Category: Women

Haven’t We Struggled Enough?

heartbreak

I’ve thought about this often battling this disease of infertility.

The struggle.

I remember when I first started trying to conceive, I compared myself to others. I would read about someone who started trying to conceive since 2007, and think, “Wow, she’s “struggled enough” and I’m sure her time will come soon”. And then it didn’t. Then I would read about another woman, ttc after 2 months and who simply had to take Clomid for a cycle or two and she got pregnant. Just like that. Did she “struggle enough”?. Why does one woman get to have a child so much easier than another woman that has struggled for over 4+ years, numerous miscarriages and hundreds of treatments? It didn’t make sense to me….

Which brings me to a couple of bloggers here who have been there from the beginning…I’ll simply give some names….Isabelle, Elisha, Caroline, A, Dawn, PS, Elena, Chelsea, Steph……..I’m sure I have missed a few as well…..

These ladies have struggled. And continue to struggle.

Year after year. Years….after years. And I feel their pain. I’ve been there with them. They’ve cheered others on, while they continue to either receive bad news or no news regarding their quest to have a child.

It really hit me after Isabelle received another BFN after her second donor egg transfer this past weekend. Devastating. My heart goes out to her and her husband.

Why does this have to continue happening? Hasn’t she “struggled enough”??

Haven’t we all struggled enough??

I don’t have answers. But it does open the door to fear into my soul…..and then I question……

What if using a gestational carrier doesn’t work for me?

What if, after ALL of the crap I’ve been through and all of the money we have spent is for not?

I know I can’t let that in. I can’t think that way….

I must stay positive.

I must believe that this is the way our child will enter the world.

I’ve struggled with and yet accepted the fact that I won’t be able to carry and nurture this child for 9 months.

Isn’t that enough struggle?

Years of needles, hundreds of Dr.’s appointments, thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt, sacrifice, pain, sadness….

Isn’t that enough struggle?

I don’t know.

But for now, I just must believe.

Simply believe in this plan and my gut feeling.

I believe it will work and I believe I will be holding my child by the end of this year.

And that’s all I can do right now…….is simply believe.

 

 

 

 

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….