Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Q and A: Answers Pt. 2

Here is Part Two if the Surrogacy Q & A Answers!!

What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Definitely educate yourself on surrogacy and the process. Apply to a few agencies and definitely go with your gut feeling. If you are not getting good vibes from one agency, but great vibes from another, definitely go with the good feeling agency. Know that this is a "hurry up and wait" process. They will want you to hurry with forms and then you will have to wait until each party reviews it before proceeding to the next step. Just try to be patient and it will a work out! 

What kind of Meds did you have to take and what did they do?
I took a total of 6 different medications from the very beginning of my journey up to 11 weeks pregnant. 
Birth Control Pills – Sync cycles with the Intended Parent or Egg Donor. Only Active Pills.
Lupron - Lupron temporarily suppresses pituitary and ovarian hormone production and prevents ovulation from occurring prior to oocyte retrieval. This medication is generally started one week before the next expected period and continued until two days prior to the egg retrieval.
Delestrogen - Estradiol is a form of estrogen. Estrogen is a female sex hormone necessary for many processes in the body.
Endometrin – Vaginal Progesterone. Once placed inside the vagina, progesterone is absorbed quickly by the local vessels and brought to the uterus where it prepares the endometrium for the implantation process. The level of progesterone within the endometrium is highest with vaginal progesterone.
PIO - Progesterone is a naturally occurring hormone in the body. In women, the hormone is produced in the ovaries, the adrenal glands and in the placenta during pregnancy, and it is stored in the fat tissue. Progesterone is involved in a woman's menstrual cycle and supports pregnancy. It will help keep the pregnancy viable until the body can start producing it on its own around 10 weeks. 
Doxycycline - Doxycycline is an antibiotic to prevent infection from the retrieval and to ensure that the uterus is free of bacteria before embryo transfer.
Medrol - Medrol is a light steroid that is used to prevent ‘inflammation’ of the uterine lining that can cause it to reject the embryo.
Valium - Muscle Relaxer taken before transfer. It helps relax the body and uterus.

Were you nervous about how many embryos were transferred?
We had planned to transfer 3 embryos since the quality wasn’t that great. After the transfer, I found out that my RE placed all 4 embryos. 1 was good, 2 were okay and 1 was poor. I was really nervous after that. After everything was said and done, I had confidence in my RE and figured that he knew what he was doing.

How did you tell people about you wanting to be a surrogate?
With close family, I called/emailed and told them what we were planning on doing. With friends, I decided to start this blog and also a Facebook page. A lot of people were surprised and a few were definitely not on board, but we ultimately did what we thought would be better for us and our family.

Would you ever consider donating your eggs?
No. It would just feel weird knowing that I have potential kids out there. This is just my opinion on egg donation. I have had friends who have donated eggs, but could never be a surrogate. It’s just someone’s preference. I just could never do it.

How much does Surrogacy cost?
There are a lot of factors with the price of IVF/Surrogacy. Intended Parents can pay anywhere from $75,000 up to $250,000. Meds, Dr Visits, Lawyer Fees, Flights, etc.

Was it weird having everyone in the room when you delivered?
Absolutely not! With all of my deliveries, I have had friends and family in the room. With this delivery, I had my husband, the parents, my case manager and photographer. Once it was time to push, I honestly didn’t even realize they were in the room. I was in my own world and concentrated on getting this little girl earth side. A lot of people are different and feel like this is a very personal experience and only want their spouse/partner or mother in there with them and that’s perfectly fine also!

Do the parents still keep in contact with you? Do you get to see pictures of “Surro Babe?”
Yes! I get to see pictures of C almost daily, which I absolutely love! My family and I get to watch her grow and its great! We try to email each other monthly, but sometimes life gets in the way.

How did you pick the Agency you went with?
When my husband and I finally decided to start this, I googled “California Surrogacy Agencies” and got a lot of websites. I applied to 4-5 different agencies and West Coast Surrogacy was the first agency that actually called me. It was about 2 hours after I had submitted my application. From the very beginning of that phone call, I felt in my gut that this was the agency for me. I loved the family feel of the agency and it didn’t feel like I was going in for a job interview. I would definitely recommend them if you are in search for an agency, whether it be Surrogacy or Egg Donation!

Would you ever do an “Indy” Surrogacy Journey?
I honestly don’t think I would. I like that the agency does the work for us and makes sure everything gets done correctly! Again, some people have better experiences going Indy, I just feel more comfortable with an agency!

Thanks Again!!!! If you have any other questions that were not answered, please don't hesitate to email me!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Q and A: Answers Pt. 1

Thank you so much for the questions! I can't believe how many questions I received! Since I received over 20 questions, I have decided to split them into two posts! Here is Part One!

Would you consider doing it again?
Absolutely!!! My IP’s have asked if I would be willing to carry for them again. We have a great relationship, so that will be a plus if I help them with a Sibling Project! If we decide to wait a while, I will be updating my profile and hopefully get matched with another couple soon!

What if I don't have Medical Insurance or My Insurance doesn't cover Surrogacy?
I didn't have medical insurance when I applied. Once you are matched, they will have you apply to an insurance company that covers Surrogacy. I do know that Anthem Blue Cross and Kaiser cover Surrogacy!

Did your Tincture work/help? What about the capsules?
I haven’t used the Tincture yet. The longer it ferments, the better! I took my placenta capsules for about 4 weeks and now I take them during my monthly cycle. They have helped tremendously! In the beginning, they helped a lot with my bleeding and my hormone levels.

Did you notice anything different compared to your other postpartum experiences?
This postpartum was a lot easier on me! I contribute a lot of that to the fact that I didn’t have a newborn to take care of and I had a lot of help with my kids.

Has your family been supportive (during and after)?
In the beginning, a few family members weren’t on board and that was okay. During the pregnancy, a few of them started to come around and by the end of the pregnancy, they were very proud of what I was doing. I know that Surrogacy is not for everyone and that is absolutely fine with me, I just won’t talk about it while you are around. The one person that I was terrified to tell was my Gramma. She is very old school and I wasn't sure how she would react. When I was 12-14 weeks pregnant, she called me and asked me about it! She was fully supportive of what I was doing! She said that if she was guaranteed a girl, she would have paid someone a long time ago! Hahaha!

Did you experience any PPD after carrying Surro Babe for 9 months and then having to hand her over to her parents?
No. I knew going into this knowing that this child was not mine. I had the perfect mindset and am very grateful. Once I delivered, I was a little hesitant about holding her, but after I had her in my arms, I knew I would be fine! It felt like I was holding a friend’s baby and I didn’t feel any sort of emptiness. She wasn’t mine to keep, I was just giving her back to her parents!

What was the process like?
Surrogacy is a “Hurry Up and Wait” process. Once we were matched, I flew back down to L.A. and had another medical appt. After I got the go ahead, we started contracts. Those took about a month and then I was able to start my meds. First Birth Control Pills, then Lupron, Delestrogen, Progesterone in Oil and Endometrin. 3 weeks in a row, I had to have my blood drawn to check my numbers. I then flew down to L.A. for my transfer!

How did you do with the shots? I am terrified of needles, but I don’t want that holding me back from being a surrogate.
I was very nervous about the intramuscular shots. The Lupron shots were easy since they were tiny insulin needles and those went in my belly. The Intramuscular shots were a little harder. My husband is not a fan of needles, but I made him watch some you tube videos and have him watch a friend give me my first shot. He got better at it after about 3 days. The needles are very intimidating, but once you do the shots a few times, it will get better. Make sure you heat your injection site and the medicine and then rub the area after the shot. You will get knots, but rubbing the area will help disperse the medicine.

How are your kids doing?
My kids are doing great! They understood from the very beginning that the baby was not ours. I told my children that my IM’s tummy was sick and couldn’t carry a baby like mommy can. I am grateful that my IP’s loved our children and were so excited to see them and include them in everything. They love seeing pictures of Surro Babe almost daily!

What was the Psychological Process like?
My husband and I had to drive to San Francisco and do our Psych Eval there. I had to complete a 200+ multiple choice questionnaire. Some of the questions were really strange and I actually laughed at a few! After that, my husband and I were called into a room and we talked to a Psychologist about our lives and what surrogacy meant to us. At the end of the appointment, she told me that we seem like a sane family and was going to approve us!

Why did you become a surrogate?
I have always wanted to be a surrogate. I love being pregnant and pregnancy is very easy on me. I told my husband that after we were done having our own kids, I wanted to apply to be a surrogate. After weighing our pro's and con's for about a year, I applied. I feel that if my body does well during pregnancies and that I love being pregnant, why not help a family who can't have children. It is a true gift of love in my opinion!

Well, there ya have it!! Come back tomorrow for Part Two!!

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