Mother and Her Three Surrogates Gather for Baby Shower
July 13, 2015
Source: Yahoo! Parenting
Author: Esther Crain
The event marked the birth of Sarah Levine’s third child, a boy named Kennan, who had come into the world nine days earlier. In attendance was Jessica Troy, a doula and mom of two who served as the gestational carrier for Kennan, according to Denver’s 9News.
She wasn’t the only gestational surrogate at the shower. Levine’s sister, Jessica Breese, was there; she carried Levine’s second child, daughter Vivianne, born in 2013. Also celebrating was Aimee Melton, a midwife who gave birth to Levine’s first child, Oscar, born in 2011.
Melton, the host of the shower, helped deliver Kennan (Levine’s husband, Eric Landot, couldn’t attend; he was working in France, where he and Levine, a native of Denver, reside, reported 9News).
“When I’m with my children, it’s like every day is Thanksgiving,” Levine told 9News. “I recognize how incredibly blessed I am to have these three children and have them in the way I’ve been able to grow sisters at the same time.”
This joyful and thoroughly contemporary baby shower reflects the changing face of parenthood these days, with more moms waiting to have children until their late 30s and 40s, as well as fertility breakthroughs that enable women who might not have been able to have kids just a few decades ago realize their dream of motherhood.
In Levine’s case, she and Landot were unable to conceive on their own, and Levine’s chances of becoming pregnant ended when she had to have a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with endometrial cancer. But once she was cancer-free, she set about making motherhood a reality. “When it seemed that all the avenues to fertility were closed to her, she wrote her own script,” Melton told 9News.
She’s not the only woman forging her own unique path to motherhood. “There’s no question that there’s been an increase in women using gestational carriers to build their families,” William Schoolcraft, MD, director of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, tells Yahoo Parenting. Schoolcraft was the fertility specialist who helped bring Levine’s children into the world.
A gestational carrier is a woman who undergoes in vitro fertilization with another woman’s egg and her partner’s (or a donor’s) sperm, says Schoolcraft. (A surrogate typically means the woman who carries the baby is using her own egg and is therefore genetically related to the baby, while a gestational carrier is not, he says.)
“There are more of these arrangements these days because more women are waiting until they’re older and have fertility issues to have kids, and there’s a much greater acceptance of gestational carriers and IVF than a generation ago,” adds Schoolcraft.
Using a gestational carrier may be easier than ever from a medical standpoint, but it isn’t cheap. Though the carrier officially volunteers for the job, her compensation, plus medical expenses, can be in the ballpark of $20,000 per pregnancy, estimates Schoolcraft.
And since not all states have gestational carrier–friendly laws, many would-be parents travel out of state, where they consult with an agency that matches them to carriers. After that, the gestational carrier undergoes physical and psychological tests; legal contracts are hammered out and signed. Then, the process of creating a baby can move forward.
“It used to be that having someone else carry your child seemed unusual, but it’s more routine now and much more acceptable,” says Schoolcraft.
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