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.....