A full day commitment…

We had to leave our house at 9am to get to the agency by 10.  Upon arrival they sat us down at a long table where we had a lovely view of the San Fernando Valley.  This was the same room that we were in for our initial consultation, but it felt much different this time around.  Maybe because this time we had to settle in for a very long day.  This would be home for the next 5 hours or so.  Fortunately, they were nice enough to bring us some lunch menus so they could treat us to a lovely meal during a brief break in between all of our meetings.

Our first stop was….

THE LEGAL TEAM.

We met with the owner of a fabulous company who is one of the longest running legal companies in the country for this sort of thing.  Attorney A threw a LOT of information at us.  I was quite frankly pretty shocked at some of the things he told us.  There are still places in the good ‘ole US of A where there are strict laws PROHIBITING surrogacy contracts.  A bit surprising too that these states consist of New York, Washington, New Jersey, D.C., Michigan and Louisiana.   Most other states are stuck in 1 of the 50 shades of gray area surrounding the topic.  Surrogacy is practiced, but legal hurdles are aplenty.  Some states will actually make you legally adopt the child AFTER he/she is born rather than listing both intended parents on the birth certificate.  Fortunately for us, California is one of the good ones.  Surrogacy is permitted and pre-birth orders are granted throughout the state meaning that both  Mr. Y and I will be named on the birth certificate.  In case you want to see the full list of where surrogacy is legal, illegal, or gray…you can check out a map here:  http://www.creativefamilyconnections.com/us-surrogacy-law-map

Attorney A also went through a few horror stories which wasn’t so pleasant, but it really drove home the need for us to have a good attorney on our side and an iron clad contract.  He also made it clear that in our search for our gestational carrier, that we needed to stick with someone who lived in a surrogate friendly state.  Even though WE live in California, if our carrier lives in Arizona (for example), we would need to go through a legal adoption post-birth since that is where the child would be born.  It’s pretty unlikely a woman going into labor can hop on a plane to get across state lines back into California.

Beyond that we also discussed different forms of surrogacy: traditional vs gestational.  You may have noticed that in the previous paragraph I mentioned a search for a gestational carrier.  Over the last few months especially, I have become much more knowledgable in the jargon of infertility.  To sum up, traditional surrogacy would mean artificially inseminating the surrogate, so she would be the carrier but would also be the biological “mother”.  This is an uncommon practice nowadays and our agency won’t even entertain the possibility of doing that.  Gestational surrogacy means that the carrier of the child has no genetic ties to him/her.  In our case, being a gay couple, we found an egg donor and fertilized her eggs with our sperm via IVF (in-vitro fertilization).

NEXT STOP: THE PSYCHOLOGIST

This was actually one of the most interesting parts of the day.  Aside from just assessing us as intended parents, she was also learning about who we are and what we are expecting of our GC (gestational carrier) so she could better pair us up.  We also got some in depth lessons on why, and what types of women, become surrogates.  It was actually quite fascinating.  One of the most eye-opening moments for me was when she told us, when your baby is born, some GCs prefer that the doctor hand the baby directly to us after birth so we can have that experience of being the first people to hold our child.  Other intended parents and GCs prefer that the doctor hand the baby off to the GC so she, in turn, can hand it over to the intended parents.  This would be done because she has been working really hard to create a person for us and wants to officially complete her process by literally giving us our baby.  I never thought of that as being a thing.  Not sure why I found it so interesting, but its one of the most memorable moments of the day for me….perhaps because suddenly Mr. Y and I both got some dust or something in our eyes at that moment.  Must have been allergies….who knows.

We then had to start discussing some of the more difficult topics: selective reduction should she become pregnant with twins or triplets….were we okay with the doctor aborting one or two?  Were we okay with this for simply our desire to not have multiples, or only if it is related to the health and wellbeing of the carrier and/or babies? These are important things to know when selecting the proper GC for us.  She would have to be on the same page on these topics before we could or WOULD even want to consider moving forward with her.  Did we want her to breast feed after giving birth? Use a breast pump just at the hospital? Pump milk and mail it to us (yeah, that’s a thing)?  Just formula?  The questions and preferences went on for hours.  I won’t bore you with all those.

EGG DONATION

Clearly, since we can’t produce our own eggs, we need to find an egg donor.  So this was the next part of our journey.  Learning about the egg donation process.  A lengthy, icky, and expensive process.  Not too much to tell.  Pretty cut and dry. It was up to us to shop through the list of donors and figure out what our priorities were in a biological link.  One of the nice things with this company (and I believe this is the case with almost all agencies) is that the women who donate have been screened medically and psychologically.  So we can find out a whole lot of information about these women.

Finally – we’ve come full circle and meet again with our case manager at Surrogacy Company A, this time to really delve into the financials and to make some idle chit-chat.  I won’t go into this because it was too traumatic.  Damn it’s expensive to have children haha.  It’s mind blowing to think someone can have a drunken  one night stand and have a baby 9 months later, but for us it’s incredibly expensive, time consuming and there are soooooo many people involved in the process.  It is truly shocking.  Lots of moving parts and thats why my greatest advise I can offer anyone going through this process, is BE AS DILIGENT AS YOU CAN.  As much as you would like to think everyone is on the same page throughout the process…they are not.  You need need need to stay on top of everyone and everything to make sure things go as they are supposed to.  More on that to come, unfortunately.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A quick hello before we get started…

Helllooooo cyber world.  I hope this blog finds you all doing well out there.  I’m not really sure how many people will ever actually see this blog but I wanted to share this with you anyway; the good, the bad and the ugly.  Perhaps I am using this as a form of self-therapy since emotions are running so high, or maybe I just really want to share our journey with the world so other people in similar situations will know what we went through (weather it be to provide support and encouragement in times of struggle, or to provide a bit of education for those looking to someone who has been through it already and can offer some guidance).

In any event, my name is Mr. X.  I am keeping identities of all players involved (including companies we are working with) anonymous for now, until we end up with a little nugget in our family.  We are still fairly early in our journey as I begin to write this….but more on that to come.

My husband (herein referred to as Mr. Y) and I have been married for almost two years at this point, but have known all through that time that children would be in our future. Both of us being in our early 30’s, owning a 4 bedroom home together in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, both having a steady income, and both of us having an amazing support system of family and friends, it seemed like all our ducks were perfectly lined up for us to start this process.  We also knew this process was going to be a lengthy one.

In case you didn’t know, gay couples have a notoriously difficult time getting pregnant the old fashioned way…..

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So it’s been great e-meeting you all, and I hope you enjoy reading about this journey and hope you take something useful away from it.   And to our future baby, whoever you may be, this will forever be known as YOUR story.

 

 

A crash course in surrogacy…

One could argue, based on the dates of my old emails, that our journey started on February 17, 2016.  This is the date I first requested information from a random company regarding surrogacy and egg donation.  However, we really got serious on July 6, 2016.  You will have to forgive my lack of certain details, but seeing as we are almost a year later some of those said details are a bit hazy.  I know…I should have started this earlier.  Hopefully I can play some catch up and get you all up to speed to where we are now so moving forward I can give you the play-by-play as we live it.

So back to July 6….

Picture it…Los Angeles…2016 (I really hope you get that reference).

Our search began. We sent out information requests to what seemed to be some of the highest rated surrogate matching companies in Southern California.  Many of them also partnered with various egg donor companies, so I also signed us up to view the corresponding egg donor registries just to play around and see what was out there while waiting on surrogate agency information.

Agencies are pretty quick to respond.  On average it only took an hour or less to get a packet of information over to my inbox.  Despite having heard stories about them, my first OMG moment was when I received the first estimated cost sheet for the surrogacy process.  I mean…. holy crap this is an expensive process.  We’re talking an average of $120,000-$180,000 on average, all said and done…assuming minimal complications.  I’ll admit, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps this was going to be MAJORLY cost prohibitive.  But where there’s a will, there’s a way and I made a way for this to work out for us.  Sure, it took a re-finance of our mortgage, a new HELOC, and some movement of investments into high yield savings accounts to get us there, but we made it work.  That process alone took me almost 6 months to complete but the timing actually worked out pretty well.  Fortunately the costs aren’t an upfront sort of thing so we have some recovery time in between some of the large chunks of expenses.

While we waited for all of the financial stuff to line up, we began to interview surrogacy companies.  I had Skype sessions to start.  The case manager at Surrogate Company A and the case manager at Surrogate Company B were equally impressive with regards to explaining the process and making me feel incredibly at ease about this entire process (minus the financial aspects for which I had to come to terms with on my own).  I didn’t really see any point to interview any other companies at that time as I was confident that one of these two agencies would be the right fit for us.  For whatever reason, call it gays intuition or possibly even just the slight proximity advantage to our house, we decided to have an in-person consultation with Surrogate Company B, and say our goodbyes to Surrogate Company A.

In between the Skype session and our in-person meeting with Surrogate Company B on July 22nd, I was also able to sneak in a few Skype consultations with some of the Egg Donation companies just to get an idea of how they operated as well.  Any reservations I had about Surrogate Company B were alleviated by these egg donor Skype calls.  Every company I spoke to, despite their affiliation with other surrogate agencies, highly recommended Surrogate Company B. So YAY! I felt like I was off to a good start and was making good decisions so far.

Come July 22nd, we had our formal consultation.  This meeting was mainly about the history, stories, and success rates of their company as well as a reiteration of how the whole process works so Mr. Y could hear it all first hand since he wasn’t on my initial video chat with them.  This meeting was pretty quick, maybe about 45 minutes or so and filled us up with excitement and lots of information….but the REAL consultation was still to come.  August 30 would be the date and we were told to allot 5 full hours for that meeting.  More to come on that meeting in my next post.  xoxo