There’s something about this process that’s been magnetic for me.
Within two days of my first ‘surrogate’ google search, I was already heavy into researching whether this would be a good fit. The first call was to my OB, to talk it through with her and understand more about the process. Would surrogacy be feasible for me? What was involved with the process? How would the particulars of my medical history play into it all?
And here is where we get a little detailed and technical – more so than I’ll get into in future posts, but relevant nonetheless and important for the storyline of what’s to come.
She explained that I’d basically go through IVF to start, coordinated by a clinic that specialized in it, with injections for a few months to prepare my body to accept and sustain the embryo that would be transferred. (Um, injections… months… what?) It would not be as difficult as actual IVF, she explained, with the process of suppressing my ovaries rather than stimulating them being easier on the body overall.
Before this point I think I was still in the naïve place of imagining I’d show up, they’d place an embryo gently inside me, and we’d call it a day. Okay, I decided, so that would be some more to think about.
Sometime after giving birth to my first child I found out that I had a gene mutation (yes, okay, I’m a mutant – fine) that puts me at higher risk for blood clotting though I have never had any issues with actual blood clots. Since the post-partum period also has a greater risk of blood clots, I had to take anticoagulants following the delivery of my two boys. I did it for 6 weeks, daily, by pill and by injection, which she said I’d need to plan on doing once again. But I was “always a good sport about that,” according to my doctor.
There were a few other particulars – the antibodies I developed while delivering my second meant that I would want to make sure the genetic material of the embryo did not contain the same antibodies, which could otherwise lead to a premature birth. And then there’s the fact that I was in labor with my first child for less than 4 hours, my second for less than 2, and that once things got going with the third I went from 6cm to baby in 15 minutes. (This last kid was induced because, I almost forgot to mention, I live an hour from the hospital.) So yes, we’d want to think about making some type of arrangements for this child as well.
I’d be monitored by my fertility clinic, she told me, and then after the first trimester all of the “extras” would stop, I’d be released to her care, and things would proceed as normal. The medications may have some side effects but generally speaking, she said there was no greater risk to me than if I was carrying my own baby.
“I think you’d be a good candidate,” she said.
So, still more to think about with all those shots, but, overall I viewed them in the same way I’ve viewed childbirth. How many hundreds of thousands or even millions of women have gone through this before me? If they can get through it, why can’t I? I take great strength in that line of thinking.
I felt relieved.
Next up? Surrogacy and Jewish law. I just wasn’t sure how that was all viewed and whether it could jive together. That would take a good amount of research.
(Cue the cliffhanger music – we’ll get into that next time.)