Surrogacy Series #3- Medical and Legal Screening

Hi all! I am hoping to get back in the groove of writing every week.  I realized that if I don’t keep up, I will have a NEWBORN before I know it and time for writing might not be as readily available.

But believe me, I won’t be complaining.  I can’t wait until this baby is born!!!

But now I am just getting ahead of the story! Back to where we were….

In my last post, I talked about the difficulty we had in making the decision to take yet another risk to build our family.  But ultimately, we decided to go for it!  Justin and Stacy had waited patiently.  When we finally told them that we wanted to move forward, we all couldn’t believe it was actually going to happen!

But first, we had to get through the screening process.

The surrogacy process is much more complicated than I ever imagined.  Many surrogates are matched with the intended parents through an agency and they handle all of the logistics.  Since Stacy was known as a “compassionate gestational carrier” (meaning she wasn’t being paid compensation) and that we were doing this outside of an agency, we had to navigate through the process ourselves.

Thankfully, we had wonderful professionals to help us.  Our clinic worked with Stacy to get through the medical screening process.  We spent weeks making sure she got all the right blood tests and ultrasounds she needed.  And of course, she passed with flying colors!

We worked with our lawyers to hash out a VERY lengthy contract.  It brought up scary questions about what we would do if Stacy or the baby(ies) health was compromised.  Although we seemed to completely agree on all points, it made the whole process feel a lot more real.  Our lawyers went back and forth until the contract was just right.  We had to get notarized signatures.  I felt a little silly going through this big ordeal, but a contract is required in California.  And it did feel good to get everything out on the table so that there was no confusion.  But, I was relieved when it was signed and completed.

The four of us met with a therapist for our psychological evaluation.  Again, it felt very formal, but I knew it was necessary.  She emphasized that even though we were friends (new ones), we should work to constantly keep the lines of communication open.  She gave us advice on how to talk to our kids and other people about our situation.  She also pointed out areas where we both may struggle.  She said that many surrogates need extra support because it is such a long period of time and can be a bit lonely.  She also mentioned that I may be reserved because of our past experiences and fear.  At the end of the session, she said she would write the recommendation that we move forward for our doctor.

Of course, all of this was required before we knew if it was going to work.  I wondered if we were wasting our time and money, but prayed that we weren’t.

Once we were cleared by medical, legal and psych., we were ready to move forward with treatment!

My relationship started growing with Stacy.  Through all of these steps, errands, and logistics, we spent a lot of time texting and talking.  I am sure she started to see my OCD personality shine through.  🙂  My walls were certainly up a little bit.  I didn’t know if I should be preparing for a major let down or life-changing, happy news.  But as I got to know Stacy, her hope and new excitement was so encouraging.

She often mentioned the chance for twins and how she would happily carry them.  I remember having that same feeling on my first transfer.  I was SURE we would have twins. The thought of miscarriage or failure didn’t even cross my mind.

Now, I was so jaded that I dared to hope even one would stick.

I knew Stacy was well aware that there was a chance that it wouldn’t work, but her excitement was enough to keep me moving forward.  I don’t even think she knows how much she carried me through that season.  I was so grateful.

Right before she started the protocol for the cycle, I put together a “cycle survival kit.”  I share this not to toot my own horn, but because I desperately tried to find ideas on what to include on the internet before I made hers.  So feel free to copy mine!

I love putting together special gifts.  And in a situation where a thank you would never be enough, I really enjoyed putting together this basket of goodies.  I tried to put every single thing that I ever wanted during my own cycles.  I didn’t get great pictures, but the basket included:

  • Dixie cups to fill with water and put in the freezer. You can pop out the ice and use to numb before the injections
  • The movie “Baby Mama” (of course!)
  • Gift card to one of their favorite restaurants for a date night (cycles are stressful and time together is one of the best gifts)
  • Gift card for a massage for the day before the transfer or the morning of
  • Chocolate
  • 6 pack of beer for Justin (her husband)
  • Lotion and a foot scrub
  • Slippers
  • Calendar
  • Pill Organizer
  • Water cup

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IMG_1956As I wrote the card, I let down some of my walls and feebly tried to express how grateful I was that she was doing this for us.  I knew the road ahead included shots, hormone meds that “alter”your mood, and hopefully morning sickness and pregnancy symptoms.

Even if didn’t work, I told her that I would be forever changed by her offer.  It was a glimpse into the very best of humanity and the often mystical way God uses us to help each other along the way.  I was so humbled to be on the receiving end of it.

And with that, we started the cycle.  Transfer day was just around the corner….

 

4 Comments

4 Comments on Surrogacy Series #3- Medical and Legal Screening

  1. Julia says:

    Such a great story. Thank you for sharing it!

  2. Sara says:

    So awesome, Bonnie! Love hearing all the details of this huge blessing!

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