An Overview of our Surrogacy Journey
When my husband and I decided to start our own family in the summer of 2017, we ultimately decided that surrogacy was the way to go for us. We researched various surrogate and egg donor agencies in Florida and interviewed them. Although we got a good feeling from all three agencies we interviewed, we ultimately decided to go with Creative Love Egg Donor and Surrogate Agency in Ft. Lauderdale. We connected with the owner (Wendy) immediately and felt like it would a good match. The agency matched us with our wonderful surrogate in November of 2017, and we started our search for an egg donor.
We anticipated that finding a surrogate would be the challenging part, but in our case it was more challenging to find a suitable egg donor. We spend hours looking through the online databases to find an egg donor we both agreed on. We evaluated medical history, including the medical history of the egg donors parents and grand parents, level of education, and of course physical features. The challenges came into play when we realized that not all potential egg donors would qualify to be a match. Let me elaborate: After you select an egg donor, the agency contacts the potential donor and determines if she is still interested in donating. If the egg donor agrees, a series of medical test have to be performed by the reproductive endocrinologist before the donor is qualified. Besides STD and drug tests, the clinic checks for certain hormones and performs ultrasounds to predict if the donor will produce a good amount of healthy eggs. Not until all testing has concluded does the egg donor begin the injections to stimulate her ovaries to produce and mature multiple eggs. It took approximately three months from the day we matched with a suitable egg donor until the eggs were extracted. (Unfortunately, we had to test 7 egg donors prior to finding someone who met all the criteria the doctor was looking for. As such, finding an egg donor and getting the eggs took approximately one year).
After our reproductive endocrinologist successfully extracted 18 eggs from our egg donor, we immediately fertilized the eggs with the sperms that we have previously frozen. This is called a fresh cycle because the eggs are not frozen prior to being fertilized. Out of the 18 eggs, 17 successfully fertilized. After the eggs are fertilized by the embryologist, we waited 5 days before freezing them since we elected for genetic testing. On day five, we were left with 15 embryos. We decided to have genetic testing done which determined which embryos were healthy and which ones had chromosomal abnormalities. This so-called PGS testing also determined the gender of the embryos. The genetic testing report concluded that we had 9 “normal” embryos: 4 girls and 5 boys! This was in October of 2018 – about one year after we retained our egg donor and surrogate agency.
At first I was shocked that our of our 18 eggs only about half developed into healthy embryos, especially given that our egg donor was only 23 years old, but I then learned that this was a very good result.
The reproductive endocrinologist then began stimulating our egg donor with hormones, and we transferred two male embryos on November 8, 2018. Eleven days later we received a phone call from the reproductive endocrinologist’s office confirming that we were “very pregnant.” I will never forget the joy that overcame me when I witnessed the ultrasound and confirmation of TWO heartbeats. We were pregnant with twins!
As with every (twin) pregnancy, our surrogate had some struggles. She experienced nausea, some congestion and breathing problems, but she was a trooper and remained positive. Due to preeclampsia, labor was induced at week 34 even though we had really hoped that our surrogate would be able to carry until about week 38. The twins spend a few weeks in the NICU, but are healthy and have doubled their weight in their first three months. It’s been an incredible journey and I am so grateful that my husband and I welcomed these incredible babies into our lives.