Thank you so much for your questions guys! Brandi and I each got quite a few questions so we will be breaking the answers into two posts. One for the questions geared towards me and another for questions geared towards her.
Some of the questions were admittedly tough. Which means you asked the questions you were truly wondering about. Surrogacy is tough. Moral and ethical questions are around every turn. So I thank you for asking the hard questions. For being honest and not being shy.
And with that…lets get this Q&A going with one of the tougher ones…
Q: Why didn’t you adopt?
A: In January, we actively looked at all our options, including adoption. I was even in talks with an adoption agency called American Adoptions as we knew we wanted an infant. I was told it could be up to a 2 year wait time. In that time the agency could call at any point and tell us the birth mother was in labor and we would need to fly out. What I hadn’t realized was that the mom in the first 48 hours could change her mind. I knew I could never survive that kind of heartbreak. Not to mention I want my daughter to have a sibling somewhat close in age and that wait time was more than I was willing to wait.
I think there is stigma that people who are infertile SHOULD adopt. Here’s the thing. Fertile couples are just as capable of adopting. However, many chose to have biological children. All people – regardless of their fertility deserve the right to chose what is best for them and their family. Nobody should feel that they SHOULD do something. Surrogacy gave us the choice to have another biological child in a timeline that worked much better for our family. Woman like Brandi – give families the biggest gift of all. The choice.
Q: What will happen if you have extra embryos?
A: There are four different options for people doing IVF if they have extra embryos. They can keep them frozen for future use if they want to expand their families. They can donate their embryos to another couple aka embryo adoption, they can destroy them, OR they can donate them to stem cell research to help find cures.
Travis and I will keep any extra embryos frozen for a year before we make any final decisions, but are leaning towards donating them to science to help find cures. I realize this is a deeply profound concept for most people and exceptionally personal. We don’t take it lightly at all. We look at it like this. In our situation, if we didn’t do IVF none of these embryos would have a shot at life. At least we are giving one a shot by doing this.
Q: How did you meet Brandi and how did you guys choose each other?
A: I met Brandi on Facebook. I know you are cringing. Hold on 😉 I met her on a Facebook page called Intending Parents/Surrogacy Meet Up. I posted a picture of Teagan and said “This girl needs her brother or sister.” Brandi replied, “Im in Mn….” Brandi and I talked on the phone for literally hours for about a month. We talked about every aspect of our lives. She sounded just perfect. A mom of 4 kiddos. Married to Bryan, a PA at a Mayo affiliated hospital. She was a pre-school teacher even! Dedicated to her church and community.
We “dated” virtually (ha!) for a few weeks before we had Brandi and the kids over for brunch. They were all utterly delightful. If Teagan ends up half as respectful and curtious as her kids I will be ecstatic. It was clear Brandi and Bryan were not only amazing on paper, but were wonderful parents and people. I knew I could trust her to carry my baby with out question. We since hang out every couple months and our families get along so well. Her kids ADORE teags and she LOVES being one of the “crew”.
Q: What will your relationship with Brandi look like after the baby is born?
A: Brandi and I both wanted to do this with someone locally so that our families could be life long friends. Brandi will be like an honorary “auntie” to this baby and we will tell the child from Day 1 that they were made from a part of mom and a part of dad…but that my stomach was broken so they grew in Brandi’s tummy. There will never be an uh-huh moment. We will be honest and forthcoming. The child will know Brandi from infancy so they never have to wonder what she was like. Brandi is also pumping milk for the baby so we will be visiting each other quite a bit, especially right after the birth.
Q: How many times will you do IVF?
A: This will be my last IVF to get eggs. As IVF is one of the most expensive aspects of this process it’s really not in the cards to do it again. As it is, we are pretty shocked we already had to do it twice at my age of 28.
Q: It sounds like you had a lot of eggs the first IVF. How did you just end up with one?
A: After the eggs are retrieved there are an enormous amounts of hoops these eggies have to jump through. First they have to fertilize with Travis’ sperm. They then have to grow and multiply for 5 days and hit a stage called blast. Before they are frozen a cell is taken from each one and sent to a lab in CA – two weeks later we get the report with how many were the right amount of chromosomes. Last time out of 4 we sent to the lab for testing – only one had sound DNA. The rest had critical errors that made them not viable. The eggs retrieved Wednesday will have to go through all these hurdles. I cant tell you the level of stress and anxiety in this 2 week wait – its absolutely brutal.
Q: How are you going to explain this to Teagan?
A: Teagan knows basically what is happening. She knows mommy is growing eggs right now. I have explained that we hope to have a baby but that my stomach is broken. So we are taking a piece of mommy and a piece of daddy and putting them in Brandi’s tummy to grow. There are also great books on amazon actually! One is about a kangaroo and a pouch.
Q: Why was your IVF protocol different than last time?
A: Last time the protocol made me very sick. I had many symptoms that are listed under emergency symptoms – such as severe bone pain and inability to walk. I was lucky that it was the last day of that medication so the clinic didn’t have to cancel my cycle. After surgery I developed OHSS. Basically I over stimulated and too much fluid started filling my abdomen to the point of having shortness of breath (In severe cases they have to remove fluid so that your lung cavity is not restricted). Mine was not severe, but moderate thank goodness. This time I was never put on the medication that gave me the bone pain and to address the OHSS during surgery the clinic will add a medication in my IV to help prevent fluid build up. Overall, this IVF is MUCH easier than the previous one and I am feeling much better!
Q: Is there a chance of multiples?!!
A: There is always a chance I guess! BUT no probably not. We only want more child so we will be transferring one embryo. Although I (and Brandi) would be open to having twins – my hubby would RUN for the hills and is saying no. However, just like any pregnancy an egg can always split into identical twins – the chance of this happening is extremely low but its a little higher than a normal pregnancy.
The chance of success with one embryo working is 60% with a low grade embryo and 70% with a good grade embryo – so they really encourage you to put in the number of kiddos you want. Now if we only have super low quality embryos the doctor MIGHT suggest we do two, but the chance of him suggesting that is pretty darn low. So the answer is probably not and one embryo!
Q: What if the first transfer doesn’t work?!
A: Then we try again! We will do at least two transfers if we have to. It does take some time to get Brandi’s body ready again – she needs to go through the meds all over again! So it would be roughly around Christmas.