Category: One Ovary

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

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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….

But She Had An Abortion

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(First, let me start off by saying this will not be a “Pro Life” or “Pro Choice” post. I respect everyone’s personal opinions…and let’s leave it at that.)

There are so many things that I don’t understand in this world. You can only try to learn so much, understand so much and accept so much.

Then there are things that happen that I might never understand.

Let me give you the backstory:

2 friends, 2 years ago, one was in the throes battling infertility(me) and the other was dating and had just signed up for a new dating app, Tinder(N). She would talk to me about all of her dating adventures…honestly, they made me laugh. It was entertaining and she was having fun but I knew she wanted to settle down…actually, she was kind of desperate to settle down. She was 33 and thinking about having a baby….but she still needed to find the right guy.

I, on the other hand, had already found the right guy 🙂 I was married and would tell her stories about trying to have a baby. I had just accepted the fact that my husband and I might not ever have a child without medical intervention and we took the giant leap to go through IVF #1 in November 2013. As many of us know, going through your first IVF cycle…everything is overwhelming. You try to prepare yourself, but the outcome is never known. You can have 30 eggs retrieved and have 0 blastocysts. Or you can have 1 egg retrieved and have 1 blastocyst that becomes your child. We had 5 eggs retrieved. Unfortunately, November 2013 wasn’t our time and, as you all know, I am still struggling to bring our child into this world.

N, continued dating and having fun but no one was really serious. She started dating this one guy but it fizzled after about 2 months. Then I stopped hearing from her. I would text and just get some short answers. Sometimes that happens with friends if they are busy with a work project or something so I wasn’t too concerned.

Until I heard through the grapevine that she was pregnant.

(cue heart break and gut punch)

She got pregnant by the guy she dated on Tinder for 2 months. One of those months….she got pregnant.

But as quickly as she was pregnant….she wasn’t.

She decided to have an abortion.

And it was gone.

The ONE miracle that I pray for everyday, was her nightmare that she prayed against that day.

“How can one person’s only dream be another’s nightmare?”

That is the one question I don’t think anyone can answer.

I was numb. I couldn’t believe it and honestly, still have a hard time thinking about that time in my life. 2 years ago.

But as we all know, as time goes by, you heal. I healed. She healed.

Very soon after, she met a wonderful guy. I knew he was the one for her. And just this past July 2015, they got married. It was a beautiful wedding and love was in the air.

Now we are here, November 2015, 4 months after they got married and she just announced this week, they are pregnant. 3 months along.

And once again, I feel a punch to the gut. Somehow bigger than the first.

And numbness ensues. Not many tears. Just unfeeling numbness.

I then dared to ask the question to God…I tried not to…but I couldn’t control myself.

“Why God, why does she get the blessing of a child when she had an abortion?!”

For a moment, my numbness turns to anger. I’m actually angry at God.

I usually don’t get angry at God, even for my situation.

But this?

It just doesn’t make sense. And I know, many of you will say, well, it doesn’t need to make sense to you. Fair enough. But can’t I still question it??

Like, WHY am I having to live through this? Why does it have to be MY friend that has an abortion and then gets pregnant again the second she wants to??

Will I ever understand?? No, I really don’t think so…and I need to accept that…

But it hurts….it hurts so much that I can’t even explain it.

Hurt after hurt. Disappointment after disappointment. Pregnancy and after pregnancy.

How much can one person take? I’m only human…and I must remember that.

This song gets me…..Human by Christina Perri:

I know you’ve heard it before…but it makes so much sense to me today.

“I can take so much, til I’ve had enough

Cuz, I’m only human.”

I mentioned in my last post how I dislike the way I feel…jealousy, hurt, forgotten.

But I must remind myself…I’m only human. And it’s o.k. to feel that way.

Let’s give ourselves a break today.

Because we are ALL only human.

And let’s not forget that.