Gestational Surrogacy: Our Story
Our story begins in November of 2006. We were scouting out wedding locations in Victoria, BC and Tofino, BC. It was a stressful trip because deep down we knew we really couldn’t marry back home and were in BC because it was the only place on the west coast we could legally get married. We wanted to experience (or well to be honest I wanted it) the whole wedding moment in life. To amplify to the stress, a snow blizzard hit us during the trip making it for an interesting experience. Half way through the trip my eagerness and Clem’s anxiety (about enormity of the wedding) finally crashed into each other. The result was an honest conversation of what was really important here. Interesting tidbit, the conversation was held at the X-Mansion in Victoria. What we found was, buried down deep in both us was our desire to start a family. So we decided then, that we would set our wedding date for 2009 and focus on having a kid in the next two years.
At the time we only knew of one gay couple in our circle of friends that had started a family. We were embarking on new territory for most of our social circle. In April of 2006, my brother and his wife had their twins and baby fever was officially catching on with the two of us. For most of 2007 we only talked about the whole idea of starting a family with a few friends and immediate family members. By the end of 2006 my sister-in-law and my sister had approached us with an offer to be our surrogate. My sister at that point in time was also trying to have her second and experienced several hurdles, so she couldn’t really help us since we wanted to start the process sooner rather than later.
Over the holidays in 2006, Clem and I talked long about whether to do adoption or gestational surrogacy. A conversation we’ve had many times over the past couple of years. In the past we had seen a few couples go through the adoption process and we were slightly fearful of some of their experiences. Our conversations always came back around to Clem’s personal feeling of how nice it would be to have the opportunity to have his kids be blood related. He himself was adopted as a baby and has been a long advocate for adoption. But here we were with the opportunity to afford the option to do gestational surrogacy. So what would you choose? We chose the GS route and I was adamant that Clem go first since he was older and it was best to utilize his 38 year old sperm and not wait till he’s older. The younger the better.
After several conversations with my brother and sister-in-law, we got the ball rolling in early 2007. We actually found our egg donor really quickly. (I plan on posting more details about the selection process in another post.) After the egg donor selection was completed. We began working with our attorney to draw up a contract. At the same time the IVF screening process was underway. When we finally announced to the world the big undertaking both of our families were embarking on, the responses or feedback was not all positive. What was important though was that both of our immediate families and close friends were extremely supportive. We were lucky! Even today I am so appreciative of all the kind support we received. So many other same-sex families we have met over the years, have not been so lucky. It’s heartbreaking to hear their stories but refreshing to see how much they value those are around them.
In August 2007, we did our first and successful transfer with our sister-in-law. At that point in time both Clem and I were still working but by mid-Fall, we decided that I need to stop working and help my sister-in-law with her twin toddlers, so every day life was just a little easier and less stressful for her. By early 2008 we were old pro’s hanging out with niece and nephew and Diana was almost the same size as when she had her twins. In the end, it turns out Paley was the same weight as my niece and nephew combined at birth. Paley was a big girl at 9lbs. 11oz.
Paley arrived in the Spring and by the end of the summer 2008, Clem and I had baby fever again. I can’t explain. So we contacted our original agency to contact the egg donor because we opted to have the sibling be from the same donor. This time around I would be the sperm donor. The egg donor was on board but we needed find a new surrogate. The hunt for a surrogate was met with several hurdles (more on that in a separate post) which prolonged the process. During the next 4 years, we went through 4 surrogates and endured 6 transfers. Thankfully Tracy our 4th and final surrogate was the lucky charm. We got lucky with twice the fun. The twins arrived 6 weeks early but just like Paley, they were huge. Those two were pushing poor Tracy to her limit towards the end of the pregnancy.
Gestational surrogacy can be quick process but it far from easy. It can also be a long and stressful process. They say it’s all about the numbers but ultimately its a test of patience and perseverance. Other’s say it’s really about how lucky you are but honestly luck might prevail but you don’t endure the emotional trauma for nothing. Most hetero couples have the luxury of the whoops or just throwing back a few and woo hoo they’re pregnant, to those select few hetero couples (like my brother and sister-in-law) who have to endure IVF, they understand what I am getting at. Without love, money, patience, heartbreak, grey hair and more money, we would not have the three little angels we love waking up to every morning. Give me those quiet early morning feedings, middle of the night screams and cries and all the silly story telling any day or every day. We may complain about the process but in the end, it’s worth it.