Gestational Carrier Series - Chapter #1
Recently a patient of ours who is growing her family using a gestational carrier (GC) reached out to us. She wanted to share her story and perspective. I thought this would be a great segway to a multi part blog series regarding gestational carriers; what are they, where do you find one, and the emotional and financial impact. For a little background information, a gestation carrier is an arrangement in which a woman carries and delivers a baby for someone else.
Here is Her Gestational Carrier Story:
Wow, what a whirlwind couple of years. I originally had the plan of giving my daughter, Lilias, a sibling as soon as possible. Unfortunately after becoming pregnant that pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. I had used Clomid in my past two pregnancies because of PCOS and after the miscarriage we figured we were ready to move forward with fertility treatments.
We met Dr. Groll at SpringCreek and liked him, and his treatment plan for me. We decided to go directly to in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with pre-genetic screening (PGS) testing in hopes of eliminating as many chances of failure as possible. We transferred two perfect embryos and they both did not take. I was heartbroken. This was supposed to be the best treatment plan possible and it did not work. I tested for/and did have a high natural killer cells number so we moved forward again another transfer of two perfect embryos. This time also resulted in a failure. I was feeling pretty hopeless. I tested positive for a couple gene mutations and after another retrieval we tried a third time with Lovenox. This time it worked!! I was pregnant with a boy and a girl!
When I went in and saw the two heartbeats I was so thrilled. Finally, something was going right! However, when I came the following visit one baby had slowed down. Heart was still beating, but at a lower rate and growth was behind. I was tnew it could go either way. Weeks later I learned that baby had passed. I felt fortunate for the one healthy heartbeat still going strong. It’s a unique situation to lose one twin, a mixed feeling of pain and hope. A horrible few weeks followed after the twin died, from lots of bleeding to insanely painful migraines. It was brutal but I was just so happy to be carrying a baby. I was also curious to find out if it was a boy or girl; I wasn’t sure which survived. When I hit 14 weeks I went to a boutique ultrasound place to see if they could tell the gender. I drove to Columbus excited to hear the news. After an antagonizing silent ultrasound, with a tech in need of sensitivity training, I found out the baby did not have a heartbeat. I was crushed. How could this be happening again? I felt so completely defeated and doubting in my ability to carry a baby, we decided it was time to stop putting ourselves through this pain, but we were determined to grow our family and so we decided to move forward with a gestational carrier.
With a gestational carrier, we use our embryos, my eggs and my husband’s sperm, and then we do an embryo transfer to another uterus, which is different from a traditional surrogate where the child is biologically the surrogates. It was a place I never thought I would be, but I was so thankful that there was a woman I knew who would do that for us. We have had the easiest relationship and it has taught me to be less proud and that depending on others is not a weakness but strength. I was so thrilled when the transfer took a first time and we heard two (!) heartbeats that have continued to thrive! I was shocked when three months after the transfer I discovered I was pregnant and I am now well into my second trimester doing well.
What fascinates me is not that I conceived naturally soon after moving forward a carrier, but more because of the lessons it taught me. I did not necessarily get what I wanted, I wanted to be able to carry all my children myself, but I got so much more. I now have such an amazing friend that was once an acquaintance and I learned the value in not being able to accomplish something. I have a husband that I know will be by my side through anything that comes at us.
In addition, each of my children has taught me so much. My three-year-new daughter taught me about enjoying and being in the moment. I never once had the chance to become depressed after the losses because I had to make sure she knew that she was loved. I had to make sure that I didn’t miss out one day from her amazing childhood and growth. Because she was what I had and that was so very much (she also would have never let me because she is so persuasive and energetic).
My losses have taught me that life goes on. You are stronger then you think you are and even when the pain feels so encompassing at times, it will pass and you will be okay.
My twins have taught me about perseverance. I have never worked so hard for anything in my life as I worked for them. Running a fashion business in NYC was walk in the part to all the surgeries, shots, appointments and legal work it took to get them here. It also taught me to be flexible with my determination. I was so determined to carry them, giving them to a carrier has been the most humble thing I have had to do and it has made me a better person.
My baby in me now how taught me about miracles. Sometimes when it seems impossible…it happens, and she is my proof.
Stay tuned…more to come with the series.