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By Joe Shacter

I met my wife in 1988. We were married in 1991 and three years later decided it was time to start the family we both desired. In the spring of 1994, my wife became pregnant for the first time, virtually immediately.  We thought, naively, this is going to be easy!

Then came the miscarriage, the first of what would become a virtually annual event, with six more to come. Each loss was more devastating then the last.

The hardest part was watching my wife break down after each try. She was overwhelmed with anger, frustration and sadness. I felt powerless. No matter how many times I hugged, kissed and consoled her, I could not help her.

We began looking into adoption, but we didn’t want to give up hope of having our own biological child. We started investigating surrogacy, although my wife, after everything she had been through, was initially skeptical.

We heard of ARR through a family friend and counselor associated with Resolve. Throughout the entire process, the people at ARR treated me as an equal partner. They were as respectful and concerned about my needs as they were about my wife’s. And, yes, I was impressed.

We were one of ARR’s first surrogacy clients so they informed us that it could take a while to find the right surrogate. ARR teamed us up with a wonderful woman, but unfortunately she didn’t pass the medical exam. It was back to square one. Like my wife, I was starting to feel as though we were cursed. But a few months later, ARR set us up with another potential surrogate, Angie.

When we met with Angie and her husband, Felix, I didn’t know what to expect. What do you say to a total stranger who may carry your child? And what the heck do you say to her husband? But as soon as we started talking, it was as if we had been friends for years.

As soon as the embryos were implanted, we began talking with Angie every day. I was a part of virtually every phone call and doctor’s appointment. Angie’s husband was also very supportive; it was nice to have another guy around who understood what I was going through.

During the entire process, I felt like I had to be strong, but I finally broke down on the wonderful day when my wife called me at work to tell me the transfer had worked and Angie was pregnant. It was one of the happiest moments of my life, mainly because I just knew this was going to work. We were going to have a baby!

Actually, make that plural. As we found out a few weeks later, Angie was pregnant with twin boys.

I was very emotional the day the boys were born. Our dream of creating a family was finally a reality, and I was now responsible for two human beings. But, I was more overwhelmed with what these two babies meant. My family was complete.

No wonder, early on, we started calling Angie “our guardian Angie.”

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Submitted by Anonymous

When I first thought about egg donation three years ago, I would look at mothers and babies out in strollers and try to imagine how it would feel if that child I was looking at had come from my own egg.

After donating twice with ARR, I am very curious to know what happened. Were there kids? Do they look like me? Did they inherit my temperament? Will they love music as I do? Will they be fast runners like I was?

As a medical student, I have learned throughout my education that a lot more comes from genes than we used to think, and that has definitely impacted my thoughts on this subject. But I do not lay awake at night and wonder. I am very comfortable with this anonymous distance, and, to be honest, I don’t really think about it until it comes up by some reason, like this blog.

You kind of just forget, and I think that is part of what made it easy for me. I think women who do an open donation would have a very different perspective. Of course the very human side of me would hypothetically love to someday meet a child that came of my donation, but that would have its own consequences – on two families at that point, if I have my own. I guess it is a bridge I will have to cross if I ever arrive at it.

By Tina

A few years ago, four of my friends and one relative were all having trouble getting pregnant. I was having a conversation with my mother about it when she blurted out, “You should do something to help.” And she showed me an ad on egg donation in the Chicago Tribune.

I had once looked into egg donation, but the thought of having someone else raise “my” child wasn’t something I could mentally handle. Still, I wanted to do something. There was mom again. “What about being a surrogate?” she asked. She then proceeded to remind me how well my pregnancies went and said she thought I would be a good candidate. I did my research and after some thought, I knew I could mentally handle it. Plus it was a way of giving back to those I knew were struggling to create families.

I started working with Alternative Reproductive Resources in 2005. The process to become a surrogate was more complicated than I had expected. It was stressful, but in the end, worth it. This was a big decision I was making.

I was a surrogate twice. The first time, the embryo transfer didn’t take, which was not only hard for me, but for the couple I was trying to help. Due to health issues, the couple had to focus on other needs. Nevertheless, that experience made me stronger and more motivated to help another couple.

ARR introduced me to another couple. This experience was very different – not only was I working with new parents, but a different team of doctors. In May 2007, the embryos were transferred and took. I was pregnant with twins. The feeling was overwhelming.

Throughout the pregnancy, the intended parents, ARR and my family were very supportive and on January 18, 2008, I gave the couple two very precious gifts. If it weren’t for my mother, though, I never would have had such an amazing experience. Mother does, in fact, know best!

Visit our Web site at www.arr1.com.

About Us

Conception Connections is a blog about alternative paths to family creation. It is maintained by Alternative Reproductive Resources. Contributors include intended parents, egg donors and gestational surrogates in addition to ARR staff. Our goal is to facilitate conversations about trends, issues, current events, technology and personal stories surrounding infertility, egg donation and gestational surrogacy. If you'd like to contribute, please e-mail shodge@hodgemediastrategies.com. We also welcome your comments and suggestions. Note: Comments are moderated and posted on approval.

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