Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hat trick of failure

We received our third negative result tonight.

I know we, and I'm pretty sure our friends, are tired of hearing the same old story. There's only so many times and ways people can commiserate with you about your unmet expectations. There's only so many times you really want to hear that something you imagined might never materialise.

I realise it's not the end of the world, and that heaps of other people have been in the same situation, and that there's plenty of time for more attempts. Nonetheless, it's a very hopeless and impotent feeling we're left with today.

I know I (GB) am struggling with the absolutely unverifiable trust that is implicit in this process. It doesn't sit well with my personality or background. And the issues our clinic is inflicting on us compound those feelings. I feel backed into a corner, financially and personally, and I wish it weren't so.

As before, time will pass and things will seem substantially less dire.  But, for the time being, I'm just really disappointed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So are we pregnant?

Well your guess is as good as ours!

I'm writing from a pretty angry place right now as SI advised us, only after we e-mailed this morning asking when our test results would be available, that the bHCG would only be done today.  The test was supposed to be performed on Saturday.

No e-mail, no phone call - no chance of knowing why there has been a delay unless we e-mailed them to ask what was going on.  And even then, it was a simple one liner late this afternoon saying it will be done today and the result would be provided tomorrow.

And this is what our normal experience has been like with SI since June.  No consideration, no care and no communication.  I recognise the massive opportunity we have being able to access surrogacy in India but we are beginning to face the stark realisation that we have made a monumental fuck up by choosing SI.  From all I've read on other blogs, there are more things to worry about in the process than whether or not the people trying to help you have a baby 1. care, or 2. will bother communicating with you once they have the money deposited.  And really, communication issues are just the tip of the iceberg and leads me to concerns about the other people involved - our surrogate.

Most people experience the emotional highs and lows of surrogacy arising from their attempt at getting pregnant and watching the pregnancy develop.  I feel that we now have the additional burden that if we did get pregnant tomorrow that we have to face with this level(?) of support for a further 8 months.

Over the last few months I refrained from criticising our clinic, thinking the culture is different and our expectations need to be adjusted - and they have.  But the truth is basic communication and consideration are business fundamentals in any country and they are simply not present here.  It is very isolating to feel this way as there are limited options of venting the level of frustration we're experiencing.  Generally family and friends don't understand fully what you're going through, and close friends, while being endlessly supportive, always play the role of trying to keep you positive.  There's no surrogacy ombudsmen, no regulator and no chance that things will improve in the near future for us.

 I read blogs about people going through SCI and can't believe how lucky they are to have a clinic who can communicate effectively and actually talk to them after a negative result.  Following our final bHCG test on our last attempt - there was no correspondence from SI at all until we approached them about another attempt 6 weeks later.  I don't expect a full blow by blow dissection of the what happened from FET to HCG result - but I did expect a phone call or e-mail - saying something along the lines of "We're sorry your received a negative result.  When you're ready to move forward and discuss your approach please contact us and we can have a chat."  We suggested this after our first negative, but alas it has fallen on deaf ears.

I'll end there because as cathartic as this is, I could probably go on for hours.  So thanks for listening and tomorrow we prod again to remind them to send our result...but I can't say at this point in time I'm overly optimistic about the outcome.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

The only time weekends suck

Tonight, I'm looking forward to a comfy night in while the rain buckets down outside and GB heads off to a music concert.  The movie is ordered through Apple TV and pizza should be on its way anytime soon.  So I thought I'd scribe a blog entry while I wait, listening to the familiar sounds of Gardening Australia on the TV in the background.

Our SM should have had her beta HCG test today to find out if she's pregnant.  Based on past experience, SI wont have the results to us until Monday as their office is closed on a Sunday.  Hence the title of the blog.  As if the 2WW isn't enough, timing would have it that we have to wait an extra day.  Needless to say, we're fairly experienced with this part of the process being the 3rd transfer and all.

Over the last week, I've reflected on the last 12 months since we made the decision to undergo surrogacy through India.  I must admit, the optimist and naivety in me expected that we'd be pregnant by now.  Although financially we prepared for the worst case scenario that it wouldn't happen on the first attempt, I don't think we ever actually thought we would be at our 3rd attempt and the prospect that that too, might come back negative.

I think I have read nearly every surrogacy blog out there and the backstory to everyone who has successfully gone through the process.  Although statistically someone will always get pregnant on the first attempt - which happened quite a bit on the blogs I've read - I was hoping we wouldn't be in the group that still aren't pregnant after 3 attempts.  I have to admit, I'm kinda numb to the whole transfer process these days.  The only thing at the moment that elicits any level of emotion is opening up the financial tracking spreadsheet to see how much we've spent and how much longer we can continue.  It's not the emotion we are really wanting to experience at this stage in the journey.  I am unable to get excited at all about the process as it seems so fraught with disappointment and with odds stacked against you.  Add on top of that continuing "communication" and "integrity" issues with our clinic and I am green with reading some of the other blogs out there of those who are pregnant and have a clinic who, or at least seem to, give a shit.

I continue to rationalise in my head that at some point it will change.  I am just hoping that change will come before we the dollars run out.

So here's hoping Ms. V has worked a major miracle and has a jelly bean growing inside her.  The Veuve is still sitting there quietly, waiting to be opened with the news eventually comes.

Reading back - this entry is a little on the negative side, so I will remain upbeat and end on a positive note.  The Melbourne flat has now gone unconditional and will settle in mid November which is a great relief.  My sister and nephews (including the one who predicted that we would have a little boy back in our third post) are visiting next week which I am very excited about.  I'm hoping my nephew will be able to give us an update on when the baby might be coming....As soon as I know, I'll let you guys know too!

That's the door - a gastronomic distraction from the blogging and surrogacy world awaits.  Until the next exciting(?) installment....


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Deja vu?

Okay - so we're back in the 2WW again for the third time.

We received e-mail confirmation on Tuesday that our embryo transfer occurred on Monday 15th October.

3 buns were put in the oven, all Grade 1, with 1 x 4 cell, 1 x 8 cell and 1 x compacting.

We have also just received the news that some of our friends received the fantastic news that their little one arrived on Tuesday night and have since flown out to Mumbai to meet their new bub.  Congratulations boys!  We look forward to meeting the little tyke once you get back.

The good news keeps coming with an offer being made on our flat in Melbourne - which we have accepted.  So things are looking good at the moment after a very trying few months, both on the Surrogacy front and with some quite unsettling times at work following major restructuring.  Thankfully, we're not directly affected, but the number of colleagues and staff has certainly created an air of low morale, angst and unhappiness - as you would expect! 

Sydney was a great break and we really enjoyed the time out.  The downside was coming back to reality - but there's plenty to look forward to in the next few months and we're hoping that we can add a pregnancy into things to look forward to.

So for now, we wait until 27/28/29 October we we'll get the result of the bHCG test.

Fingers and toes people....fingers and toes!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Change Tack

Well after two unsuccessful attempts, we've decided to consider our options in moving forward.

After 2 attempts with the same surrogate using GB's embryos, we've decided to change tack and try a new surrogate with my (LC's) embryos.

On Saturday, it was confirmed that our new choice of surrogate was available and that the transfer was likely to take place around the 20th of October.  The SM is a proven surrogate along with having two children of her own - so we're hoping that this helps our chances of becoming pregnant this time round.

So it's just a matter of waiting until then.

We're looking forward to going to Sydney next weekend for a much needed break from the goings on of life to date.  Work for both of us has been kinda crazy of late, and with the continued home renovations and the ups and downs of the surrogacy process, a mini escape will be just the ticket.

So we wish all those out there trying good luck and those already pregnant a safe and happy delivery of your new additions.

Until our next post.....ciao.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

No Veuve tonight....

The second beta today showed declining HCG levels.... so it seems there'll be no pregnancy this time round.

The little one just didn't want to stick.

So the bottle of Veuve will stay inside the fridge door for a little while longer until we decide what to do next.

Thank you for all your well wishes and we'll see you here again soon.



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Test result...oh, hold on

So our two week wait ended on Tuesday.  We received a call mid-afternoon on Tuesday from the clinic, advising us the test had in fact been conducted on Monday and they had a result.  "Oh good," I thought, "at least we have avoided waiting an extra day for the news."

Alas, we hadn't avoided a wait at all.  In fact, what we were confronting was a longer wait.  I assume you're probably scratching your head now!  The long and short of it is that our beta HCG result was equivocal - right on the lower threshold of pregnant but not enough to be sure.  As such, we must wait for the results from the repeat test (to be done today, Wednesday), which we would receive on Thursday.

I know that, if positive, the next 8 months will seem like one looooong wait, but it would have been amazing to have had a definitive result from the first test.  Then again, a 'tending toward positive' result is much more gratifying than a definite 'negative', so I guess the maxim 'Be careful what you wish for' probably applies fairly squarely to our situation!

Anyway, the bottom line is that some extra patience is required.  Despite the fact this virtue isn't one that I would say I have in great quantities, there isn't much more we can do right now!  We will cross our fingers for another day and see what news comes our way tomorrow.  Here's hoping for a celebratory Thursday night dinner which includes that bottle of Veuve Cliquot we've had in the fridge for months!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Here we go again...(2WW)

Today we received confirmation that the straw of GB's 3 embryos defrosted, reanimating to give us 2 Grade 1 Morulas.

The embryos were transferred on the 16th of August, although we are a little concerned that they weren't Blastocysts as was expected after day 5 and we did expect the clinic would wait the additional day to transfer (as suggested in their correspondence).

While we're trying to stay positive that we'll be successful, the continuing disorganisation and conflicting information coming from our clinic is not instilling a level of confidence one would hope to have at this stage in the surrogacy journey.

I have every hope that the embryos and the surrogate are of good quality and am positive about them - but the people we expect to apply their expertise and skill in the helping us become parents  is beginning to fall far short of expectations.

So today marks the beginning of the two week wait and we should know on the 29th of August if we have been successful.  Fingers, toes and everything else crossed.  Thanks to all those who have been reading the blog and your continued support.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Take 2

Yesterday we received confirmation of our impending second transfer date.  At this stage it is looking to be Thursday 16th August.  We have decided to attempt to grow the embryos to Blastocyst (5 day old embryos) stage in the hope to improve our chances of becoming pregnant. Obviously the downside to this method is an increased chance of multiple pregnancy.  At this stage, we'll cross that bridge if we come to it.

So only a few days away now before the transfer takes place.

Here's hoping.

Stay tuned....

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Back on the horse

So a day or so after our last post, we finished digesting the news and accepted that this is just the way that it is.  Pregnancy is a very strange beast as you can do everything in your power to create the perfect circumstances (or at least appear to have them) and then nothing happens.

As someone who has always found that through diligence and hard work you get the result you want, I find the pregnancy and IVF process irreconcilable with this thinking.  So time to change my view from that to - it will happen when it's ready to happen.  Now for me, this is very difficult.  As a results driven person, putting things out into the universe (different people have different labels for it) or waiting for luck to occur really challenges me.  But low and behold, I accept this position and will go forth with a new found outlook.

The follow up from the clinic following our negative result was utterly atrocious.  So much so, a very terse and frank e-mail was sent through explaining our expectations from here on out.  We think this message has been received loud and clear, but time will tell how successful we've been.

That said, we are due to cycle again in around 3-4 weeks (date to be confirmed).  The surrogate is currently on BC and is due to come off the pill in around 4 days, before the priming meds start again.  We're planning on defrosting and going to blastocyst this time and hope to follow the success of Brent & Charlie's recent attempt.

So for now, we're relying on lady luck lining up her ducks in preparation of our early August transfer.

Thanks to all of those out there who have sent some very considerate messages and posted comments.  It has really shown the support from the community out there and we're thankful that you've taken the time to read about our story.

Until the next exciting installment, take care.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012


What more can I say?  It seems what ever luck we had has run out and we received a negative yesterday.  It was disappointing to have to prompt SI on a number of occasions over the last 2 days to get our results.  Pretty unimpressed by their lack of responsiveness.

Thoroughly disappointed with our result is an understatement and I can't fathom how people who have gone through 4-5-6 attempts don't feel completely soul destroyed by the experience.

I really thought we had a really good chance given the success we had with our ED and 3 grade 1 embryos transferred.  Apparently not.

I'm going to keep this short as there is a lot I could say right now that might seem bitter and angry, so I will leave it there.  This is a reality of IVF and sometimes the punt doesn't pay off.

Good luck to the others out there who are cycling and we'll be back here again sometime in the future.



Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The obligatory 2WW post

Today we recieved great news.  Of the 22 mature eggs retrieved, all were fertilized with 18 considered Grade 1 - 10 for GB and 8 for LC (me). Yesterday was the 3rd day since fertilisation and during the afternoon 3 embryos were transferred into Ms B.  The rest go off to the freezer.

And thus, our 2 week wait (2WW) begins.  Everything to this point has gone well, so let's hope our roll continues.  Bring on the 24th of June.

Fingers & Toes people!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

India Day 6 - Farewell Mumbai

Today we leave Mumbai.  We were supposed to be here until Tuesday, but things were completed earlier than expected.  Rather than sit around in Mumbai, we have decided to return home to Australia as we are due to holiday in Japan in 2 weeks and this will give us some time off at home until we head out for Tokyo.

Today we went to Lilavati hospital to do our second and final 'donations' as the ED was due to have the eggs retrieved today.  Everything went to schedule and all up we were at the hospital for around an hour.  Around 12pm, Dr Yash emerged from the IVF lab and advised that she had retrieved 20 eggs, however the maturity of them was yet to be determined.  Thrilled was an understatement and we were then faced with the predicament of how to best use the eggs.  As had always been the plan, GB was to be the father.  However, based on the number of mature eggs and any prospect of me (LC) wanting to be a parent in future she asked if we wanted split the crop.  She had mentioned this could be a possibility earlier in the week when we first visited the clinic, so we had already decided that if we got a large number of eggs we would split them.

We later received an e-mail from SI letting us know that they actually retrieved 22 mature eggs.  We are ecstatic to say the least.  Of all the couples that were cycling at the same time of us, we were the only couple who would be present for the ED pickup as a number of EDs had been delayed.  So we have been doubly lucky and we hope this continues to the embryo transfer on Monday.

After the leaving the hospital, we headed over to the SI head office to meet our surrogate.  It was all happening today.  GB grew considerably exasperated in the Mumbai traffic, with this taxi trip being our longest and most painful yet.  We essentially spent 1.5 hours in a traffic jam to get from Bandra West to Bhandup West - probably about 20kms.

We finally arrived to meet our surrogate and sign the agreement - our final page in the Mumbai chapter.

Below is a picture of the momentous event:

GB on the left, while our Surrogate "Ms B" signed the paperwork
There was some time to ask her a few questions and give her and her family members some gifts to show our gratitude

Ms B's timing was a little out (she blinked), but she appeared pleased with the gifts.
The gifs for her family:

The gifts

The three of us:

Incidentally we're both only 5'9 - and our surrogate is supposed to be 5'1. Hmmmm?

And alas, we close the chapter on this part of the journey and head home.  Monday, the next chapter begins, when we find out how many embryos we have, their grades and when the transfer goes ahead.  Exciting times to come.

Stay tuned....

Friday, June 8, 2012

India - Day 5

The pressure to keep these posts exciting and interesting is becoming somewhat of a challenge.  After 5 days in Mumbai we're fast running out of things to do.  Today was another 'free' day, so we went shopping at R-City shopping centre in East Mumbai.  After a number of hours trying on clothes at exceptionally low prices with multiple purchases ensuing, we headed back to the hotel.

At breakfast this morning, we ran into the same couple who were at the clinic we mentioned in the blog on Day 3.  In an attempt to share knowledge and experiences, GB invited them for a drink this evening.  They were to meet their surrogate today and weren't sure of what time they would be back, but would be happy to have a drink.

We finally caught up at around 6.30pm and enjoyed a few peaceful beers and some nice food in the cavernous hotel cafe/bar. Over the course of four hours we shared our experiences of how we arrived at India, why we were undergoing surrogacy and what our hopes were for what SI would hopefully bring.  It's incredible how similar our experiences have been to date, including the blow by blow similarities of our Mumbai tours and the shops we were "invited" to check out.  Tomorrow they leave for Goa before returning to their home country.  Good luck guys, we hope it works out for you.

Tomorrow we are off to Lilavati Hospital to make another donation where the ED is due to have the egg retrieval done in the late morning.  This means, that by tomorrow afternoon the eggs (lots of them we hope) will be fertilised and hopefully our future baby will be growing.  Months of planning, research and effort will finally come to it's exciting crescendo.  While that is happening, we'll head over to SI's head office in the afternoon to meet our surrogate and sign some paperwork.

Then - apparently - we're done.  There's nothing more we can do and it is all over to SI, the surrogate and the IVF Lab.  

As much as we are glad we've come to Mumbai - it isn't a city for tourists and we're hoping to change our flights to leave on Sunday.  If we can't, we might head to Goa for a few days - rather than spending them in Mumbai. We'll see what happens.  

Either way, so far so good and here's hoping everything tomorrow goes fine.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

India - Day 4

Today we had no surrogacy business to attend to and as mentioned in our last post, we had booked a driver for the day to see the sights of Mumbai.

Once again, we overindulged at breakfast before our driver promptly arrived at 10am as agreed.  We really didn't have a set itinerary, but had a fair idea of what we wanted to see and knew the driver had beat this path many times before.  So we left it in his hands and off we went.

It made us feel very lucky to have grown up in a country where life is a lot less difficult than what residents of Mumbai experience on a daily basis.  Hats off to them!

Below are a few snaps of the trip. I think the photography course I took last year is finally starting to pay off.

Until the next post.....

The open laundry of Mumbai.

Unfortunately, child labour exists nearly everywhere

The Gateway of India 
The Taj hotel

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

India - Day 3

Well there are a few things you can control in this world and then there are things you can't.  Abstinence for example can be controlled.  The effects of it can't.

This is quite a necessary but usually overlooked element when it comes to the surrogacy journey blogs.  I'm putting it in here because it would only happen when you don't want it to and sometimes you have to look at the funny side of things.  Maybe it's not really funny - but we thought it was.

Abstinence is not generally an issue until your forced to abstain.  Then all you can think about is abstaining.  Well sometimes your body refuses to accept this 'forced' position and as such takes matters into it's own hands (figuratively speaking of course).  The body usually does this during sleeping hours as all boys would know.  And contrary to popular belief, this affliction isn't confined to years during puberty.

Anyway, to avoid dancing any further around the issue, last night, the 4 days of abstinence ended involuntarily overnight for one of us.  Despite my dire warnings earlier in the blog of using Google, we soon learned that although this would reduce the volume of swimmers, it wouldn't affect quality.  Quality has never been a problem, so today we look at the funny side to this experience and accept there are things that you just can't control.

As expected, our taxi arrived to whisk us off to the lab in Bandra West promptly at 10.15am.  On arrival, in the waiting room, were another couple we had seen a few days prior at our hotel.  They too, were going through the 'collection' episode today.  They had experienced donor issues and we found ourselves feeling lucky with the relative 'smooth' ride we'd had to date.  We did what we needed to do and after filling out some paper work, we heading back to the hotel.  Feeling a slight degree of delayed jet lag, or perhaps just tiredness from the frenetic 48 hours that had transpired, we spent a lazy afternoon chilling at the hotel.

During this evening we received the swimmer results for both of us and as suspected, the volume had decreased by a factor of 2 from the tests performed in February for one of us - but motility etc in % terms was consistent with earlier tests. So there is plenty there to work with.  Thank goodness.  But having two guys generally doubles your chances of (in most cases anyway) so another reason why we could look at the funny side of this experience.

Tomorrow we have booked a driver and cab for the day to see the highlights of Mumbai.  Hopefully the rain will hold off and we get some great snaps of this electric city.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

India - Day 2

We awoke to the hum of Mumbai's Tuesday morning traffic.  The occasional beeping of car horns was only broken by another plane taking off at the airport nearby.  But thick hotel windows did their job of dulling the noise out almost completely.  As we look out, the haze of the city casts a characteristic orange hue that you always imagine India to have.

Okay - not the most breath taking view - but great if you're a plane spotter!
On arrival at the hotel the night before, we had quickly checked our emails etc, specifically looking for a response to our query as to when SI would need us to be at their offices.  To our surprise, they wanted us there today - the 5th of June - to do blood tests.  So, after completely overindulging at breakfast, we returned to the room where the phone rang with an SI representative on the end of the line.  A car had been sent and would be arriving in the next 45 minutes to take us to the offices of SI.  As expected, the taxi arrived and before we knew it we were a million cars deep in a traffic jam.  That said, we somehow moved with beat of the Mumbai traffic drum, our driver weaving an beeping before arriving at SI's offices in Bhandup West; surprisingly quickly - well by Mumbai standards anyway.  We were slightly underwhelmed when we arrived, but had to remind ourselves that we were in India and not some expensive medical office in an elite area of an Australian capital city.  The staff were incredibly gracious and welcoming and over the next 15 minutes we met all the staff who had been involved in different aspects of our journey to date.  The guy from accounts, Dr Ajja's Executive Assistant, the Senior Admin Manager.  But down to business.  It was time to collect blood.

GB having his blood taken
Within moments it was all done and then the nurse turned to me and said "You're next".  It turned out that both partners need to be tested - an interesting but insignificant oversight.  A few months earlier when I had blood taken before, I nearly passed out at the clinic.  This time, the queasiness returned, but went fairly quickly.  Shortly thereafter, we met with Dr Yash, who welcomed us too and asked if we had any questions.  Before we knew it we were back on the road again bounding toward our hotel - but not before a tour of the entire SI offices.

On returning to the hotel, a delightful bunch of flowers had been left for us - compliments of SI.

SI had now advised that tomorrow would be the day to make our first deposit into the baby bank and the second deposit was likely to occur sometime between Saturday and Monday depending on when the Egg Donor's egg transfer is due to take place.

The afternoon was spent at the very exclusive, but largely disappointing shopping mall called the Oberoi in the North-Western suburbs of Mumbai.  After a few hours of browsing the shops and having lunch we headed back to the hotel for a bit of a nanna-nap and some Mumbai research.

We know we have 2 definitely clear days when the ED won't be cycling in Mumbai between now and when we are due to leave next week and therefore have gone about looking into a tour of the slums as well as hiring a cab for the day to check out the Gateway of India and a number of other local attractions.  But for the time being, we're off to the clinic tomorrow to do what boys need to do to get this baby caper underway.  You may or may not be pleased to know that pictures from this part of the journey won't feature on the blog....!!

Stay tuned.

India - Day 1

We're here.

After enduring 12 hours in the air (and 3 on the ground at Changi) we arrived in Mumbai safe, sound and without DVT.  Always a plus. The slightly chaotic, but surprisingly efficient transit through immigration, customs and baggage collection all went without incident which was a welcome experience given our sleep deprived state. On exiting airside, we were greeted by our hotel transfer and a mere 15 minutes later were being ushered to our room at the Courtyard Mumbai International by Jude - our personal check in consultant.  Oooh, posh!

The strong odour of diesel fumes in our room saw us change floors and rooms shortly after arriving - which gave us short time to pause, have a beer and celebrate our success at getting to this point in the surrogacy journey.  Soon enough we were tucked up in an extremely comfortable bed, air-conditioning cranked and drowsy with exhaustion.  Night, night.

GB at the beginning of Flight No. 2 SIN-BOM.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gives you tingles

I thought I would quickly share with you a very freaky experience we had on the weekend.

We had planned to fly down to Melbourne on Saturday morning for a fly by visit (returning on Sunday) to visit one of our investment properties as well as visiting my 5 year old nephew to give him his present following his birthday a few weeks ago.  We had a great few hours with him, but had to leave to inspect the property so went about packing up our bits and pieces.  We announced to my nephew that we were about to leave and he insisted that we wait "right there".  He ran off to his bedroom where he disappeared for a few minutes before returning with a Ben10 figurine.

He gestured for me to take it and I said, "What's this for?"

Without skipping a beat, "It's for your little boy."

"What little boy?," I asked looking at my sister who seemed as perplexed as we were.

"The one you're going to get.  Then he can come and visit and have sleepovers!"

"That's very generous of you.  You're a very good boy", I responded, completely touched that someone so young could be so thoughtful.

Of course we were all standing around a little bit confused and freaked out - but in a good way.  We shortly left still tingling from the experience.

My sister had never mentioned the whole surrogacy thing to my nephew,  not through any concern but rather trying to explain the process to a 5 year old is probably somewhat difficult given most adults struggle to get it.

So we remain intrigued with tingles every time we think about it.  Whether he knows something we don't, I don't know.  But what ever happens, the selfless act of giving up one of his favourite toys was very inspiring.

In the meantime, we finally heard from our ED clinic and were advised our ED is now on birth control pills until the 26th of May, when they will start the 10 day course of stimulation injections.

We'll keep you updated.

The Ben10 toy from my 5 yo nephew

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Lessons Learnt today

We are waiting to hear back from the ED Clinic about our ED's hormone tests.  Originally, we had been told that results would be sent through on 10th May.  However, on the 10th, Olga contacted us advising that the results would now be available after the 15th of May.  We're now told it will be tomorrow.  Our initial response was "What's wrong?".  Apparently nothing. It comes down to simple female biology which we have fairly limited experience with.  Our EDs menstrual cycle is apparently the culprit and as such, the testing will be carried out later than we expected.

For a brief few hours, before we were assured there wasn't a problem, I went forth with the automatic response of logging on and scouring the Internet for answers.

I think it is important to note here, that there a 2 things that will make the surrogacy experience more difficult than necessary - and no doubt these grave warnings have come from others before.

Those two things? Google & Time.

Google - because it gives you more questions than answers.  And when you get your results, you tend to focus on the worst answer rather than the repeated results that seem to be the wide consensus.   So lets have a look at an example:

Type in "Headache Causes".  The first result that comes up in Australia Google suggests the causes can be stress, health, some medications...etc.  No, it couldn't be as simple as that.  By the second result we have "Brain tumours are relatively rare..." read no further.  I have already stumbled on the true cause  - A Brain Tumour.  Yes, naturally, it must be a brain tumour - because the eight schooners of beer last night couldn't possibly be the cause.  Could it?
The subsequent results show up similar causes to the first - run down, poor health, stress etc.  The lesson here, 99 times out of a 100 the most simple, benign result is often the correct one.

So rule 101 to me and others reading this - medical diagnosis or self-education using Google must be considered carefully and based on hard facts.  Any other approach will only lead to emotional and over-reactive conclusions that make you wonder why you ever started this crazy adventure.

And time?  Well, because it makes you think too much and it gives you more opportunity to input queries into Google. Goodness knows what we'll do for the 9 months during the pregnancy!

So back to the point of this blog, we await the results of the ED's hormone tests.  Fingers crossed that tomorrow we get some positive news and continue looking forward to our Mumbai visit on the 4th June.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

And it begins....

So today is the day that I have decided to start a blog of our experience going down the road of surrogacy in India.  I (and my partner) expect it be frustrating, expensive, exhilarating, stressful and emotional.  But above all life changing.

How did we get here...?  Cue the blurring reality, watery imagery, harp and clock winding backwards...

The journey really started around 9 months ago when a work colleague returned to work after being on parental leave for the previous 6 months.  As I had only commenced my role around 5 months earlier, I had never met this person, but had heard from a number of staff that he and his partner had recently had a baby through a surrogacy arrangement in India.  My partner and I had thought about being parents, although fleetingly, and knowing the various - often inconsistent - laws across Australia, we knew our only real option was to undertake a surrogacy arrangement.  We knew the US was out, purely because of cost.  However, at the time, we had no intention of becoming parents anytime soon so we could worry about that later.  But as I liked to be an informed decision maker, I thought it best to find out as much as possible in advance of any intention to become a parent.

I plucked the courage up to e-mail the unknown work colleague, asking if he would chat about his experience of going down the surrogacy route in India and answer some questions.  Thankfully, he was incredibly open to discussing his experiences and was more than happy to explain the process and answer any questions I might have.  I rose to the challenge and spent an hour practically interrogating him about prices, and how this worked and what happened in that situation.  The hour that I suggested we meet for barely scratched the surface and we soon caught up again to continue our discussion.  Over the next few months, evenings were spent trawling the internet for surrogacy information and e-mailing clinics, while regular coffee shop debriefs with my new found work friend (of course peppered with occasional work gossip), helped me build a strong knowledge base of what to expect from undertaking surrogacy in India.

By November of 2011, I had become a quasi expert on surrogacy, reading copious blogs and Wikipedia articles (the source of all truth) as well as IVF, egg stimulation and the various drugs required to pull off this sort of caper.  My partner and I attended the surrogacy conference in Melbourne run by Gay Dads Australia and Surrogacy Australia to know for sure what we were getting ourselves into.  By this stage, we had read a fair bit about potential changes to Indian laws as well as further intentions of the United Nations to develop a convention around surrogacy (possibly suggesting restrictions should be put in place), leading us to the conclusion that it was either now or possibly never.

After weeks of deliberation and a bunch of e-mails to clinics, we decided on Surrogacy India (SI) as our clinic choice.  As pricing between the 3 major players is fairly consistent these days, along with success rates and services offered, the final decider came down to the responsiveness of SI.  They quickly responded to all of our questions, and unlike one of the other clinics, didn't take offence or become exasperated with our detailed, but very relevant questions.  NB: To date, Dr Ajja has been supportive, responsive and considerate in all of our dealings and we're both looking forward to meeting him imminently.

So, in February 2012 we underwent the barrage of blood and swimmer tests and enrolled with SI.  Thankfully, both of us were good to go and for the first time in my life I finally knew my blood type!  As the weeks progressed we linked up with successful parents in the Ukraine to choose our egg donor (ED) and continued working with SI to choose a surrogate.  By the end of April we had our date for travel to Mumbai.

And....Cue the blurring reality, watery imagery, harp and clock winding forwards.

So here we are today, 10th May 2012.  Tonight/Tomorrow, we find out if our ED has passed all her hormone tests.  The ultrasound of her follicles appears very good according to the doctor and other blood infection screenings have all come back negative.  The surrogate in India has been chosen and the contracts are being prepared as we speak.

So on 4th June 2012 we fly out from Australia, heading to India to hopefully create a new life.

Stay tuned.....