As promised, here are some answers to our most frequently asked questions
Why surrogacy over adoption?
Adoption is cheaper for sure coming in around 25k (that is an estimate, some can be WAY more, some can be less) so that’s a pro for adoption. (Surrogacy is 80-200k) Also you are giving a home to a child who needs it, another big pro. I think adoption is a wonderful and noble thing for people to do, I think on the whole adoption is a great option for people who choose it.
Brett and I are not those people. We are choosing surrogacy over adoption because we really want to make a baby from our genetic material since that is an option for us. Having 8 robust embryos ready and waiting is an enormous luxury many couples do not have. If we did chose adoption we would be faced with another hard choice, what to do with our embryos? We have four options here:
- use them
- destroy them
- donate them to science
- donate them to another couple
We are choosing option 1 and once we have a wee lad/lass we may choose option 4 for the remainder, since no one will make them into jewelry for me, although that comes with a whole new set of issues.
Why are you crowd funding your baby?
Bless my dad’s heart for talking us into starting a crowd funding campaign (CFC). Honestly it makes Brett and I very uncomfortable to have a CFC. One of the most telling events that happened around our CFC was after a few months of reminding my dad to email out our CFC to his email contacts (he worked in education for 35yrs, was well known and popular) he finally did… to 4 people. FOUR. That made us think: why would the person who talked us into this only send it to 4 people? It must make him uncomfortable, as it does us. This process is insanely expensive, so much so we nearly did not do it. One evening discussing it with my uncle while we waited for my grandpa in the hospital he said something to me that put it in perspective. He said, “The question should not be how are you going to pay for it, the question should be do you want kids or not.” He went on to explain the property they built on was WAY out of their price range when they bought it. Now, many years later, that money is a thing of the past and they cannot imagine a life on another piece of property. They figured it out. Which is what we’ll do. Lucky for us we have incredible families and they are picking up a tremendous portion of the funds for this adventure. Anything that is donated is another buck that will not come from our savings or a high interest loan. If we don’t get another dime from our CFC we will still have a baby and like my aunt and uncle, we’ll figure it out. We almost took it down recently but decided there may be people who want to help so we’ll leave it up. Bottom line: it’s weird.
Wouldn’t it be cheaper to find your own surrogate?
This is THE MOST common question I get. Usually accompanied with stories of a friend or relative that could use an extra 20k. I am doing some deep breathing as I write this as it’s a sensitive issue. Initially we did want to find our own surrogate. My sister was the obvious first choice, but she no longer has a uterus which could be an issue. A friend I work with offered when I got diagnosed, when we decided to go this route I called her. We cried and hugged and both thought how amazing it would be. She went to her OB a little while later and had her uterus removed shortly thereafter due to alarming issues. It was really hard on both of us. We went fairly far with another friend, we were real certain that would work out. Then I got bogged down in the mire of trying to figure out how to insure her (she was uninsured) get life insurance and this and that and all the things. Honestly I got overwhelmed, had no clue how I’d sort it out on my own. That coupled with her trepidation about the hormones and procedures involved… it just kinda fizzled out. We had a couple other women offer, but did not work out for some reason or another. We tried, we really did. After our 4 hour meeting with the agency explaining all the things they do, things we never even imagined would be involved, and vetting a match and the legal issues we never dreamed of and on and on and on- we realized it was absolutely worth the cost. Why would you try to build your own house if you’ve never hammered two boards together? (Wait, was that dirty?)
Why is surrogacy so expensive?
The real answer is because insurance companies are super stupid. Sure there are people out there who hire surrogates because they are too busy to be pregnant or they’re too vain. I get it, to each her own. However there are those of us who would LOVE to be preggers but couldn’t due to one reason or another. Mine was cancer. Speaking of cancer did you know that ONE of my SIX chemo therapy sessions had a drug that cost $56k per dose? Insurance paid that six times, without blinking an eye. Everyday at the hospital I work at we do lumbar punctures under general anesthesia, an expensive process when you think of the time, people and considerable risk involved, a process that would be MUCH cheaper without anesthesia. Adults do it all the time, so do bigger kids. I’ve seen LP’s on little kids without anesthesia and it’s not horrible. Do insurance companies call and say, hey this would be cheaper without GA? Nope. They just pay because there is an assumption it is medically necessary. That is just ONE example of a medical treatment insurance pays for. Why would it be so outrageous for insurance to pay the 20k agency fee plus the 20-30k surrogate fee? Let the client handle all the legal/travel/incidentals but help with a big chunk for those who have a well-documented medical reason? Grrr…
Stepping off my soap box.
Surrogacy is expensive because there is a whole schwazload of stuff involved over a 1-2yr time period.
The fee to the surrogate and the agency is one part, then legal fees for a lawyer for her and one for us, her insurance deductible fees, a life insurance policy for her, travel costs for her plus one, embryo transportation fees, embryo transfer to the surrogate fees including all the meds needed before and after and all the appointments before, during and after. Then there is surrogate and partner lost wages we are liable for 9mo plus 6wk after birth, maternity clothing and childcare. There’s also what I call the Oh Shit fees: miscarriage, invasive tests (like amniocentesis), multiples, selective reduction. For each Oh Shit cost we pay for whatever the thing is plus a fee to the surrogate as it’s extra shitty to go through. All of these are standard fees. Of course our lost wages and travel you can throw in for good measure. It’s spendy like a lot of medical procedures, but this is lengthy, involves two families and insurance companies are epic jerks that won’t help. That’s why it’s so expensive.
Assuming all embryos are healthy how do you decide which to implant?
We will be doing genetic testing on all of our embryos and right now the plan is to pick a robust female and male embryo unless not recommended by the fertility doctor. Our surrogate is willing to carry two if they both take, but if they don’t and only one does then we figure we have a 50/50 chance on the sex like normal couples. If we get two then we have one of each!! (Eeep!)
Will you go to birth state for birth? Do you need to stay a few weeks before flying home?
Yes. We will be traveling to the birth state when she gets close and likely stay for a few weeks after for legal reasons.
Are you and Brett parents on the birth certificate?
The legal reasons mentioned above are to ensure that Brett and I are the only parents listed on the birth certificate. Part of the role of the surrogacy agency is to talk with the hospital and ensure everyone knows this is a surrogate birth NOT an adoption and being such no birth certificate will be written until Brett and I, our child and our surrogate and her husband appear in court together. The agency calls this court date “happy law” as it’s usually a fun and tender moment.
Personally, I would have a hard time being a surrogate for somebody. I get attached too quickly. Heck, I play with a cute puppy for 15 mins and I’m attached… Let alone parting with a little human growing inside me. So, what do you think helps surrogates overcome this natural feeling of overwhelming attachment? Also, how do you protect yourself (legally and emotionally) from someone changing their mind on giving their child to you?
First of all, it is NOT their child, they already have children of their own. Which is very key for both questions. This baby will be 100% mine and Brett’s. 6 years ago we harvested my eggs and Brett fertilized them and they began to divide and grow into our embryos. Since then they’ve been on ice. So legally it is rather impossible for our surrogate to “keep” our baby. Now sure she could take off to Canada or Barbados with our unborn child, never to be seen again but that is why we’re shelling out for an agency that very rigorously screens these women. Now that I’ve communicated over email with our Angel I have ZERO fear of this.
The attachment the surrogate feels is a tougher issue. It’s interesting our surrogate mentioned this in one of her first communications to me. Here’s what she said:
“My husband was really concerned about the attachment that I might have to a baby I am carrying (even though I kept telling him that I know it is not part of him or I). He just knows how sensitive my heart is and how much I love family and kids. But I feel like if others can do it, so can I. But after meeting with the psychologist, it was clear as to how the brain works and how my brain will truly understand what is happening. My mama bear instinct to protect this baby will be in full swing while caring for the baby in my womb, but my logical brain area knows the difference.”
I love her so much already!!
One thing regarding this attachment issue is our relationship to her. When first talking with the agency we could choose if we wanted a relationship with our surrogate or not. I felt strongly that I did want a relationship; I just can’t imagine it being any other way. Thus the agency matched us with a woman who feels the same. Perhaps for her knowing that I highly value my relationship with her and I would LOVE her to be in my child’s life may be a comfort. When we take our bundle home it won’t be “goodbye forever” instead it’ll be “see you later!” In between visits she will of course be inundated with baby photos!!
So that’s a wrap!
The next step is going for our visit to meet her in person which will happen NEXT WEEK!! I’m so excited I could pee! (But I won’t)
Tomorrow Brett and I start on the for real reorganization of our living situation to accommodate a bonny wee bairn (baby). I’m ready to gut the whole damn house and start over, but I’ll settle for Brett’s plan to take it slow and start by cleaning out his room. Guess I’ll return that jack hammer to Lowes… sigh
Love to you all.