As Matt wrote previously, while on our honeymoon in mid-August we found out that our first round of in vitro fertilization didn’t result in a pregnancy. We were bummed, of course, but going into this we knew that we had a little better than a coin toss’s odds of our first shot working out. (With a round of IVF there’s a 55-60% chance of pregnancy. The “old-fashioned way” yields about 4-6% chance of pregnancy, so IVF actually has pretty good odds, considering.) Still, when we got the bummer news we took a day off from touring around Northern Spain to not do much and just kind of sort through how we felt, etc.
One of the most difficult things about IVF, I’d say, is the lack of control involved in surrogacy for what many like to call the “intended parents” (or IPs—Matt and me in this case). Getting pregnant the “old-fashioned way” you have a clear idea of what’s going on, with whom, and when, and there are usually few people involved. In our case, however, we show up at a clinic, do lots of paperwork, send lots of money, give a genetic sample, and the rest is out of our hands. It’s all trust from there on out. We have to trust the egg donor and surrogate are preparing well, that the eggs are being collected from the correct egg donor, that a good surrogate has been selected, and that the surrogate was implanted with the best embryos, etc.
For all intended parents know, a clinic could use any egg donor they like, or a clinic could even say they’ve finished a cycle of IVF and report that it was unsuccessful, and then they can ask for thousands more dollars to do another cycle, even if they never attempted a cycle in reality. How would the intended parents know? It can be disconcerting and frustrating to have to trust so much. You trust, and you send more money. At some point you want to take a trust booster shot just to renew your trusting abilities.
Yes, our clinic is in India, half a world away, but we’d be relying on trust just as much if our clinic was in California, or Ohio, or even in New York City, where we live. You just have to trust that a lot of people in a long sequence of events are doing the right thing all along the way, and with your best interests at heart. We can’t be there for every step of the process, no matter where the clinic is located.
Matt and I do feel good about working with the Rotunda Clinic. We like Dr. K, and the clinic is well known (it’s been in documentaries, it’s been cited positively in the press, there are many surrogacy blogs written by parents who’ve had babies through the clinic, etc.). The clinic has had more than 300 births, many of them for same-sex couples like us.
So, what do we do? We breathe. Breathe and trust. (And send more money.)
Here’s where we are now in the surrogacy process:
We’ve selected a new egg donor. She’s currently going through the bodily preparations to be able to donate. (More details on egg donor prep here.) At this point she should be able to donate two weeks from now. We’ve also selected a new surrogate, and she will be undergoing hormonal preparations as well for the upcoming embryo transfer once the eggs are donated and fertilized and selected for quality.
Why did we switch up the egg donor and surrogate from Round One? We did so on advice from Rotunda, after a simple enough explanation. They advise changing all the variables in a new round of IVF (except the sperm donor, obviously), because it’s not easy to discern if perhaps there was a minor problem with the eggs donated, or with the surrogate’s womb, etc., that may have tripped things up in the previous try. Since it’s difficult to isolate an exact potential issue, the best thing to do is to switch up the variables and try again.
As 90s pop songstress Aaliyah (rest her soul) perhaps put it best: if at first you don’t succeed / dust yourself off and try again / you can dust it off and try again.
So, here we go. Dusting it off. Trying again.
Round Two begins.