Common Questions from Parents to Be

Child jumping to father

For many clients considering egg donation, surrogacy, or embryo donation, it may be their first exposure to this field. As you are considering taking the leap into treatment, Forward Fertility is here to answer your questions.

Asking questions shows you care about the details.

Forward Fertility cares about them, too.

If you have a question that is not answered here, please call or email Forward Fertility at: info@forwardfertility.com Your email will be replied to within 1-2 business days.

Common Questions about Gestational Surrogacy

Will our names be on the birth certificate?

That is certainly the goal and in most cases the answer is yes. It entirely depends on the state or country you live in, the state where the surrogate delivers the baby, and the legal preparations you make before the delivery.
Forward Fertility works with attorneys across the U.S. who have specialized in reproductive law so that you are not at risk for any common legal pitfalls and protected as much as possible.

What if the surrogate changes her mind after she is pregnant with our child or tries to keep the baby?

These are common fears people have going into surrogacy. Many safeguards are taken to reduce the likelihood of this happening. In fact, it is the methodical, stepwise screening and attention to detail up front that is done by Forward Fertility, your fertility doctor, the attorneys we work with, and the psychologist that screens the surrogate that minimizes this risk.

As for trying to keep the baby, all Forward Fertility surrogates have already had their own children. Many explicitly state they do not want more children, yet loved being pregnant. Commonly, surrogates could conceive easily without treatment, if they truly wanted another baby. Background checks are done on the surrogate and her partner. All surrogates undergo an in-home interview with Christie before being brought on board with Forward Fertility. The surrogate is also screened by your fertility doctor and a psychologist or mental health professional with experience identifying mental illness. You get to meet the surrogate. Each person along the way is on the lookout for any red flags.

Interestingly, surrogates often have the same question or concern: what if I get pregnant and the parents abandon the baby? Again, highly unlikely given how badly you want and how hard you are working to make this happen.

Can I breastfeed if I use an egg donor or gestational surrogate to have my baby?

Yes. If you use and egg donor, your breast glands do not know the difference between your eggs and donor eggs; they only know you are pregnant and make milk.

Yes. With a gestational carrier, there are strategies you can utilize to coax your breasts into producing milk. You would need to meet with a lactation consultant ahead of time to optimize your body’s response. Forward Fertility will find a lactation consultant in your area to work with you.

If we have found someone to serve as our surrogate, can Forward Fertility still help us with logistics?

Yes, and it is highly suggested. Finding the surrogate you want to work with is a very big and important step. However, it is only the first step of many.
Forward Fertility will help you traverse the legal, medical, and psychosocial details of working with the gestational surrogate for a smooth cycle, pregnancy, and delivery.
Services offered by Forward Fertility:

  • discussing compensation parameters, if any, for the surrogate you have found
  • coordinating medical treatment before and during the pregnancy
  • working with the hospital where the surrogate will deliver to know what options are available to you and how to best meet your needs during the hospital stay
  • assisting with financial and insurance details so you can concentrate on your relationship with your surrogate
  • provide a professional, experienced voice to the conversation when teamwork and compromise between all parties is necessary
Common Questions about Egg Donation

Do I need to pick an egg donor with the same blood type as me? Or, the gestational surrogate?

No, it is not medically necessary that the egg donor and the woman carrying embryos created from that egg donor have the same blood type. You can make your choice based on other characteristics that are important to you.

Where do you find egg donors?

Most egg donors are found on college campuses. Some are stay at home moms. Others are found via referral from a friend who donated her eggs. What makes Forward Fertility egg donors unique is that they are truly educated about the process and know what to expect. That means, they are unlikely to back out or flake when the cycle starts or they need to give their first injection.

Each donor is interviewed in person. Most agencies don’t take the time to do so and parents-to-be pay the price with donors backing out at the last minute. Forward Fertility does the work up front, so that the cycle goes smoothly when it starts.

We are interested in having contact with our egg donor. Does Forward Fertility allow non-anonymous egg donations?

Yes. Forward Fertility partners with the Donor Sibling Registry so connecting with your egg donor is an option. This type of forward thinking is what makes Forward Fertility unique.

Rightly so, you are currently focused on getting pregnant. You may not be imagining your twelve year old son or daughter asking you a simple question about the egg donor. That is why Forward Fertility is doing that for you. Through the donor sibling registry, an account can be established at the time of the egg donation. The account is only accessed by you and the donor. Each party can decide to use it or never use it. But, the option is there, should you, the donor, or the children born from the egg donation should ever want to connect.

Common Questions about Embryo Donation and Receiving

We are interested in getting donated embryos; where can we find them?

This can be a challenge. In at least 1 published study, only 3-5% of people who had embryos in storage indicated they would be willing to donate them to another couple. Most people in the field of fertility agree that a better job could be done discussing embryo disposition and donation at the time embryos are created.

As part of the forward thinking behind Forward Fertility, a discussion about embryo disposition always occurs at the time clients are going through IVF.

As far as finding embryos, some people find people willing to donate embryos through their network of family and friends. Other people have had luck on chat rooms and a popular website called Miracles Waiting.

Once you find someone to donate the embryos, not all paths to legally obtaining the embryos and using them to get pregnant are the same. Each person or couple donating embryos will have their own requirements, the IVF clinic where the embryos are stored may have requirements, and the IVF clinic where you will be getting the embryo transfer will have requirements. The details are not impossible to figure out, however it’s like being the general contractor for building your own house: a lot of work and if you mess something up, it can be disaster.

Forward Fertility wants to make the process of receiving donated embryos and donating embryos easier and more affordable. Call or email today to discuss options and ideas to move your family forward with donated embryos.

I want to donate some frozen embryos to someone to use. What is my first step?

Contact Forward Fertility. We can walk you through the basic steps and if you decide you want help or want someone to take care of the logistics, we can do that, too.

You worked hard to create those embryos and Forward Fertility wants to make it as easy and affordable as possible for you to donate them to someone else, if that is what you choose.

What is the difference between embryo DONATION and embryo ADOPTION?

When a person or couple has embryos left over from an IVF cycle, either because they are done with treatment or their family is complete, they have currently have four choices:
1. Pay for embryo storage for the unforeseen future
2. Dispose of the embryos
3. Donate the embryos for research
4. Donate the embryos to another person or couple, with the intention of creating a pregnancy

If they decide to donate to another couple, they can donate to a) a friend b) an embryo adoption agency or c) their IVF clinic, if it has a program to facilitate the donation, or d) find someone online.

Embryo Adoption
Embryo adoption treats embryos as equal to human children. Currently, there are about five or six national organizations that specialize in Embryo Adoption. They have a fairly large supply of embryos that have been donated. Just as in human adoption, embryo recipients are required to do a home visit and the process is very much modeled after the adoption model of children. It can also be extremely expensive.

Embryo Donation
Embryo donation can be whatever the person or couple donating wants it to be. For some people, that means an open adoption where the families know each other. For others, it’s anonymous. It can be much more affordable than adoption, due to fewer requirements.

Common features of both
There is always a legal contract between the person donating and receiving the embryos.
There may be infectious disease requirements.
Some IVF clinics will require a meeting with a mental health professional who has experience in fertility treatments.

Common General Questions

I don’t see a gay parenting tab. Do you help gay couples?

An emphatic YES. Christie philosophically dislikes the term ‘gay parenting’ in the same way she dislikes ‘gay marriage’. She prefers ‘parenting’ and ‘marriage’. This website’s language and imagery are meant to welcome all people to be clients or to participate as egg donors or surrogates.

Anyone can need a surrogate and an egg donor. Perhaps it is two men wanting to be dads. It could also be a straight couple where the woman is not physically capable of providing the egg or uterus. Forward Fertility is about helping people with what they need. Learn more about Christie Olsen, the nurse practitioner and founder of Forward Fertility.

Do you help women in search of sperm donors?

Yes and no.

Forward Fertility does not screen, recruit, or have a database of sperm donors. However, if you have questions about using donor sperm, please use the contact form to ask them and you will receive a timely response.

If you are considering using a known sperm donor, you should definitely consider contacting Forward Fertility for an overview of the FDA requirements and logistics involved in using a sperm donor known to you.

Do you provide medical services? Do you have a clinic?

No.

Forward Fertility was started by Christie Olsen, a nurse practitioner with 16 years of experience working in reproductive health. In her role at Forward Fertility, she is not providing medical care – that will still be done with the reproductive endocrinologist or IVF clinic of your choice. Christie wanted to take her experience and expertise of working in a fertility clinic and bring that to you, as a potential egg donor or surrogate. Or, to a parent-to-be trying to sort out the details of surrogacy or embryo donation. She is the perfect bridge to make your care seamless.

Learn more about Christie Olsen, by reading about her training, her motivation, and a few other pearls.

Why should we work with Forward Fertility?

Many agencies match you with a surrogate and you rarely hear from them again – they are warm body finders interested in collecting their agency fee. Not at Forward Fertility. I am interested in you having a positive experience – whether it is at the clinic, with your escrow agent, or with an attorney – you, as a fellow human, are a top priority and Forward Fertility will always work to make your experience the best it can be.

Affordable

Nationwide, gestational surrogates are compensated between $20,000-25,000 as a first time surrogate and $25,000-30,000+ as a second or third time surrogate. Some surrogate agencies charge $20,000-25,000 for their agency fee. At Forward Fertility, the work done coordinating, sharing knowledge, and providing anticipatory guidance for everyone involved is essential, but pushing a baby into this world is the real gift! Forward Fertility agency fees are on the lower end, so that surrogates, the true heroes, are compensated well and competitively.

High quality people

There is something about the people working with Forward Fertility. They are passionate about helping others, genuine, hard working, reliable, and ultimately, those qualities will contribute to your success.

Expertise

Why are you taking a certain medication? How does it work? What will happen at your next medical appointment? What is the psychological evaluation about? What do you need to know when talking to the attorney?

Christie’s years of experience coordinating egg donor, gestational surrogate, and other third party reproduction cycles gives her the expertise to a) know the answer or b) connect you with the answer by knowing the right people to ask. Getting the right answer for your medical, legal, or really delicate emotional questions is what having Christie on your team is about.

Connecting with YOU

Christie personally gets to know each parent-to-be. You deserve the time and attention of Forward Fertility to guide you every step of the way; from those first questions to the very last detail. You don’t need to drive to Madison to meet her or take time off work to meet or schedule a phone call. Christie will work with your schedule to connect with you in the mornings, evenings, or weekends.

Once you meet Christie, you will see for yourself she is approachable, genuine, thoughtful, and works hard for your best interest. Check out the testimonials page to see what others have said about their experience working with her.

Do you have a physical office?

Yes. I meet with egg donors, surrogates, and parents-to-be at:
313 Price Place
Madison, WI 53705

These meetings are by appointment only, but can be made for evenings, weekends, and anytime during the week.