Before I go into my experiences with my embryo transfers, I wanted to talk about surrogacy and why we chose not to use one.
What is surrogacy? I am sure many of you know what surrogacy is but on the off chance someone doesn’t…it is where a woman carries a pregnancy for the parents who cannot, for whatever reason, have children on their own. There are two types of surrogacy: gestational and typical. Typical is where the surrogate has a genetic link to the child because artificial insemination is used to impregnate the surrogate. Gestational is where the the embryo is created via in vitro fertilization. The embryo is then transferred into the surrogate.
We were thinking about gestational surrogacy but after much research about the costs and laws, we decided not to go this route. First and foremost, we couldn’t hire a stranger to become a surrogate because that route runs around $90-130K (and in California, it tends to run higher AND you need 10-20K extra for incidentals). We already took out a loan to pay for the IVF so there was no way we could get another loan for such a large amount – even if we got approved for a signature loan for such an amount which I can’t imagine we would have been.
We did get offers from friends and family to be a surrogate because we know some pretty awesome people. Here’s the breakdown…
- My sister. This is how awesome my sister is: she has chosen not to have children but offered to carry our child because she’s just plain awesome. Unfortunately, my infertility doctor wanted someone who has had children before to basically prove that a pregnancy is possible. Also, they want to be able to see if the previous pregnancies have been uneventful for.
- Friend in California. It was such a selfless thing for her to offer especially since she was having some significant health issues. Even though she has four children and had no history of serious pregnancy complications, she still needed more surgeries for her health problems. And there was no way I could ask her to put surgeries, pain medication, etc. on hold for 10 months
- Friend in Louisiana. This particular friend and I have known each other since high school andI have been very blessed to have her in my life. She has three beautiful children so when she generously offered to carry our child, we gave this option some serious thought. Unfortunately, Andrew looked at the laws in Louisiana and my home state doesn’t recognize surrogacy. So after the baby is born, my friend would have to sign over her parental rights (probably her husband, too) and then we would have to spend a minimum of eight weeks in Louisiana adopting our child. While this may seem like a small price, we didn’t have the means to live in Louisiana even for the short amount of time – not to mention missing work for that long. (Even if we had decided to take her up on her offer, I was reminded later that she had some heart arrhythmias during her last pregnancy so I am not sure my doctor would have approved her as a surrogate.)
We had/have other options moving forward: egg donation or embryo adoption. Because my body was starting to prove that I could not carry a child, we felt like both of these options would have been a waste of money which we didn’t/don’t have. Egg donation can cost $40-60K (and that price tag is probably higher in California because everything else is). The cost of embryo adoption is $13-20K. While that cost may seem more feasible, that’s about half the cost of an infant adoption and it is not guaranteed since, once again, my body has never carried past 8-10 weeks.
I suppose I could have asked around…”Hey, do you mind sacrificing 10 months of your life to carry our child?” But, that’s not us. I am not a super private person – hince, this blog – but to ask someone to be a surrogate was way beyond us. (I am not saying there is anything wrong with asking if someone has – only that we weren’t willing to do it.)