I have to say that while I enjoy reading other people's blogs, I never thought to have my own. I'm not that clever, not that tech savvy, etc. etc.
Well, here I am.
It's the last day of 2011 and the last month and a half have been an absolute whirlwind (at least mentally).
Last month, my husband and I decided that we weren't getting any younger (we're 39 and 44), and we'd best get off our collective butts and make the decision yay or nay on the kid front.
To complicate things, I was born with Müllerian agenesis and while that sounds rather alarming, basically it just means certain bits are absent (important baby bits, like the uterus) and as such I can't carry a child. However, the old ovaries are still lurking about in there somewhere, so all is not lost. Long story short, we can't just run off to bed and create a soccer team.
The first step was to consult a fertility doctor and find out exactly what our options are, and verify that my ovaries hadn't given me up as a bad job and shuffled off this mortal coil.
Now one of the lucky things for me - at least in my mind - is that I've had since I was 16 to reconcile myself to the fact that I couldn't get pregnant. Back then, the only really mainstream option was adoption. I guess I've always figured that's the route I'd need to go, and I was fine with that. The reality is that things have changed over the last couple of decades and the adoption process now is very much a process. Often the red tape and waiting are heartbreaking, the costs are onerous and I've heard some pretty gut-wrenching stories of hopeful parents eventually just giving up.
It's only really been in the last 5 years or so that I became more aware of surrogacy as an option. And if one can use their own genetic material, the gestational surrogate isn't biologically linked to the child she's generous enough to carry - removing some of the risk of having a good situation turn bad. So this is something I've thought about a bit, off and on, but haven't really done much in the way of research.
What we totally didn't expect the fertility doctor to say is that a) surrogacy in Canada is challenging due to the fact that while surrogacy itself isn't illegal, commercial surrogacy is, and b) many couples are now looking to India to pursue surrogacy. You could have knocked me over with a feather! She said the costs are a bit more reasonable perhaps than Canada and the US, and India is very much a surrogacy-friendly country.
To attempt yet again (unsuccessfully) at making an already long story somewhat marginally less long, both my DH and I became very interested in the thought of India as an option for surrogacy. My DH's mum was born in India - her dad was stationed there with the British Army - and we both think the culture and history are fascinating. So we started to look into this.
Fast forward a month and a half and here we are. The last three weeks have been a bit of a blur, between researching clinics online, contacting clinics, getting blood and "little swimmer" tests done, trying to figure out the Indian visa application process, looking at timelines, figuring out money, dealing with Christmas (which was approaching far too rapidly) and squeaking in a bit of work here and there so I don't get fired. Phew!
Making things even more interesting is that the clinic we ended up choosing (Surrogacy Centre India, very good recommendations and the communication is phenomenal), was amazing enough to offer us the opportunity to attempt a fresh embryo transfer in late January. This means arriving in India mid January and wow, that doesn't leave much time for planning!!!
So many frenzied emails, phone calls and a mad 11 hr round trip to submit visa applications in person later... we're pretty much set! Visas arrived on the 29th, and when we made it home from a family visit tonight we booked flights for the 14th and requested SCI book us into India Luxury Homes, a well-recommended bed and breakfast near the clinic. Oh, and we had to cancel a cruise we had booked some months earlier... I guess I still have to deal with those flights. Oh well, tomorrow is another day.
A huge thanks to Margarida and Meg, who are the international liaisons for SCI and both have the patience of Job, and Kerrie & her husband, who were in India this fall picking up their gorgeous baby girl. (Am I allowed to name people in blogs? Or am I committing some heinous techie faux-pas?) Given our tight timeline and the chaos of Christmas, they were all such a monumental help through all of this.
So.. India here we come! Now I just have to figure out this blog thing. 2012 is certainly shaping up to be an interesting year :)