Monday, April 30, 2012

Conference Call Went Well!

Yesterday my husband and I had a conference call with the potential IPs.  We were all a bit nervous at first, but overall I think it went really well.  We had some questions prepared, and so did they, so we were able to keep the conversation going well.  It seems like we agree on all of the big stuff, and they were super sweet and I think our personalities would blend well.  They seem to be very laid back, which is nice because my caseworker told me that often times IPs, particularly IMs (intended mothers), have been through so much that they struggle with trying to have as much control as they can in such an unusual situation.  If there is one thing I hate, it's feeling like I'm being bossed around or micromanaged, so their personalities will probably go well with mine.  They said they didn't have any intention of trying to mandate my diet or activities while pregnant, and were even fine with me going on the international trip I have planned for the fall.  They emphasized that even though I would be pregnant with their baby, I should still get to live my own life and enjoy my family.

On their end, they said that they wouldn't want to bother me or step on my toes but were hoping to be at least a little involved with the pregnancy.  They asked if I would be OK with them attending any of the appointments.  I told them that the pregnancy experience was wonderful for my husband and me, but it was something we had already been through.  Even though IM wouldn't be the one to get to be pregnant first hand, it would still be their pregnancy to me.  I told them that even if they wanted to come to every single appointment, they would be welcome.  I feel like this situation is already so unnatural that they deserve to make the experience as much "theirs" as it can be.  Since they live in another city, I'm not sure how often they will actually be able to come down, but I certainly don't want them to feel like they shouldn't come for fear of bothering me.

Overall, considering how awkward it is to basically interview someone to have your baby for you, my husband and I thought it went really well.  There wasn't anything we didn't like about them, but we both found that one phone conversation wasn't quite enough for us to say we were 100% sure we wanted to dedicate the next year or so of our lives to having a baby for this couple.  I emailed the case worker with how I thought it went and to see what her thoughts were on where we could go from here.

She emailed me back to say the IPs had liked us as well and would like to move forward.  She thought an in person meeting would be a logical next step.  The case worker is currently out of town on business, but she will be back on Wednesday and we can iron out details then.  I'm not sure when we will be able to meet up because we have busy schedules coming up and I know the IPs do too, but I'm hopeful that we can get something worked out. 

I can't believe I might be matched soon!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Opening Up

At first, this blog was just a private way for me to record what happens during this surrogacy journey.  I wasn't sure I wanted to do this, and I didn't want to make my intentions public just to change my mind later.  Now I feel like I'm past the point of no return.  Even if things don't work out with these particular IPs, I am committed to the process.  I have started sharing my intentions with some family members and friends, and brought it up to my doctor at my annual exam yesterday.

I want to share my story with others because when it comes to surrogacy, people are curious.  Surrogacy has become much more common in the past several years, and most people have heard of it but don't have any personal experience with it.  Even the doctor I spoke to yesterday said that their practice had never had a surrogate as a patient before.  She reacted very positively and thought it would be a wonderful thing for their office to be involved in, and she had several questions about it.  People wonder how it works, and why people choose to become a part of it, and I think that's a great thing. 

As is usually the case, the news isn't the best place to get information on something like this.  It seems that surrogacy is often sensationalized: IPs characterized as baby-hungry people taking advantage of poor, young girls, or surrogates looking for an easy way to make a quick buck, or focusing on the one-in-a-million cases of complicated custody battles.  I'm hoping that this blog and the others I have linked on my page will help to educate anyone who is interested in finding out more about the process, and providing REAL insight into what goes on.

If you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask me!  I am more than happy to answer any of your questions about surrogacy, and will post answers on my blog.  Chances are that if you have a question, someone else out there is wondering the same thing.  Thanks for following along with my journey!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Moving to the Next Step

So I received the profile for the IPs on Monday evening.  At first I was a little disappointed.  Not because I didn't like them, but because there really wasn't enough information on it for me to get a feeling whether I liked them or not.  I think part of it was that the profile questions themselves weren't very detailed, and part of it was that this couple has been trying to have a baby for so long that at this point they just want to be parents and aren't too particular about how they get there.  All I really got out of it was that they were looking for someone young and healthy who would let them be involved with the pregnancy.  I certainly meet that criteria, but I had been hoping for a little more information.

I emailed the case worker to let her know how I felt, that I certainly wasn't opposed to talking to them but that I was having trouble getting a feel for who they were.  I'm glad I let her know, because she forwarded me a profile that the IPs had created themselves, containing pictures and details about their interests, families, relationship, etc.  It was much more informative, and they seem like sweet people who really deserve to be parents.  So lesson learned - if you need something, don't be afraid to ask!

The next step is a conference call with the IPs, myself and my husband, which is scheduled for Sunday.  I can't wait to talk to them and get to know them a little more.  The only potential issue I can see is that on their profile they had said they would consider selective reduction if they ended up with more than triplets, and I am not willing to carry more than twins (hopefully just a singleton!).  But my profile had clearly stated my desire to do SET (single embryo transfers) to reduce the risk of multiples and that I would not carry more than twins, and my case worker let me know they didn't have a problem with that.  So I just need to clarify that issue with them.  Other than that, I am thinking of questions I want to ask them and writing them all down so I don't forget.

I'm nervous but excited, and I'm sure they feel the same way.  I will be back with an update of how the call goes!

Monday, April 23, 2012

They Like Me!

So I just got a call from the case worker on her way home from a meeting with the IPs.  They loved my profile and are excited to meet me.  She is going to forward me their profile tonight for my husband and me to review.  I hope we make a good match!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


My medical records were reviewed and everything looked good.  The only thing I need to do is get a current pap and start birth control pills (BCP), so I have an appointment for next week to get that taken care of.

I believe my profile was sent to the potential IPs on Monday night.  Last night the coordinator emailed me to let me know she was waiting to hear back and said she would follow up with them at the end of this week.  I'm so nervous waiting!  I want them to like me, and the longer I wait the more I'm afraid they don't want to work with me.

Now the logical part of me understands that it takes time to make such an important decision.  They are, after all, choosing someone who they will have to trust to take care of their baby for 9 months while they have essentially no power to do anything to control her actions and choices.  But the emotional part of me wishes they had seen my profile and immediately said, "YES!  She's the one we've been waiting for!"

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will hear that they would like to move forward with considering me by the end of the week.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Back on Track

Hooray!  The coordinator let me know that she got my medical records today.  She is going to review them and get back to me within the next day or so.  Hopefully she will be able to forward my profile to the potential IPs by the end of the week!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Small Hold Up

So the coordinator from Pink & Blue Surrogacy had planned on forwarding my profile to the potential IPs last week, but unfortunately she has not received my medical records yet.  She faxed over the request for my records two weeks prior and had hoped to have them by the middle of last week.

She asked me to follow up with  my doctor's office to see if I could move the process along.  I was able to get in touch with the medical records department directly, and they gave me their direct fax with a promise that it would have a quicker turn around that way.  So here's to hoping that's the case.  I would really love to get the ball rolling and see if these IPs like me!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Since this where I am in my journey, I thought it would be nice to give a bit of an explanation of the matching process.  For those who have not gone through it before, it takes a lot more than pairing a hopeful parent up with an available uterus.  There are tons of different things to take into consideration.

The first thing to consider what type of IPs you want to work with.  Do you want to work with a traditional or a same sex couple?  How about a single person?  What geographical location are you looking for - local, in the US, or international?  Do you care about their religion, age, how long they've been together, or whether they already have children?  There are all different types of IPs out there, and no matter who you are looking to help there will be someone who fits your criteria.  It's best to be honest with yourself, your agency, and your potential matches up front to save yourself time in the long run.  I'm sure the IPs looking for surrogates have a list of basic requirements they are looking for as well (age, medical history, location, etc.)

Another issue to consider is how well you "click" with each other, and what kind of relationship you are looking for.  Are you hoping to be close, or are you looking for more of a basic business relationship?  Do you want your IPs to be involved in the pregnancy and willing and able to come to the transfer, doctors appointments, and the birth?  How about after the baby is born - do you want to maintain contact?  If so, how much?  Some people look for anything from occasional pictures and updates to hoping to be like extended family, and some would rather just move on with their lives.  If you are hoping for a close relationship, it's important that you get along well.  What do you have in common?  Is it easy to talk to one another?  What are your IPs' expectations for a GS during the pregnancy - can you meet those requirements?

A third area to think about is where you both stand on the "big questions."  The biggest of these is where you stand on the issues of abortion and selective reduction.  Are you willing to terminate a pregnancy, and if so, for what reasons?  If your IPs would want the option to terminate in case of Downs Syndrome and you will not do so, then the match won't work no matter how much you like each other.  The same thing goes for selective reduction, which is most often used to reduce the number of fetuses from 3 or more to 2 by performing a selective abortion.  This is an area where you can't have the "it won't happen to me" attitude.  Since a lot of times the egg is coming from a mother of AMA (advanced maternal age, or over the age of 35), there are increased risks for these types of things.  Other questions to take into consideration are whether you would be willing to have an invasive procedure such as an amnio at the parents' request or doctor's recommendation, and how many embryos you would feel comfortable transferring at a time, and how many transfers (or "tries") you are willing to commit to. 

Finally, there is the issue that everyone is uncomfortable talking about, but is extremely important: money.  At first glance it may seem selfish or a "get rich quick" strategy to take money for carrying someone's baby for them.  But when you stop to think about all that goes into it, you realize the justification.  The GS has to spend time away from her family and job when she travels for medical screening and embryo transfers.  She has to give herself injections of IVF meds for 3+ months, and multiple times if the first transfer(s) aren't successful.  She has to miss work and/or find childcare for doctor appointments and the birth.  And in addition to the regular emotional and physical strains of pregnancy and delivery, she is also assuming the risk of carrying multiples, being put on bed rest, having to suffer through a miscarriage, termination, c-section, or other invasive procedures, and possibly even losing her own fertility or her life.  A GS has to decide how much compensation all of that is worth to her and her family, and she and her IPs have to be willing and able to pay that amount.

With all of that said, here's to hoping that I find the right match for me!