Step one, or the step one we will be starting with, for this whole surrogacy thing is moving our embryos to Chicago.
But let me back up a bit.
We have 8 embryos. If you believe in modern science, which we do, then statistically speaking somewhere around 50% of my embryos could have genetic anomalies (based on my age at the time of harvest). Since we are going to be paying thousands of dollars per transfer (embryo into surrogate) and we don’t want to put a woman through a failed pregnancy if we can avoid it (most common cause of miscarriage is genetic anomalies in the embryo), which, as it turns out, we can by genetically testing each embryo.
This process of genetic testing embryos is called PGS testing and it’s tricky business. They have to thaw all 8 of our embryos, take a teensy tinsey biopsy then re-freeze them. No big.
When I asked the SLC clinic about their survivability rates for this process the doc that responded to my inquiry said, “I would guess we have a 50% survivability rate on refreezing” they then went on to say PGS testing was dangerous to the embryo for the refreezing process and they do not recommend it. So, does that mean their policy is toss in some embryos and hope for Yahtzee? No thanks!
When I called the Chicago clinic (that our surrogacy agency recommended) and spoke to their doc they said they could thaw, do PGS testing and have the results back in time to implant the strongest embryo or two into our surrogate and only then refreeze the surplus. They advised me that based on their data refreezing using their technique does not harm the embryos. This particular doc feels anecdotally that there may be a small increase in failure rates after refreezing. I like some honesty. They could have stopped at “our data does not support a statistical risk with refreezing”.
See why we’re moving our babycicles to Chicago?
The process of moving is, as all things in this process, costly and super mega complicated.
We have to rent a cryostorage tank (and insure it though all legs of the journey), go through a bunch of STD testing (in case it explodes?), sign eight bojillion papers, buy insurance and cross our fingers.
If anyone needs me on the day they ship, I will be hooked up to intravenous margaritas in my zero gravity chair binge watching Dr. Who.
The insurance part is weird. We are required to insure the cryostorage tank and they insure the cost of another IVF cycle at two different levels, but they won’t insure the embryos themselves (because who would want to insure something totally priceless!! Seriously, NO insurance?) After much deliberation and discussion Brett and I decided we would get the highest level of this insurance which would cover the total cost of another IVF cycle. Assuming the risk of another IVF cycle (my eggs are likely damaged by chemo) would be less risky (one IVF cycle is about 1 month of crazy hormones) than trying to get pregnant on our own (9 months of crazy hormones). Although we HOPE HOPE HOPE we don’t have to do another IVF cycle as it would put me a great risk for relapse, it would be somewhat of a help to know we would not have to pay for it. *gulp* Super easy decision right? (I better get used to it)
So we have begun that process. I’ve also decided I will start counting how many signatures will be required to get our little human creature here. That should be fun. If anyone can think of any other little things that would be fun to track, let me know.
Signature tracker thus far: 3
Photo: This is my friend Kat in Cadaques, Spain in Salvador Dali’s egg sculpture that we came across while touring his home in 2012.