Whilst I was in the midst of my IVF cycle number 3, I met a group of wonderful, inspirational women. We spent so much time together on our intense journey, each of us with a different fertility problem and each of us with a very different life story.
We are all on our different paths to parenthood and each of these amazing women has a fantastical fertility story to share.
One of my wonderful lady friends has chosen the surrogacy option to complete her family and this is her story.
Tell me your fertility story.
After having my daughter in 2008 with no fertility problems, we quickly started to try for baby number 2. However over 14 months we had 4 miscarriages. After the 4th miscarriage, we were referred to a specialist who needed to complete a follow up ERPC, as a previous operation had not removed all the previous pregnancy products.
This follow up op triggered a rare condition called Ashermans Syndrome. Despite my pleas to the professional who had performed the op, I was ignored and this condition was not diagnosed until it was too late, my uterus had now fully closed up with scar tissue and I was unable to bleed (although I was still getting cramps and knew I was ovulating).
Two very invasive corrective surgeries later, we were given the all clear to try again, although instinct told me it would be a struggle. We decided to try IVF as we wanted to avoid further m/c and ensure a good embryo was given best chance of implanting. After 3 failed IVF attempts (2 of which getting a positive pregnancy test but then the pregnancy failing within days) the clinic advised that due to the Ashermans the quality of the blood in my womb was poor and the embryos cant bed in properly and we would need to try surrogacy to give our embryos the best opportunity to flourish.
How does secondary infertility make you feel?
Pretty sh!t!!! I know we have done it before and it feels a horrible failure to know I can’t carry a baby again nor give my daughter a sibling or my husband a bigger family. I feel very bitter towards friends who don’t understand yet “pop” babies out willy nilly and it is a constant concern in the back of my mind.
How has it affected your husband?
He has more up days than down but I think often he hides his feelings very well. He also feels frustrated when others fall pregnant quickly or don’t seem to understand our struggles……”well you have a beautiful daughter, you should be grateful for her” – that sort of attitude.
Tell me about your IVF cycles and their outcomes
1st round 29 eggs, 5 to blasto, fresh transfer (3 blastos) chemical pregnancy
FET 2 blastos another chemical pregnancy
2nd IVF, 25 eggs, 3 blastos, negative pregnancy test
3rd IVF 20 eggs and 12 day one embryos in the freezer!!!
Tell me how all of this has made you feel
I think frustration and failure are the overriding feelings
Tell me about your journey to surrogacy
We took surrogacy in small steps, which I think is the norm. After the clinic advised this option we did some research and were horrified to find out that surrogacy in the UK allows the surrogate to go onto the birth certificate and that she can in the first 6weeks after birth decide to keep the baby. However after dipping our toes in a bit further we now have no concerns at all and it feels a very “normal” process!!
How does this make you feel?
We feel there is light at the end of the tunnel and I feel relief that there is not more pressure on my poor body to do the baby making anymore. After 5 years of heartache and my body failing me we can now write my body off as a retired baby maker!!
How does your husband feel?
At first he was a little unsure. As is often the case, I as the women, have been the driving force behind the different steps we have taken. But after meeting many Intended Parents (IP’s) or surrogates it feels so normal to us. These are all normal people that simply have had a lot of bad luck and need a “tummy mummy” to help them complete their family.
Tell me about the organisation which you are working with to facilitate your surrogate path
There are 2 routes to surrogacy. Using an agency that matches you with surrogates abroad where you can pay a fee and the process is legally binding, i.e. that baby is ours in the eyes of a court from conception. We choose the less clinical route and have used one of the 2 UK organisations Surrogacy UK (the other is COTS). Surrogacy UK (SUK) is a non profit organisation and their motto is “friendship first”. It can often take longer to find a surrogate than with COTS, but the relationships tend to be longer lasting. SUK have socials arranged by members / volunteers each month (one up north and down south) where members and non members can meet other IP’s or surrogates and share stories, get support and hopefully “click” with a potential surrogate. There are also message boards / chat forums which are a hive or activity and a fantastic support mechanism.
What stage are you at now and how are you feeling?
We went to our first social as non members in Dec 2011, went to their bi-annual conference in March 2012, joined in May 2012, got approached by our surrogate in September 2012, did IVF in Oct 2012 and are about to have our first transfer in March 2013!!!!
I have mixed feelings, fear that my old eggs will let us down and excited that this time next year we could have completed our family!! Our surrogate is a pro (having done this 3 times before), very positive and convinced we will have a big healthy bouncing boy – which freaked us out as we always assumed we would have a girl followed by a boy…….so watch this space!!!
Any words of wisdom for those in the same position as you?
Don’t give up, explore all options even if they seem alien and unconventional and hold onto that dream……..
She is an inspiration! Never give up hope.
See my website for details of my Fertility Tea
Find me on Facebook
And on Twitter