FAQ time!! I get a lot of questions!! Some variety. A lot of repetition. I don't mind at all. But with the volume of questions lately, I thought I would make a post answering some of these. If you have a question, or something you would like to understand, from any point of surrogacy and you don't see it asked/answered here, feel free to ask and I will add it to the list!
Q: How can you give your baby to someone else?
A: I am a Gestation Surrogate. Meaning, I am just the oven for their bun! I am only carrying the baby, the baby is not of my genetic material. This baby has no genetic bond to me or my husband. This baby was made with another egg and another sperm, in a petri dish in a lab, then put inside my uterus for development.
I don't look at it as "giving my baby away." In order to GIVE something, it has to have been yours to begin with. You can't give something away that was never yours.
Q: Who's egg is being used?
A: Since my IPs are a same-sex couple, an egg needed to be donated. They acquired an egg donor, the same way they came to meet me; through our agency. They got to view a bunch of profiles that fit a general description of what they wanted for the biology factors. I do not know what their desires were, but they got to choose based on hair color, eye color, skin, ethnicity, health factors of the donor, etc. Some places go even in more depth than that, but I'm not sure about our clinic and that process, since I didn't need to be a part of it.
Q: Which of the couple's sperm is being used?
A: Both Doug and Charles gave samples to fertilize the eggs that were retrieved from the donor. In the end, there were 5 embryos frozen. 3 with Charles' genetics, 2 with Doug's. The embryo that was transferred into me, is one of Charles'.
Q: How do they know which one is the father of the baby you are carrying.
A: The lab had to keep them separate, for legal purposes. For the purpose of the BC (birth certificate) the biological father must be known before baby's birth to start the paperwork for the BC. (There is a lot of paper work for that).
Heaven knows we didn't want to have a paternity issue at birth! ;) No Maury for us! haha
Bad joke, moving on.
Q: Will you nurse the newborn?
A: I may. That is something we have not yet discussed in depth yet. We are waiting until the ultrasounds are over to really starting planning much...just in case. But yes, I am willing to! The benefits to baby and myself are just to great to not want to! I am doing this to give them a healthy bouncing baby to take home, I am willing to do everything in my power to give their baby the very best start at life. :) They baby will have been inside my body for 9 months, what is a little nursing going to do???
Q: How will you cope with handing over the baby and separate yourself from the realities of the situation?
A: I believe I will cope just fine. This is not a question that can be answered with a short sentence. There is a lot that goes into this one.
Will it suck having to hand over this beautiful little person that I just grew? Of course. Knowing I helped give that baby life, then not be a part of helping that life continue, will bare some stinging in my heart. I'm human. And a woman.
This is NOT MY baby. When I was pregnant with my children, WE were planning their lives, buying items for them, setting up their room, etc. When I held MY children after their birth,there were clearly features of myself, my husband and even some of the child's sibling/s in them. When I hold this child after its birth, there will be no features of our family. There will be features of Charles...this will be HIS baby (and of course Doug's)...not mine.
We are not the ones planning for this baby's life after birth. They are. We are not buying things to get ready for baby. They are. The only thing I am planning for after birth, is getting back in shape! :)
Plus my husband and I are done having children. If we WANTED to keep the baby....we would just have more ourselves. :)
I love sleep. I LOVE newborns more. But, I'm done having sleepless nights. ;) I have 3 beautiful children and that's all I need.
I always used to say, if I could just be pregnant and give the babies away, I would!! I love pregnancy and birth that much. Now, I found a way to do just that. :)
Q: Do you get paid for your services?
A: I don't get "paid" but I do get compensated. Being "paid" to have a baby for someone is completely illegal! We are talking black market here! Eeek! However, given the state, it is legal and expected legally, to compensate the surrogate for her time, risk, and "pain and suffering" involved with medications, pregnancy and birth. So much CAN (not necessarily will of course) happen to a woman and/or her body to have children. Even naturally. It is the hardest thing our bodies go through. Our bodies can take a toll of damage, births can go badly and mom can lose too much blood, her uterus, her life. Her family can be left alone. So IPs compensate for a surrogate taking those risks for them.
Having said that. It's not about the money. Not for us anyway. That is just the business side of it. The real gratitude is shown in their words, emotion, affection, little acts of kindness. :)
Q: Will the fathers witness you birthing their child?
A: I am absolutely ok with that! They are gay, it's not like they are going to be oogling over my body. haha
Not to mention, I won't exactly be in an "oogling" state anyway. hahahaha
And this is going to be the birth of their child! They should have every right to see their child come into the world just like any other father. :)
Q: How does your husband feel about them seeing you in labor?
A: We haven't really discussed that in detail. We have talked about them being there and being a part of the birth support if they want to have that involvement. He has never objected. My husband has been very supportive about what I want and feel I need for this journey.
Q: Will your husband support during labor as if this were his child or will the fathers step in as support?
A: I would like my husband to be my main support (besides my Midwife and doula) obviously, I will be in a lot of pain and in a very vulnerable state, I always want my husband with me during those times, but I am open to Doug and Charles stepping in to help if they choose. If they rather not, I'm totally ok with that. I will have plenty of support there already. :)
Q: Will you stay in contact with them after the birth and they leave?
A: Oh absolutely!!! We both wanted to create a friendship on this journey. Not a business relationship. We have become very close friends. We are no longer strangers. We talk practically everyday. This Summer, Doug and Charles are coming down and we are all having a fun day together in the city with the kiddos. We are definitely friends and will remain that way for a long time. :)
These guys are a couple of the greatest, kindest, most supportive, understanding, compassionate people I have ever met. I'm so glad to have them as friends.
Q: When is your next beta? And ultrasound???
A: I love how excited my friends and followers get!!! It's like you are all right here with me! I do not have anymore beta tests. There are only 3 of those to monitor the wee weeks of pregnancy. Then 2 ultrasounds. My first ultrasound is on March 22! Doug and Charles are coming down to be there for it and witness seeing their wee one's heartbeat for the very first time!
Q: What does "IP" mean?
A: IP= Intended Parent(s)
Q: What exactly do the beta numbers mean?
A: Beta numbers. Beta levels. Beta HCG to be specific. That is just a medical way to say how much HCG (pregnancy hormone) is being made. HCG is in your body ONLY when you are pregnant. HCG is made by the embryo developing the placenta. (how independent the little booger is!!) Beta numbers are just the amount of HCG that is in your body. For a healthy pregnancy to be detected, there needs to be at least 25mUI/ml, which is what most HPTs (home pregnancy tests) pick up around days 11-14 after conception. IVF works a little different as in there are higher levels quicker because the embryo is already (usually) 5 days old when transferred.
Q: Are you afraid of regret? Regret as in feeling a sense of loss.
A: I am not afraid of this. If it happens, it happens, and I will deal with it in a healthy way. But I am not afraid of it happening. As I mentioned above, I feel I am well prepared to hand this baby over to its long awaiting parents. I will always be a part of this baby's life, through pictures, birthdays, etc, much like I am my own nieces and nephews. That is how I will look at this baby. A large part of that is from feeling like I am not having a baby for strangers. I am having a baby for my friends; friends so close, we have become and will continue like family.
Q: What exactly took place during the transplant?
A: Ok, this is how transfer time went. They brought me into a procedure room, looked much like a normal ultrasound room. I was laid on the table, in legs stirrups. The embryo was placed in a very small catheter and inserted through my cervix into my uterus. We got to watch it all on the ultrasound screen! It was so neat! It took a total of 2 minutes. They removed the catheter, immediately stood me up and allowed me to empty my bladder and I went home! Well...to my hotel to sit on my rear and be a couch potato for 2 days. :)
Q: Do they dilate the cervix and place the baby on the uterine lining.
A: They do not have to dilate the cervix. Nothing special anyway. Anytime the cervix is stimulated, it does dilate slightly on its own. This catheter was so small, they did not have to do any "extra" dilating to it.
The embryo is not placed on the uterine lining. The catheter is just inserted what looked like about half-way into the uterus. So that the embryo is floating around much like it does when conception happens naturally. Then when it finds a cozy spot it likes, it sticks. :)
The process of becoming pregnant via IVF is exactly like it happens with natural conception. Minus the sex, egg releasing from the ovary, sperm meeting egg, fertilization, and the travel time the fertilized egg has to take to get to the uterus. Once it's in there, the same thing happens. :)
Q: Did it hurt?
A: Nope. Not at all. It felt much like a pap smear does. Actually, it was a little less uncomfortable, seeing how no cell samples were being taken (not a very comfy process for us ladies every year).
So there you have it! The answers to your questions! I hope I have satisfied your curiosity and helped you gain better understanding of the process. If you have addition questions, or want more clarification about something, please feel free to comment below, comment on FB, or send me a private message on FB if you prefer.
I enjoy answering questions. It lets me know I am doing my part to get people more familiar with surrogacy, so that in the future, there may be more surrogates available to help more families!!
There are way more families that need a surrogate, than there are surrogates to help families.