Gravitas Summer 15

Florists' Review Media Group has served the global floral in study for over 124 years.

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20 | GRAVITAS MAGAZINE T he journey to creating a family is an emotional and life-changing process for anyone wanting to become parents. While parenthood may come naturally to some, others face a path that is complicated, filled with unexpected detours and setbacks that can be emotionally draining as they struggle to become pregnant. Intended parents may consult with a fertility specialist, undergo IVF or other medical processes, and face a very clinical future that is devoid of the emotional and heartwarming experience they hoped to have while creating a family. With more people today opting to start families later in life, surrogacy and egg donation have played an important role in becoming a parent. According to a study by researchers at Emory University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average age of women using donor eggs was 41 in 2010, an increase over the past decade from 10,801 to 18,306. Age isn't the only factor affecting the ability to become pregnant. While many causes of infertility are unknown, some issues for women are due to: • Early menopause or premature ovarian failure (POF) • Extremely poor egg quality • History of genetic disease • Ovaries do not respond to stimulation • Hormonal imbalance Men account for approximately 35% of diagnosed cases of infertility due to low sperm count, side effects of medications, or other physical conditions. After working for several years with an area fertility specialist, Souad Dreyfus, founder of Open Arms Consultants, created her own agency connecting intended parents with egg donors and surrogate mothers. She helps them navigate through the complex array of services – from medical, legal and social — to fulfill dreams of starting a family while building long-lasting relationships. Open Arms builds a personal relationship with each family, connecting, sharing, and counseling along the way. For intended parents, it starts with a meeting with a cycle coordinator, who provides a one-on-one consultation to answer questions about the process, legal considerations, financial obligations and helping to understand the roles of the agency, the fertility clinics, lawyers, and others that all need to work together during the process. The coordinators are also available, whether by video, phone, in-person, or via e-mail, to answer any additional questions after the first consultation. The goal for Open Arms is to provide intended parents with as much information as possible to help them make the best decision for them. The P a t h t o P a r e n t h o o d

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