FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Egg Donation Program - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get started and gain access to the donor database?


Here is how to get started with our agency. It's as easy as three steps! 1. We encourage you to read our website to familiarize yourself with our agency and how we work. We also welcome a complimentary 30 minute consultation to discuss where you are at in your journey and what you are looking for. To see the donor database, you will need to register to get a user name and password. You can do this by clicking on the register button or we can do this during our consultation. 2. Within 48-72 hours of registering, you will be given password access to the database where you can search for your perfect match. You will log into the database using your assigned user name and password and then you will be able to freely navigate through the many donor egg candidates. If you are in a rush to get started, you may call the agency for immediate access. 3. If you see a donor that you love, you will need to contact our office to check on her availability. If for some reason you cannot find a suitable match, we encourage you to contact us either by email or phone to let us know what you are looking for so that we can create a custom search just for you. Please be aware that donors often get matched very quickly so if you are interested in a specific candidate, we recommend that you contact us immediately.




How do I reserve an egg donor?


1. Contact the Agency Right Away. In order to reserve a donor, you need to contact the agency to let us know which donor you are interested in, what your timeframe is, if travel is requested or not, and what compensation you are offering to the egg donor. With this information, we will contact the donor to check on her availability and interest in participation, based on the information you provided. While we do make all efforts to update our database regularly, sometimes a donor's personal situation or desires may change and they may no longer be interested in cycling or available. For this reason, we will always contact and confirm a donor's availability and interest upon receiving your inquiry. 2. Put the Donor on Hold While Your Doctor Reviews Her Previous Records. Once we have confirmed that your donor is interested and agreeable to your cycle requests, we will contact you to see if you would like to move forward. If you wish to proceed, we will send you a hold agreement and ask you to pay a hold deposit of $500. We will then send the donors profile and any previous donor records to the physician that you plan to work with for his or her review and final approval. We also allow our Intended Parents to have an AMH test and/or an STD, drug screen, CBC, and CMP done locally for an additional charge, if desired before fully commiting. 3. Sign the Agency Retainer and Proceed Forward with the Match and Cycle. When your donor is put on hold we will also provide you with the full length estimate and agency agreement for your review so that you can review these documents while the donor is being reviewed by your physician. Please be advised that the fully executed agency agreement as well as a deposit are required in order to officially reserve any donor. If we do not receive your agency agreement and deposit by the deadlines provided, the donor may be released to another Intended Parent.




What's the difference between a local and long distance egg donation cycle?


Local Donations In a local donation, the selected egg donor and the Intended Parent(s) are both located in the same town as the treating fertility clinic. Many Intended Parent's choose this type of arrangement to help minimize costs. If you cannot find a donor near your center, we can also refer you to a physician near the donor's home or we can advertise in your local area to try and find you a local match. Long Distance Over 50% of our matches are long distance arrangements. In this type of an arrangement, the egg donor does not live near the Intended Parent's fertility clinic and will need to travel for the initial screening appointment and again for the egg retrieval procedure. Typically clinics require a one-day initial screening visit and then a 7-10 day visit for the retrieval procedure and post-recovery. Our agency will make all travel arrangements for your donor and make sure that she is comfortable and well cared for. All donors must have a companion with them on the day of egg retrieval. If the donor cannot provide a companion, our agency will make arrangements for either a nurse or one of our agency team to be with her. In addition to travel arrangements, most clinics will ask that our agency locate a local monitoring center where the donor can be seen prior to med start and for 1-3 additional monitoring visits. This clinic is located within close proximity to the donor's home and they perform testing as ordered by the treating IVF physician. Our agency will locate a good clinic for this and make sure everything is in place for each monitoring visit. International Donations Our agency works with Intended Parents from over 56 countries worldwide and are experts in the management of these type of arrangements. Last year, over 60% of our Intended Parents were international. We will do everything to make sure that you have a smooth and positive experience. We can refer you to a top IVF physician familar with international arrangements and can either find a physician who speaks your language or we can coordinate translation services. We can also help with travel arrangements and we provide travel concierge services for those wishing to have door-to-door arrangements upon arriving to the United States. We will also refer you to a top reproductive attorney who can make sure that you have the proper contracts in place and to advise you of the steps you will need to take legally. We can also refer you to a top genetic counselor who can review your donor's genetic testing results and your own to make sure you are making a suitable match. We also have international concierge partners in several countries who can travel with you and manage all of the details locally in your home country as well. Contact us directly if you have additional questions or want more details.




Can I work with a surrogate as well as an egg donor?


Absolutely! Many of our clients need the assistance of both an egg donor and a surrogate in order to build their family and we are very familiar with coordinating these type of cycles. You can work with one of our donors and an outside surrogacy agency or we can also try to find you a good surrogate match with the Blissful Surrogacy program. For more information on surrogacy or for referrals to additional attorney's or agencies that offer surrogate matching services, please contact our agency.




Can I work with an egg donor and a sperm donor?


Absolutely! Many of our clients need the assistance of both an egg donor and a sperm donor in order to build their family and we are very familiar with coordinating these type of cycles. We have several cryobank programs that we often refer to and we are always happy to review different profiles with you to help you to narrow your search. For a list of sperm banks that we recommend, please contact the agency.




Do you offer anonymous and open donation arrangements?


It is our goal that you have the type of communication that you desire with your donor. For this reason, we offer several different communication arrangements, so that you can find the one that fits you best. Please be advised that your chosen egg donor must also agree with your desires. Here are a few arrangements available: Fully Anonymous Arrangements About 80% of our arrangements are anonymous donation arrangements. In an anonymous donation, the Intended Parent(s) and chosen egg donor never meet, speak, or exchange identifying information. The donor is assigned a code which will serve as her name and the Intended Parents will call the donor by this. Intended Parents may offer a brief information page to the donor so that she feels comfortable with the couple that she is donating to but this is up to the Intended Parents if they elect to do this and it is not required. There will be no contact between the Intended Parents and the Donor in this type of arrangement before or after her donation unless there is a medical emergency that requires contact. Semi-Anonymous Arrangements In a semi-anonymous donation, the Intended Parent(s) and chosen Egg Donor may be given each others first names only, if desired. Last names will be kept fully anonymous. If both the Intended Parents and donor desire a phone conversation, this may be set up and coordinated by the agency so that neither party’s phone number will be disclosed to the other party. We can also forward messages back and forth on your behalf so that all email addresses can remain anonymous. In some cases, we can also have the donor make a video for you to review should you not wish to speak with her directly. Please be advised that this is not always a possibility, as it depends on the donors location, consent, and her having access to proper technology. Open Arrangements In an open donation, the Intended Parent(s) and Egg Donor’s identity will be revealed to one another and if desired and both parties agree, communication can continue after retrieval. In this type of arrangement, you may also request to meet the donor in person, however for security reasons, our agency representative must be present for all meetings. If you have additional questions about the types of donations that we coordinate, or if you have additional desires not listed above, please feel free to contact our office to further discuss.




What happens if the cycle is cancelled or the donor fails screening?


At any point, prior to egg retrieval, you may decide to not proceed with your egg donor and request a replacement donor. This includes, but is not limited to, circumstances such as the donor not passing her initial screening, the donor not responding well to the medications, or cancellations for personal or medical reasons. Under these circumstances, you may choose a new donor without losing anything you have already paid toward the agency fee. We will simply transfer over any portion of the agency payment toward a replacement donor and you will only be responsible for the remaining balance. You pay only one agency fee for our services, regardless of how many changes you make, until you have completed a retrieval with a donor. Please be advised that you may incur additional costs associated with insurance, legal representation, and additional medical and expenses for the new donor. Also the new donor may have a different compensation request or may require travel, which could increase costs. A new estimate will be given to you should you need to change donors. Please call the office with any questions regarding our policies.




How do you find and screen your donors?


Donors come to us in a variety of different ways. The majority of our donors come to us from referral, either from other egg donors or from a physician or another program. In addition to this, we also send team members out to different events and college events to educate women about fertility options and care, which many times leads to additional donor applicants. We also have several advertising campaigns that we use to reach donors and we have relationships with several talent and modeling agencies, as well as photographers, who regularly refer us candidates. We are also actively involved in online groups supporting fertility. We review and personally interview every donor applicant before putting them into our donor database. We go over their motives, review their health and mental history, discuss any concerns, and we go over the process with them in detail, including everything that will be required of them to ensure that they are fully informed and can commit to being a donor. We also request copies of their previous egg donation records, their drivers license, and sometimes request academic transcripts. While there is never any way to be certain of the accuracy or honesty of a donor's statements by any program, we do all that we can to screen the donor candidates to give you the best possible donor options. If you want us to verify anything in particular on a donor you are interested in, simply contact our agency so that we can attempt to make accommodations to your request.




Which fertility clinics and doctors do you work with?


It is important to our agency that you have the best possible chance for success and that our donors get the best medical care possible and can be medically insured for complications. For this reason, we mostly work with the top fertility programs in the US as we find this gives you the best chance. We do have a list of recommended clinics that we have established relationships with that we can provide to you. If you want to know if we will work with your particular fertility center, please contact our office.




Will the donor's health insurance cover complications and screenings?


Donor's screening costs are the sole responsibility of the Intended Parents and her personal insurance will not be used for these screenings or for any cycle related charges. Most insurance plans have exclusions for fertility care and egg donation related expenses. As a result, since we want to make sure that there is an insurance product available should your donor have a complication from her participation such as OHSS, we require every Intended Parent working with our agency to purchase an accidental insurance policy on behalf of their egg donor. This coverage is offered by Lloyds of London through a company called New Life Agency and our agency will help you to get this put in place at the appropriate time after medical clearance. This coverage cannot be used for monitoring or for any medical expenses that are not related to a cycle related complication. Insurance information and insurance product details are available on New Life's website at www.newlifeagency.com. You can request a detailed explanation of this insurance policy from them directly, as well as any limitations and exclusions in coverage. We advise all of our clients to be sure to obtain a copy of this policy so that they can be fully informed as to any limits in coverage and any possible exclusions.




What compensation do donors receive and when are they paid?


We allow our egg donors to set their own compensation request, however we encourage donors to set reasonable requests within ASRM industry standards, which recommends that no donor request over $10000. Prior to the donor beginning medication, we require that the full balance of the donors compensation be put into a licensed escrow account for security. After the donor has been medically and legally cleared, the egg donor willl be given an initial payment of $1000 on the first day of injectible medication start. After the donor successfully completes the egg donation retrieval, she will be given her remaining compensation. Should the donor cycle be cancelled after starting injectible medications but prior to retrieval, at no fault of the donor, the donor would get to keep her $1000 initial deposit plus a small additional balance depending on how long she has been taking medications. In this case, the unused compensation and any other funds in the escrow account would be either kept in escrow for you to use with an alternate donor or refunded promptly to you.




Can we ask that our donor only donate to us and no one else?


Yes, this is an arrangement that can be made if your donor agrees to this. In these cases, you would compensate the donor for a total of six cycles up-front and would be asked to pay a larger agency fee. In exchange for this, the donor would agree to not donate with any other couple and would be willing to donate with you for up to a maximum of three donation cycles until you have fully completed your family, provided she is medically able.




Can we put a donor on hold while we decide?


Yes you can! For $500, we allow Intended Parents to hold a donor for up to 7 business days. If you elect to move forward with the donor, that $500 will go toward your agency fee. If you elect not to, you will forfeit the $500 but will have no further liability.




Can we check the donors AMH or do any screening tests before we commit?


During the one week hold for $500, we offer the option to have some pre-screening lab work done. We offer AMH testing for $100 or AMH, STD, Drug Screening, CBC, and CMP bloodwork for an $500. These can be done before you have to fully reserve the donor and results can be provided to your IVF physician before proceeding forward.




Do you work with same sex clients or single Intended Parents without a partner?


Our resolute efforts to defend reproductive rights for all people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or marital status has been the backbone of this agency since it's inception. In fact, our director has met with legislators and policymakers at the highest levels to discuss the importance of reproductive equality and family building support for all. We are honored to help same-sex clients or single IPs to grow their families. We welcome you to schedule a phone consultation with our agency director to discuss special considerations you may want to think about for your unique situation. We can also refer you to top reproductive attorney's who are experienced in working with both single Intended Parents and same-sex clients both domestically and internationally and can make sure you have everything you will need in place.





 

Frequently asked questions - Surrogacy

When did Blissful Fertility start and is it a trustworthy agency?


We started Blissful Fertility in 2002, formerly named the Egg Donation & Surrogacy Center, with the goal of offering honest, ethical, and caring support to those trying hard to start a family. We are one of the most respected, highest ranked, and most referred egg donation and surrogacy agencies in the US and we have been featured in Oprah Magazine, Business Weekly, and our director has been a global voice for our industry for the last 17 years. We now serve 56 countries worldwide and take pride in serving our diverse clientele with utmost care and dedication. All of that said, we feel the reason you should work with our agency is the way we treat our clients, donors, and surrogates. You become a part of our family and we work as hard as we can to not only help you to grow your family but also to make the process on the way to parenthood a lot less stressful. We welcome you to set up a consultation to discover the Blissful Fertility experience.




What is gestational surrogacy?


A gestational surrogate is a woman who is willing and able to carry a baby or babies for another person or family. The gestational surrogate is not biologically related to the embryos or the resulting offspring. Rather, the embryos are created via in vitro fertilization (IVF), using either the eggs and sperm of the Intended Parents or donors they selected and then transferred into the uterus of the gestational surrogate.




Who are gestational surrogates and where do you find them?


Gestational Surrogates are very special women between the ages of 21-40 years of age who have completed their own families without any major pregnancy complications and who are willing and able to help someone else to grow their family. They must be healthy and have an acceptable BMI height to weight ratio, have no major psychological or health concerns and they must agree to go through a criminal background search, psychological evaluation, previous pregnancy record review, drug screening, STD test, and they will need to obtain medical clearances from their own OB/GYN as well as the chosen fertility physician in order to proceed. Gestational surrogates are quite diverse in their personalities and backgrounds. Some work professionally as nurses or teachers while others are busy caring for their families. Our agency will make sure that the surrogate is financially stable and that finances are not the sole motivation. We find our surrogates through online referrals, client referrals, referrals from doctors, referrals from our existing egg donors and surrogates, referrals from online support groups, and from ads that we place.




How long does the surrogacy process take?


The length of each journey from consultation to baby depends on several factors, some of which we cannot predict. A good rule of thumb is to expect it to take about 18 months from start to finish. Sometimes it will go faster but it can always take longer depending on the type of surrogate you are look for, the legal requirements involved, the quality of the embryos you have to work with, the success rate of the doctor you are working with, the screening results of your selected surrogate, and whether the surrogate is successful on her first transfer. We will do everything we can to keep things on track as best as possible.




Who can use a surrogate with your program?


We are huge advocates for reproductive equality and proudly serve clientele from all walks of life as they embark on this beautiful road toward parenthood regardless of age, gender identification, sexual orientation, religion, or marital status. We simply require that the psychological professional and fertility doctor have approved you to proceed with this treatment. For some, health concerns, previous cancer treatment, or loss of reproductive function may be the reason they use a gestational surrogate. For our same-sex clients or single clients, this is a wonderful and unique way to create their family. Each of our clients comes to the decision to use a surrogate with their own unique story and journey and look forward to helping each of you to create the next chapter in your story.




How do I begin?


To get started, you will need to complete a complimentary consultation with one of our team members and complete our parent welcome packet. During this free consultation, we will answer any questions you may have and create a unique treatment plan just for you. In this meeting you'll have an opportunity to share your story with us and why you've chosen surrogacy to grow your family, and we'll tell you a bit more about the Blissful Fertility agency and our process and answer any questions you have.




Can I use a gestational surrogate with your program if I am HIV positive?


There have been some major medical advancements in fertility care options for HIV positive men who want to grow their family with the assistance of a surrogate. We work with several doctors who offer a special sperm washing technique known as SPAR in order to reduce the risks to both offspring and the carrier. The program is based on research that shows that not all sperm samples from men infected with HIV will be positive for the virus and by only using sperm that is not effected, you essentially remove the major risks. According to the California Fertility Partners website, "a recent review of the world’s medical literature on assisted reproduction for men with HIV summarized results from over 8000 insemination cycles and over 1200 IVF cycles using a special sperm wash to prepare semen specimens from men with HIV, with no reports of viral transmission to recipients of the washed sperm or the babies." We strongly recommend you speak with your reproductive fertility specialist first to determine if you are a good candidate medically and if so, we are happy to help you the rest of the way. If you need a recommendation for a doctor that specializes in this procedure in your area, please reach out to our agency and we will happily offer you several suggestions.




How does the matching process work with finding a surrogate?


Because we are so hands on, we know what our parents are looking for and what kind of matches our available surrogates desire. If we think we have a possible good match, we will send your redacted parent profile (with your identifying information removed) to the surrogate and if she is interested, we will forward her profile on to you as well. There are several factors we look at such as location of both parties, whether the surrogate has insurance, both of your preferences with regards to contact and communication, the number of embryos to be transferred, and your views on reduction and termination.
Once the surrogate and the prospective parents express a mutual interest, we will have the surrogate gather all of her records for review by your physician and also review her insurance benefits. If these are approved, we will then arrange a meeting by telephone, Skype or email so that you can begin to get to know each other and make sure it is a good match. On this call, our agency will end by going over all of the terms and create a pre-match agreement which outlines the terms you are both agreaable to with regards to compensation, termination, number of embryos to be transferred, etc.

After communicating with each other and signing your pre-match agreement, assuming everyone feels good about moving forward, we will arrange for the surrogate to begin the pre-screening labs, criminal background search, and the psychological screening. The results will be sent to the IVF physician for approval. After these tests are approved, the IVF physician will meet with the surrogate and perform all medically screening tests to get them medically cleared. If these are cleared, then the surrogate and her spouse and any of her children and the prospective parents will have an in-person meeting either at our office, at the surrogate’s home, the intended parents’ home, or some place in between. Some parents prefer the in-person meeting sooner, and we can arrange for this, if preferred. Once your surrogate is medically cleared, you will begin the formal legal process in order to get legal clearances in place.




How often will I have contact with my surrogate?


Every surrogacy relationship is unique and each surrogate and parent have different preferences when it comes to communication. At our agency we do not facilitate fully anonymous surrogacy relationships. We feel that good communication and openness are extremely important when contemplating a process this emotional and lifechanging. Most of our surrogates build meaningful relationships which continue throughout the life of the child or children. We ask that all parents meet their surrogate at least once prior to transfer. We also prefer that you communicate at least once a month though many text or email far more often. We also encourage you to attend big appointments like the 20 weeks ultrasound as these are special moments that you will likely cherish for a lifetime. We encourage all of our parents to try and make arrangements to be there for delivery day though since we know this may not always be possible, we will help create a custom birth plan just in case.




Where will my surrogate give birth?


We will assist your surrogate in finding a hospital near their home that everyone is comfortable with. Many surrogates go to the same OB/GYN and delivery hospital that they used for their own children or for previous surrogacy arrangements. The decision about where to deliver is typically made at the recommendation of the treating OB/GYN and considering which hospitals are in-network with the surrogate's insurance provider and based on recommendations and preferences of all involved. Occasionally the legal team may recommend that a delivery take place in a specific hospital.




Which fertility clinics do you work with?


Blissful Fertility has an established list of top fertility doctors in the US that we strongly recommend that you work with based on their success rates and reputation as providers. That being said, if you wish to work with someone else, we will happily consider your request.




What happens to the leftover embryos post-transfer?


Your clinic will allow you to pay a yearly storage fee to keep your embryos stored there for as long as you desire. You can use these to attempt future transfers or surrogacy journeys. When you are done with creating your family, you can decide if you want to donate your embryos to another couple, donate them to research, or ask that they be destroyed. You may be limited in your options if you used an egg donor as the contract may place restrictions on what can be done with these so you should review your agreement. We can help you navigate this as well, if desired.




I don't live in the US. Can I still work with you and how many trips will I need to make?


We do a LOT of international arrangments and have relationships with attorneys across the world that specialize in fertility. We will verify with a reproductive attorney here in the US what the plan will be with your specific country. You will typically need to come for an initial meeting with the fertility doctor where you will complete all of your screenings and the Intended Father will provide his sperm sample. After this, if you are using an egg donor, you will not have to return until embryos have been created. If you are not using a donor, you may need to spend an extended period of about 3 weeks in the US for the egg retrieval procedure and necessary screenings. Once embryos are ready, we can then start the surrogacy journey. Most IPs will meet their surrogate by Skype or in-person prior to transfer. Some parents will also plan to come out around the 20 week mark for the ultrasound but this is not required. You will then come out for the birth of your child and for a period of time afterward before you can bring the baby home. We will have you speak with the attorney about a reasonable timeline post birth.




How will my child get a passport if I don't live in the US?


We never give legal advice related to immigration and always recommend you speak to a licensed reproductive and immigration attorney both in your home country and in the US prior to commencing on a journey so that there is clear path and answer to this question. That being said, there is a legal principle known as jus soli which basically means that any child who is born in the United States will be automatically entitled to obtain U.S. citizenship and U.S. passports, regardless of the citizenship of their intended parents. Because of this, most Intended Parents who use a surrogate in the US can return home with their children easily without having to first obtain a passport from their native country. That being said, every country is unique and you may be required to obtain either passports or temporary visas for your child at a local consulate in the United States in order to return home after the birth. Intended parents should consult with both reproductive attorneys in the US and immigration attorneys in their native countries for information about the best procedures for returning home with their children.




What are the requirements to be approved as a surrogate?


A surrogate candidate must have successfully delivered a child of her own, and be currently parenting at least one child. She must be between 21-40 years of age, a US citizen, legal resident or legal immigrant of the United States, who is not currently participating in certain government aid programs. She must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of no higher than 33 and have residence in a surrogacy-friendly state in the United States.
We ask that she have a good support system in place of family and friends, refrain from all use of illegal drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol use, and not currently use any kind of anti-depressants, ADD, ADHD, OCD, or anxiety medications. All surrogates are asked to maintain a stable and responsible lifestyle. In addition a surrogate must pass all of the following screenings:
1. Previous medical review of all health records related to her pregnancy 2. Psychological screening of the surrogate and her spouse 3. Criminal background search of the surrogate and her spouse 4. Drivers license and social security number verification 5. STD tests 6. Drug screening 7. Basic Health Labs including anemia screenings, cholesterol checks, blood pressure checks, and TSH level evaluation. 8. Evaluations of her reproductive function and reproductive organs 9. Health history review




What does it cost to be a surrogate?


We have included a link under the parents tab of our website that gives a full financial calculator and budget for you to review. We are also happy to set up a consultation to discuss your exact situation and give you a more accurate idea of costs.





 
Blissful Fertility

Email: blissfulfertility@gmail.com

Phone: (310) 954-0988

Address: 9465 Wilshire Blvd

                 Third Floor, Ste 300-A

                 Beverly Hills, CA 90212

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