The stress of the legal aspect of this process is something I’ve found to be incredible overwhelming. Even though it is clearly necessary in our case, it still seems bizarre to have so many lawyers and contracts involved in the potential birth of our child. Thankfully, Kyle has taken on the responsibility for this part, and this afternoon he met with a local lawyer to discuss the intimidating contract we are about to sign. We knew he was the right person for the job when Kyle explained our intention to enter into an agreement with a surrogate agency and the lawyer immediately asked, “Are you using a surrogate or a gestational carrier?” Most people don’t understand the difference, so there is a tendency to apply the term “surrogate” to all things. I get it; it’s easier. Even I do it sometimes.
Now that we have received a legal opinion, we will sign the contract tomorrow and send it to the agency overnight– along with an enormous amount of money that we will never get back, even if this endeavor ends without a child. As of tomorrow we will officially be clients of the surrogate agency we’ve chosen. All that’s left after that is to fall further down the rabbit hole…
Last week during our consultation meetings we were informed that they may already have a match for us. Even just typing that sentence and seeing it pop up on the screen in front of me is making my heart race with a strange mixture of excitement and trepidation. When we initially contacted the agency, we believed that it would take around three to six months to be matched with a gestational carrier. Generally couples working with this agency fill out detailed profiles that include photos and information to be shared with potential matches. When a possible match is identified, the potential surrogate is able to review the couple’s profile and decide whether or not she would be interested in working with them, just as the couple is able to make a decision based on her profile and photos. Once both parties have agreed to move forward, they are introduced through Skype and are encouraged to continue building a relationship.
However, we may have the ability to skip ahead (a little bit) in this process due to the fact that our agency has a potential carrier lined up who is interested in only doing a single embryo transfer, which is somewhat unusual. Most couples choose to transfer more than one embryo at a time through IVF to increase the rate of success, which can result in multiple births. Since we would prefer not to have multiples (in part due to my chronic fatigue) and we are unwilling to do a “selective reduction” (aborting one or more of the fetuses), we had already decided to transfer just one embryo per IVF cycle. While we feel that it’s the right decision for us, it will decrease our chance of success when the time comes, but for now this decision might have unexpectedly lead us to a match.
Hours after speaking with the agency for the first time, we opened an email that may change the rest of our lives. We know her name, what she looks like, where she lives, and the names of her family and friends. There is a chance that she could be our match– the woman who could give us the greatest gift we could ever imagine. It’s thrilling in an absolutely terrifying way. And even though we haven’t spoken a single word to each other yet, she could be a part of our lives from this point onward. I went to sleep that night wondering if she was thinking about us at that moment too. What did they tell her about us when they asked if we could see her information? Is she feeling this same mixture of excitement and fear? Is she imagining what the next few months will hold? I wished there was a way to know.
There is a chance that nothing at all could come from this match. So many things need to fall into place in order for it to happen, and she may even decide that she is not interested in working with us once we put together our profile and pictures. Ideally we would love to be nearby to where she is located, but she lives about 12 hours from us right now. Although many couples have surrogates or carriers located across the country from them or even on separate continents, it is tough to know that we could not easily get to appointments.
I don’t know if this will be the person we move forward with or not, but by the time we reached the end of her profile, tears streamed down my face as I thought about how amazing it is that someone would be willing to do this for us– even when we are strangers to her.