Category: Family

Part Two-The Gestational Surrogacy Process: Step-By-Step

6TyXjna6c

Part One of The Gestational Surrogacy Process was finding your surrogate. Now here is Part Two, the step-by-step process.

I left you off with us finding our gestational surrogate, my amazing sister <3

Now, this is where using an agency would obviously make it a much smoother process, not 100%, but maybe a little easier than my sis and I navigating through it all.

I was VERY blessed and fortunate to have my two wonderful ttc sisters, Suzanne(ourjourneytoababybump.com) and Jennifer(2daymightbetheday.blogspot.com ). Without these women and their guidance through this process I would have been lost a lot longer than I was, so thank you both SO much! My TTC Loves!!

Now, here is the step-by-step process for using a gestational carrier/surrogate….hold on…it’s a little overwhelming!

Gestational Carrier/Surrogate:

  • Send prenatal records & delivery records from ALL pregnancies(gestational carrier should have already had at least one child to be considered to be a carrier).
  • Clearance letter from 0B (must be MD, not NP, PA, CNM).
  • The gestational carrier nurse coordinator will review all records and determine if process can continue.
  • Complete phone interview with gestational carrier nurse coordinator.

Schedule clinic visit between cycle days 5-13, her husband/partner will need to attend.

The clinic visit includes:(sometimes it takes more than one visit).

  • Baseline ultrasound including Doppler flow of the uterus.
  • Hysteroscopy(visual but if deemed necessary, operative hysteroscopy will be scheduled before proceeding to confirm clearance).
  • Blood & urine tests per the FDA communicable diseases for gestational carrier and her husband/partner.
  • Additional blood tests include: Blood type with antibody screen, rubella titer, varicella titer, CBC, complete metabolic panel, TSH, free T4, vitamin D & urine drug screen.
  • Annual exam & Pap smear
  • Herpes culture
  • Schedule a Psychologist appointment with a Dr. familiar with infertility and the gestational carrier process (gestational carrier and her husband/partner)
  • Personality tests: MMPI & PAI
  • Mammogram (once between 35-40yrs, yearly >40 yrs)

After the clinic visits and clearance:

  • Secure your own lawyer for representation (paid for by the Intended Parents) and have them contact Intended Parents lawyer to review gestational carrier/surrogate contract.
  • Returned signed consents and finalize contract with intended parents.
  • Mock cycle with next period.

***Once ALL of the above is completed, we can finalize the calendar for a retrieval and transfer.

 

And that’s just for your Gestational Carrier/Surrogate….this is what you have to do as the Intended Parents:

Intended Parents(if you don’t have frozen embryos and need IVF)

  • Baseline ultrasound with resting follicle count
  • Blood work, AMH, communicable diseases (both partners), blood type, CBC, TSH, free T4, vitamin D, Prolactin, complete metabolic panel (can do through PCP), genetic carrier testing if you choose
  • Semen analysis with Anti-sperm antibody testing (ASAB), Culture for bacteria, Sperm Chromatin Assay (if applicable)
  • Psychologist (both partners)
  • Day 3 hormones
  • Pap smear current within the year (we need the pathology report from your doctor)
  • Annual exam current within the year
  • Mammogram report (once between 35-40yrs, yearly >40yrs)
  • Return consent forms
  • Genetic carrier testing consents/waivers, other waivers (if applicable).
  • Lawyer-Finalize contract with gestational carrier & her husband (Clinic needs a letter, not the contract, from the attorney stating the contract has been signed by all parties)

Per FDA guidelines:

  • Female partner will repeat her FDA communicables and do an FDA risk assessment physical within 30 days of retrieval
  • Male Partner will repeat his FDA communicables and do an FDA risk assessment physical within 7 days of retrieval

** *Once ALL of the above is completed, we can finalize the calendar for IVF retrieval and transfer to gestational carrier.

Intended Parents(when doing an FET)

  • Blood work, FDA communicable diseases, genetic carrier testing, if you choose.
  • FDA Risk Assessment Physical (see below) evaluates for high risk behaviors that put you at risk for contracting communicable diseases or other contagious diseases that could be passed on to a gestational carrier and/or a fetus

Meet/speak with:

  • Physician–regroup to discussing using a GC and how many embryos to thaw and transfer
  • Psychologist–to discuss emotional aspects of using a GC; if done over the phone, both partners will need to meet with a licensed mental health provider in person.

Sign consents

  • Return signed consents— Couple using a GC consent, Known consents x3 signed by all parties, Genetic carrier testing consents
  • Waivers (if applicable)
  • Lawyer- Finalize contract with gestational carrier & her husband (Clinic needs a letter, not the contract, from the attorney stating the contract has been signed by all parties)

Per FDA guidelines

* When embryos are created with the intent to use a gestational carrier, FDA mandates that the female partner (egg source) do FDA communicables and an FDA risk assessment physical within 30 days of retrieval and the male partner (sperm source) do FDA communicables and an FDA risk assessment physical within 7 days of retrieval

* Your original intent was not to use a gestational carrier so FDA testing was not completed.

*Now that the embryos are frozen, the FDA want to ensure that both partners are still negative for any communicables they were originally tested for and a few FDA mandated additional ones. It is also required that both partners do the FDA risk assessment physical as well.

OR

*You did complete FDA testing at the time the embryos were created but they have been frozen for more than 6 months. In this case, FDA considers this a quarantine period and wants both partners to redo FDA communicables and the FDA risk assessment physicals to ensure that both partners are still negative for all communicables as you could convert from negative to positive in that 6 months.

** *Once ALL of the above is completed, we can finalize the calendar for a transfer.

WHEW!

It’s a lot…right?! Now, do you get why I’m a “little” overwhelmed?!

We started this process in April of 2015(after our failed 3rd IVF cycle). During my sister’s first ultrasound, my RE noticed a lining that was “too thick”…I mean really, here I have “too thin” lining and my sister has “too thick” lining. I couldn’t believe it. And it honestly scared her a bit. We followed that up with a biopsy, that came back non-cancerous(thank God!), and then a sonohystogram that showed some scar tissue and bumps in her uterus(boo 🙁 ). That confirmed she needed to have surgery…her very first surgery. Because of me. But she did it, she had an operative hysteroscopy and my RE cleared out any scar tissue he saw and confirmed a clear, healthy looking uterus.

3 months later, she was officially cleared to be our gestational carrier….

And here we are.

My sister has been on birth control pills and started Lupron. This is all getting very real.

Next up….prepping for our FET…..I can’t believe we are finally almost there…finally….

Part One-The Gestational Surrogacy Process: Finding Your Surrogate

youhavenever

If you’ve ever been faced with the gut-wrenching news that you may not be able to carry your child and have a successful pregnancy, I’m talking to you.

I understand how you feel. It is overwhelming. You are in denial. And you simply just don’t want to accept it.

But, if you’re like me, you try everything available and then there comes a day when you’ve hit rock bottom and you throw your hands in the air and “give in” to what they’ve all been saying: You must use a gestational carrier/surrogate to bring your babies into this world.

I never really thought it would come to this. I honestly didn’t.

But after 4 years, you start to think (o.k, you start to get desperate) and you just want your baby safe in your arms…simple as that. I thought, if I don’t get to experience the 9 months of pregnancy, so be it. I’ll have a lifetime of love to give this little miracle..and 9 months goes by at the drop of a hat.

And here we are, about to start this process.

Now, I first started researching Gestational Surrogacy 2 years ago. And it scared the crap out of me.

When you begin looking online, it is clearly geared towards women who might want to become gestational surrogates. Young, healthy, moms that have already delivered a baby or two. Luring them with cute baby pictures and large amounts of money that they can earn. Obviously, most women can carry babies with no problem. Only a few women who have this problem and men looking to have their child through a surrogate are ones in need…and it shows. Then the agencies start popping up. Everywhere.

And then there’s the money part of it.

I have to talk about that because it is unreal. When I started realizing the cost through an agency, I gave up. I did. I thought, there is no way anyone can afford this. I mean, I guess I could if I moved in with my parents, sold my car, worked extra hours, etc…but truth be told….all estimates were between $80,000-$100,000…..omg.

On the other hand, I really didn’t want to make any of my family members feel like they had to volunteer or feel forced to volunteer because they had a “normal” uterus. I mean, it is a unbelievable question to ask, “Will you carry my baby for 9 months? And then give it to me?” thanks…yep. Family or not.

So I waited and I kept trying on me. I was such a lost cause. Month after month. Cancelled FET after cancelled FET. It was becoming normal and I was slowly becoming hopeless.

Until my sister called me.

It was my birthday in 2014.

She called to say happy birthday and then the small talk stopped and she just said it, “You know, I would carry your baby for you if you need me to.”

And silence…..

I hadn’t even talked to her much about all I have gone through…she just knew since I had so many surgeries and never a pregnancy….

Then tears…I couldn’t even talk. I said, “No, sis…thank you but no, I couldn’t ask you to do that.”

And she said, “You don’t have to ask, I want to do this for you and your hubby.”

And that just killed me. She wanted to help me. She wanted to help make my dream come true.

So selfless. So caring. So kind. So much love.

You know, some of you may think, well, if I have a sister she should want to carry my child for me if I couldn’t. But it’s not that easy and a lot of times not the case. Many will say they will, but if it really came down to it, they wouldn’t. I’ve also met many women who have sisters that can’t carry for them or simply won’t carry for them.

It’s not an easy decision.

But here’s my sister, offering to provide the home to house our miracle for 9 months. What a gift.

So that’s half the battle right? We found our surrogate, my sister. Should be smooth sailing from here….

Wrong….this is only the beginning and a LONG road ahead….

Part Two coming soon……..