Sunday, March 19, 2000

My Journey Begins as a Surrogate

Hello! I am a navy wife and Mom of two sons. My interest in surrogacy started long ago when my identical twin sister, younger sister, and I spoke of how we knew we would someday become Moms. Our family is very close and if for some reason any of us needed each other to carry a child for the other we would have jumped at the chance in an instant. Thankfully, neither of my sisters or myself had any trouble conceiving or delivering our children.

I knew no one that was directly affected by infertility first hand, but my desire to give back to those less fortunate became overwhelming when I worked full time as a social worker. I mentored a single mother of two boys now pregnant w/ triplets. Because of her inability to care for these children and being approached repeatedly by couples begging me to speak with this mother about the possibility of adopting one or all of her children, I realized my desire to help infertile couples would be a very fulfilling goal to achieve.

I am also a huge Days of Our Lives fan and specifically like the actress, Diedra Hall. (She is also a twin). After seeing her story on a TV program one evening about her struggles with infertility, finally turning to surrogacy for her chance at having a family of her own, fueled my desire to help a couple in this manner too. I kept saying through the entire show, “I can do that!”

Not knowing much about surrogacy, I began searching on the Internet for as much information as I could get my hands on. Soon I began to realize that I could not enter into this journey without the help of someone else acting as a third party, therefore I sought out an agency. After applying with several agencies in August of 1999, I was accepted by three and then began screening and matching. I was told that the process could be very involved and take a very long time, but for me, it only took a little over a month to complete the psychological and physical screenings necessary to become a surrogate.

So, I was then matched in October of 1999 with several couples and I ended up choosing a couple where one of the agencies I decided on was also located, Surrogate Parenting Center of Texas. So, my husband and I flew there to meet the infertile couple with an agency representative present also. The meeting went very well and we decided to proceed after the holidays. (To alleviate my having to be to far along in the pregnancy in the summer months.)
The agency contracts with a attorney who helped to write out our 15 page contract. We all got copies and reviewed it. I contacted my own attorney here in Oklahoma and then became aware that the laws here aren't as friendly as they are in other states, such as TX, AR, CO, or CA. Although the laws aren't much unlike these other states, it still seemed pretty evident that we were about to embark on the further examining of the laws in OK and we then made arrangements to enable a easier legal route throughout our journey.
So, we took care of the legalities and set a date to start working with the Intended Parent's (IP's) Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE - fertility doctor). The clinic would be performing IVF with the use of the Intended Mother's (IM) eggs fertilized with the Intended Father's (IF) sperm. My Intended Mother started her medications to stimulate her ovaries to produce many eggs and I began suppressing my system with a drug called Lupron Depot and then began Estrogen patch supplements to build my endometrium lining for implantation of the embryos.
My IM's egg retrieval went well and they retrieved 25 eggs from her and 22 fertilized. I began taking intramuscular Progesterone injections three days prior to the transfer and within 3 days of the eggs being fertilized they transferred them into my uterus by using a very thin catheter. This was done on Valentine's Day 2000. They transferred 2, very healthy, 9 celled, three day old embryos into me and the entire procedure was very simple and painless only lasting about 20 minutes. I was placed on bed rest for 2 days following the transfer to ensure the embryos were given enough time to implant before doing to much physically.

So, then began what is commonly called the 2 week wait by other surrogates. It is the time leading up to the first pregnancy test. The test is usually a quantitative blood (beta) test. The levels have to be at least 5ml to test positive and then following the first positive beta test the numbers are rechecked several more times to make sure they are doubling every 48 to 72 hours to ensure a normal pregnancy. My beta HCG was 150ml...positive at 14 days post transfer and simply elated that it worked on the first attempt! I was able to tell my IPs myself, so I sent them a teddy bear and balloon with a card reading "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, November is the month that I am due. Love, Baby".

So, we are now pregnant and still sitting on cloud nine. I have been released to my obstetrician (OB) now since it is so hard for me to fly back and forth to see my IP's RE being that I work full time as a case manager and have a family to raise of my own. I am continuing to take the progesterone injections daily, estrogen supplements, and prenatal pills and will have to continue to take these until the pregnancy is supported by the placenta about 12-14 gestational weeks or just after the first trimester into the pregnancy. My estimated due date is set for November 4th, 2000.