Should I carry?

I can’t help but think this would all be easier if I just try to carry our embryo… Am I crazy? Is it irresponsible given my history? Maybe I’m just already overwhelmed with the surrogate process… which is just beginning. What if I at least talk to the high-risk OB team again…? Eric isn’t thrilled with the idea, he does not want another nicu stay.

Gestational Carrier Consult Details

So I probably should have explained a bit better in my original post… Here are the details of our appointment in Iowa City in mid-July.

  • Eric and I need to be at the IVF Clinic by 8am, which is now at it’s own site separate from the hospital. Might be a challenge since we live almost two hours away, and we can’t bring the girls due to COVID-19, not that we would have anyway. I guess I need to work something out for my mom to watch them.
  • From 8-11am I’m told we’ll do a variety of things..
    • Meet with the IVF group (doctors and nurses) to discuss the process, details, all the medical stuff. This is when they will share all the scary stats, like the chances of our embryo not even surviving the thaw. Thankfully Eric and I are pretty familiar with the embryo transfer process, being through it several times ourselves.
    • Eric and I both need some blood drawn for FDA approval. Apparently since they are putting our tissue, the embryo, into another human, the gestational carrier, they need to tests us for a bunch of stuff. Seems silly to me at this point, as our embryo was created and frozen six years ago… Although I remember tons of tests then too.
    • Consents. I’ll told there is a lot of signing of consent forms. Choices and decisions to make. Sounds familiar as well from way back when with the IVF process.
    • Finance. Apparently they want to talk to us about how we plan to pay for this, before we get too far into the process.
  • Then we have a break, and later in the afternoon from 1-3pm at the hospital Eric and I meet with a psychologist. I’m not sure if this is together or separate, nor do I have any idea what exactly we discuss, other than the obvious.

Next steps for me also are to get back into contact with the surrogacy agency. I seem to remember the next step with them is to contact one of their choice lawyers and work on the contract between us and whoever we pick as the carrier. Oh, and establish a financial deposit with them for our, and our carrier’s expenses.

On the phone yesterday the fertility clinic’s nurse asked again about us having only one frozen embryo. She stressed this is a lot of work and money for only one chance. I’m not sure what to think of that, other than scared I guess. I truly feel like this embryo deserves a chance, the whole point in us doing this… but is this just going to make me want a third child… so what happens if our embryo doesn’t result in a live birth?

It’s June!!!

How it can be June, I have no idea. May took three years to pass I swear. Our state, Iowa, is starting to open back up, but we are still staying put for the most part. We have been out once really, for Eric’s birthday to dinner which was last week. It felt very weird to be out, almost wrong. And the girls were kind of wild, but of course, can you blame them after being stuck at home for months?? After Eric’s birthday dinner he enjoyed a homemade chocolate cake at home. Super yummy!

I feel like I have lots of updates… probably because I haven’t written in quite sometime, but also because I feel like all the things put on hold due to COVID-19 as slowing coming off hold status.


The occupational therapy clinic FINALLY called and Nadia’s appointment is next Monday morning. I’m nervous, and I so wish Eric could come too, but they only want the patient and one parent due to COVID. More to come on this!


And… the IVF clinic called to make an appointment to start the gestational carrier process from their end. I have no idea what to expect, I guess we will find out. They suggested some appointment dates in July, but Eric is on-call those days, so I’m waiting for them to call me back so we can figure something out! Stay-tuned!


Alright, back to cleaning the kitchen and laundry, which I’ve been putting off forever. Seems the more time I have, the less I accomplish with poor motivation. I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite photos currently on my phone.

Forms

It’s been a week since the rude woman at my fertility clinic told me she wasn’t sure wanting to avoid the nicu was a medical reason for surrogacy. Do I call her? I did get the generic packet of information they send everyone. Maybe we just fill out the forms assuming we are cleared to proceed…

Surrogacy Consult

I spoke with Robin at Advanced Reproductive Resources (ARR) this morning… and I think I’m even more confused now… She explained the entire program in 55 minutes, I couldn’t even take notes fast enough! Of course she would have re-explained anything I needed clarification on, but at this point, I don’t even really know what to ask.

One of the first things she mentioned… was to plan for this to cost $130,000. I assume she was saying this to prepare me, and not to scare me. She suggested some financing options, although honestly I think we are fine in this area. Probably the only area I’m not worried about… which I realize is huge. This will just give me more energy and time to freak out about every other thing.

Robin obviously has been in this business awhile, she seemed very prepared, although somewhat rushed. Perhaps she had a million other clients to speak with today as well… I got the impression the clinic is somewhat small in regards to number of employees, although maybe there are lots who work behind the scenes who were not introduced to me today.

We did discuss using a surrogate we know, perhaps my friend… That would drop the agency fees from $39,000 to $8,000 and we could decide the compensation amount and schedule of payment to the surrogate rather than use their set plan. They would still manage the agreement, which would be very, very helpful. Honestly though, I don’t know… How would I know what to pay a personal surrogate? And while 31k savings is a chunk of money, if that is the only savings… is it worth it to pick your surrogate, and possibly ruin a friendship?

After I got off the phone this morning with ARR I called and left a message for the women who handles surrogacy with our fertility clinic. I want to get more information from her… Is it worth having another consult with them about me carrying the embryo…? I don’t know. The idea of another NICU stay terrifies me. What’s better though, the scary you know, or the scary you don’t know…?

Best Friend = Surrogate?

There’s this girl I know. Slightly younger than me, someone I met when I moved here the first time, so about four and a half years ago we met. And since I’ve moved back we have reconnected and become what I would consider best friends. I see her several times a week, we have a lot in common, I feel like I can tell her anything… She’s that kind of friend. I don’t want to say much more to protect her privacy…

Today she told me she would be willing to be our surrogate. She said she actually thought about it after she had her first child, she has two children now, so she did a lot of research then and knows the process in some detail.

I was seriously touched. Who can say they would do that for another person? Grow a child. Give up their body for almost a year. And while it’s tempting, I’m stuck on all the downsides, specifically it ruining our friendship.

I promised myself I would call the surrogacy agency today and schedule a telephone consultation.

Schedule Consult?

I finally heard back from the surrogacy agency in Chicago that works with our fertility clinic. I quickly glanced over the information they sent, which is really basic at this point, but I noticed their pay structure is pretty much completely opposite of the first agency I contacted. The first place lists out all the fees, like an a la carte menu of fees. And they pay the surrogate throughout the pregnancy, I think she gets so much of her base ‘salary’ each trimester. The agency in Chicago lumps the fees together as one fee and the surrogate is paid the entire amount before the embryo transfer even takes place. Of course, there are additional payments made to her later, like extra money for a c-section, an allowance for maternity clothing, etc. I’m honestly not sure how either of these pay structures would alter the total spent, or if it matters, since I assume we would use the agency that works with our clinic.

I’m not sure how I feel about any of this, yet, being all I’ve really determined are costs… So of course I’m already feeling, what’s the word… taken doesn’t seem quite right. Ripped off isn’t right either. I don’t know, it’s hard to know that a woman gets paid quite a bit of money whether she carries a baby to term or if the embryo doesn’t even implant. Yes, I know she is growing my child for me. But with money mentioned first… this feels very much like a job she is applying for… Or at least that’s how these fee sheets portray it. And if that’s true, what incentive does any surrogate have to get through the pregnancy? I know, the goodness of their heart, but they technically get paid a salary, which makes me feel like most? some? will view it as a job…

I’m sorry, this post was not meant to be so negative, just already feeling like this process is aimed to benefit the surrogate, but not necessarily the ‘intended parents’ as they are referred to… Which also bothers me. Intended gives the impression, well, that it could turn out to be them, or maybe someone else! Like, why use the word intended?? I’m the parent of this embryo, whether this pregnancy progresses or not, why not call us the parents? 

I think I forgot to mention, I need to schedule a telephone consult with the agency as the next step.

Okay, rant over, for now.

Surrogate Agency Issue

So wouldn’t you know… The surrogacy agency I contacted in Iowa, Heartland Surrogacy, doesn’t work with The University of Iowa, which is where our embryo is frozen… Apparently the U of Iowa only works with Alternative Reproductive Resources (ARR) out of Chicago. So… I sent them our information and I’m waiting for a reply. If I’ve learned anything regarding infertility, it’s that nothing is easy or fast. Why our fertility clinic doesn’t work with Heartland… I’m not sure. Maybe because ARR has been in business for over 20 years, and Heartland is much newer, but that’s only a guess on my part. Of course we can move our embryo to a fertility clinic that Heartland does work with, but I trust the U of Iowa, so I feel I must trust the agency they prefer.

I know I mentioned in my last post that we only have one frozen embryo, so the overall chances of this resulting in a child are somewhat slim, being the embryo has to survive the thaw, implant in someone else’s body, and then proceed through a surrogate pregnancy with all the risks of any traditional pregnancy. Seems almost impossible when you think about it that way. And would we do another round of IVF to get more embryos? I don’t know. I doubt it. I honestly feel very content with my two girls. A part of me just feels like this embryo deserves a chance at life. If we didn’t have the embryo, we probably wouldn’t be thinking about adding to our family.

In other news… The girls are back to crying at preschool drop off. In fact, the first thing they say in the morning, the minute they are out of bed at 5AM no less, is, “I don’t want to go to school.” Can this be normal? Don’t they have fun with their friends? They always seem happy when I pick them up…

Yesterday I visited the private Catholic grade school connected to their preschool, the grade school I assume they will attend. An admissions open house was offered. Little did I know, it would result in an hour-long personal tour. It was good, but a lot of information! Should I also be visiting the public school in our district, just to make sure I’m making the right decision for the girls? My reasoning for the Catholic school is mostly because I attended a Catholic grade school and high school… It’s really all I know. Of course, if you ask private school parents they will say, oh, you want private, fewer behavior issues, much smaller classes… And if you ask pubic school parents you’ll hear, oh, you want public, as they have so much more funding and therefore far more opportunities. What’s best for the girls, I don’t know. How do other parents decide? And can you even believe we are talking about grade school??? Nora will be a kindergartener in August! And I already signed Nadia up for the 4-day preschool program beginning in August. She is currently in their 2-day program, so I hope this isn’t too much for her.

Eric left for Las Vegas yesterday morning for a “work” trip. Yes, there is a Urology conference he is there for, but he’s also meeting friends, so there’s no way in hell I believe he won’t be enjoying this trip as more of a vacation. And yes, he certainly deserves some time away, but I’d like some too! And wouldn’t you know, the girls are extra crabby and whiny when he is away. I swear he thinks I make that up, but they really are way more difficult when he is away. For example, Nora is usually my great sleeper, but last night she woke twice crying for me, which of course woke Nadia. And how do you get two upset kids back to sleep alone? So I was trying to go between their rooms, which wasn’t working at all. Finally we all got into Nora’s bed, but that was almost worse as the girls would not settle down together. It was an awful night, and we were all up for the day at 5am, all very tired and moody. I’m wondering how they did at preschool today. Nadia gets a nap, but Nora doesn’t. Might be an early bedtime tonight.