Choosing a Couple For Surrogacy – A Surrogate’s View

My name is Kara and I am a 2X surrogate mother with CSP (The Center for Surrogate Parenting, Inc.). I have recently started working for CSP as a Surrogate Mother Coordinator and assist prospective surrogates through the application process.

Both of my surrogacies have been with couples overseas. I chose my couples mostly on gut instinct, but there were some common things I tended to look for. Both my couples are different in personalities and situations, but with open communication with each couple, we have been able to form a wonderful relationship and method of communication that works for us.

One of the most important and lasting decisions you make as a surrogate is which couple you choose to help create a family. There are many factors that go into this decision, many of which the surrogate is not aware of, and are made behind the scenes within the agency. However, usually a surrogate is given a choice from 2-3 couples.

How do you know who is right for you? How do you know what to look for? I think much of the choosing is “gut instinct”, but here are a few things to consider.

Shared interests – do you have some similarities? It is not necessary to be involved in the same things, but are you interested in some of the same things (reading, outdoor activities, crafts, movies, etc.)? There will be times when you and your couple will be together in social settings, it is helpful if you have something other than the surrogacy to discuss comfortably.

Cultural awareness – it is important to be aware of some cultural differences. This is not to say that people from different cultures cannot get along well, it is just important to note that someone from England might be more reserved in their emotion, while someone from New York City might be more outspoken. These are stereotypes that might not hold true, but it is important to be aware that previous life experiences play a part in shaping the views and lifestyle of a couple.

Gay couple – Many homosexual couples wish to have a family. If you have indicated that you do not wish to work with a gay couple, this does not apply to you. However, if you are willing to help a gay couple, most of the time they are men. It is important to note that many of these couples will depend on the surrogate for medical information regarding women’s bodies and reproduction that you, as a surrogate, will think common knowledge. They may not know much about medical procedures or pregnancy and it will be helpful for you, as a surrogate to be sensitive to this and give more information. Also, there maybe some of your friends or family who don’t agree with homosexuality, so you will need to consider how you will handle any comments or questions that might arise given the unique nature of this surrogacy.

Couples wanting another child – Some couples are wanting to have a child to start a family and others are hoping to expand their family by adding another child. Sometimes the couple has worked with a surrogate previously. Other times they have adopted or have had a successful pregnancy for their first child. How will you feel about being the second surrogate for this couple ? Is it your personality to feel insecure or competitive? If so, this might not be a good fit for you.

Overseas vs. United States – Do you want to meet some people from a different country? Often the surrogate does not see this couple as often, but the visits from the couple tend to be longer (the couples fly in for transfers or ultrasounds and stay for a few days giving you time to get to know them). If you choose a couple from an area close to your home, you might see them more often (at each doctor’s visit), but might not get as much “quality” time with them as they are busy with their own lives on a daily basis. Are you concerned that a near-by couple might want more of your time than you are willing to give?

Reason for infertility – There are many reasons for a couple to be infertile. Does it matter to you what the reason is? Do you feel more connected to a person who has had cancer, for example, or does it make you worry that she might get sick again in the future? Do you feel empathetic to someone who has lost multiple pregnancies or someone who has unexplained infertility?

Personality – Does the intended mother describe herself as controlling or intense, or is she laid back and relaxed? Matching two controlling individuals together in such an emotional journey might not be the best idea.

Expectations and Wishes – Often in a couple’s profile, they will indicate what they are expecting or hoping the surrogate/couple relationship will involve. Do they want daily communication when you were hoping for once a week? What are the expectations for communication after the surrogacy is complete? Are they wanting to disappear and you were hoping to get pictures and updates every couple of months? If possible, it is helpful to have similar expectations.

These are some things to consider when looking at a couple’s profile, but no list can be comprehensive. As I mentioned above, many times, a surrogate will receive 2 or 3 profiles to choose from and one will just “stand out” above all others, and she might not be able to say why. Intuition or “gut instinct” may be based on very subtle cues from the application and is often an important indicator. Another important factor to consider – does your spouse, if you have one, have an opinion? This is something that you both will be involved in and it affects both of you intensely – does he have an opinion?

Choosing a couple to work with is a very important step in your surrogacy journey, and not one to be taken lightly. It is also a very exciting and fun time! Consider each of the above topics, but most of all, go with your instincts and your journey will hopefully be a rewarding one. Remember, each person has their own personality and every relationship is not perfect all the time. Each couple is to be valued and each one has experienced significant pain with their infertility. In the end, the surrogacy will be what you make it, and despite any ups and downs, you are helping an infertile couple create the family they so desperately desire.

Author:
Kara Byrd
Surrogate Mother Coordinator
Center for Surrogate Parenting, Inc.

CSP’s Surrogacy Experience Really Counts

The following comment from another agency was recently shared with us:

We have found that our chief competitors do extensive prescreening before a match.  This is a way for them to charge you more up front, give you a false sense of security and in the long run, end up having no extra added value.  The medical screening could be different when it comes time to match the Surrogate.    Also, the very involved psychological screening isn’t necessary and drives up your costs; our screening process is so involved that we’ll pick up psychological problems before matching.  Finally, they’re very concerned with the Surrogate’s needs and not so much with the Intended Parents’ needs; we strike a healthy balance between the two.

This from an agency who claims to have been in the business in the field of surrogacy for 6 years and whose experience is based upon the fact that they became parents through surrogacy.  Their lack of experience and knowledge is rather startling. 

The following are our responses to each of those comments:

  1. 1.     Extensive prescreening is a way to charge you more up front:

All screening of a Surrogate Mother and her husband/partner, if any, is an expense the agency must incur.  If the Surrogate Mother does not pass psychological or medical screening, gets pregnant during the screening herself, changes her mind about participation in surrogacy, her financial circumstances change, she changes jobs and cannot take the necessary time off work needed, she needs to move to a different state, she divorces or there is illness in the family, etc., then the entire costs of all of her screening are borne by the agency.  It is unclear what they meant by “This as a way of charging more up front.”  Quite the contrary, does it make more sense for an agency to undertake minimal screening up front and pass the entire risk on to the Intended Parents? 

Secondly, all Intended Parents pay for the screening costs of the Surrogate Mother they work with.  Ultimately all Intended Parents will be billed for or have to pay directly for the costs of psychological screening, social disease testing, an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist to evaluate her uterus and approve her to proceed with their program, and a background check. This is completely standard for EVERY surrogacy agency.

Therefore the only difference to be considered is WHO pays the costs of those candidates that do not pass the screening process.  In CSP’s program, a surrogate candidate that does not pass any stage of the screening  process is a cost incurred by CSP.  In other programs the cost is borne 100% by the Intended Parents.  Depending on what stage in the screening process the prospective Surrogate Mother reaches before she is deemed ineligible to participate, the prescreening costs can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to approximately $4,000.00.  The upper figure is reached if the surrogate and her husband are completely psychologically screened, have undergone all social disease testing, background checks are completed and the surrogate was seen by an reproductive endocrinologist for her screening (including laparoscopy, etc) and she then decides not to continue as a surrogate  mother.

 

  1. 2.     Giving a false sense of security … end up having no extra added value

This statement is blatantly inaccurate.  What false sense of security can there possibly be in being matched with a Surrogate Mother and her husband/partner who is 100% psychologically screened, has undergone full social disease testing, completed her background check and been approved by a reproductive endocrinologist?  It is almost impossible to imagine that an agency is so lacking in knowledge and experience that they would ever utter such a shameful statement.  The value of a prescreened Surrogate Mother is immense, compared to that of a prospective Surrogate Mother who happened to complete an online questionnaire a week ago and was interviewed over the phone by an agency staff member whose only qualification, is that she was a Surrogate Mother once before.

  1. 3.      The medical screening could be different when it comes time to match the surrogate.

What CSP does is an initial screening with the Surrogate Mother and her partner to clear her for participation in our program. These tests are then transferred to the doctor’s office once the Surrogate Mother is matched and the doctor has the case. The IVF doctor will have additional testing for the Surrogate Mother, but that is in addition to what CSP has already done and the Intented Parents are not paying again for those same tests.

  1. 4.     The very involved psychological screening isn’t necessary

Of all the other statements this agency has made this is probably the one that causes us the most concern.  Are we to believe that they do not have their surrogate mothers undergo psychological screening by an independent licensed mental health provider?  This cannot be possible.  Do they claim that their apparent 6 years of experience equals that of a professionally trained psychologist or licensed psychotherapist with years of experience in the field of surrogacy?  Going back to the famous Mary-Beth Whitehead case out of NJ to the more recent tragic surrogacy case featured on the Dr. Phil show, it is painfully clear that surrogacy cases can go wrong, wreck lives and destroy a childhood when psychological screening is not performed and counseling is not available throughout the pregnancy.

  1. 5.     More concerned with the surrogate’s needs than the Intended Parents’ needs.

This is a statement that causes us to shudder.  Is it not in the interests of the Intended Parents that an agency take good care of their surrogate mother?  It is important that an agency deals with the needs of a Surrogate and her family so that these needs do not become overwhelming or become the burden of the Intended Parents.

Most agencies have a case manager – which is typically a prior Surrogate Mother – who is the contact person between the Intended Parents, the Surrogate and the agency.  CSP believes that each party needs a person whose sole responsibility is them. CSP has a case manager that works exclusively with Intended Parents.  The Surrogate Mother has a separate case manager who works with her.  The two case managers consult once a week with the counselor on the case. The counselor is a mental health professional – psychologist or psychotherapist – whose offers counseling, guidance and support to both the Surrogate Mother and the Intended Parent. 

Therefore the statement that CSP is more concerned with the needs of one party over the other is ridiculous. The Intended Parents have a representative, the Surrogate has a representative and both parties have a full time mental health professional working on their case. 

With other agencies if the Intended Parents do not get along with their case manager, they have no alternative.  That is the only staff member available to them. Their only choice is to retain an independent mental health professional at their expense to coordinate between them, their Surrogate and their case manager.  That cost would be an additional cost for the Intended Parents.

The danger lies in what an Intended Parent does not know about the surrogacy process.  CSP offers 30 years of experience.  In that time we have gained the experience from over 1,500 pregnancies, and we have dealt with couples from a variety of countries and cultures.  There is simply no substitute for experience.  CSP offers more experience than any other agency in the entire world.

Why You Should Put Your Money Where CSP’s Mouth Is

Financial Reasons to Retain CSP

By Molly O’Brien – Trust Coordinator

Choosing an agency to help you create your family is one of the most important decisions that a couple can make.  Not only is it a huge personal decision, but surrogacy is an expensive undertaking.  The best thing a couple can do is choose an agency that offers them the most for their money and prepares them for the financial aspects that a couple may not even realize exist.  Agencies sometimes can manipulate the costs so they look cheaper than any other agency.  CSP has chosen and continues to choose to be honest about costs.  Do your homework and make an Excel spreadsheet of costs that are included and those that are not.  Being informed helps you make the best decisions.

The biggest surprise that I hear from couples in our program is that other agencies were not honest with them about the costs.  In other words, the cost projections the couple received to “reel them in” were not realistic.  Often times those projections did not include all of the surrogate mother’s information.  For example, a client came to us with a cost sheet from another agency.  The agency based their costs on a surrogate mother who was a stay at home mom, had her own medical insurance that covers surrogacy 100%, and had zero additional childcare costs.  This scenario is unlikely, if not impossible.  A surrogate mother who does not work, provides her own childcare for her children.  Therefore, at the very least her “maternity leave” would require childcare assistance.  The cost of childcare is often the same as lost wages, as well.  So this couple was deceived by an unrealistic hypothetical surrogate mother, and that estimated cost of deception would be $3,000 to $6,000.

Next, the couple was deceived by the way the agency presented the insurance.  Many agencies do not review surrogate mother insurance.  Furthermore, the lion’s share of insurance policies do not cover maternity 100%.  All insurance policies have a “maximum annual out of pocket” which is the yearly ceiling of charges a member would have to pay.  This couple was not told about this cost which this surrogate would likely have attached to her.  This deception is estimated at $4,000.

Of course there are numerous other ways other agencies can present financial information to get a couple to work with them.  There are the medical costs for screening, the medical costs for the IVF, and the monitoring, legal fees, psychological aspects that are not disclosed or discussed.  Had this couple worked with that agency, they would have been sorely surprised about all of these costs that would pop up along the way.

The point is this: at CSP you pay for an agency to use their experience to teach you what you need to know so this process can be smooth and you can enjoy your journey to parenthood.  I personally prepare the cost sheets for my surrogate mothers and I evaluate their paystubs, their spouse’s paystubs, and their childcare situation.  Furthermore, all insurance policies are evaluated by an independent attorney.  When you are presented with a surrogate mother in our program you can rest assured that all bases are covered.  CSP has been doing this for over 30 years. We use that expertise to best equip our couples for the journey.

Financial Line Item CSP Other Agency Notes
Administrative fee to open trust account (sometimes called an “escrow set up fee”) $0.00 $1000 – $3,000 CSP includes this fee in our professional fees, you are not charged separately.
Charge per check $0.00 $25.00/check What this means is that each check someone writes from your account costs you $25.00. With a routine pregnancy, including pregnancy fees, average expenses prior t o pregnancy and medical costs this could be $2,500.  Typically, a minimum of 100 checks are written over the span of a typical pregnancy.
Lost Wages At least 8-10 days (for pre transfer medical appointments and 6-8 weeks of maternity leave) Agency does not usually budget for these wages What we see with many other agencies is that they do not ask for lost wages until their surrogate mother is farther along in the pregnancy.  Rather than telling you first that these are anticipated costs, the other agency “holds you hostage” once you are already pregnant.
Medical Costs for Transfer $4,000-$10,000 for your surrogate. Agency does not account for The average cost for an IVF cycle is $18,000 to $22,0000

Some Medical Aspects of the Surrogacy Process

By Marjorie Simpson, CSP’s Medical Coordinator

Part of the process of becoming a participant in CSP’s program includes medical testing for the surrogate and their spouses/partners. Occasionally, we see an abnormal result that is surprising because of the generally healthy, young population we are testing. These abnormal results are sometimes the result of the person taking supplements. It’s very important to note if you are taking supplements, and to discontinue use weeks prior to taking your lab tests.

Below are excerpts from a very informative article at http://www.clinlabnavigator.com that illustrates how OTC supplements can affect test results.

Recent surveys indicate that more than 50% of the population use some form of complementary and alternative medicine.   In the US, the sale of herbal medicines now exceeds $4 billion per year. Marketing campaigns imply that any natural product is safe. However, herbal medicines are classified as dietary supplements and do not have to be proven safe before being released into the marketplace.

Many herbs have been associated with adverse test results. Abnormal results may occur by any of the following mechanisms:  Assay interference (the way they actually analyze the test being affected by the supplements in the specimen); Herb-therapeutic drug interaction (the supplement may decrease the efficacy of your prescription meds, or increase their effect in an adverse way); Organ toxicity (the build up of the supplement in your system may become toxic as your body is unable to metabolize and expel it) 

For persons taking seizure meds such as phenobarbital or phenytoin, herbs like Evening Primrose, can decrease the drug’s level in your system by 40%.  For persons taking warfarin, some herbal meds interfere with its anticoagulant properties and can increase the risk of bleeding by inhibiting clotting.

Some herbal medicines, like Kava, are hepatotoxic (toxic to the liver), and can cause an increase in ALT and AST (liver function tests).

Kelp is promoted as a thyroid tonic and anti-inflammatory medicine, but Kelp tablets contain substantial amounts of iodine, which can cause hyperthyroidism.  T4 and T3 are increased, and TSH is suppressed.

Chromium is a trace metal that helps to regulate glucose metabolism. Athletes and bodybuilders take chromium supplements to enhance performance, but large doses can induce hyperglycemia (increased glucose in the blood). In contrast, ginseng has been associated with hypoglycemic episodes (not enough glucose in the blood).

An additional risk of taking supplements is unexpected lead poisoning that may occur from herbal medicines contaminated with lead.  Some Chinese herbs have been found to have lead content as high as 20,000 ppm, which translates into approximately 200 micrograms per deciliter. The US accepted blood lead levels are less than 20 micrograms per deciliter for adults and less than 10 micrograms per deciliter for children.  Lead has no role in the body, and its harmful effects are myriad.

Generally, a balanced diet and a daily vitamin will provide your body with what it needs for optimum health, but if you do take any supplements, please be aware of the possible side effects and adverse reactions, not only the supposed benefits of it. And if you are doing any kind of lab work, or having any kind of surgery, let your health professional know and discontinue use a few weeks before your procedure.

Surrogate Parenting……the Parenting Part

By Fay Johnson

The majority of the focus in discussions about surrogacy is the creation of the children.  Or the legal issues determining who are the parents.

After all is created and granted, what we are left with is a family.  Formed in an unusual way perhaps.

I have been a Mother for the last 20 years now – to a daughter who is 20 and a son who is 16 – born by wonderful surrogates at CSP.  I definitely know that parenting these children has been the joy of my life – so far!—-

I do think my parenting has been somewhat different due to the special beginnings.  There is no question that I was a most enthusiastic Mother – I had waited 43 years to be able to hold our baby daughter. Then 47 when my son was born.  So when I turned  50, I had a three year old!

Perhaps what time had robbed in the form of physical energy was more than generously made up for with an extra helping of desire to be a good parent.  I wanted to connect to my children on as deep a level as I could.  I wanted to carry them and read to them and play with them…I wanted to have that time of my life – spent TOTALLY with them as a family.  I didn’t have nannies or babysitters or family who shared the duties with me.  I wanted it to be my hand that stroked my daughter’s head that she would remember… I wanted it to be my name called in the morning to get them out of the crib.  I wanted to be the one that they would remember.

The surrogacy experience has added other twists and turns – they once or twice informed me that they didn’t have to do what I said because I “wasn’t their real Mother anyway.”  The pain of those words cut like a knife but we worked our way through – with truth, with explanation, with understanding.  Understanding  that everyone came together, in a team effort to give them a life.  “You may not be from my flesh and blood, but you are more, you are from my heart.” 

They understood my passion to have them exist. They have recognized my sheer joy that they are my children…or rather perhaps, that I got to be their Mother.

Today there is a great deal of focus on surrogacy being done in India.  How  “wonderful it is that it is so much less expensive than in the U.S.”  The women are recruited from small, outlying villages.  Their husband’s are deciding that they will go away for a year to become a surrogate.  They will probably not get to see their children during the year that they are away in a commune full of other surrogates. If they return and their husband’s Mother finds out that they were a surrogate, they risk being ostracized, and physically harmed.  “But they earn so much money for this – it is so much money in India…what a wonderful opportunity “ I hear people say.  I hear trained mental health professionals who work in the field of surrogacy casually speak of these circumstances as “not such a bad thing – the facility can be lovely.”

I am appalled.  In the 80’s when I was trying to educate women’s groups about surrogacy, I was a member of the Greater Los Angeles Coalition for Reproductive Rights. I was actually on the Steering Committee.   I was booed for being a pro-surrogacy advocate – and treated as though I was simply a white woman who somehow forced some poor, third world woman to bear my child.    It was interesting to me that the group was, in my opinion, really a PRO Abortion Group.  These were the makers and shakers of Los Angeles professional women – straight and  gay… the Women’s Libers.   I believe that the true agenda was abortion rights – which is fine, but don’t bill yourself as “reproductive rights advocates”.  In actuality, I think most of these women DIDN’T want children so they wanted to make sure that if they got pregnant, they could always have a legal abortion.   I was so offended by the other member’s attitudes about surrogacy that I asked if I could give a presentation to help the group understand the issue.  My position was that surrogacy IS a pro-choice issue – the choice to HAVE a child – even for another woman.  We’ve come a long way in the 18 years since I was a member of the organization.

 Or have we?  It feels to me that the way surrogacy is done in India is what all those people were fearful of back in the 80’s and 90’s.

I am eternally grateful that my children were born by surrogates who were allowed to decide to be a surrogate by herself.  Whose children were not deprived of their Mother for a year.  How is THAT good for these families?  How is THAT good for these children?  To have their Mother just disappear for a year.  I am grateful that my surrogates were women who made this choice, who lived their normal lives with their children and husband’s.  Basically, that no one was forced to do this for me. The leaders in India of the surrogacy industry claim that “our cultures are so different, so it doesn’t matter that the women are taken away from their own families for a year”.   Wrong is still wrong, and that practice isn’t good for children – no matter where they live.

My children are proud that they  were created through a loving, “whole” surrogate mother. ..as opposed to what I think of as a “slave”.    Each of them has met their surrogate on several, if not many occasions – along with their families.  We all know each other, rather than it being anonymous.  Everyone feels that they made a wonderful, and meaningful contribution to the world being a better place.   I cannot imagine my children feeling good about their origins had they been born into the circumstances that currently exist in Indian surrogacy.  I cannot imagine that the children born through Indian surrogacy will be half as well adjusted on the subject as mine are.  I cannot imagine that they would be as proud of how they were created.  Parenting them might have been much different for me if I had felt that another family suffered – regardless of the money – because their Mother was taken away to  bear children for me.

I simply cannot imagine justifying that to my children as they grew up.

Should Surrogacy be Taxed?

Nothing is certain but taxes and death.   So the old adage goes, and it holds true even today.  It begs the question, should surrogacy be taxed?  A recent journal article written by Bridget J. Crawford, Professor of Law at Pace University in New York, argues that surrogacy falls within the realm of taxable services.   She cites precedents that found selling bodily fluids to be taxable.  The first one, Green v Commission (1980) determined that a taxpayer who regularly sold her plasma, was in the “business” of doing that, and while she was entitled to take deductions off her taxes for the costs associated with the plasma deposits, such as mileage and groceries, she was still required to pay taxes on the money she earned from the deposits.  A second decision reached by the Department of the Treasury found that selling breast milk was also taxable, as the taxpayer selling her breast milk was selling “inventory” (Brown, 2010; Internal Revenue Service Gen. Couns. Mem., 1975).

There is the belief that surrogacy should not be taxed because the surrogate must endure pain and suffering in order to go through a pregnancy on someone else’s behalf.  U.S. income tax law excludes from gross income any amounts received by a taxpayer on account of personal physical injury.   This means that the surrogate would not pay taxes on her fee because the pregnancy would be considered personal physical injury.   The argument against that, however, is that the surrogate pregnancy can not be considered personal physical injury when the surrogate mother contracted with the intended parents to undergo a pregnancy.  But what if complications arise from the pregnancy?  Complications such as the surrogate enduring a miscarriage, having to live through months on bed rest, or in the worst case, needing a hysterectomy and thus preventing her from carrying ever again, are all potential outcomes to a pregnancy. When the surrogate signed the contract, these possible eventualities were probably touched on, but likely dismissed as being improbable.   It is therefore acceptable that the pregnancy be considered personal injury as the surrogate is accepting the fact that there could be extremely dire outcomes and is accepting of that possibility.

Ms. Crawford’s argument goes on to discuss her belief that taxing surrogacy would legitimize the practice.   She asserts that the tax would enhance the well-being of women by making it part of the public dialogue.   “Bringing surrogacy out of the shadows and into the sunshine of law is a step toward recognizing the value of reproductive work…Tax law and the enforcement of tax laws relating to surrogacy is a part of the progress towards justice for women…” (Crawford, 2010).   In this statement it is apparent that Ms. Crawford believes her argument is helping surrogates, and women in general.

Enforcing a tax on surrogacy would ultimately hurt all parties involved. Surrogates may not want to undergo the process, for fear that they will not receive all the money they are paid because they will have to pay taxes on it. Additionally, they could have ethical opinions that cause them to not want to pay the government for something they did with their body with altruistic intentions.   Intended Parents will have a hard time, too, because the surrogate’s fees will need to be increased to account for the amount she will need to spend on the tax.   This in turn could make it cost prohibitive for the Intended Parents.   Finally, it will hurt surrogacy agencies, because it could lead to fewer surrogates and fewer Intended Parents working with an agency, choosing instead to try to do everything “under the table” to avoid the tax. Taxing surrogacy is not socially sound and should not be enforced.

Crawford, B. (2009). Taxing surrogacy.

Comptroller General of United States, General Accounting Office Report (1975, 4 November).

Green v Commissioner, 74 T.C. 1229, 1234 (1980).

“The Little Couple” returns on TLC for season 2. Premiers on Tuesday, June 1st at 10/9c

“The Little Couple” returns on TLC for season 2. The first episode premiers on Tuesday, June 1st at 10/9c. Bill & Jen will make an announcement about a big step in their lives. Tune in and share their news. Please check your local listings for “The Little Couple” on TLC.

At the end of last season, we left Bill and Jen after they moved into a rental house, started plans to custom build a new home and most importantly, they were considering their family building possibilities.

During last season, Bill and Jen were looking at their options for having a baby. Jen had some specialized medical testing to determine if she could safely carry a pregnancy. Unfortunately, this would not be an option for Jen since it was determined that a pregnancy would compromise not only Jen’s health but the baby’s as well. That is when Bill and Jen started to seriously consider surrogacy and adoption.

A major step in their research was visiting the Center for Surrogate Parenting to be educated about the surrogacy process. This meeting helped Jen and Bill understand the complexities of surrogacy and the importance of working with the best professionals throughout their journey.

Now Jen and Bill will make an announcement about this big step in their lives.

Watch “The Little Couple” on TLC Tuesday, June 1st at 10/9c to share their news.

Jen is a neonatologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and Bill owns his own sales, training and telecommunications business in New York.

Ever since their marriage Bill and Jen have been striving to reach their dream of having a baby. However, Jen is only 3 feet 2 inches tall and Bill is 4ft tall. Jen knows that a pregnancy could prove difficult and even life threatening because of her tiny stature but that has not stopped the little couple from dreaming of becoming parents one day. While many women with dwarfism are able to carry pregnancies to term, this is not the case for Jen. Her form of dwarfism (spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia, or SED), as well as the many surgeries she has had to endure since childhood could make it potentially life threatening for Jen to be pregnant and deliver a healthy baby.

For more on “The Little Couple” go to: http://www.creatingfamilies.com/home/content_detail.aspx?Id=209