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Marissa Jaret Winokur: 'This is the most intense time of my life'

03/31/2008 at 09:47 AM ET

In a segment on this morning’s Good Morning America, Marissa Jaret Winokur — who in 2003 won a Tony Award for her performance in Hairspray and is currently competing on Dancing With the Stars — talked more about her battle with cervical and uterine cancer, and the baby boy she’s expecting via surrogate with husband Judah Miller.  Marissa says that she recently sang to her son, whom the couple have decided to name Zev, in utero and got quite a surprise in return when she felt his first kick.  An emotional Melissa described her feelings about impending motherhood for her interviewer, DWtS host Tom Bergeron, telling other women who may be struggling with their ability to have a baby,

You can find a way to do this.  If you want to have a baby, you can adopt, there’s in vitro, there’s surrogacy.  With my surrogate, its a whole different world.  There is no, like, ‘Is she going to change her mind?’  It’s my egg, it’s my biological child…This is the most intense time of my life. 

Marissa — who proudly proclaims "I wear my heart on my sleeve" — revealed that her surrogate has attended the taping of several DWTS shows.

The baby (has been) in the audience.   He’s out there.  One day I’ll be able to say ‘Zev — I was being a crazy person dancing on a TV show and you were, like, in the womb, there… And that’s just like.  Yeah…(tearing up)…I’m very emotional.

Marissa and Judah, a comedy writer, were married in 2006. Zev is due on July 17th.

Source:  Good Morning America 

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tink1217 on

while i am glad she has found a way to have her miracle baby and its a wonderful thing she was able to do….not everyone can afford IVF or surrogacy. Not everyone has insurance coverage for IVF and it is expensive. The average couple making $50,000 a year cannot usually afford to do it or hire a surrogate (which can run $30,000). I have a family friend who had a septate uterus and would always miscarry even after she had corrective surgery. They saved for about 5 years (she made very good money as a court reporter and he did well also) to afford the gestational surrogate. It was biologically their son she carried. But it did cost them around $30,000. There are lawyers and doing the IVF to obtain the pregnancy in the first place and a fee for the surrogate. It is very expensive. And adoption is not always the cheapest way to go either and it can be just as heart wrenching as infertility treatments. Marissa makes it sound so easy. I am not putting her down I just think people sometimes look at things like this with rose colored glasses. I wish her all the best with her new baby though. I hope he is healthy and happy.

CTBmom on

I agree with you Tink…..
I think it is a shame that it is so expensive to adopt or do invitro. It’s great if you can afford it, but there are a lot of couples who would make great parents, but they just can’t aford the cost of adopting or invitro. I feel so blessed that my husband and I were able to adopt our son, but I often wish that it wasn’t so expensive so that we would have been able to give him a brother or a sister. That said, I am very happy for Marissa and wish her a happy and healthy little boy.

Courtney on

I am soo happy for her. A long time ago I was very involved with people dealing with different infertility issues. I know MANY who had to do a 2nd mortgage and loans out the ying yang and are still in debt, there is no way to know if it will work for sure either. I don’t think that she meant any harm in what she said. She is basically telling women not to give up hope and to remember there are options. I can wait to see her little boy, her excitement makes me wish I were having another one!

Sarah on

I think it’s wonderful that she is getting her baby this way but unfortunately there is not a “way” to get a baby for everyone.

My husband & I have been trying for a child for 4 yrs. We have miscarried multiple times. We are now being told our hope is IVF.. yeah! Right. Like we can afford it.

So then we think.. ok IVF is too expensive.. how about Adoption? Hmm.. also way out of our league.
So we try adoption through DCF.. um a little cheaper BUT the children have been damaged quite a bit and it’s hard to get an infant. Oh wait.. one of the Social workers was able to adopt a brand new baby smack outta the Hospital? Nice.

Yea.. I am discouraged LOL.

LolaCola on

I think it is terrible that adoption is so expensive. It is almost like the government(s) wants to get as much money as possible instead of trying to provide the child with the best possible parents, who may in fact not have as much money.

MamaC on

Not all adoptions are expensive. Adoptions are expensive if you want a newborn, but there are plenty of kids out there that need good homes now. Most adoptions from foster care are free (there may be some minimal fees depending on the agency you use and these fees are often reimbursable). In addition, many children in foster care are eligible for monthly subsidies after they are adopted. A subsidy is money to help with the expenses of caring for a child or children. See:
http://nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy/adoptionsubsidy.html
and see:
http://www.adoptuskids.org/

Sheba on

I think her story is fascinating! Congratulations to her and praises to the miracle of modern medicine and some divine intervention.

I wish there were some way to mount a massive protest and force a complete overhaul of the adoption system in the US.

I’m doing IVF and it is expensive. My RE however is super cheap and he’s NOT a quack. What I’ve learned so far about the process is.

Ask for a discount! Just flat out ask for one. Be straight and say…this what I can afford…can you do the IVF for this price? I know a few women who have gotten cost-effective IVFs this way.

Ask for donor meds from your doctor. IVF meds will set you back about 2 grand. I have a refrigerator full of unused, unopen, non-expired meds that I will give to my RE for another women to use. I believe in karma. And when you have good luck, you should pass it on.

Ask your doctor for a payment plan. Maybe you can’t afford 30,000 grand up front. But maybe 30 grand over a period of 3 to 4 years?

Ask for a discount on sonograms and bloodwork when paying out of pocket. They don’t have to charge you the same price they charge insurance companies. This will save you some serious do re mi.

IVF just like any other big purchase can be negotiated.

Buy your meds from pharmacies that specialize in fertility drugs. They usually have better prices and your RE usually has a working relationship with them.

I’m sure there are more tips out there. These are just the ones I’ve done myself. Including drugs, bloodwork, sonograms, IVF-ET. The whole thing costs me $5,650.00. That’s still steep for me but it’s manageable.

MB on

my husband and i are looking into adoption. there are lots of places that offer scholarships, so don’t despair just yet! :-) we’re looking at overseas adoption, from the country where my family lives. the agencies we’ve been looking into have lists of places that offer scholarships. if you are religious, religious agencies tend to be cheaper than secular ones. also, i wonder if fostering as a route to adoption would be cheaper than straight out adoption. finally, i read in either newsweek or time about a program with surrogates in india, for women in the states who can’t afford surrogacy here. the money the indian surrogates get goes to helping the women start their own businesses. so, there are some options out there if you dig, although i realize that these still don’t work for everyone.

Sheba on

Oh! Another consideration is adopting a baby with a ‘birth defect” or “disability”. The reason I put these terms in quotes is not to diminish their meaning, but to say that some countries consider things like a strange birth mark to be a birth defect and therefore the baby is not a prime candidate for adoption.

My sister-in-law is adopting from China. The wait-list is 3 to 4 years old for an infant girl. As soon as she said she would consider taking a baby with a mild birth defect, they started sending her pictures and baby stories every week. She’s considering taking a baby boy with a stage 1 cleft palate.

MB on

That’s true, Sheba. My husband and I have talked about that too. The only thing is, you have to be prepared for the medical costs associated with that. So, you may not end up saving $ that way, just getting a child sooner. A cleft palate usually requires surgery, plus some speech therapy, and those can be expensive.

tink1217 on

Sarah, I have also suffered numerous miscarriages and we are going through the preliminary stuff for IVF right now. I have 2 children from my first marriage. My 2nd husband and I have been trying since 1999 and have been through 9 miscarriages and an ectopic (lost the left tube). We are unexplained and have been tested for everything under the sun and then some.

Luckily I wrote an appeal to my insurance and they are covering IVF for us…ONCE ONLY. So as it sometimes takes 2 or 3 tries…we still may not have a baby. We will do an FET though if we have embryos left over. We can actually afford that. But the IVF is costing around $15000. There is no way we could afford to pay for it all out of pocket. Thank goodness my insurance took pity on me and my situation. But this is not the case usually. Infertility affects so many couples. You would think treatments would be covered. At least partially.

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