Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A New Hope

It’s been about six weeks since we had to really start thinking about surrogacy and about three weeks since we placed an ad looking for a surrogate. But it feels like it has been forever.  There are a really two main ways to find a surrogate match.  One is to go through an agency, where they recruit and screen surrogates and then match you based on personality and location, all for a mere $20,000 or so.  This fee does cover about 7K in attorney's fees but is still a good bit of money for linking you with your surrogate. The second is to go "independent" which means finding a surrogate on your own. There are several different sites on the internet such as surromomsonline and  allaboutsurrogacy where those pursuing surrogacy go to try to find a match. In an effort to try to save that money (and also because its very hard for me to just sit back and do nothing) we decided to try going the independent route.  Initially, we just lurked on the sites and sent messages to those who were geographically desirable.  Then, a couple of different friends who had gone through the process encouraged us to place an ad of our own as many of the more experienced surrogates are lurkers themselves and just reply when they see a couple they are interested in.  We first placed our ad on December 12th.  Since that time, we’ve had a couple of promising leads but nothing has panned out.  Some of this is due to some non-negotiable issues.  We really do want someone who is open to terminating if we deemed necessary.  We honestly don't think that will be an issue as we have done CGH testing on our final two embryos so we are fairly certain they shouldn't have any chromosomal abnormalities. But if there did turn out to be a medical issue and the baby was not going to be compatible with life, or the quality of life was going to be majorly compromised due to medical complications, we would want the option of terminating.  We completely understand those who have personal/ religious views which make them against terminating- those people just wouldn't be the right match for us. 

Some of the other issues had to do with distance or the surro not being insured but we are starting to think we can be more open to non-local surros and/or those without insurance (though both might be a deal-breaker due to finances).   And then there were some  that seemed too good to be true (aka shady) so we didn't pursue it (18K flat, they will come to our state for the last month of pregnancy and deliver here, buy their own insurance, put in 5 embryos, etc)  so we have yet to find the right fit. 

All that might have changed this week.  A couple of weeks ago,  a woman from one of the sites contacted me and invited me to join a private Georgia Surrogacy Facebook group. I jumped at the chance to do so, thinking I could find myself a local surrogate that way.  Once I joined I was kind of disappointed, as the group only had 10 members and all but two were surrogates who had already been matched.   I noticed a message thread asking one of the women if she was planning to do another journey and she said that she wasn’t planning on it but if she did it would be as a GS (Gestational Surrogate)I went to her page and immediately liked what I saw.  I’m not even 100% sure what it was.  Part of it was the close-up Justin Timberlake pictures (Jason and I had also just gone to his show a few days prior and were still on a JT high).  A lot of it was her posts- she was a bit snarky/sarcastic and they made me laugh.  I wasn’t “friends” with her yet but decided I needed to send her a message and see if she might be open to being a GS for us.  Then I friended her. She accepted my friend request pretty quickly but I never got a response from her.   The day after Christmas I decided to send her another message,  just in case she hadn’t gotten the first one.  She responded later that evening saying she was flattered by my interest, that surrogacy had been in the back of her mind,  but that she wasn’t sure her husband would be on board and would need to discuss it with him.  I wrote back and she happened to be online when I did, so we started im’ing (mostly about JT).  I liked her even more after that contact but didn’t hear anything else from her beyond that day.  Fast forward to  January 2nd and this blog.  Part of the reason I wanted to do the blog was to give  potential surrogates a window into our world, as otherwise we are just one classified ad among 60 others.  I was hoping that in learning more about us and actually seeing us in the video montage (and okay, maybe pulling at the heartstrings a little) surrogates would be more interested in helping us. In particular, I had hopes that I might woo my FB friend if she knew more about our story.   I decided to try one last ditch effort with this potential surrogate and sent her a message with a link to the blog. 

It worked!  The next day she replied saying that she spoke to her husband and while he initially said no, after showing him our messages and our blog he had a change of heart.   She said that family is everything to them and they just can't imagine wanting something so desperately and not being able to fulfill those dreams.  I messaged her back and once again, we began im’ing.  To give you an idea of how witty/great she is, when I asked her about our deal breaker issue regarding termination she wrote back, “You being a UF fan could be a potential deal breaker. Lol. All kidding aside, yes, I am open to terminating”.    This started a two hour instant messaging session- lots of witty banter sprinkled with more serious questions regarding surrogacy.   We ended our conversation with promises to make plans to meet in person the following weekend. I was on cloud nine!

It took a little while to coordinate our meeting and I began to get nervous that this, like everything else, wasn’t going to pan out.  However, we finally found a time and met for breakfast with our husbands on Sunday morning.  While it was a little awkward at first, the nervousness was quickly replaced with laughter.  By the end of the meeting, we all felt pretty sure that we were going to move forward. 

I’m trying not to get too excited or hopeful, since those hopes have been dashed too many times to count.  Still, this could really be our chance to finally have our family!  Next stop:  Contacting the doctors and attorneys. 

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