Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Itinerary

Just in case any of you are interested, this is what our schedule looks like for the time we're in LA for the medical screening/evaluation.

Our flight leaves from our closest INT'L airport at 4:55pm. In general, you should get there about 2 hours prior. So we'll be dropping off our baby around noon, and then driving there.

We get to LAX about 2 hours later, and a car will pick us up to take us to the hotel. The rest of the evening is ours, pretty much.

Our morning starts early, we have to be at the Agency at 8:00am. The appointment takes about 2 hours, we'll have a test on a computer, and then we're scheduled for a consultation. Except I think we've already done the consultation part of it on the phone last week.

Our medical appointment is at 11:00. It's about a half hour away from the Agency. I will have a uterine evaluation and we will both have blood work and a urine drug screen.

That's supposed to all take about two hours. So we're out of there about one, and taken back to our hotel. I think. I'm not really sure when  check out time is. Our plane leaves at 6 that night, and it won't be until midnight that we're back in our town to pick up our son.I'm not really sure what are personal plans are for the time we don't have anything scheduled, but I don't imagine we'll be doing anything really exciting.

This is the last step before I officially become one of their surrogates. I don't see why we wouldn't pass anything, but I still won't feel completely content until I get that email saying we did....

Monday, May 21, 2012

The First Big Step

Okay, well maybe it's technically the second big step... or maybe even the third. Count with me. It seems that there are quite a few "big" steps already in this process, and I'm not even pregnant yet!

I guess the first step would be saying "I am going to be a surrogate." As mentioned prior, this comes with a LOT of thought and research. I've got past this one. So, CHECK.

Next comes a little collection of choices. Will I be a gestational or traditional surrogate? Will I work with an agency, a lawyer, or perhaps even independently. I will be a gestational surrogate, working with an agency. CHECK.

Third. Now that you've answered those questions, you get to apply at the agency, talk with the lawyer, or begin searching for IPs on your own. In the process that lead me here, I've done all of the above. As I am now officially with an agency, I'll say CHECK on this one too.

This leads me to FOUR, the step that I'm currently at. Medical and Psychological Evaluation. I can give myself a half check on this on. My husband and I have passed the psychological portion of this already over the telephone. Today I received the first look at my itinerary. I will have the final completely confirmed version tomorrow. How exciting, right? We'll be traveling down to our nearest airport (3 hours away, blech) on the afternoon of the 30th and returning late at night on the 31st.

It's 8 days away!

If you'd have asked me this time last month.... I wouldn't have guessed I'd be writing that.

It's not by far the biggest step in the process, but I'm nonetheless excited for it. I really don't see a reason we wouldn't pass the medical portion of the test. Unless my husband or I have become diseased in the past few months.... in which case... we have some heated conversations ahead of us. Hahaha.

They told me ABOUT two weeks after the screening I'll get to look over m first profile. That's less than a month away right head is spinning. I really and truly can't explain how excited I am.

More later.

Love and Hugs--

Monday, May 14, 2012

Surrogacy Update

I love the feeling you get when you feel like things are finally moving forward. It seems like I've been waiting FOREVER, and now finally something is is the motion.

I will be flying to LA on the 30th. On the 31st I'll have my screening and if all goes well.... I'll be getting profiles to look at it a couple weeks later.

I regret not signing with the agency beforehand. We would already be so much farther along in this journey. Live and learn. I think I said that my last post, but and learn.

The Psychiatrist will not be in town on the two days I'm in LA, so today my husband and I have a phone interview with her.

Now we'll just be in LA for the medical portion of it.

I received my benefit package for review. They had to fix an error on our wage compensation, but I have just sent it back signed.

I've also received by Benefit Guidebook and all my papers I will need to send in periodically throughout the whole process. Childcare coverage, food, etc before hand, and then I have papers to send in for when I get a maternity clothes allowance, for confirmation of the pregnancy. All of that.

I am supposed to receive my itinerary sometime this week. So I know exactly when my flight leaves and all of that...

This is exciting, in a few months, we'll be on our way for a transfer. (knock on wood...)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The "About Me" Post

I'll go ahead and start this off with the basics. My name is Michelle. I have a son and husband that mean the world to me. I'm 22 and have been blogging off and on since early in my pregnancy last year. I vlog a lot more than I blog, but I'm trying to even them out, slowly but surely.

I think this blog will be easier to keep going. My one other blog is just about my normal average life, and it's really not that exciting.

I decided to become a Surrogate in December of 2011, officially. I toyed with the idea earlier, but I didn't look much into it. This was just two months after I had my son, and if you'd asked me even a month earlier I would say I was never EVER pushing anything out of THERE again. You see how long I kept that idea going.......

Now not only am I on my way to becoming pregnant again... I'm also pushing out SOMEONE ELSE'S baby.

In the beginning, around January, I applied at a few agency's and acquainted my self with SMO. For those that don't know what I'm talking about, it's an online board for surrogacy. Classifieds, actually. I got the go ahead from a couple of them, but was still struggling with that I wanted to do. (explanation in a second...)

Let's talk money. Now, I'd guess 90% of the people,--I could be wrong, but let's believe in a higher percentage of decent people--are serious when they start placing/reading ads and thinking about surrogacy as  a great gift to give to a person(s). Then there is the other 10% that are either not completely devoted to the idea, or are just out for a scam, or for the money.

I don't think any Gestational Carrier/Traditional Surrogate that has received compensation will ever say that the money wasn't handy. It is...or for me, will be.

I didn't know in the beginning that Surrogates got compensation. It was a nice surprise when I found out they did. Honestly, I would love to be so financially set that I could just do a Compassionate Surrogacy, but i'm not. And I don't think a lot of people are in the current times. My husband and I both work, pay our bills provide for ourselves and our son, but that's pretty much it.

Returning to my aforementioned struggle....In my experience, the majority of the couples I had spoken to who were working independently, were offering more money. I'd be lying if I said that it didn't have a bit of pulling power. It did. So, I decided to focus more on independent couples rather than agencies.

This is when I met a couple. We spoke and I THOUGHT we hit it off fairly well. I sent them all my information. By Marc, nothing had been resolved, so I wrote one of my last letters to them asking if we were moving forward.  (keep in mind I wrote every other week or so. I always initiated it, never them). I was told I was one of  3 surrogates they were viewing and that they would have their RE call me. I did, after another two weeks get a phone interview with their doctor. I felt like were finally moving forward, and then nothing happened. So I waited two more weeks, and wrote asking if they had made a decision. I was fine if they hadn't chosen me, but I wanted to know. I was completely confused with the message I received back. 'There are no contracts at this time, Thank you for your interest."

That was that. We haven't communicated since late March/early April.

They were offering twice what the agencies would offer. My only assumption is that they realized they were no longer able to pay that, or they just weren't that serious about it.

I was bummed for awhile. I felt like I had wasted 5 months that I could have been looking/already pregnant.

So, I finished the paperwork on the agency I had previously been working with. I should add, so I don't sound completely horrible, I had asked to have my application suspended due to some family medical issues,  and this all happened while my application was suspended. I didn't just disappear from Radar.

Now, here I am. I'm 3 weeks from when I head out to LA for our Medical and Psych Evaluation. And it irritates me so bad that I could have already been through this and matched. Lesson learned I suppose. I really recommend going via an agency your first time. Wait until your more experienced to go independent.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Religion vs Surrogacy

The Vatican is against surrogate mothers. Good thing they didn't have that rule when Jesus was born. - Elayne Boosler
There are quite a few things I could write in this, my first surrogate blog. I feel strongly about them all, but quite possibly the strongest about this.  

The quote above refers to the Catholic Church, but sadly, it's not just the Catholic Church that feels this way.

In my opinion, every woman who is genuine in the want to be come a surrogate, has thought, prayed (depending on her beliefs) and researched all that is entailed with the process. 

In my own personal decision, it is something that I not only want to do, but I genuinely feel I NEED to. I'm supposed to do this. 

In the past days, maybe even weeks, I've had several conversations with people on this subject. I've had responses from one extreme to the other. I've found that these replies fall into three basic categories.

1.) Happy and Supportive. Thankfully, for my own sanity, 85% of the responses that I receive, fall into this category.  Usually they are at first surprised, but then are genuinely glad and supportive. 

  • "Wow, I've always thought that would be so great to do. I'm so glad for you. I wish I thought I could do it!"
  • "Really? That's pretty neat, and very nice."

2.) Hesitant. I really have no other idea of how to describe these ones. The 10% that reply are usually more concerned with how it will effect me.
  • "Are you sure you could do that? I mean, I could never feel a baby move and grow inside me and be able to give it away."
  • "What happens if something go wrong? Is it safe for you?"
3.) Negative. The remaining 5% fall into a category that really was the idea behind this post. I feel like I can safely say that at least three of that five percent are using medical or religious reasons. and the other two? Well honestly I'm not sure where their opinions stems from.
I really wish I was making those last two replies up. I'm not. Up to this point in my surrogacy journey, that has been the hardest part. The fact that those comments came from a person I respect and also a Church official, made it worse. 
  • "I've learned not to question God. It was obviously his plan that these people not have children."
  • "You know, they have a name for women that sell their bodies...."

There are people in your life that you EXPECT to be negative. It's just who they are, so it wouldn't have come as a surprise if it had of been one of them. Yet when you hear words like that come out of someone completely unexpected, it really throws you off course for a bit.

I'm not saying that I've let their opinions influence what I'm going to do, but it's still something that weighs heavy on your mind, creeping up when you least expect it, or even when your trying to AVOID thinking about it.

Although no one wants a negative response, in my own experience it has been easier to accept one of an admittedly personal opinion  rather than using, for example, Religion to back up your own views. If you don't like the idea of something, say that. If YOU feel it is morally wrong, say that. Do not say "the church, the group, the whatever-the-heck-else" feels like this, and therefore, I have done absolutely no research and follow blindly."

SURROGACY IS NOT FOR EVERYONE. Plain and simple. It's not for all to condone and accept, and it's not for all to discourage. It's research, it's praying, it's knowing and it's keeping informed. Not all childless couples will turn to surrogacy, the same that they will not all accept being barren or adopting children. Not all women will become carriers. Not all people will agree with it.

If you wish for me to respect your choice. Respect mine. If you wish for me to respect your opinion, respect mine. And finally, if you wish for me to even remotely consider/ponder your perspective, be dang sure that you have formed your own opinion and not mimicked someone else's. 

The following was taken from a article by Stanford:
"The ethical debate on surrogacy has often looked to religious roots and cultural backgrounds in search of an answer.  One of the first ancient references to infertility occurs in Genesis, when Jacob’s wife, like many of her Biblical peers, was unable to bear a child.  After praying to God and begging her husband, she sends Jacob “unto” her maid and then adopts the resulting child as her own.  Sara did likewise, sending Abraham to her maid Hagar, saying, “I shall obtain children by her.” (Full article may be found HERE

Denomination vs Surrogacy
In the LDS (Mormon) Handbook, it says: 


Surrogate Motherhood
The Church strongly discourages surrogate motherhood.

The Catholic Church:
"...articulated most fully in the Church's 1987 statement by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith entitled "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation" (the Latin title is Donum Vitae, and it can be found here.
In that letter, the Church spoke of homologous forms of assisted reproduction in which sperm and egg come from the married couple; and heterologous forms of assisted reproduction in which some third party is brought into the process of conception, gestation, and birth. Most homologous forms of assisted reproduction divorce procreation from sexual union of the man and woman; and all heterologous forms (such as surrogacy) do. As a result, neither is acceptable from within official Catholic teaching." (Entire article found here)

The Jewish Beliefs:
In Jewish law, a childless couple falls within the category of personal suffering and there exists a clear obligation to assist them in every permissible way, as long as no one is harmed in the process.

The Eastern Orthodox Church 
supports medical and surgical treatment of infertility, and 

The Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Episcopal, United Church of Christ, Christian Science, Jehovah’s Witness, and Mennonite religions all have liberal attitudes toward infertility treatments.  

Islamic law encourages attempts to cure infertility, but only to the extent that IVF technologies involve the husband and wife.   

Hindu perspective 
Hindus have never seriously debated assisted reproduction because of their belief in karma, which preordains the kind of life an individual would lead after birth. There is no conflict between Hinduism and assisted reproduction, which is generally accepted as a form of treatment and not an infringement on religious beliefs. 

(articles and reference notes to the previous 5 can be found by clicking here)