Super Uterus had a great idea to visit a new Birthing Center in town to see if it would be a good place for us to have a baby. I have heard of nightmare surrogacy stories (but also good ones!!) where a hospital can leave the intended parents out of the equation a bit. So I thought that this might be a more intimate setting where- the few people who were there, helping deliver the baby, would really know our situation and make it less awkward.
A friend asked me what I asked Super Uterus before I decided that she was "the one". Really that was not how it happened. Super Uterus was WAY more researched than I was- and practically interviewed me. She asked a lot of good questions and brought up really good topics to discuss. All of this certainly didn't get discussed on our first coffee date. Some we chatted about online before we met, others we talked about after. Here are some of the highlights (and ARE NOT organized in order of importance).
A lot of people are interested in knowing the plan going forward.
When I first started down the surrogacy path, I thought that I would have to use an agency. First- I didn’t know where to even start- and an agency would know what to expect and would be ready to handle anything. I wish there was an agency for IVF- because I totally would have used that to navigate fertility treatments my first time. Second, I didn’t even have a carrier- and where was I going to find one on my own?
If you'd asked me last year how many embryos I wanted transferred, I would have said two. But now I'm a veteran IVFer and my view on this subject has definitely changed.
By the time an infertile is trying IVF- they're desperate for children and my judgement was definitely clouded by that- and all the money that we would have to pay for each lottery ticket to get pregnant. The rationale is that if you put two in, there are greater odds that at least one will "stick", as we infertiles like to say. And hey, who doesn't like a good Buy One Get One Free?? But studies show that there is very little difference in pregnancy rates when you transfer one or two. The difference is the rate of having multiples. With a 2 embryo transfer, your odds of having multiples increases by a ton! Multiples- like twins and triplets- lead to greater health risks for pregnant women and for the babies themselves. No infertile likes the Reproductive Endocrinologist's mantra- but the goal is "one healthy baby" (** and one healthy mama).
A solution to many infertiles' reluctance to transfer one embryo is insurance coverage for fertility treatments, including IVF. If we didn't have to finance the overwhelming cost of fertility treatments- we would be more accepting if it didn't work the first time. Fewer multiples births would actually decrease health insurance costs for everyone- and that is a product of insurance coverage of IVF. <<more on insurance coverages in future posts>>
I'm experiencing particular distress because of my own decision to transfer two embryos in the past. With our previous IVF cycle, we had 5 mature embryos, and all 5 fertilized (IVF/ICSI split for ya'll who are in the know). We had good looking embryos- all dividing well with very little fragmentation. We begged our physician to transfer 2 in both a fresh and a frozen cycle. Well- neither of those worked- and here we are with only one frosty left. As I mentioned before, the odds were- if it was going to stick- we would have been pregnant whether we put one or two in. I wish I wasn't so focused on how much money it would cost us to try IVF again, because if we had transferred only 1 each time, we would have three left to transfer (one by one) to our healthy Super Uterus surrogate. Not to mention, doing another IVF to bank embryos carries its own risks with injecting large amounts of hormones and undergoing egg-retrieval surgery.
Super Uterus actually got me thinking about number of embryos to transfer. She is actually a twin herself! She has a great perspective on the issue and will only allow single embryo transfer as a surrogate. Hop over to her recent Part-time Uterus post for her thoughts on embryo transfer.
I never thought that I would have trouble getting pregnant. At first we had fun "trying".... but after a few months without success, the scientist in me came out- I began tracking daily temperature, monitoring my LH levels, plotting my cycle length, and describing my cervical mucus. <<yuck. I know. But everything seemed very regular and perfectly cyclic. I went to my regular OB, who told to me just keep trying. Luckily, she still referred me to a Reproductive endocrinologist. Blood tests came back mostly normal- except for AMH- indicative of low egg reserve. Long story short- fertility treatments failed for this uterus. Me and my significant other, The Manager, are now looking for a uterus to rent. Thankfully, we found Super Uterus- a hero who is helping us have our baby. I relied on many internet friends and resources to navigate my early days of infertility. In this blog- I hope to share with you my story of infertility, advocacy and surrogacy.
The Phoenix - rising from the ashes of infertility. Super power- extreme worrying.