3 Things You Need to Know for World Cancer Day

Here at American Surrogacy, we know that many intended parents come to us after facing challenges in their lives. Some of our intended parents have found themselves struggling with infertility after a fight that was their hardest yet: cancer.

We recognize that many intended parents pursue surrogacy or another family-building method because their own fertility has been compromised by previous battles with cancer and the debilitating treatments it requires. That’s why we’re joining with the Union for International Cancer Control to raise awareness of World Cancer Day this Sunday, Feb. 4.

This year’s campaign continues the theme of “We can. I can.” — which emphasizes the power everyone has to reduce the global burden of cancer. To do our part, we’re raising awareness of the effect that cancer has on many people who wish to become parents and face infertility struggles during or after cancer treatments.

Here are three things you need to know about how cancer can affect the fertility of intended parents:

1. While cancer in the reproductive organs can affect fertility, most fertility issues come from the treatments involved with cancer.

Although the drug therapies involved in treating cancer are very good at killing cancer cells, they also have the potential to kill other important cells as well (which is why most chemotherapies cause hair cells to die). Therefore, there is a potential that certain cancer-fighting drugs can damage a woman’s eggs or a man’s sperm production. You can view a list of the drugs that can cause the most potential damage here.

2. How cancer affects a person’s fertility depends on several factors.

While certain drugs do have a higher risk of affecting a man or woman’s fertility, there are several other things that determine loss of fertility during and after cancer. This includes:

  • The age of the patient. For example, women who are treated before they are 35 have the best chance of becoming pregnant after treatment.
  • The steps taken to preserve fertility. A woman’s eggs can be frozen before cancer treatments in case the drugs she takes damage her eggs and ovaries beyond recovery.
  • The time from treatment to becoming pregnant. Women who have had chemotherapy before puberty or young women whose menstrual periods begin again after chemo are at risk for early menopause. However, if a woman gets pregnant too soon after her treatments, she has a higher risk of miscarriage or carrying a baby with genetic problems.
  • The type of cancer. Cancer of the reproductive organs may require removal of or surgery on those organs, which often causes infertility for both men and women.
3. Fertility outlooks for young people with cancer are better than ever.

The good news is that men and women diagnosed with cancer have a better chance of having a child naturally than ever before in the past. Today, women diagnosed with cancer are presented with fertility preservation techniques like egg-freezing to make it more likely that they can have a biological child later on in their life, either through their own pregnancy or through a method like surrogacy.

When a young woman is diagnosed with cancer, her oncologist will often discuss her options for preserving her fertility at the same time that they discuss possible cancer treatments. Oncologists will often refer women to a gynecologist or reproductive endocrinologist for more information on preserving their fertility before they begin their chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Some good news: One study revealed that of the women who became pregnant after their cancer treatments, the rate of miscarriage and stillbirth was comparable to women who had not battled cancer.

Those who are interested in the effect of cancer on fertility should always speak to a medical professional for more information, especially if the question pertains to their own fertility. Know that if you cannot have a biological child on your own, the specialists at American Surrogacy are always available to talk to you about your family-building options and help you achieve your dream of having a biologically related child.

To help spread awareness of World Cancer Day, share information about the campaign with your friends and family through social media, word of mouth and more. Sharing this blog post is a good place to start.

With a little bit of help from everyone, we can work towards eradicating these diseases that bring pain to so many, especially those wishing to become parents.

Task Force Recommendation a Step Toward Legal Surrogacy in New York

For years, intended parents and surrogates who live in New York have been forced to decide: Do they complete a surrogacy in their home state, where surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and compensation is illegal, or do they look to a different state to make their surrogacy dreams come true?

New developments from the state’s Health Department’s Task Force on Life and Laws indicate this dilemma may not exist for much longer.

In December, the state task force issued a recommendation that New York do away with its decades-old ban on commercial surrogacy. The recommendation cited cultural changes and advances in reproductive medicine science — like the use of in vitro fertilization in gestational surrogacy — as an encouragement to legalize this modern family-building process. Soon after the recommendation’s announcement, the National Infertility Association issued a statement in support.

The movement toward legalizing gestational commercial surrogacy has been building for a long time in the New York legislature. In 2012, a bill called the “Child-Parent Security Act” was introduced that would allow surrogacy arrangements for surrogates with no genetic relationship to the child they carry. However, this bill stalled in both houses of the state legislature.

The recommendation has its critics from the task force, and what will happen from here is still up in the air. Most likely, the aforementioned surrogacy bill will be introduced again into the legislature, to be debated on in roundtable discussions.

In the meantime, stay up to date on the most recent developments, and always speak with a New York surrogacy attorney if you are interested in the current state of surrogacy laws there.

If you are interested in learning more about the surrogacy process in a surrogacy-friendly state, the specialists at American Surrogacy can answer your questions and help you connect with an intended parent or surrogate in one of those states. Please contact our surrogacy agency at 1-800-875-2229(BABY) to start your surrogacy process today.

5 Facts You Need to Know for World Prematurity Day

Today is World Prematurity Day, a day to recognize and raise awareness about the severity of preterm births around the world. As a surrogacy agency that deals with the birth of children on a regular basis, American Surrogacy takes this subject very seriously and wants to make sure all of our prospective surrogates and intended parents know the truths about preterm birth.

Our surrogacy specialists and the fertility clinics and obstetricians we work with take important steps to reduce the likelihood that any children born through our program are preterm. We know just how hard intended parents and surrogates work to bring a baby into the world, so we will always do our best to keep everyone involved in the process safe — especially the baby at the center.

The March of Dimes is leading this year’s World Prematurity Day awareness campaign, and we encourage you to join in as well. Like the movement on Facebook and visit its website to receive information throughout November on lifesaving research, treatments and community support for those affected by premature births. Change your profile picture to a World Prematurity Day one, post a message of support today and use the hashtags #givethemtomorrow and #worldprematurityday. When we all come together to spread awareness and hope, we can take great steps toward reducing the number of babies who start their lives in serious medical distress.

As part of the mission to raise awareness about premature babies, we’ve collected some of the most important facts you need to know:

1. About 380,000 babies are born prematurely in the U.S. each year.

A premature birth is any birth that occurs before 37 weeks of pregnancy. It can happen to any woman, and the reasons behind premature births vary widely. The March of Dimes campaign funds research to help determine these causes and prevent more premature births from occurring.

2. Last year, the U.S. preterm birth rate worsened for the first time in eight years.

Overall, the United States earned a “C” grade for premature birth rates in 2016, based on the March of Dimes’ research. Key to this is the widening differences in prematurity rates across different races and ethnicities. The rates also vary across states; whereas Virginia has the lowest rate of 9.2 percent preterm births, Mississippi has a rate of 13 percent. You can view your state’s grade and report card here.

3. Preterm birth rates vary widely based on race and ethnicity.

In the U.S., black women give birth to preterm babies at a rate of 13.3 percent — a huge difference from Asian-Americans, who prematurely give birth at a rate of 8.5 percent. That means that the preterm birth rate among black women in the U.S. is 48 percent higher than the rate among all other women. These racial and ethnicity disparities also vary by state.

4. Premature births cost the U.S. $26.2 billion each year.

Babies born prematurely require additional medical and practical assistance that ends up taking a financial toll on not only parents, but schools, hospitals and the government. For example, premature births result in an additional $16.9 billion in medical and health care costs for babies and $1.9 billion in labor and delivery costs for mothers per year. About $1.1 billion must be paid for special education services for children with lasting effects from a premature birth.

5. Premature babies are subject to all kinds of life-threatening conditions.

In addition to being born before they’re ready to survive outside of the womb on their own, premature babies are more likely to develop many life-threatening complications, including:

  • Anemia
  • Apnea
  • Persistent pulmonary hypertension
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Jaundice
  • Sepsis
  • And more

The world of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is incredibly stressful — and that unfortunately doesn’t always help these fragile babies. Many babies who are in the NICU can develop dangerous complications quickly as their medical status changes without warning. Medical complications aren’t the only lasting impact; the families of those babies born early are in constant stress over the health of their baby and often fall into financial distress, as well.

The good news is that there are organizations like the March of Dimes working to help reduce and prevent the likelihood that babies are born prematurely. With their help, physicians can use their research to hopefully begin saving more lives and creating a healthier pregnancy and birthing experience for all.

Get involved by sharing this article or the campaign on your social media accounts or donating to the March of Dimes today. 

FertilityIQ Releases Annual List of Most IVF-Friendly Employers

In the United States, 1 in 8 married couples struggle with infertility issues. It’s no wonder, then, that the annual IVF cycle volume in the U.S. has increased 70 percent in the last decade, meaning more people than ever are completing more IVF cycles than ever — and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the family-building process.

Fortunately, employers have started to recognize the importance of infertility treatments to their employees, and many have started offering infertility-specific benefits to those who need it. More than 60 percent of patients undergoing infertility treatments don’t receive any coverage but, to help you be more aware of your options, FertilityIQ has compiled a list of the companies who do provide the best infertility benefits in its annual report.

For the second year in a row, employers within the technology sector placed highest in the 14 categories FertilityIQ studied. Companies like Facebook and Salesforce offer benefits well over $100,000 in value to their employees, and several employers offer unlimited coverage for employees who meet certain requirements.

The consulting and accounting and banking and finance industries placed second and third, respectively, in an analysis of more than 250 employers who offer infertility benefits in the United States.

For a full list of the factors impacting FertilityIQ’s study, as well as listings of employers by benefits and industry, check out more of the annual report here.

To learn more about financing your infertility treatments and what American Surrogacy’s fee structure looks like, you can contact a surrogacy specialist today at 1-800-875-2229.