Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Join The Movement - Helping a Couple Through Surrogacy

April 21st - April 27th is recognized in the US as National Infertility Awareness Week. This week is a time to stand with those that are suffering through the disease of infertility. For years it's been a topic that is commonly overlooked, shied away from, or minimized in seriousness. Why is this? Why is it so hard for us to talk about? It seems like any topic that involves pain and sadness is commonly avoided. We don't know what to say or what to do to fix the problem so we just try to ignore that it's even there. Because of this we don't even really fully understand what the problem is because nobody wants to talk about it. As an example... When I had my miscarriage two years ago I went to have a Christmas dinner party with some of my very best friends. At that party while us girls talked and the guys watched TV, I shared about my loss. It was awkward and scary, but at the same time I found out that almost every one of my friends had lost a baby. How did I not know this??? These were my best friends! It's just not a topic that we want to talk about normally. Like I said before, what do we say? Because of that moment we all realized that we shared something and we realized that loss was much more common than we realized. In that moment we felt a bond that we didn't realize that we shared. In that moment we felt comfort in a topic that we didn't before.

This is what National Infertility Awareness Week is all about.  It's about bringing a topic that is not commonly talked about out into the open for all to hear.  It's about sharing the facts and sharing the stories.  It's about lending a shoulder to those that need it.  It's about feeling free to share our stories and knowing others will care.  And so my story begins...

I've been around the trying to conceive community for a little over 3 years now.  When trying to get pregnant with my girls I was in tune with my reproductive system, but it wasn't till I tried to get pregnant with Lincoln that I reached out to others that were also trying to get pregnant.  It was a common bond that we all could share.  During that year on the Fertility Friend chat forums I met hundreds, if not thousands of woman all with the same goal - to get pregnant.  We all went through the ups and downs together.  We rejoiced in the pregnancies, and comforted each other each month that went by where we were not successful.  Some women got pregnant quick, while others had gone years without seeing a single positive pregnancy test.  Others have went through a loss like myself; some have went through many.  It was over this year that I made many friends and created bonds that will never be broken.  

It was during that time that I met my friend Belle.  We started out in a group waiting to test, or waiting to ovulate (I'm not sure, as I had joined so many over that year).  When the month passed our group stuck around and continued to go through cycles together.  We cheered each other on, congratulated those that got pregnant, and comforted those that did not.  In the meantime we came to know each other very well.  We even named our group, "DH + ME = BFP" (dear husband plus me equals a big fat positive pregnancy).  After I got pregnant and had Lincoln I lost my membership and got caught up in life.  In the process I lost contact with my group including my friend Belle.  Little did I know she had kept up with me through my blog.  It was a welcome surprise when I heard from her through an e-mail.  She wanted to know how I'd been doing and informed me that she and her husband were now on their 5th round of IVF, but not feeling positive that it would give them the child they desired.  At the same time she amazed me with hope.  She was turning to a new chapter in her trying to conceive journey.  She was looking to surrogacy, an egg donor, and a sperm donor.  It might not have been the journey she had ever imagined 2-1/2 years ago when we first met, but she was excited to take this next step to start the family that they have always wanted.  I told her to keep me updated as I wished only the best for her, and I just knew that more amazing updates were to come.  

From the time I received that e-mail in November 2012, I couldn't get Belle out of my mind.  I wished the best for her and her husband and wished there was something I could do.  Was there?  I knew I was too old to be an egg donor and I knew Brian would never agree, but could I be her surrogate?  Could I dedicate a year of my life to helping her create the child that we had hoped for her 2-1/2 years ago?  Would my husband agree?  Would I even be a good candidate?  There were so many questions, but the idea stuck with me.  It wasn't till January 2013 that I officially decided that this was something I wanted to do and it wasn't till February of 2013 that Brian agreed with me.  Of course this was a big decision that would affect our whole family and it couldn't be taken lightly.

During the month of February I applied to the same agency that my friend Belle was with.  At that time I didn't tell Belle my ultimate goal.  It might have been fear.  It might have been caution.  It might have been that same reason that we don't talk about infertility in the first place.  What do I say?  If I was going to do this journey, I wanted it to be with her (although if it didn't work out I was more than happy to help another infertile couple).  Most of all, I didn't want her to feel pressured to pick me.  Maybe I wasn't the match she was looking for.  That being said, I put on my application that if at all possible I would like to be presented as a possible match for my friend and her husband.  Little did I know, she had done the same.  Great minds think alike I guess!  In March 2013 we were officially matched and now we just wait for the process to begin.  It actually looks like next week the ball will start rolling with the egg donor!  Then I'll hopefully go in for the embryo transfer in June or July.  Eeeek!  It's so close!!!!

I just can't believe this is all happening!  I can't wait for the day we transfer what could be her long awaited child.  I can't wait to get the news that we're pregnant.  I can't wait for the day that I get to watch their baby being handed over to them and see the same tears of joy that Brian and I had when we met our children for the first time.  It will be a magical moment that I am honored that they are letting me share with them.  It will be a moment that I will never forget.  Who would have known 2-1/2 years ago that Belle and I would be re-united in this way?  Who would have known that I'd be flying clear across the US to transfer a baby for a couple that lives halfway across the world that I only know through the internet.  That's the magic of community.  That's the magic of voice.  That's the magic of friendship.

So as I venture on this journey I've decided to blog about it.  What else would I do?  I want to spread the word to others and let them know that infertility and surrogacy are topics that should be free to be shared.  As soon as Brian and I made our decision for this path in life, I shared with everyone I knew.  I do not fear the questions and instead welcome them.  I may not have all the answers (I'm positive that I don't), but I want others to feel that they can ask me anything and I will answer honestly and to the best of my ability.  After all, isn't that the goal of this week?  We all must spread awareness, and this is my small part.  

For more information regarding National Infertility Awareness Week or to learn more about the disease of infertility, please visit these websites. (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.) (About NIAW)

Don't forget to check out my "Surrogacy" tab at the top of this page to catch up on any posts you might have missed regarding my surrogacy journey

*Some of the names in this post have been changed to protect the identities of those involved in this journey*


  1. Oh my goodness, Chana! This is the first blog that I've read from a surrogate's perspective! What a valuable resource. And how eloquently you speak of such a sensitive subject! I am so excited for you and for this couple. I so hope that the first transfer is successful and that it won't be long before you get to deliver Belle and her husband's long-awaited child. What an honor! Blessings on you during this process.

    Also, I love how gently you placed yourself out there as an option. You wouldn't believe how often random people tell infertiles, "I'll be your surrogate!" As though they were offering to pick you up from the airport or something. My mother-in-law even offered it...a couple times...even though we had no need for a surrogate (the problem was ovulation, not carrying the baby). Yeah, it was awkward.

    1. Thanks Em! I hope the first transfer is successful too!!! So sorry for the awkward offerings. I did another post about etiquette. I'm sad to say that I too have broken some of the etiquette rules, but as time goes on I'm really learning and getting a better insight into what goes into infertility. I wish nobody had to go through it, but glad that more and more options are coming up for those that do.


Thanks so much for taking the time to show your support with a comment! I LOVE reading all of them and will try and answer any questions that you might have. :)