I took a trip to Capital One today to send two wire transfers off to Mumbai to begin our second attempt at surrogacy. After quite a few emails back and forth with the clinic, all of our questions were answered about what to expect during a second try. Unfortunately (and I know this is going to sound awful), we have no way of ever knowing what happened with the first attempt or if an attempt was even made. After freezing two sperm samples, Josh and I left the country, so for all we know, the first attempt was never completed and this is a way to squeeze a little more money out of us. I did receive copies of the hormone test results from the clinic, but a document like that is very easy to replicate and without having seen the actual implantation of the embryos, it’s a large leap of faith to simply send another round of cash out into the world.
If I hadn’t gone to the clinic in person and met with the surrogate, the lawyer, and the doctor, I would be extremely nervous about this. I absolutely trust that Rotunda has our best interests in mind, which is why we agreed to follow their protocols and work with a new surrogate as well as a new egg donor. The rationale behind this is that either of those factors could have been what prevented the first pregnancy, so the best odds are keeping the sperm the same and changing up all other variables.
Surrogacy abroad is not for those who can’t handle stress. This transfer has put our total spend over 20k so far including travel, legal fees, passport visa fees, and two attempts. In the US, we would have clear guidelines to follow and our money would not be tracked via email with rounded international conversions treated as full payment. In the US, if our deposit was a penny short, the computer would freeze things and we would have to resolve the issue. Everything is negotiable in India, and we have tried to get used to the more laid back culture when conducting business.
I’m trying to think good thoughts as we begin the second cycle. It’s very difficult when you can’t see any of the physical manifestations of your payment, but we just have to trust that Rotunda and our new surrogate will have a more favorable outcome this time around. That, and I need to fly back to Mumbai at least one more time to secure my newfound mayorship of Rotunda – The Center for Human Reproduction. 🙂
Hey everyone! So sorry for the sparse postings lately. We have just returned from our beautiful honeymoon and are scrambling to readjust to the real world once again. Josh flew out to Texas for work this afternoon and my work week is insane, but we will try to push out a post or two by the end of the week.
The reader’s digest version is this: we are basically starting from scratch with the same clinic. Thankfully, I left enough sperm samples in Mumbai that we don’t have to return to the clinic, but we do have to recruit a new egg donor as well as a new surrogate. The clinic would like to change up all of the possible scenarios that caused the failed pregnancy, but honestly, it’s a coin toss even with different eggs and a different uterus. The other consideration is the cost… a second cycle costs just as much as the first one did, which is roughly $8,000. We definitely did not budget for multiple attempts, and we are in the process of altering our budget to accommodate a much larger overall cost. Of course, any amount of money is worth attaining the one thing you truly want, but I kinda wish that we lived in a city where our money would stretch a bit further.
Anyway, that’s where we stand. We are going to post a bunch of our honeymoon pics in the next few days, followed by a detailed description of the conversations between Dr. Patel and I about our options moving forward. Night!
It is a bright and sunny morning here in San Sebastian, Spain. Josh just returned from a run across the Puente Maria Christina and I just received our first email from Rotunda since the embryos were transferred two weeks ago. It appears that the HCG level of our surrogate is a 4.05, which means that the embryos most likely did not result in a pregnancy. This was a beta test which provides an actual HCG level number, rather than a pee-on-a-stick test that simply returns a positive or negative value. Dr. Kalyani is following up today with a second HCG test to check for a level change (the number by itself doesn’t mean much, as a positive change in HCG is what determines a positive pregnancy result), but at this point, a value that low isn’t very comforting.
So what this means is that we move on to a second round of implantation after selecting another egg donor. Thankfully, we left enough sperm samples to repeat this process for a couple cycles. The success rate of first implantation is about 55%, so we were mentally prepared for this, but it’s still bringing me down a bit. Dr. Kalyani believes that we can try again in a few weeks, once the new egg donor has prepared herself and the surrogate is ready again. Until then, we enjoy the rest of our honeymoon and return to the US on the 16th. Despite this bump in the road, we are confident that our dreams will still come true.
On a more upbeat note, we have been absolutely loving Spain. Barcelona was incredible! The Boqueria market, the Rambla, all of the museums, and the tapas were definitely worth the seven-hour flight. We spent five days at the Le Meridien Barcelona and then hopped a quick commuter flight to San Sebastian on the northern coast of Spain, where we will spend the next five days at the Hotel Maria Cristina. The Playa de La Concha is packed with tourists and locals, and I have already experienced a pretty awful case of sunburn… it may be time to increase my SPF. The balcony doors are wide open in our room and a cool breeze is blowing the white curtains back and forth. It’s time to be grateful for an amazing husband, a fantastic honeymoon, and the future possibility of a baby.
Here is a chart of HCG levels for reference, based upon the week of pregnancy. Anything below a 5 is considered non-pregnant. (Click to enlarge for a clearer view of the numbers.)
So I’m sitting here in a waiting room in Flushing, Queens, trying to wrap up my work week before Josh and I fly off to our (nine-month-delayed) honeymoon in Barcelona and San Sebastian. The doctor is taking his sweet time, and I figured I would try to use my iPhone to post a blog entry. Here is a very short update since we got back to NY from Mumbai last week.
A few days ago, we received an email from Dr. Kalyani with photographs of the three grade-A embryos that were fertilized and implanted this past Monday morning! We don’t know how many, if any, will actually latch and result in a pregnancy, but keep your fingers crossed! We will know more in a few weeks when the first blood test is performed.
Despite the last minute egg donor change and the craziness at Mumbai airport, Josh and I have manage to stay pretty calm this week. Obviously we are desperate to hear news from the clinic as the embryos develop, but I don’t think that we will hear anything before the middle of August.
We leave for Barcelona tomorrow afternoon via Montreal… And there is a good chance that we will get some news while on our honeymoon. I guess most couples don’t want to find out if they are pregnant on the honeymoon, because that puts an end to the cocktails and partying, but in our case, I think we could raise a glass or two without much concern.
This is all so exciting and scary and amazing…