The California Center for Reproductive Medicine helps individuals and couples worldwide overcome fertility challenges through a personal approach and medical expertise. It was a pleasure to speak with Lori Arnold, M.D, F.A.C.O.G., board-certified, world-renowned fertility specialist and Founder and Medical Director of CACRM. Dr. Arnold shared how working in developing countries inspired her to focus on reproductive medicine and pre-implantation genetic testing for improved birth outcomes. Check out our interview to learn more about Dr. Arnold and her team at CACRM and how they assist intended parents throughout the entire surrogacy journey and after delivery.
Dr. Lori Arnold, members of her team, happy parents and a gorgeous newborn!
1. What inspired you to become a doctor and work in the fertility field?
Ensuring moms and babies are healthy has been my inspiration from a young age and led me to specialize in reproductive medicine.
My experiences living abroad exposed me to the detrimental effects of poor prenatal care. I felt my calling to be a doctor over 40 years ago and wanted to have a global impact on the health of future generations of children, specifically in the reduction of infant morbidity and mortality, so commonly seen in third world countries.
After graduating high school in Switzerland, I volunteered in Mexico and South America for the International Health Agency. My goal at the time was to work for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.
My interest in women’s health care began during my medical internship. I loved taking care of pregnant women, encouraging them to have healthy children. I learned that a mom’s well-being and prenatal care has a major correlation with the future health of her baby. These experiences led me to specialize in reproductive medicine and pre-implantation genetic testing.
2. Why the interest in preimplantation genetic testing?
Testing is the basis for having a healthy baby through IVF and preventing miscarriages and birth defects due to chromosomal abnormalities.
During in vitro fertilization (IVF), we find that not all embryos are normal, and transferring an embryo that is not chromosomally normal can cause implantation failure, miscarriage, or the birth of a baby incompatible with life. We utilize Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) to allow us not to transfer an abnormal embryo. PGT also can detect gene mutations causing hereditary diseases therefore, we can prevent genetic disorders that may be transmitted to the baby.
I really feel this journey has taken me back to my roots of why I wanted to be a doctor, which is to have a global impact on the health of our future children!
3. How did you develop your specialty in surrogacy?
Over 25 years ago, I performed my first surrogacy case for an Italian couple, and since then, surrogacy has grown both nationally and internationally, as has my interest in third-party reproduction.
When I was first working in IVF clinics, we needed to recruit, screen and follow-up with surrogates and egg donors since there were not many agencies who performed these services. I became really intrigued with the surrogacy process since this was the only means for many of my patients to have a child.
We continue to recruit, screen, and perform the medical evaluations in my IVF program at CACRM. It’s a lot of work to provide egg donors and surrogates, but our intended parents really appreciate it when we present a surrogate and/or egg donor that already have been medically screened by a physician. Also, it is important that we assist our Intended parents throughout the entire surrogacy journey until after delivery of their baby.
Beautiful CACRM families
4. What has been your most rewarding experience personally and professionally?
Some of my most rewarding cases have been with intended parents who had multiple miscarriages.
These women had suffered several losses and had little chance to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term and delivery. After a thorough medical evaluation and treatment plan, 90-95% of them were able to sustain a pregnancy and had a live birth. One of my first cases in 1996 was a woman who had nine miscarriages. We helped her have a successful pregnancy and baby. 25 years later, I still have a picture of this patient holding her precious baby after all her prior losses!
5. What is your advice for intended parents just beginning to consider surrogacy?
Intended parents should understand the legal, insurance, and medical aspects of surrogacy and be aware of the policies and laws in the state where they live.
Surrogacy is a very complex process; in fact, we counted 81 steps! Therefore, it is crucial to have guidance from beginning to end with an experienced, professional team. My patients, for example, know that they can contact me, a double board-certified reproductive endocrinologist, and my compassionate team anytime during their journey.
6. Is there anything else you’d like to share about CACRM?
Our mission is to give competent, compassionate, and state-of-the-art care. We’re very transparent with expectations, success rates, and the entire investment for our patient’s surrogacy journey.
CACRM feels everybody should have an opportunity to have a family, and we do not discriminate regarding age, sex, race, or gender.
We help our patients fulfill their dreams to have a family with an expert physician-led team support them throughout their entire surrogacy journey.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Dr. Arnold, as well as for all of this helpful insight and your incredible support for so many intended parents.
Ready to start your search for a surrogacy agency? Learn more about CACRM and other wonderful options, here.