Month: August 2019

What’s the Difference Between a Traditional Surrogate and a Gestational Carrier?

gestational carrierMany people have heard the term “surrogate” when it comes to family planning, but few are familiar with the term “gestational carrier.” In both cases, a woman is using her uterus to carry a child for another family, but there’s a big difference between the two.

Surrogates and gestational carriers may be different, but they have two incredible things in common – a generous heart and extraordinary selflessness to grant a family facing infertility the gift of a child of their own.

Why a Family Needs a Surrogate

If a couple is unable to conceive or the woman is unable to carry a baby, a surrogate can step in to help them become parents. Prospective moms and dads may reach out to a friend or loved one to carry their child, but in most cases, they’re connected to a surrogate through an agency. All surrogacy agencies provide extensive screening of potential candidates through medical and psychological testing, and in fact, almost 98% of women who apply are rejected for various reasons.

What is a Traditional Surrogate?

The type of “surrogate” most people think of and a potentially more affordable option for parents-to-be is a traditional surrogate in which the surrogate donates her egg AND carries the pregnancy. With a traditional surrogate, pregnancy can often occur with intrauterine insemination (IUI), in which the male partner’s sperm is injected into the surrogate’s uterus.

The surrogate’s medical expenses are covered by the intended parents and, depending on the situation, she is compensated for carrying the pregnancy. While it can be less expensive, traditional surrogacy can open the intended couple up to heartbreaking legal ramifications. The surrogate is the biological mother of the child she carries, and if she decides she wants to keep the baby, the intended parents may have no legal recourse. Even if a legal contract is in place prior to conception (which we require), laws in many states may allow for the surrogate to fight for custody of the child. For this reason, we strongly advise patients to use a gestational carrier instead of a traditional surrogate.

What is a Gestational Carrier?

In a gestational carrier situation, the egg can come from the intended mother, be donated by a loved one, or acquired through an egg bank. The egg is fertilized with the male partner’s sperm or with donor sperm before it’s transferred to the carrier’s uterus through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Because the egg is another woman’s, the carrier has no genetic relation to the baby she is carrying.

More and more couples are turning to a gestational carrier to make their dream of parenthood come true. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), the number of babies born to gestational carriers grew 116 percent between 2004 and 2011.

As with traditional surrogates, the gestational carrier’s medical expenses are covered by the intended parents and the carrier is usually compensated for carrying the pregnancy.

To protect all parties involved, we require all intended parents and gestational carriers to seek legal counsel from a reproductive lawyer. A contract is drawn up with the expectations and rights of each party, as well as details on the delivery and future contact. The reproductive lawyer will also provide guidance on what states have laws regulating surrogacy and what states should be avoided due to negative or non-existent statues. It is strongly encouraged that the gestational carrier and intended parents have separate reproductive lawyers to minimize potential conflicts of interest.

Ready for Help with Fertility?

If you have questions about surrogacy or would like to discuss your options with a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Why Choosing a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist May be the Best Decision for You

reproductive endocrinologistWhen it comes to your family, you only want the best. And when it comes to starting a family, your best option is a fellowship trained, board eligible/certified Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist, or REI.

For individuals and couples facing infertility – those who still aren’t pregnant after 6-12 months (depending on the woman’s age) or facing multiple miscarriages – an REI can provide the hope and experience to help get them closer to parenthood. Highly specialized and trained, REIs combine 11 years of post-graduate instruction with ongoing education in the latest fertility treatments and technologies to deliver the ultimate in patient care.

If you’re considering taking the next step in your fertility treatment, learn why you need to add an REI to your team.

What Exactly is a Reproductive Endocrinologist & Infertility Specialist?

As an experienced fertility specialist, an REI focuses on the causes and diagnosis of a variety of fertility issues, ranging from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to endometriosis, and offers cutting-edge treatment options, including in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination.

In addition, an REI can offer preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening to help lower the transmission of a life-altering genetic condition as well as egg freezing and preservation to give patients a greater chance of conception if they wish to wait to become parents.

How Much Training Does a Board-Certified REI Receive?

The road to becoming an Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist is a long one, but the end benefits to the patients are worth every long day and late night.

After graduating medical school, an REI completes a four-year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Only then can they compete for a highly-coveted, three-year intensive fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology where they receive rigorous training focused on the female reproductive system and the issues that can affect it. To receive their board certification, they must pass both an oral and written REI sub-specialty examination, the gold standard in their field.

Even when a physician becomes board-certified, the training doesn’t end. All board-certified REI’s must complete the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program every year as well as pass a written exam every six years to ensure they’re on top of the latest scientific and technological advancements in fertility treatment. Research has found that physicians who complete their MOC every year communicate better with their patients and deliver higher quality care.

So, Why Go with an REI Instead of an OB/GYN for Continued Treatment?

An OB/GYN is multi-faceted, offering medical and surgical treatments for a number of conditions as well as prenatal and postnatal care. However, most OB/GYNs have received only a minimum amount of infertility training during their residency. They can prescribe medications, like Clomid, and in some cases, offer IUI services. But in most instances, when treatment doesn’t result in pregnancy, the next step is a referral to an REI. Together, your OB/GYN and Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist will work in conjunction to help deliver the best result for your treatment, in this case, a healthy, full-term pregnancy.

Connecting You to A Qualified REI

Each of Vios Fertility Institute’s clinics is staffed with experienced REIs dedicated to your care and treatment. To schedule a consultation, contact us today!

Vios Announce Louise Brown as Ambassador

Vios Fertility Institute Announces Louise Brown as A Brand Ambassador

CHICAGO, IL (August 12, 2019) —Known to many as the “world’s first test tube baby,” the UK’s Louise Brown is still making headlines some forty-one years later. But this time, it’s for her new role as a brand ambassador Vios Fertility Institute, one of the fastest growing fertility clinics in the U.S. (more…)

Reflecting on the Field of Reproductive Medicine

This wonderful, challenging, rewarding and at times heart breaking field of reproductive medicine is ever changing and expanding with new technologies, treatments, and techniques. All with the goal of welcoming new life into this world. To continue to innovate and push our field forward, it is important to look back at where we started and how far we have come.

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Vios Fertility St. Louis Welcomes Two New Physicians

Vios Fertility Institute St. Louis Welcomes Two New Physicians to its Team of Fertility Experts

St. Louis, MO (August 1, 2019) — Doctors Amber Cooper, MD, MSCI, FACOG (medical and IVF practice director), and Julie Rhee, MD, FACOG of Vios Fertility Institute St. Louis are pleased to announce the addition of Violet Klenov, MD, FACOG, and MacKenzie Purdy, MD, FACOG to the team. Both women are fellowship-trained, board eligible reproductive endocrinologists and infertility specialists. (more…)