Thursday, August 30, 2012


I finally got the first draft of my contract today!  It's 41 pages long, so my husband and I will get to enjoy a little light reading tonight.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there are no major points of contention in it.

Also, my IPs have decided that they do not want me to have to take the autoimmune test if I do not want to, since it is above and beyond the requirements of their doctor.  The clinic we are using has fairly conservative requirements for gestational carriers compared to a lot of other clinics, so my IPs are satisfied with their screening requirements.  I have left a message with my doctor, and hopefully she will be able to return my call soon.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wow, It's Been a While

I just realized it's been a couple weeks since I updated.  A couple things have happened since my last post.

First, my IPs found a new egg donor they like, who is availble for a November donation.  They are getting her screening appointment set up, and hopefully she will be cleared soon.

Next, I STILL haven't seen a rough draft of my contract.  My IPs cleared it to be sent to my attorney a week and a half ago, and my attorney still hasn't received it.  I will keep my comments on the other attorney's timeliness to myself.

Finally, I am still having problems getting clearance due to my thyroid issue.  My second blood draw came back with a TSH level even higher than my previous one - 9.0.  My T3 and T4 levels were within range, and everything else looked fine as well.  The doctor decided that he would go ahead and put me on a low dose of thyroid medication.  When I asked about a clearance letter, he passed me off like a hot potato to an endocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in thyroid disease, among other things).

So I had to make yet another appointment with yet another doctor.  I had that appointment yesterday.  Luckily, I like this doctor much better than the primary care physician.  Also, she seemed to know what she was talking about.  She had a specific protocol for pregnant women and everything.  Since we have some time before transfer, she decided to keep me on the low dose I'm on and get it checked in 4 weeks.  She says she likes her pregnant women to have a TSH level under 2.5, so she thinks she will probably end up doubling my dose after my first results come back.

Since I have a family history of thyroid disease, she also wants to test me for TPO antibodies.  If I test positive for that, it means I have an autoimmune disease and have a slightly elevated risk of miscarriage.  Unfortunately, there is no way to treat it, so she basically just wants it for knowledge purposes.  After talking to my mother (who also has hypothyroidism), my husband (who is a medical professional), and my agency, I am considering opting out of this test for several reasons.  First, there is nothing they can do to treat it, so all it will accomplish is that I will be more anxious about any future pregnancies, whether surrogate or my own.  Second, neither my mother nor I have any history of miscarriage, and I have absolutely no hypothyroidism symptoms.  Third, the clinic does not require this test, they only want my thyroid levels to be within a reasonable range.  Fourth, once I am diagnosed with any disease, including autoimmune, it will be in my file forever, and could possibly cause me problems with doctors, insurance companies, etc. down the road.

I have decided that I will leave whether to get the test in my IPs' hands.  They have already been through the ringer when it comes to miscarriages, suffering several of their own before turning to surrogacy.  If they would choose to drop me if I tested positive, I would respect their choice.  I would hate for any of us to have regrets or guilt if they were to invest their hopes and money in my body only for it to fail them.  If they opt to not have me take the test, I am going to approach my doctor about whether I absolutely need it in order to get clearance from her.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


So our schedule is delayed for sure.

It actually isn't my fault though.  I went to visit the primary care physician yesterday.  I showed him my labs from the fertility clinic and he was totally unconcerned about my thyroid level.  He said that my levels weren't THAT high, and I have no symptoms of hypothyroidism (hair loss, cold sensitivity, dry skin, weight changes, etc.).  Normally for someone in my situation, he just monitors the levels to make sure they don't get even more wacky.  He said that even though my level was high for a "normal" person, it might be normal for me.  He went ahead and ordered a more detailed thyroid panel, including my TSH level (what was ordered before), as well as T3 and T4 levels (more specific and important measurements of thyroid function) and kidney and liver function tests (which can be affected by thyroid problems).  I went ahead and got my blood drawn this morning.  Assuming everything looks OK, he will just continue to monitor me med-free throughout my pregnancy and beyond.

I emailed the nurse coordinator to let her know what he had said, and she said that was perfectly fine.  She just needs him to send in a letter once the blood work comes back confirming that he clears me for an IVF pregnancy and that he will monitor me throughout the pregnancy.  The doctor was actually ready to go ahead and sign a form yesterday, so I don't anticipate this being a problem unless something comes back badly from my tests.

Unfortunately though, upon further review, my IPs' fertility clinic doctor decided not to clear the egg donor that my IPs had wanted to use.  He decided the fact that she has made three donations without a resulting pregnancy is just too much of a risk when my IPs have so much hope and money on the line.  I kind of feel bad for the egg donor, since two of her cycles resulted in freezing all the embryos and not even trying for pregnancy  But perhaps there was some sort of info in her charts that gave him pause.

Either way, I agree that it is definitely better to wait two months to find a proven donor, rather than wasting all of our time and their money attempting to get pregnant with embryos that are no good and then having to start from scratch.

At first I was bummed with this news, because I was getting so excited to get to transfer.  I was supposed to start meds just 10 days from now!  But I think this is actually going to work out better in the long run.  There are a few things happening in October that I'd rather be able to enjoy with alcohol and/or without morning sickness: my daughter's first birthday, my trip to Italy, and my 30th birthday!  Plus, since abstinence is required from transfer through the first ultrasound (6-7 weeks), my husband had expressed his disappointment that this time would have fallen during our Italy trip.  Now there are no worries in that department either!

So it looks like the current plan is for me to start injectable meds in mid-October and then transfer in mid-November.  Now all we need is for my IPs to pick another egg donor who gets approved!  Oh, and to finish the contract, which I still haven't seen a rough draft of yet.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


There have been several things that have happened in the last few days and I haven't had a chance to update on all of them individually, so here goes:

Regarding the contracts:  The first draft is done and in my IPs' hands for their review.  Once they have a chance to talk it over with their lawyer and make any changes, they will send it to my attorney for her and my review.  I'm getting excited/nervous to see what all is in it.

Regarding the egg donor:  This was a big question mark, because if the donor wasn't cleared we would have to start over from scratch in that area, which would mean our transfer would be pushed back a couple of months.  My IPs found out today that the donor cycled as planned, but for whatever reason at the last minute the recipients chose to freeze all of their embryos rather than transferring any of them.  We don't know the reason for this - it could be anything from cold feet on the recipients' part to the woman's body not being ready enough to transfer in time.  Whatever the reason, we do know that the donor had a good cycle and managed to create at least some embryos that were good enough quality to freeze.  My IPs' doctor has reviewed her cycle info and has cleared her to donate for us, as long as my IPs still want to use her.  My IPs have confirmed that they do still want to use her - so we are all clear on that front!

Regarding my local doctor appointment:  I had the initial consultation appointment with the doctor who will be doing my local monitoring on Monday.  I'm unsure whether I liked him, but he was efficient and to the point, and he confirmed that he can do what needs to be done.  Basically, I will have three appointments leading up to the transfer.  At each one, I will need to have an ultrasound to check the lining of my uterus (the first to make sure it's nice and thin, and the second and third to make sure the estrogen I will be taking is doing a good job of making it nice and thick and welcoming for an embryo) and to get blood work checking my estrogen levels so the Chicago clinic knows whether they need to adjust my medication leading up to transfer.  They will need the results of these faxed to them stat, which the local clinic can handle.

You may remember that my medical screening blood work showed that my thyroid levels were high.  At the time, the NC at the Chicago clinic had just told me to consult my local doctor and find out if he wanted to put my on medication or anything.  When I asked the local doctor about it, however, he didn't want to touch that subject with a 10 foot pole.  He said that I am not his patient, he is just providing a monitoring service for me and the other clinic.  If they want me to do something about my thyroid level, they should be handling it.  He is completely uncomfortable making any medical decisions that could affect my IVF cycle.

So I relayed that message to my NC, and she replied that I would need to track down a primary care physician (do people still have these?!?) to manage my thyroid level, and we would not be able to cycle until it was under control.  Um, OK.  If she had told me that two weeks ago, I could have been working on this and hopefully had this sorted out in enough time to keep our current calendar.  Since I have not been to a regular old doctor since college (really, who needs more than an OB and the Walgreens Take Care Clinic?  Oh wait, I guess I do, for the rest of my life!) I attempted to find a primary care physician.  I called the physician referral line for the health care system my OBGYN is associated with, and the first available appointment for any doctor anywhere was August 30.  So, 6 days after I am supposed to start meds.  Crap.

Then I figured I would try calling my OB to see if she could do this for me.  Turns out, as I suspected, she does not diagnose hypothyroidism, but she did give me a personal referral to an internal medicine doctor.  He is able to see me on Monday morning!  So, there is still hope.  Basically I need to get him to write a letter to my Chicago clinic stating that he is willing and able to monitor and treat my thyroid level throughout my pregnancy, and that he believes I am ready to undergo IVF at this point.  So here's to hoping he is able to write that letter without needing to have me on meds for a couple months first...there is still some hope we can make a September transfer!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August Already?

I can't believe it's already August.  It seemed like meds and transfer were so far away, and all of a sudden they are right around the corner!  I start Lupron injections in 23 days, assuming:

1) We get our contracts done in 22 days.  The IPs' lawyer hasn't sent a first draft of the contract yet.  I hope we get it by the end of this week.

2) The egg donor's current cycle successfully results in pregnancy.  We will know on August 10!