Taking the Next Steps

spiral staircase
Last week Elle* and I received the email we’ve all been waiting for:

I wanted to touch base with you both, to inform you all screening is complete and normal for the both you.  Dr. M has reviewed both charts, and everyone is cleared to proceed. We have notified your agency of this great news as well.

[Our fertility nurse] will work with both of your cycles and will be in touch with you to look at potential dates to begin your IVF cycle. 🙂

More than two months ago we were matched with our gestational carrier and almost immediately began this long phase of obtaining both legal and medical clearance. Two big things have happened over the span of the entire holiday season and then some: a Carrier Agreement was signed by all four of us (Kyle and I, plus Elle & her husband) and Elle completed her medical screening in order to be approved for IVF.

Legal clearance: While I can’t disclose details of our Carrier Agreement, I can tell you that it is an important part of setting the foundation before moving forward with any kind of surrogacy arrangement. A contract like this should protect both the gestational carrier and the intended parents in the event that something unexpected happens. Throughout this part of the process we were forced to imagine virtually every scenario possible, including very painful ones such as miscarriage, stillbirth, and even our own deaths prior to the birth, in order to make decisions or arrangements in advance. Although we were encouraged to continue building our relationship with Elle outside of the legal situation, we were only able to discuss the contract through our lawyers, which significantly slowed down the process. After more than 6 weeks, it was a relief to finally be able to ink our names to the contract.

Medical clearance: Elle began her medical screening back in December when she and her husband first visited our fertility clinic and met us in person. Since that time she has had exams, blood work, ultrasounds, and an HSG (to check her fallopian tubes). But, the last test was the hardest: for two weeks she had to overcome her extreme fear of needles by receiving injections every third day in order to test her response to the IVF medication. Thankfully she did great in all respects and we had nothing to worry about, but it was stressful for all of us to know that our plans for surrogacy and IVF rested on her test results. If something had gone wrong, we could have been left without a gestational carrier and Elle’s dreams of helping a couple through surrogacy could have been over. It was an enormous relief to finally receive approval from our doctor to move forward after weeks of waiting.

However, if you think this means that we are just around the corner from the embryo transfer, you would be wrong. We are still weeks away from even beginning our IVF cycle, and then once we get there, we have another few weeks to go before getting to the transfer. In the meantime, I have been put on birth control in order to prepare my ovaries for stimulation and sync my cycle with Elle’s so that her body is ready to receive our embryo within days of my egg retrieval.

While we’re grateful to be working toward the next steps in this process, the wait gets more difficult– torturous, even– with every passing day. We’ve reached the end of our 7th month in this surrogacy process, but the goal is still firmly out of sight. Often it feels like we’re on a long climb up a never-ending staircase. We’re high enough now that we can no longer easily see the bottom steps, but we still have a long way to go. In low moments I fleetingly wonder if we’ll ever reach the top, and some days I feel panicky at the thought that we have no choice but to press on, even with the end far from sight, because turning back would be just as hard, if not harder, than getting to the top.

So for now, we keep climbing, and we wait.

*Name has been changed for privacy reasons

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2 thoughts on “Taking the Next Steps

  1. Great — there is good progress. Even though going through it seems like forever, it is wonderful to see each step moving forward. Blessings and love. Gram XO XO

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