Welcome to the ANU Fertility Blog. My name is Marcy and I’m the new author for ANU’s blog. As such, let me introduce myself and share my story with you. I hope you enjoy it as much as it was to live it!
My husband and I have 3 beautiful, perfect children and we had them in a 2.5 yr time span. When our youngest hit 2 yrs old, I decided I wanted another one. My husband, not so much. The chaos of three small children in such a short span of time is overwhelming. Since him and I couldn’t agree on expanding our own family, I began tossing around ideas of how I could satisfy my maternal desire to bear children, but not bear children for us. Giving my own flesh & blood up for adoption wasn’t an option I would consider, the only other option I could come up with, was surrogacy.
There were so many questions running through my mind and not a lot of answers. None of it would matter anyway if my husband wasn’t going to go for it. I approached him one day and said I wanted to talk to him about something. I was cooking supper and he was right behind me. I had nerves…what if he said no? What if he reacted really negatively? I was terrified…but I forged ahead. I asked “How would you feel if I became a surrogate?” and he pondered it for a moment and said “you’d get to be pregnant, I couldn’t get you pregnant…and we wouldn’t have to keep the baby?” I told him “yea…” and he eagerly said “DO IT! Please do it!!” and that was that. It was decided I would apply to be a surrogate!
The application process began. First, I had to go through a phone interview with someone from ANU Fertility Consultants. Questions about my birth history, my mental health, my physical health & medical history, my family history and questions about my support network. How did my family feel about this? My husband? My kids? What were things that I was willing/not willing to do in regards to being a surrogate? Things such as selective reduction? Would I abort a baby with Down’s Syndrome? How many embryos would I allow to be transferred? Was I willing to carry twins? How many transfers was I willing to go through if one or more transfers failed? And the list went on…
Once my profile was completed, the next step was to be paired with a set of IP’s (intended parents). Pairing is something that ANU helped me with. They looked at my profile and preferences then tried to find a couple whose desires were similar to mine. Then they, typically, introduce both parties via email and then each side has 2 weeks to get to know one another and decide if the pair is a good one or if they’d rather choose another surro/set of IP’s. My case was slightly different.
In January of 2016 I had been with my surrogate agency for about a week and I was paired with a gay couple from Australia. It was a whirlwind of events that lead to us actually meeting them during their visit to Canada instead of an email introduction! My contact at the agency, L, called me one afternoon while I was shopping in Costco. She informed me she had the perfect couple for me, they were from Australia, and they were in the city as it so happened! Would I be willing to meet them that day? Their flight home was leaving the following morning, this was our only shot to meet in person!
I asked her if they would be willing to come for supper. The thought of going to a restaurant with 3 kids while trying to have an intellectual discussion, isn’t my idea of a good time. L wasn’t sure how comfortable they would be with the idea of coming to a strangers home (who can blame them??), in a strange country but she called them and asked anyway. Her call back to me was filled with good news, she informed me they were totally ok with coming over! This was really happening!
I decided to make Chicken Parmesan for supper that night. It was a freezing cold day and some hot food sounded comforting. They arrived at our home around 5:30pm and they weren’t what I had pictured. They were tall, slim, quiet, respectful and very laid back. My kids took to them immediately! They even brought a wonderful bottle of wine with them. I won’t say no to a nice glass of wine! While I was cooking, B offered to help with anything he could. Cut vegetables, place stuff in the oven, heck, he even offered to wash dishes! His offers of help resonated so much with my Mennonite roots.
We all sat down to a wonderful supper and enjoyed such great conversation. Turns out, we have a lot in common. They love gaming, so do we! They understand computers, my husband works in IT. They are familiar with obscure gaming systems & games…my husband is into all the old geeky stuff. It was like a pair made in heaven. Even when it was bedtime for my kids, they sat down next to us on the couch and joined in story time. Both of them even participated in bedtime prayers! I was so impressed with them and how respectful they were of us and how we do things in our home. I was absolutely smitten with them and the concept of carrying their baby. They left our home 6 hrs after arriving and it was like saying goodbye to old family friends we had not seen in 10 years. My husband and I felt so right about them, we knew as soon as they left, that we wanted to be their surrogate family. I was filled with excitement and nervousness! What if they didn’t feel the same way? I wouldn’t be able to find out their answer for a couple of days at least because their trip home was about 28 hours long and I was on pins and needles the entire time I waited.
A few days later, L informed me that B&N had contacted her and shared with her that they really liked us! They wanted to move forward with us as their surrogate family! I was over the moon. They are some of the nicest people I have ever had the opportunity to meet and felt privileged that they chose us too.
Once we were officially paired, the clinic screening process began. It had two parts, medical screening & psychological screening. I did the medical screening first. I was emailed requisitions for bloodwork from the reproductive clinic in Toronto – things such as testing for HIV, any sexually transmitted infections, my blood type and hormone levels to determine where in my cycle I was. Once those results all came back to the clinic, I was booked an ultrasound and a physical at the clinic itself, in Toronto.
I flew to Toronto in February 2016 for the medical screening. I had an internal ultrasound performed looking for things such as polyps, fibroids or anything to indicate that my uterus would not be ideal for a pregnancy. The tech found nothing and the ultrasound results were great! The Dr. performed a fairly non-invasive physical to determine my physical health & capability to carry a pregnancy. We also had a discussion to determine timelines for legal contracts to be completed so that transfer could be performed. His request was transfer on April 8, 2016 and I would have one needle towards the end of February 2016, then medications would begin end of March 2016 to prep my body for the transfer. One of the nurses went over my medication protocol with me, handed me a giant bag of the medications (including needles) and sent me on my way. I flew home a few hours after my time at the clinic.
The next portion of the screening process was psychological. Both my husband and I had to speak with a mental health professional that was provided by the surrogacy agency. The point was to ensure that I had a good support system, we both weren’t experiencing serious mental health issues. Once we both passed that portion, we were considered “cleared” and the plan to be a surrogate went into full gear!
Early April 2016 my husband and I flew to Toronto for transfer. The morning of April 8 I went in to the clinic, they performed the IVF transfer of 1 embryo, had me rest for 30 min in a comfy chair and sent me on my way! It was that easy. Now, it was a waiting game. The dreaded “2ww” (two week wait) as surrogates call it. The 2 weeks until I would go for bloodwork to check my HCG levels. About 4 days after transfer, I started doing pregnancy home tests in the hopes that I would get a positive before the bloodwork. Sure enough, 8 days after transfer, I got my first faint positive on a home pregnancy test. I was elated! I could hardly keep my excitement to myself. I skyped with my IF’s that morning and shared the news. They were ecstatic! Now, the hope was that my levels would keep increasing and the pregnancy would continue as a healthy pregnancy.
And that is exactly what happened. I continued my medication protocol until 12 weeks gestation. After that, the fertility clinic we used in Toronto released me from their care and it was now up to my body to continue the pregnancy. And it did, it did it very well. I had one minor complication at 30w6d – too much fluid and it cause my body to experience threated pre-term labor. My fluid level was back to normal by 34w thankfully. A short 4 weeks later at 38w gestation my body started showing signs of preparing for labor and at 11:28pm that same day, Baby A was born. One of his daddies was here for the birth, the other one was in Australia still, but he got the first flight out that he could! It was such an amazing birth. And a very fast one. From start to finish was less than 2 hours. I was so proud of myself and so happy for my IF’s (intended fathers). They had a beautiful baby boy and I helped them achieve their goal of having a family, there is no better feeling in the world.
My surro baby is now almost 7 months old. He is a happy, calm, laid back kid. He is so very much adored by his Daddies, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents & Cousins. I will be forever grateful that they allowed me to be a part of building their family.