There are countless families in the world who are desperately trying to have a baby, but struggle for any number of reasons. One of the increasingly more common reasons in the modern family is the age of the mother when its time to conceive. Older mothers have had an opportunity to build their career and experience the world, but unfortunately their eggs have aged along with them. Younger women have the opportunity to help build the family they want while making a bit of money for the time and effort spent.
Become an Egg Donor
Becoming an egg donor is not often mentioned in social circles, but donating eggs to friends, family or strangers is becoming more common as science advances and more families start at later ages. Women who are unable to use their own eggs or struggle getting pregnant sometimes turn to younger women whose eggs are younger and healthier for a donation. The donated eggs are then fertilized with the partner’s sperm and implanted to begin a pregnancy.
The Egg Donation Process
Donating eggs is more complicated than donating sperm. Women release a egg from their ovary once every menstrual cycle, usually once a month. That egg travels to the uterus, waits to become fertilized and then leaves the body if it is not fertilized. Unlike men who can technically produce sperm until they die, women are born with a set number of eggs and those eggs age and are used overtime. At a point after the thirties, the likelihood of releasing a healthy egg that is ready to be fertilized and grow diminishes. This is why these women need your younger, healthier eggs.
To donate eggs, you would contact an egg donation agency and submit a profile. When a family who is in need of eggs decides you’re the ideal candidate you will be notified and the process will begin. You will likely be paid a portion of your fee upfront. (The total fee can easily be upwards of $6000.)
You will be given hormone shots to encourage your body to release multiple eggs at once in the upcoming cycle. When you ovulate, doctors will carefully extract the eggs using a long needle and your job will be finished. Once the eggs have been harvested and the process is complete, you will be paid the remainder of your fee and you can enjoy that money knowing you’ve helped to make a family’s dream come true.
Ah, the nursery! When a new baby is on the way, the nursery presents the most fun and the most challenges. It doesn’t take long to realize you need more than a crib and a few outfits, but how do you know when you’ve gone overboard? Need to plan a nursery? Here’s how:
Pick the Room For Your Nursery
Your nursery should ideally be a room that is away from loud traffic or the neighbor’s barking dogs. You might prefer it have a western window to help your baby sleep later in the morning without the sun streaming in as it rises. It does not have to be large, but it will probably help to have a closet and some wall space for furniture placement.
Pick the Theme
How is the rest of your house decorated? Will this room be similar? Sketch out a rough plan in your head of what you would like the room to look like. What colors do you like? What kind of furniture do you need? Will the wood be dark or light?
Buy the Linens
While it might seem like the furniture would be next, you should buy the linens. The dust ruffle, crib bumper, sheets, quilt and curtains will determine the color and overall look of the room. Neutral will suit future babies in the room, while gender specific colors and patterns can be more fun. Sheets will get the most use, so buy a few extras. Quilts can’t be used in the bed until much later, so consider buying a rod and making it a wall hanging for decoration.
Paint Your New Nursery
After you have the color scheme, buy paint and/or wall paper and get busy putting color on the walls. Remember to let Dad do the painting; pregnant women should avoid the fumes if possible.
Buy the Furniture
Now it’s time to buy a crib, dresser, changing table and any other furniture you might need in the room. Changing tables are often used only for a year or two, so it might be better to get a pad for the top of the dresser. Also consider putting a full or twin bed in the room for times a parent wants to sleep near baby. Be sure to get coordinating linens if you do get a bed for the room. The furniture may take some time to be delivered, but set it up once it does arrive.
Buy the Rocker or Glider
You should have something to rock your baby in. Gliders are popular, and traditional rocking chairs will also do the trick. Buy one that is comfortable and sturdy. You’ll be spending a lot of time in this chair.
Buy the Decorations
Up to this point, you’ve taken care of the big items. You’ve painted, and you’ve set up furniture. You’ve got the linens. Now you get to buy decorations. Buy picture frames, rugs, wall signs or letters, toy boxes, lined baskets and anything else that suits your fancy.
Buy the Extras
Don’t forget to include the extra baby items in the room as well. You’ll need something for wet and dirty diapers, storage for clean diapers, a mobile, a place to store toys and linens, possibly a white noise machine or fan, a humidifier, and a baby monitor.
Buy the Layette
Now, it’s time to buy the layette. Layette is a fancy word for all the clothing and blankets a newborn needs. You should buy a few clothing items in the newborn size along with receiving blankets, burp clothes, washcloths, swaddling blankets and socks or booties to be ready. Be sure to pre wash all linens including sheets and blankets that will come in contact with baby’s sensitive skin.
Put Your New Nursery All Together
Finally spend a few days putting it all together. Remember to get help moving and setting up heavy items and take your time. Put the linens on the crib and hang curtains in the window. Hang pictures and place your rug. Then put the layette into your new dresser, sit in your rocker and anticipate bringing that new baby home.
A pregnancy is an exciting time. But many fail to realize that preparing for pregnancy is as important as actual conception. If you’re ready to become a parent, here’s how to plan your pregnancy.
Prepare the Body For Pregnancy
The woman’s body should be as prepared as possible for pregnancy. She should stop taking birth control pills or remove any other chemical or hormonal birth control devices well before starting work on conception to give her hormones a chance to stabilize. This also gives the body time to clear away any lingering chemicals.
The mother should be at a healthy weight for her size for an easier conception and to ensure fewer complications during pregnancy and delivery. Regular exercise is good during pregnancy, so it is wise to be in the habit prior to conception.
The prospective mother should also begin taking prenatal vitamins before conception. The first few weeks of a pregnancy are when these extra vitamins and minerals are most important, but often a woman doesn’t experience pregnancy symptoms until five or six weeks into the pregnancy.
Prepare the Home For Pregnancy
Is there space for a baby and all the large items that come with it? It is far easier to move before pregnancy than during it to avoid stain and stress on the pregnant mother.
Prepare the Finances For Pregnancy
Babies are expensive. While there is no perfect time to become pregnant, if you are facing financial difficulties, can’t pay your existing bills or foresee financial difficulties you might be better waiting until you are in a comfortable or stable position before conceiving.
Prepare the Mind For Pregnancy
You should be in a steady place in your mind. A baby should not be a solution to any problems or a method to save a relationship. Both partners should agree to try for the baby before stopping birth control.
Timing of Conception
Once you are prepared, the trying can begin. This should be a joyful time, not stressful. While it is hard to wait, most couples take more than one or two months to become pregnant. If you are looking for a specific time of delivery, for example the spring, get started a bit early to give yourself some time for false starts.
While every woman is different and every lifestyle is different, fertility begins to wane earlier than most women realize. In your twenties you have an 80% or higher chance of getting pregnant easily. By your early thirties your odds have dropped to 60%, and by thirty-five you have only a 50% chance of easily becoming pregnant.
Boosting Your Chances To Get Pregnant
To boost your chances of becoming pregnant each cycle, you can monitor for ovulation using basal readings or an ovulation predictor kit. You also are more likely to conceive if you are at a healthy weight, are active, are not overly stressed and eat a healthy and balanced diet.
You should ideally have sex the exact moment your body releases an egg. Since most women have no idea when this is occurring, you can chart your ovulation using a kit or your temperature to get an idea of when you should be having sex. At the very least, you should be having sex every two or three days to ensure there are sperm ready and waiting for the egg whenever it releases. (Sperm can live up to five or more days.)
It is perfectly normal to prefer, or at least think you prefer, one gender over the other when trying to conceive. Of course many parents are shocked to discover just how quickly they adapt to either gender, but this is necessary as only genetic engineering or embryo selection can absolutely determine sex. But if would like to tip the odds, and you’re wondering how to have a baby boy, consider the following:
The Shettles Method
Doctor Shettles has developed a method for conception that has a relatively high percentage of success. His theory is based on the nature of sperm and the speed with which they travel.
All eggs produced by a woman are X chromosomes. Sperm can carry a Y or an X chromosome. Two X’s make a girl baby, and one X (the egg) and one Y make a boy. The Y carrying sperm are smaller and faster than the heavy X carrying sperm. So according to Dr. Shettles, to conceive a boy, you simply need to get the “boy” sperm to the egg before the “girl” sperm.
Chart Your Cycle
The first step to conceive a baby boy is to chart your monthly cycle so that you know when you are ovulating. You can check for ovulation by keep track of your basal body temperature, checking mucus or by using ovulation strips or a kit. Once you know when you will be ovulating, you can give conceiving a boy a try.
To conceive a boy baby you must have intercourse no sooner than twenty-four hours before ovulation and no later than twelve hours after ovulation. Boy sperm live shorter, more frantic lives, so this gives them the best range of time to get to the egg and beat out the girl sperm that move more slowly and live much longer lives. The conditions inside the vagina and cervix are also at their least hostile during ovulation as the mucus is less acidic.
Tips for Success
To be successful, you should consider additional steps in the conception process. Boy sperm can use a running start as many are killed in the vagina due to its hostile environment. To get them closer to the starting gate, consider positions for intercourse that have deep penetration such as penetration from behind the female. Also, caffeine has been shown to make sperm move more rapidly, so have the man drink a quick cup of coffee or soda before beginning intercourse.
Finally, it is encouraged that the female partner have an orgasm during sex. An orgasm makes the vaginal environment more alkaline which is hostile to girl sperm giving the boy sperm that much more of a fighting chance.
When it comes to giving birth, the parents have a lot of decisions to make about the procedure used to deliver your baby. If you have had a baby in the past then you will have had the choices just before he/she was delivered so you have a good idea on how you would like your next addition to your family to be delivered.
Many people still believe that a natural birth without any anesthetic or painkillers is the best method as it has been used since the very beginning of time and was the only method given to women in the olden days if everything went to plan without any complications. With the new invention of various painkillers and drugs which can be used in conjunction to give a pain free delivery, there is no need to suffer when you don’t necessarily need to.
If you’re feeling brave enough to attempt to have a natural birth you do also have options, if you start to feel that the contractions are getting to strong and your unable to cope you can have an epidermal which is an injection into the lower section of your spine which will remove any discomfort you are having, this truly does give a pain free delivery. You have to be careful though because after you have dilated so much you are not allowed to have the epidermal so make your decision on how you want to go about it as soon as possible. Another method of pain relief which can sooth the soreness and make this painful situation a little more comfortable is gas and air, this has different effects on different people and you cannot tell how you will be affected until you try it. It can make people feel drowsy and feel sick in some cases
Another method of birth which is becoming more popular in today’s world even amongst some celebrities is a water birth. This is where the midwife will come out to your home and perform the birth in a pool of water. The official birthing pool’s can be quite expensive and you may not have the facilities to host such an item. There are many different alternatives in which you can consider as a birthing pool, a children’s paddling pool can be sufficient and make a great substitute. Failing that you can even perform a water birth in your very own bath tub just be sure to clean it thoroughly as a bath full of plasma would be enough to put anyone off. The benefit of having a water birth is the fact that the water provides buoyancy and can relax the mother which will make it easier to delivery the baby. This method can provide a safe delivery which will not put your health or the baby’s health in danger which is why it is becoming more popular amongst many people.
The last method of giving birth may not be optional in some extreme cases, a caesarean section or "C" section is often used as the last resort if there have been any complications during labor which may have been over looked. A caesarean is where they take the baby out of the uterus by making an incision in the lower stomach and opening it up. This procedure can be requested if you have gone private as many women tend to have a tummy tuck whilst they are under surgery making the excess skin disappear even faster. Women see this as a viable alternative as it will reduce the pain of going through labor and having the trouble or attempting to push the baby out. The downside to this procedure is the same as any other surgery, there are considerations which shouldn’t be overlooked to ensure the safety of you and your child.
There are many advantages as well as disadvantage of each method of delivery, it’s always recommended that you seek advice from your midwife who can go through each variation of birth with you so you can take the information away with you to talk it through with your partner and make an educated decision on which will suit you the best.
Naming a baby is one of the most exciting parts of pregnancy and childbirth. The name you select will have a profound impact on your child’s life and should not be taken lightly. To choose from all of the baby names available, consider the following steps:
Clear the Air
Be open-minded when you settle down with your significant to dream about baby and his or her name. Women are not the only ones who have ideas from childhood about what their baby will be named. The first step in discussing names is to get dreams, preferences and expectations out in the open.
If you’ve always dreamed of naming your baby girl Samantha, but your significant other only likes creative and highly unusual names, you need to clear the air. Offer your own general opinions and the thoughts you’ve already had. Listen to his. Then put those on the back burner and work toward a compromise that suits both of you and the unborn child.
Is there a tradition in your family that you would like to continue? If your husband is a junior, perhaps your son should be a junior. If girls are names after members of the family, you might prefer to follow the tradition.
Examine your heritage. Are there specific names or customs that are especially meaningful and applicable to your baby? Is the due date on the pregnancy calendar symbolic in anyway?
Use a baby naming website or book to browse through and brainstorm about possibilities. Each parent should make a list of top choices and then share the lists to look for similar or identical selections. If one partner has a strong opposition to a name, cross it off the list. Naming your child is about reaching a decision together, not forcing a name on both your spouse and your child.
The Short List
Whittle down names until you have a short list. Then practice the names. Do they sound right with your last name? Do the initials spell anything embarrassing? Yell them up the stairs – does it fit your home and lifestyle?
You then can keep a short list until delivery or pick the name that appeals the most to both parents. If you are stuck between two names, ask a trusted friend for her opinion or use one name as the middle name.
Finally, be prepared to change your mind. It is perfectly acceptable to change your mind during delivery or even the last few weeks of pregnancy. Sometimes babies need names like, “Hope” or “Joy” that have extra special meaning you would never have known about before delivery. And other times you just realize that your little boy looks more like an Aaron than a Zebidiah once you’ve gotten a good look at him. Be flexible – you’ll need it the rest of your parenting career.
COBRA, or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, gives you the right to continued group insurance under most circumstances for a limited time. COBRA benefits are usually more expensive than the group rates you paid while employed as your former employer is no longer footing part of the bill, but in many cases is less expensive than independent insurance. For some situations, it might be the only method to keep insurance for situations like ongoing treatment and pregnancy.
What is COBRA?
The Untied States Government passed the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act in 1986 to extend health care coverage that might otherwise be terminated. It gives you options when it comes to healthcare.
There are many situations that qualify you, your spouse or your dependents for COBRA benefits. In most cases, unless you were fired for gross misconduct, you, your spouse and dependents all qualify. Other circumstances also allow for benefits including death, divorce, qualification for Medicare, reduction in working hours and if a child outgrows dependent status.
If you were laid off or chose to leave a job, but don’t have another one with benefits already lined up, COBRA might be a nice way to bridge the gap without having to find other insurance. Benefits can last for one to three years and once you are approved, you can continue with the same methods of treatment you’ve been using up to that point. This is especially important for those with ongoing treatments for long term diseases, conditions and pregnancy where finding other insurance with the same coverage might be almost impossible.
COBRA benefits are often a bit less expensive than a similar plan through independent insurance.
What Do I Do?
When you leave a position or come into another situation which entitles you to COBRA benefits, you will receive a letter from your former employer within 14 days. You then can apply for benefits and your specific situation determines approval. Generally you have up to 60 days to apply, and coverage begins on the first day you would normally have had coverage – even if you elect the plan 60 days after that time.
For additional information, the United States Government has a list of FAQ available here.
For years it was almost impossible to find insurance that adequately covered preexisting conditions. This is no longer the case in the United States following the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which passed in 1997. Getting insurance with a current medical condition maybe easier than you think – in the United States at least.
Current Medical Conditions
According to HIPAA, a preexisting, or current, medical condition is anything that has been treated in the last six months. This does not include pregnancy or new babies. Those are not considered preexisting conditions at all and can not be subjected to wait periods. The only limitation an insurance agency can put on you (and your preexisting condition) is a twelve month waiting period before coverage for that treatment begins.
The Waiting Game
HIPPA also allows for your prior health insurance to be credited toward the twelve month waiting period provided you didn’t lapse in insurance for more than 62 days. This means that if you were diagnosed with an illness one year ago, but remained insured for that year, you no longer qualify for a waiting period and can begin new coverage immediately. An insurance company can not make you wait for treatment or deny you coverage based on that condition. This is true when going from one group plan to another, but things do become more complicated when a large insurance plan is not involved.
If you are leaving a job for any reason but being fired, you can use your COBRA rights to continue your current benefits until you find a new job, preferably one with group coverage. COBRA will offer you the same insurance you had at your prior position, even if you are laid off, so your treatments should be covered for up to three years. During that time, you can find a new position or with the conclusion of treatments, lose your preexisting condition status.
If you are entering a group policy without insurance for the prior 62 days, you may be put on a twelve month waiting period – at least for the specific condition. This may also be true if you are seeking independent insurance not bound by group policies or limitations. If this is your case, consider taking the following steps to find coverage:
- Get a clause in an insurance plan excluding the specific medical condition, but allowing for coverage of any other sort.
- See what plans your state offers for those who can not get medical insurance.
- Look into plans and treatment options at county or state run facilities.
- Find a group of other independents to join that have a medical plan. (i.e. Realtors, artists, etc…)
- Get a catastrophic plan which doesn’t cover doctor’s visits, but does cover emergency care and hospital bills.
- Speak with a Health Benefits Counselor about your best options.
- Appeal the refusal – especially if there are additional state laws protecting citizens with poor health, obesity, etc…
- Wait it out. Find a way to make ends meet until the waiting period is up, and then never let your insurance lapse more than 62 days.
For additional information on insurance outside the United States, visit:
Maternity insurance is a specialized insurance offering that only a few need, well, at most only 50% of the population needs. Maternity insurance is often misunderstood, especially when it is not included in a standard group policy of some kind. If you are struggling to wade through the facts and rumors of maternity insurance, learn how to find the truth about maternity insurance.
It’s Already Included
In many group policies, maternity medical insurance is included, but you should never assume this is the case without checking. If you have an independent policy, you may be very surprised to discover that maternity is most often not included. Not only that, but it might not be available in your area – at least not through traditional insurance companies. This is definitely something to check before becoming pregnant if at all possible. Read through your policy handbook or speak with a knowledgeable representative to determine exactly what is included in regard to maternity coverage in your current policy.
It’s Easy to Get
It’s possible, but most often maternity insurance is complicated to get if it’s even available. The coverage options vary by state, and by country. If you are already pregnant, it can be challenging to get separate maternity insurance or even a general insurance policy. It can also be challenging for other members of your family to get insurance if you don’t already have it thanks to the new baby’s ability to be put on any current insurance plan for the first thirty days of life. Research your options in advance and find the ideal solution for your family – be it a traditional group policy through a company or collection of independents, or possibly a maternity rider on an independent policy.
I Don’t Need It
Even if you are planning on a simple home birth, there are many other complications to consider with a pregnancy. Delivery may be the bulk of your costs, but even simple deliveries with a midwife or knowledgeable relative can turn expensive quickly if the baby is in trouble, you need emergency care, or a situation such as a breech position baby or twins makes it unsafe for a home or center delivery.
Maternity insurance also covers prenatal and postnatal care as well as sonograms, routine tests and blood work that can alert you to any conditions you or your baby might suffer. General insurance will not cover these costs, and even a twenty-four hour stay in a hospital can cost thousands.
I’ll Pay Cash
Unless you have a great deal of money on hand, you won’t qualify for a cash discount. If you prepay delivery, you can save, but there are additional savings with negotiated insurance rates as well. Even the most basic maternity coverage can cut your costs tremendously. Why throw away cash when you can save it by picking up a simple maternity rider before beginning a pregnancy?
When you see an unexpected blue line or in our digital age, a glaring “Pregnant,” your world may grind to a halt. You’re pregnant. You didn’t plan it, and you’re not sure what to do about it. This is a high stress situation, but your first step is to stop worrying about that positive and let your initial emotions process. Then, when you’ve finished shaking, screaming, yelling, cheering and crying you’re ready to deal with your surprise pregnancy.
Assess Your Emotions
Your emotions will tell you a lot about what to do next with your pregnancy. If you listen to your body for a few days and try to understand the whirl of emotions you might get a sense of how much you actually want to be pregnant. Is there an underlying dread about becoming a parent or are you excited about the possibility? As hard as it is, leave your marital, financial and other situations out of the emotional mix right now. The question now is what do YOU want?
Assess Your Situation
Your next step is to assess your situation. This time leave emotion out of the mix while you look at your living conditions, your relationship and your means of support. There are almost no conditions that can’t be overcome if you’re ready to become a parent, but knowing what you have on your side and what you’re up against will help you clear the way. Look at everything with the eyes of a potential mother, not just a girl or woman.
Option A or Option B
At this point you will likely clue your significant other into the pregnancy and be sure to give him time to process the news. Remember how you felt and let him vent and express his emotions. The first few hours are no indication of how he’ll feel once the shock has worn off.
Then the two of you will have to make an important decision. Do you want to keep the baby. You likely already know the answer to this based on your emotional response and your situation. Your emotions should win our over situations, however since you can work to change your situation.
Hear your partner out, but trust in your own instincts. Your partner is an important part of this decision, but you will be responsible for the next nine months. Only you can create a healthy baby if you choose to continue the pregnancy. There is no need to discuss adoption or any other plan at this point except possible a sneaky marriage if you’re trying to hide the “surprise” factor.
Act on Your Decision
If you decided to abort the pregnancy, follow the requirements set forth in your state. Realize that there is a timeframe on your decision and laws may require you take certain steps before carrying out the procedure. If you decide to continue the pregnancy, arrange prenatal care immediately to get started on vitamins and a healthy diet to be sure your baby grows to be as healthy as possible.
Plan for Parenthood
Once you’ve started a pregnancy, you have eight months or so to prepare to become a parent. This might be enough time to train in a new career or finish a current program. It’s enough time to move to a new area or move back home to a better support system if your relationship doesn’t work out. Eight months is plenty of time to get married, get divorced or separate. You might even start a new relationship while pregnant.
It’s impossible to see into the future, obviously, but spend this eight months getting ready to become a parent. Even if you offer your baby in adoption, you’ll still need to understand the process of labor and delivery. You’ll also need to make arrangements for the future of your child.
If you’re keeping the baby, find a safe home for the two of you and a means of support. If you’re married this will be far easier than if you’re single, but there are many programs and support systems in place for single mothers. Regardless of marital status, find a support system through your family, a community center or religious center to help you through the process.