I know it's been awhile since I've put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keyboard) and written a blog post, but honestly I didn't know what to write about. This blog had a purpose, a theme. It was easy to write posts when we had a goal we were working towards. Then despite our best efforts, it seemed like we were out of the game. Our plan was a total failure and I slowly melted into a puddle of self-pity with a hint of depression. A couple weeks ago a co-worker encouraged me to write again. She told me that she missed reading the blog. I still didn't know what to write about, but I didn't want the last several years of writing to go to waste. And then something happened......
There are many options to grow a family when you are faced with infertility. Infertility treatments (IVF, IUI, and clomid, just to name a few), Adoption (private, international, and public) and last but not least surrogacy (traditional and gestational). To recap - we have tried the first two options and didn't get very far due to financial restrictions and circumstances beyond our control. Now we are faced with either giving up on our dream to be parents, or reaching out in hope for the last option.
How does a couple go about asking a family member, friend, co-worker, or possibly a complete stranger to carry a child for close to 10 months, give birth, and then place this baby into their loving arms? I don't know where to even start!! Its a tough thing to ask of anyone. I wouldn't even know how to begin to thank someone so generous and selfless. However, both Jason and I are VERY open to this path of building our family.
I'm sure some of you are rolling your eyes and thinking "seriously". Yes. We are serious. This whole baby-makin' thing is far from easy for couples like us with infertility. So for all you owners of fertile uteri out there, I am giving you the mental bird right now. I kid, I kid. But seriously, the reason for my slight salty-ness is that I have been longing, hoping, and praying for a baby for almost 5 years now. While all those garden of eden uteruses get to bask in the researching glory of picking the best crib and car seat on Amazon, Jason and I have been researching every option of baby makin'.
First, let's talk terminology. Jason and I would be called "Intended Parents". We are the recipients of the baby to be. We would be the ones doting over the surrogate's every need while she carried our child, and then we would be forever grateful to her for such an amazing gift.
Next point of clarification is the term "Surrogacy". Basically, it is when a woman carries and delivers a baby for a couple. Duh, I know most of you know this, but I'm just trying to start with the basics. There are many different types of surrogacy, mostly dealing with the different ways the surrogate becomes pregnant and whose biological bits and pieces are used. It can be separated into 2 different categories. There is Traditional Surrogacy where the intended father's sperm is used with the surrogate's egg. From this, the child would have genetic contributions from the intended father and the surrogate. When surrogacy first started (and we are talking biblical times... seriously) this was the method of surrogacy.
If surrogacy is arrived at in any other manner it is considered to be a Gestational Surrogacy. For example, the most common type, currently, is the transfer of a fertilized embryo that was generated from the intended mother's egg and the intended father's sperm. Upon a successful pregnancy and delivery the genetic make up of the child will reflect that of both the intended parents. Beyond this, there are several different approaches to gestational surrogacy involving donor sperm, donor eggs, and donor embryo.
Finally, there are two types of legal surrogacy agreements (only one of which is legal in Canada) : Commercial Surrogacy and Altruistic Surrogacy.
Altruistic Surrogacy is where a woman offers to unselfishly abandon her wine habits for 9 months and volunteers to carry a baby for an infertile couple with no monetary gain. (This is in fact the only surrogacy agreement legal in Canada).
Commercial Surrogacy is where there is a business relationship established and the surrogate and the intended parents enter into a contract where there is a monetary exchange. Both are very different but similar in the fact that the surrogate is selflessly (paid or not) helping create families for childless/infertile couples.
So, in summary, surrogacy is complicated and involved. But DARN IT! if it works, it seems like it would be worth every bit of it!!!!
If you are at all interested in being a surrogate, or know someone who might be, or want to help us in any other way PLEASE contact us. We'd love to hear from you.