Okay, so I jumped around a little bit but let’s get back on track! So from a chronological standpoint, the last thing I posted about was me explaining the beginning steps of the surrogacy process and how we came to have a child of our own after deciding to wait and how the love of being pregnant, as well as other motivators, led Mandy to want to be a surrogate. That post can be found here and if you want to know more about the surrogacy process as a whole then head here.
Now that we are all up to speed on where we left off, I’m going to start off with our meeting with the agency after the initial screening process was a success. The Agency we are working with is Northwest Surrogacy Center which started in Oregon and had made its way to California and Colorado. The California office is in San Fransisco, which is nice because it is just a short drive from where we live now. Once we arrived we were greeted by Mariah and were invited into her office, which to me looked like a converted loft apartment. They had some toys for our daughter to play with, at the time she was just under a year old. We sat down with Mariah for a more formal interview, and she had questions for the both of us. Northwest is really thorough in their selection process. She asked Mandy a few questions to reinforce what she had told her over the phone. She then was telling us what we can expect while going through this process, things like it can take a while since you are a non-terminator, intended parents can be found locally, nationally or globally with some exceptions, and she also goes over some of the risks associated with a gestational surrogate pregnancy. Most of the risks are the same risks that any pregnancy has, like potential loss or damage of reproductive organs, gestational diabetes, miscarriage and the such, as well as potential reactions to the IVF medicine and a few other things that I can’t remember right off the top of my head. Mariah asked if we both understood the risks and if we were okay with moving forward. We obviously said we were still onboard. She then started asking me how I felt about the whole process, and she asked if I was supportive of my wife in this and if I would continue to support her through the whole deal. I said yes I was. Then she asked who was available to assist Mandy with day to day things around the house like cleaning, heavy lifting and other stuff pregnant women shouldn’t be doing. She said she had me and some friends that could possibly step in if I wasn’t available. The agency really wants to make sure that we are set up for the best possible outcome to deliver this child into the world because a lot of people’s time, money and heart are going into this and for it to fail would be devastating to most.
With some people, this is their last chance at having a child that they would have any genetic relationship with. The cost to the intended parents is much greater than what the surrogate gets compensated for, but the end result is priceless. One thing that really brought me peace with all of this is thinking about how much effort is put into having this child. Take for example an infertile couple. They go through testing, that costs money. They may opt for IVF treatment, which costs money (average of S12,000 before meds, another $2k-$5k). They may try IVF more than once or may give up there. Some after the first IVF treatment might start to looking into surrogacy. I found a handy little website that gives you an idea of how much going the surrogate route can cost the intended parents that can be found here. The average for getting a surrogate is anywhere from $98,000 to $140,000! Seeing that number and knowing that a lot of effort goes into trying to have a baby made me super happy and supportive that my wife is willing to help a family’s dream come true. You can buy a decent house for that price! Or depending on where you live, a sizable down payment. It really shows how getting pregnant can be taken for granted.
To wrap up this meeting Mandy was welcomed as a part of NWSC as a potential surrogate. NWSC began the matching process shortly after Mandy filled out her profile info with things like general interests, beliefs, goals and other descriptors that intended parents would want to know to help in their selection of a surrogate. Mariah saw us to the door and we left super excited that all went well!
Fast forward to September of 2016. Mandy had all the tests and evaluations done at this point, she had the complete green light to move forward to be a surrogate and we were just waiting. Mandy felt a little discouraged because about once a month Mariah would give her a little update on the matching process, but she hadn’t heard from her in a couple of months. I tried my best to reassure her that it will happen eventually, and she knew that already, but there wasn’t much either one of us could do to help make us feel better. On her birthday she got a call from Mariah. They have a potential match! I’m going to have a hard time “one-upping” that birthday present! She was so happy! You can tell that she achieved something so important in her life, I have seen her this happy only a few times and it brought me great joy to see her this happy. We received the intended parent’s bio and it didn’t take but a moment to say yes! Patrick and Damien are two amazing people and we both believe that they will be able to give their child an extraordinary life full of fun, adventure, and love. They were given Mandy’s profile after we looked through their profile. They responded back that they would like to move forward with us! After the successful match, we were assigned a case manager, and her name is Erin. Not too long after Erin arranged a Skype call between herself, Us, Patrick, and Damien. We would have met in person but Patrick and Damien were going on a vacation soon and didn’t have time in the near future to meet in person, but we wanted to meet before they left for vacation so that way we could get moving on the process with all the legal paperwork and fun stuff to follow!
So during the Skype meeting, Erin mediated and asked questions to all of us to help us get to know each other more and to help determine if we would like to continue moving forward together or if this wasn’t a good match. After Erin got through all the questions she had to ask we kind of took over the conversation between the four of us and things were just really clicking together. After a little bit of talking and all questions were satisfied the Skype call ended and we had to tell Erin if we wanted to move forward with Patrick and Damien. We told her yes within minutes of the call ending! It couldn’t have been a better match! Patrick and Damien beat us by 1 minute in giving Erin their answer, it was yes as well! We then continued on to all the fun legal stuff in which I will spare you the details and just summarize it….A stack of Legal and binding documents to go through, edit and sign. The process was easy and smooth thanks to NWSC. They had answers to all our questions and helped guide us the whole way. What I thought was going to be stressful actually ended up being really easy. It was more stressful buying our last car than it was going through all the legal stuff with the surrogacy. Anyway, that is all I have for today, up next, starting the IVF treatment cycle.