a prayer for those others who were gone too soon.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

INSPIRATION: The Story of Hannah...

Last week at Bible Study I spoke to one of my ministers about my struggles Trying To Conceive and she prayed with me and recommended that I read and study 1 Samuel in the Bible that discusses the story of Hannah....

I wanted to share this story because it truly INSPIRED me and even though it may seem like there is no light at the end of our journey, if we keep on keeping on we will reach our goal of becoming a parent. It may not be how we planned it, but one way or another by faith we will get there...

Hannah, the Mother of the Prophet Samuel

Hannah was married to an Israelite man, a Levite named Elkanah. In those days God allowed men to have more than one wife and often there were bad feelings among the wives. This was the case in Elkanah's family. His other wife, Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. She was so sad and desperately wanted to have a child. She even refused to eat. Peninnah provoked and aggravated her all the time and made her life miserable.

Every year the family went to Shiloh to worship. Elkanah saw Hannah crying and refusing to eat and he spoke to her gently and tried to comfort her. Hannah got up and went to the tabernacle by herself to worship the Lord. She prayed and asked Him to give her a son. She said if He would give her this child she would make a vow to give him back to the Lord and no razor would ever cut his hair. This was called the Nazarite vow. Hannah was praying silently and her lips were moving, but no sound was coming from her mouth. Eli, the high priest and judge, when he saw her doing this, thought she had been drinking alchohol and was drunk. He confronted her about it and told her to put away the wine. She told him she was not drunk, but was sorrowful and pouring out her heart to the Lord. After she told him her story he understood what was happening. He told her to go in peace because the Lord was going to answer her prayer and give her a child.

Hannah believed the words of the priest Eli. She was a changed person. No longer was she sad. She was a happy, joyful person because she knew in her heart that she would have a son just as the priest had said. She began to eat her meals. If Peninnah taunted her or made fun of her it made no difference because she knew she also would soon be a mother.
The family returned to their home in Ramah and in time Hannah did have a baby boy. She named him Samuel, a word which means "heard by God". God had heard her prayer and answered it.

When it came time for the family to go to Shiloh the next year to worship, Hannah stayed home with her young son. She said, "Not until the child is weaned; then I will take him, that he may appear before the Lord and remain there forever." Later when Samuel was a little older his mother took him with her to worship. She also took sacrifices to offer. When she saw Eli she told him she was the woman who had prayed there earlier. She left Samuel at the tabernacle to be raised by Eli the priest. Samuel would be dedicated to the Lord all his life. She kept her promise to return him to Shiloh to serve the Lord.

While Samuel was in Shiloh ministering to the Lord Hannah did not forget about her child. Oh no, he was on her mind all the time, and every year as he grew taller and taller she came back and brought him a robe that would be just the right size for him. God also blessed her with MORE children. She and Elkanah had three more sons and two daughters.

Hannah's PRAYER

What we Learn from Hannah

We learn from Hannah the value of persistence in prayer. Hannah did not give up. She continued to pray. God will not withhold anything which would be good for us. Sometimes we cannot determine what would be best for us, but God knows. Jesus said if a child asks a father for bread he will not be given a stone, and if he asks for fish he will not be given a snake. God is our father and He will give good things to those who ask Him.

We also see the dedication and unselfishness of Hannah when she returned her young son to the service of God. We must be generous with the things God gives us and willing to share with others and let those things be used for God's glory.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Long Time No Post...

While continuing our research on all of the clinics in India, Brian and I have had quite the rough 4 months. We had frozen embryos left over from our IVF in February and underwent a Frozen Embryo Transfer in May.

The Good News: We got PREGNANT
The Bad News: I MISCARRED once again at 6 weeks and this makes 3 MISCARRIAGES in less than 12 months

In our hearts we know we are coming to the end of our journey with my own eggs and moving closer to Surrogacy in India. As a woman, I just had to give it my all before moving on to a Gestational Carrier. In my heart of hearts I am at peace with my journey as we continue to move forward....

Saturday, April 24, 2010

National Infertility Awareness Week in the USA

National Infertility Awareness Week is a movement to raise awareness about the disease of infertility which affects 7.3 million Americans and of course this disease impacts couples all over the world....

It doesn't matter if you are male or female. It doesn't matter if you suffer from PCOS, Endometriosis, Azoospermia, Poor Sperm Morphology, Autoimmune Disorder, Premature Ovarian Failure, Uterine Fibroids or other Medical Conditions. It doesn't matter whether you are undergoing treatment using Timed Intercourse with Clomid, IUI with Injectable Medications, IVF, Donor Egg IVF, Donor Sperm or Gestational Surrogacy. We are all bound by a common thread and desire to become parents. We are one Community and Together We're Better....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Celebrities and Gestational Surrogacy

Celebrity Gestational Surrogacy has become a common place in the world of Hollywood, and in my opinion is bringing some much needed attention and acceptance to the infertility/gestational surrogacy communities.

According to the National Survey of Family Growth, CDC 1995, approximately 6.1 million women and their partners in the United States are affected by infertility, i.e., 10% of the total reproductive-age population. Gestational Surrogacy is a wonderful option for couples who face various infertility problems. Some common reasons for using a Gestational Surrogate/Carrier are: the absence or malformation of the uterus, a known medical condition that makes it impossible for the woman to carry a pregnancy, multiple failed IVF's with healthy embryos and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss. Gestational Surrogacy is a succesful infertility treatment that allows couples to have their own genetic child.

Now here are some Celebrities that have used Gestational Surrogates:

Angela Bassett & Courtney Vance

Angela & her husband Courtney went through 7 years of failed fertility treatments including IVF before turning to The Center for Surrogate Parenting in Encino, California. They were blessed with boy/girl twins Bronwyn Golden & Slater Josiah.

Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick
Since having given birth to her 6 year old son Parker, Sarah had been unable to carry a subsequent succesful pregancy to term. Sarah & her husband Matthew turned to Gestational Surrogacy and were blessed with twin girls.

Marisa Jaret Winokur & Judah Miller
After surviving a battle with cervical & uterine cancer, Marisa & Judah turned to a surrogate to concieve their son Zev. In an article for People Magazine Marisa encouraged others who are struggling to concieve by stating, "You can find a way to do this. If you want to have a baby, you can adopt, there’s in vitro, there’s surrogacy. With my surrogate, its a whole different world. There is no, like, ‘Is she going to change her mind?’ It’s my egg, it’s my biological child…This is the most intense time of my life."

Dennis & Kimberly Quaid
When Dennis' wife Kimberly suffered from at least 5 known miscarriages, they turned to a "Gestational Carrier" as Dennis Quaid likes to say and are now thankful to have twins Thomas Boone and Zoe Grace.

Ricky Martin
Ricky who recently came out on his website for the benefit of his own self-acceptance and his family, had twin sons via a Gestational Surrogate in August 2008.

Katey Sagal & Kurt Sutter
Katey suffered from medical issues after the birth of her two older children from a previous marriage but when she married Kurt Sutter who did not have any children of his own, they turned to a Gestational Surrogate and baby Esme' Louise was born.

Laurie Metcalf & Matt Roth
After the birth of their son Will 11 years earlier, Laurie & her husband turned to Gestational Surrogacy to concieve their daughter May in July 2005. Laurie also has an older daughter named Zoe from a previous marriage.

Kelsey & Camille Grammer
Kelsey & his wife Camille turned to the Center for Surrogate Parenting when they were unable to conceive a child together becasue she suffers from a form of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which her doctors said could present serious health risks if she attempted to give birth. They decided to turn to a Gestational Surrogate to help them build their family. Their daughter Mason Oliva was born in 2001 and their son Jude Gordon was born in 2004.

Chris Meloni & Sherman Williams
Chris & his wife had both daughter Sophia and son Dante with the help of a Gestational Surrogate.

Joan Lunden & Jeff Konigsberg
Joan has three grown daughters from her first marriage concieved naturally. When she remarried in 2000 she and Jeff wanted children together becasue he had none. After 5 failed IVF attempts, Joan and Jeff turned to Gestational Surrogacy and have been blessed with two sets of twins. Joan has become a spokesperson for Gestational Surrogacy.

Taylor Dane
Songstress Taylor Dayne embarked on her journey toward single parenthood in 2001, after her twins, Levi and Astaria, arrived via a Gestational Surrogate. Taylor used her eggs and had a friend donate the sperm.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Our Immune Testing is Done

The Immune Testing
These are the tests that we had done: Natural Killer Cell Assay (White Blood Cells) , Th1/Th2 Cytokine Assay (T Cells), Reproductive Immunophenotype (Lymphocyte Cells), DQ Alpha/HLA Antigen (Genotype Match between male and female partners). It is believed that when you have these types of immune issues your body can look at your embryo as a foreign object and reject the preganancy. These tests are costly and are not covered by insurance. There are some RE's who believe in immune testing and some who don't. My RE does believe in immune testing. Although I was not happy about the price of the tests, I can say that I have peace of mind. On a positive note, all of our Immune Test results came back NORMAL .

What's Next
Our RE wants us to try a FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer). The Frozen cycle is covered by our insurance so we have no problem trying. I am waiting on AF so I can go on BCP's. I feel much more relaxed for this upcoming cycle and I am happy that Frozen cycles are not as stressful on the body and mimic natural cycles more closely because your body is not being pumped with a whole bunch of injectable meds. I am thankful we do have frozen embryos and I have decided to Let go and Let God... If this cycle works great if not it's okay we are still saving our money and researching about Gestational Surrogacy in India.

Until Next Time,

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why India?

U.S.= Only for the Wealthy?
In the U.S. the cost of Gestational Surrogacy can be daunting. In the U.S. Intended Parents must cover the costs of a Agency Fess (unless they use an Independent Surrogate or are blessed enough to have a family member or friend carry for them) Surrogate Fees, Fresh IVF cycle or Frozen Embryo Transfer, Medical Expenses, Travel Expenses, Legal Fees, Maternity Clothing and have extra money in escrow in case there are any complications that arise from the birth. Total Price Tag: Anywhere upwards of $70,000 +

My grandparents are from Panama and I have Panamanian blood, so naturally when I found out that Panama was joining the commercial Surrogacy route through Planet Hospital I was excited to do some research. The Planet Hospital program in Panama is through Dr. Mario Vega who is the Medical Director of the Punta Pacifica Reproductive Center. Pros: I am part Panamanian, I speak Spanish, Panama is only a 2 hour flight from the U.S., Dr. Vega is highly educated and did a Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship in New York. Cons: The Surrogacy program in Panama is brand spanking new and I am not feeling being anybodies guinea pig, and finally the cost through Planet Hospital is $36, 500 for me since I am using my own eggs.

Thailand is currently trying to give India a run for it's money in the world of commercial Surrogacy. The prices seem comparable to that of India so I thought it was worth doing some research as any consumer should do to become informed. Pros: Thailand is a beautiful country, plane tickets are slightly cheaper than flying to India, Surrogates in Thailand tend to be very healthy because of their diet. Cons: Surrogacy in Thailand is not that established, the legal issues of Surrogates are not that clear, many potential Intended Parents in forums I came across have complained about agencies/brokers trying to take advantage of them, I could only find information on one doctor with great reviews for IVF and two hospitals that are known for specializing in Surrogacy.

The Ever Growing World of Pro Surrogacy in India
Commercial Gestational Surrogacy became legalized in India in 2002. The cost comes to about $25,000, roughly a third of the typical price in the United States. That includes the medical procedures; payment to the surrogate mother, which is often, but not always, done through the clinic; plus air tickets and hotels for two trips to India (one for the fertilization and a second to collect the baby). Pros: India is known for having skilled medical professionals. The Indian clinics are making it even more convenient for International Intended Parents knowing that at times the lifestyles of other cultures can be quite hectic. You can start your IVF cycles in the U.S. with your own fertility doctor so your stay in India is minimal. If your husband can't be there you can ship or carry his sperm to India or if you guys have frozen embryos you can ship those to India as well. Surrogacy Law is governed by contracts and under guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research, surrogate mothers sign away their rights to any children. A surrogate’s name is not even on the birth certificate. Surrogates help foreign couples achieve the possibility of having a child biologically related to both or one of the Intended Parents and the Surrogates are able to earn an income to provide a better way of life for their families. Cons: Once the baby or babies are born, the process to bring them back to the United States in our case and getting their U.S. can be quite overwhelming. On top of getting a Passport and an Exit Visa for your baby you have to fill out various forms at the U.S. Consulate and this process can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Biblical Aspects of Surrogacy

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD. Psalms 113:9

The ideology and practice of Surrogacy is not something new. Surrogacy dates back to ancient Biblical times. Today parents who desire a child but for whatever reason can't carry a pregnancy to term have the option of using a Gestational Carrier/Surrogate. In Gestational Surrogacy the eggs from another woman, the Intended Mother are implanted in the Surrogate along with the Intended Father's sperm. Gestational Surrogacy requires the use of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) but it gives couples the opportunity to both have a genetic link to their child. Of course during Biblical times and before God gave man the know how to invent IVF Traditional Surrogacy was the norm and the Surrogate would use her own eggs in conjunction with the sperm of the Intended Father.

One of the oldest examples of Surrogacy in the Bible can be seen in the book of Genisis with Abraham, who fathered a child by the servant woman Hagar. Genesis 16 talks about how it was his wife Sarah's idea because she was not able to bear children, and quotes her as telling Abraham “And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.” (Gen 16:2, KJV). Of course we know the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar was not without trials and tribulations. Sarah became jealous of Hagar and Hagar did not want to give baby Ishmael to Sarah to raise with Abraham. Ironically these are some of the issues seen in Traditional surrogacy today.

Another example of Surrogacy in the Bible comes from Jacob and his wives Rachel and Leah. After Leah had given birth to four sons, Rachel remained barren. She became jealous of Leah and gave Jacob her maidservant, Bilhah, to be a surrogate mother for her. "she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her." (Gen 30:3, KJV)Bilhah gave birth to two sons: Dan and Naphtali. Of course we know that story had its trials and tribulations also.

Another Biblical precedent for Surrogacy can be seen where Mosaic Law provided for levirate marriage, where a man would impregnate his dead brother’s widow and bear children on his behalf (Deuteronomy 25:5 ff.; prefigured in Genesis 38, and God punished Onan for his refusal to do so; valid in Christ’s day (Mark 12:19)). Ruth was a surrogate mother for Naomi in a sense, because Ruth gave birth to Obed (fathered by Ruth’s husband Boaz) who was called ‘a son born to Naomi’.

The most magnificent example of Surrogacy in the Bible, and one that did turn out well, is Jesus Christ. The gospel tells us that Jesus was born of a virgin, fathered by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:26-35). That scenario clearly puts Mary in the role of being a surrogate mother for Jesus.

The struggle for many Christian couples who are infertile is what does God's Laws say about reproductive technology and Surrogacy? Many pastors are against Traditional Surrogacy because they consider it adulterous. However, Modern or Gestational Surrogacy would not be adulterous for Biblical purposes because the intention of the infertile couple would be to use their own egg and sperm and the Surrogate would just be the carrier.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Who are CocoaMasla?

We are just a couple of colour in love from New York City and have been together over 6 years. Through that time we have tried to create the gift of life but it seems that after three years of suffering from multiple miscarriages, chemical pregnancies and failed IVF due to PCOS and Immune issues it was not God's appointed time. I believe God answers prayer and when it seems like one door closes another door opens....

We are blessed to have IVF insurance coverage and we currently have Frozen Embryos. We seem to make good Embryos, but my uterus just does not want to cooperate and carry them. Currently we are undergoing Immune testing before our next IVF cycle just so we can have peace of mind knowing we left no stone unturned in our quest to experience childbirth firsthand. After many years of tears and fears, I have peace of mind that it is okay if I can't carry my own child. I realize that the end result is the most important part of becoming a parent.

There were nights that I cried and cried afraid that there would never be another way for me to have a biological child if I could not carry and then God opened my eyes to the world of Gestational Surrogacy. Initially I looked at Gestational Surrogacy in the US and saw how many celebrities used Gestational Surrogates to conceive. I also saw the price tag and became totally dismayed. Then I came across an article about Surrogacy in India and I talked to Brian about it and we both agreed that we should do some extensive research and penny pinching, and that if I needed a Gestational Carrier that this would be a great option.

So, this is our journey to find out as much as we can about Gestational Surrogacy. We are sure we will run into some inspirational stories along the way and with God's help we will fulfill our dream of becoming parents one way or another...