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Nothing to Report Yet

30 Sep

Just a few days left until we find out if this attempt was successful. Josh hasn’t been feeling well since he got home from a work trip last night. We spent the day at home watching DVDs of Homeland, doing laundry, and making some stir fry veggies and Thai chicken skewers for dinner.  Taking a mental break like this is just what I needed after a pretty crummy Q3 at work came to a close on Friday.

There is nothing exciting to report at this time, but I wanted to check in with everyone and let you know to expect the good or the bad by next weekend.  See you then!


The Embryos Are In!

22 Sep

It’s been quite a week for us on the surrogacy front.

Earlier this week we got the news from our clinic that our surrogate’s endomitrial lining didn’t appear to be optimally ready for an embryo transfer. The clinic  asked us to pick a new surrogate. (It feels like we’ve picked so many surrogates and egg donors at this point. Lordy.) They sent us two options, and one surrogate candidate stood out right away, both from her photos and her statistics. We e-mailed our selection back right away.

On Thursday we got the news that our egg donor had successfully made her donation. The eggs were fertilized with Matt’s sperm, and the fertilized embryo transfer was set for Saturday (today) in Mumbai, which is 9.5 hours ahead of New York time.

Last night, after midnight, as things were progressing in Mumbai on Saturday morning, Matt got a call on his cell phone from a number he didn’t immediately recognize.

It was the clinic.

Apparently the embryo fertilization process went very well. This time they had ten (ten!) fertilized embryos. They set aside four for implantation, but they were calling to find out if we wanted to freeze the other six embryos. That would give us the option to use them on another round of IVF if this one doesn’t work out. If this round does work out, it gives us the option to keep the embryos frozen for a number of years in case we want a sibling (or siblings) for our child(ren) that will be 100% genetically related.

Matt relayed this information to me as the call progressed.

“Give me just a minute,” Matt said into the phone and then covered the speaker. “It costs 60,000 rupees to do it. Do you think we should?”

(The quick math: 60,000 rupees is about $1,090.)

My brain tried to take in all this new information and make an informed decision.

There are so many decisions to make when it comes to surrogacy.

“Can we call you right back?” Matt asked.

We talked it over. We crunched numbers. It would save us money to freeze the embryos if a third round of IVF became necessary. And, hell, we were already set to spend more than a million rupees on the whole surrogacy process. What’s another 60,000 rupees at this point? On top of that, we really liked the egg donor and wanted to work with her genetic material again.

We breathed for a moment and then called back with our decision.

“We’ll do it,” Matt said.

At almost the same time that we made the decision to freeze the remaining embryos, we got the e-mail from the clinic with the embryo transfer results.

We have done the embryo transfer into your surrogate today. It was a smooth transfer procedure. Please find attached the cycle summary and the embryo pictures. The surrogate’s pregnancy test will be on 4 October 2012. The report of the b-HCG test [the pregnancy test] will be available by the next day. Our clinical team will keep you updated with the result.

So, we have an egg donor we’re excited about, a surrogate we feel good about, and ten fertilized embryos, with four implanted and six saved for later.

But, the bottom line? The embryos are in the womb!

Matt put things well on his Facebook wall: “The embryos have been implanted! Now begins the most stressful 15 days of my life before the first blood test to determine if we are pregnant. Kinda amazing that today is also the day that we had originally scheduled for our wedding… we may have a wedding night baby after all :-P”

Ah, yes. September 22, 2012. When we got engaged in June 2011, that was the original date we’d picked out for our wedding. Eventually we decided we wanted to be married sooner, and in a much smaller, more intimate wedding. We selected the third anniversary of the day we met, which just happened to be 11/11/11, and also happened to be a Saturday.

So, here we are on what would have been our wedding day, with the news that the embryos are in our surrogate’s womb, hopefully finding a nice, warm, quiet spot to latch and hang out for a good 40 weeks, potentially making us dads in June 2013.

The September 22 thing has to be a good omen, right?

We’re optimistic. We’re excited. We’re still being realistic, and are aware of the odds, but we still feel good about this round of IVF.

That photo above of the fertilized embryo may be the first-ever photo of our child. (Or children!)

Isn’t he/she cute? 😉


IVF Round Two: Dust Yourself Off & Try Again

6 Sep

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.


The Second Attempt

25 Aug

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. 🙂


We’re Still Here…

21 Aug

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!


HCG Levels

11 Aug

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.)


3 Aug

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 implante20120803-163313.jpgd 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…


Day Four: Meeting Our Surrogate, Signing Papers & 22 Hours of Travel

28 Jul

Our fourth day in Mumbai was probably the biggest one.

After our customary continental breakfast of eggs, toast, and fresh fruit at the hotel (the server knew our food order by heart by Day Three), we cabbed over to our clinic.

It’s amazing how much easier it was to get to the clinic and get down to business after doing it once already. There was no fumbling around trying to figure out which building contained our clinic, or worrying about construction or the state of the neighborhood. This time it was smooth sailing.

The staff set Matt up for his second and final genetic sample. After that was complete, another staff member asked us if we were ready to meet our surrogate and her husband. We said yes, of course, and followed her into another conference room.

At the small, kidney-bean shaped table sat a woman who held herself elegantly, clad in a dark blue sari that faded artfully to a dark green toward the edges. Dark hair hung around her face and she smiled at us without reservation. It’s going to sound very gay (probably because I am?), but I swear it’s the truth: Our surrogate was a dead ringer for Cher as she looked in the 1970s. If you took Cher then, and her skin tone was more Indian than Southern Californian, you would have our surrogate. There was a certain ease, and a natural, effortless beauty about her.

(The Cher thing can be nothing but a good omen, right? ;))

Her husband, dressed in a crisp white button-down and tailored trousers, sporting a thick, black handlebar mustache (as so many Indian men seem to do), shook our hands. It’s not customary to shake hands with women in Indian society, so we gave our surrogate a little bow and said “Namaste,” as we read we were supposed to do. This seemed to go over well.

So, there we were: our surrogate, her husband, the clinic staff member, and us, all around the table. There was a feeling of nervous excitement in the room, tinged only slightly by awkwardness.

“Okay,” the Rotunda staff member said, “I’ll translate for you. Go ahead.”

Um, wait, what? Wasn’t there some sort of official chat that they guided us through? Wasn’t there some standard conversation we were supposed to have?

Apparently not. We shot from the hip.

“Can you ask her about her family? About her children?” Matt said to the staff member. She translated for the surrogate, who did not speak English.

“She has one daughter, who is eight years old,” the staff member reported to us.

We nodded and smiled, and the surrogate and her husband nodded and smiled at us.

“Can you please tell them how happy and grateful we are for the gift they are giving us?”

The staff member translated and right away the couple turned to us, smiling and nodding vigorously, and said in lilting English, “Thank you, thank you.”

I have to admit, it was a bit of an emotional moment, but I held it together.

Moments later, the meeting was over. It went by in a blur. You know how sometimes you have those moments in life that you know will be important, and you try to concentrate as hard as you can, and remember every detail, and somehow in doing so it all seems to slip by even faster? Totally one of those moments.

Back in the waiting room of the clinic I found myself wishing I’d asked about half a dozen other questions but, alas, too late. Matt and I whispered to each other how happy we were with how well it’d gone, and how happy we were with them as the surrogate couple.

Next we met with our lawyer in another conference room in the clinic. We liked her right away, too–a young Indian woman with no-nonsense intelligence and sass to boot–and she guided us through a long legal document. Surrogacy is her specialty, so as we began to ask questions, she not only answered them with aplomb, but answered other questions preemptively, and also explained more about Indian law and the permissiveness of surrogacy in the country.

“You’re lucky that you’re from the United States,” she told us as we paged through the documents. “Your country is set up perhaps better than any in the world for gestational surrogacy. Other countries have laws that make it difficult, but your country makes it quite simple.”

The legal document spelled out everyone’s role in the process (from the clinic, to the surrogate, to the surrogate’s husband, and us as the intended parents), what everyone was and wasn’t legally liable to do as part of the process, and clearly explained how things would go in just about any outcome of the situation (lack of pregnancy, loss of pregnancy, birth, multiple births, etc.).

After asking our questions, and making our way through the entire document (and finding an error that we were able to fix on the spot), we put pen to paper and officially locked in the last part of the initiating process.

When we were done we returned to the waiting room and saw our surrogate couple waiting there. Our lawyer called them in, walked them through the legal document as well, and they both signed, initialing every page, just as we had. Before they left we smiled and nodded, shook hands one last time, and watched them head out of the clinic.

The lawyer gave us our legal documents, we checked with the staff to make sure we were all set with payments up to this point (check and check), and then we were officially done.

Tacky and non-cultural as it may be on our part, we were told by Indian friends before our visit that McDonald’s in the Indian culture had become kind of a bougie, fun thing to do, so we decided to check it out. We took our first auto rickshaw ride, or tuk-tuk as they’re called, over to McDonald’s. Riding in the three-wheeler taxi (two wheels in back, one in front), which is essentially a golf cart with a tarp around it, with no doors and open to the elements, we buzzed and careened through traffic. It was harrowing, but entertaining. (That said, I don’t think I’d choose it as my main mode of transportation in India, but do recommend trying it at least once.)

McDonald’s was filled with nicely dressed young locals, long lines, and American pop music.

“Let’s not tell anyone we did this,” I said. “Too embarrassing.”

“Agreed,” Matt said.

(Heh. Oops.)

We settled into a table on the second floor with our non-hamburger meals (no beef is served in Indian McDonald’s restaurants; cows as sacred here, after all), and as we started to eat, Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” came on, with Jay rapping about Brooklyn and Tribeca.

Yet another surreal Indian moment.

“I couldn’t be happier about how today went,” I said, popping a French fry into my mouth. They were identical to any McD’s French fries I’ve had anywhere else in the world. Crazy how they managed that feat.

“Me too,” Matt said. “I really liked our couple. I liked the lawyer, too.”

“Honestly, I’ve liked everyone we’ve met so far,” I said. “It makes me feel even better about the whole process.”

With our Mumbai sightseeing done, and all of our business with the clinic complete, we decided to try and fly out a night early. After all, we were flying standby anyway, so why not try to head home a day early and have an extra day at home to recover and relax?

We went to the airport early and ended up grateful that we did. The line to check in for the flight was very long and very slow. There was also a protocol we hadn’t experienced before: Usually when flying standby, we’re allowed to go through security and wait at the gate to find out if we’re on the flight, and then hop right on if there’s a seat.

In India, we would have to stay out at the check-in counter until almost the last minute to see if there was a spot open on the flight, then scurry through immigration and two rounds of security as fast as possible and sprint for our flight if a seat or two did open up.

There was also a situation with our flight, we learned, that we’d never heard of before. Apparently there had been rain earlier that left a giant puddle on part of the runway. The giant puddle made that part of the runway unusable, we were told, so the runway had in effect been shortened. What that meant for our plane, a giant 777, is that it risked being overweight for takeoff on a shortened runway. Therefore, the airline had been asked to leave three dozen seats open on the plane so that the flight wouldn’t be overweight and could take off without incident.

Matt and I looked at each other. Three dozen seats? So this flight would take off with literally dozens of open seats, and we might not be on it? Seriously?

The nerves began.

As the clock ran down, the rumor was that it didn’t look good for us to get on the flight. The flights didn’t look any better the following night, either.


Our flight was scheduled for an 11:10 p.m. departure, but got pushed to 11:30 p.m.

At 10:45 p.m., by some miracle, we were handed tickets to get on the flight, the two very last seats granted for United 49, direct from Mumbai to Newark.

We made a dash for customs. We played the lines as best we could and ended up in one that went through fairly quickly.

Then we saw the security line.


It snaked and wound several times on its way to the metal detectors. We found one of the security guards watching over the line, machine gun strapped to his chest, and pleaded our case. Our flight was due to pull back from the gate in a matter of minutes. The guard nodded, pulled us out of line, and moved us to the front and through the metal detectors.

Without his help, there’s no way we would have made it.

Just before midnight we were in our seats on the plane, rolling back, ready for our fifteen-and-a-half-hour flight.

It had been a packed several days. We’d toured the city, gone through a few rounds of re-selection with our egg donor, left a couple genetic samples, met with our surrogate, signed a sheaf of legal documents, and successfully got on a standby flight back to the U.S.

We lifted off into the heavy night air, set for a course back home.

Text and photos by Josh (except the Cher photo, obvs)

Day Two & Day Three: Here Come The Surprises

25 Jul

It’s the middle of the night in Mumbai. Behind me my husband is sleeping like a baby (let’s hope that particular trait is passed on to our progeny) and I’m sitting here at my laptop at the desk in our hotel room.

For the past three nights here in India my body has decided to sleep almost exactly four hours each night and then wake up for the day. And we’re not talking just casually awake. We’re talking wide awake. Fully rested. My body apparently had no interest in making the New York/Mumbai time change.

I’m sitting here and I can’t help thinking about all that’s happened in the last 36 hours. Let’s rewind and review.

Day Two, Part Two

As Matt explained, finding the fertility clinic for our first visit was a bit of a project since street names and house and building numbers are almost non-existent here. The neighborhood, called Bandra, is known for its higher-end shopping. It was bizarre, though, because luxury jewelers, a Montblanc store, and a Tom Ford boutique, for example, sat mixed among open-air restaurants with fully visible, dirty kitchens, people sleeping on the streets, and cabs belching exhaust as they passed. How was a Tom Ford boutique amongst all this? Were people really coming here to buy a $1,500 Montblanc pen, or a $15,000 diamond necklace, while a man in filthy clothes slept directly outside the gates?

Like much of India that we’ve experienced, it was a big mix of high and low, inseparably and simultaneously right on top of each other.

When we found what we believed to be the right building, the security guard outside the building’s gate cocked his head and looked confused when we said we were looking for Rotunda Clinic. We spotted a small plaque with the correct address behind the security guard, though, so we felt like we must have found the right place. The building’s front entrance seemed to be under construction, so we had to walk around to the back of the multistory building where our clinic was supposedly (hopefully) located.

As we crossed to the back of the building, we saw a half-demolished fence revealing a gaping, torn up pit with active construction going on. As we entered the building and started walking up the stairs, we saw the entire first floor was under construction. The second floor was, too. There were torn up rooms and walls, dirt and dust everywhere.

A cold, creeping horror crept up my neck as we walked around, looking for our clinic.

What was going on? What had we gotten ourselves into?

But then we made it up to the floor where our clinic was supposed to be located and saw a glass door at the end of the hall that we figured had to be our clinic.

And with that, everything changed.

We stepped into a neat, beautiful medical office. It was nicer than some doctor’s offices we’ve been to in New York City. The heavy, stale air disappeared behind us as we walked into a wall of cooled air. The floors below us were made of marble, a flat-screen TV hung in the corner playing Indian pop music videos, and a helpful staff behind the professionally-lit reception desk checked us in for our appointment. Behind the front desk hung an artful, burnished silver sculpture of musical instruments. Medical staff in pastel scrubs, looking busy and purposeful, crossed through the lobby and corridors of Rotunda.

It’s hard to explain our relief upon actually finding our clinic, and finding it to be so nice.

It got even better as we met Dr. K., who heads up the clinic’s gestational fertility practice. We liked her right away and felt reassured in her presence and comfortable working with her.

We came with an entire page of questions. She answered many of them before we even asked them, but we got to ask more detailed questions about things like genetic testing and neonatal screening for abnormalities during the pregnancy (yes, they do them at about 11 and 18 weeks to make sure everything is normal, and there are options from there if things aren’t normal, etc.).

Dr. K told us about the surrogate housing where Rotunda’s surrogates live and eat together, when determined necessary by the Rotunda team, along with any of the surrogates’ children that are age five or younger. (Other family members are allowed to visit, of course, but only the surrogate and her youngest children would live in the actual Rotunda housing itself.) A nurse visits the surrogates daily at the clinic’s housing, checking vitals and overseeing nutrition and dispensation of vitamins, etc., between doctor’s appointments and check-ups. The surrogate also stays in Rotunda’s housing and care for up to six weeks after the birth to monitor and take care of her post-birth.

Dr. K told us that our egg donor would be coming in that afternoon for egg collection. The highest-grade embryos, comprised of the donor’s eggs and Matt’s genetic material, would be implanted in our surrogate’s womb on Saturday.

Finally, we asked when we’d have confirmation of our pregnancy’s success. (See how I phrased that in the positive there? ;)) It sounds like sometime between August 11-15 we’ll know if we have a pregnancy. That happens to be the same time we’ll be on our honeymoon in Spain, so that would be a really wonderful time to hear the news that we have a pregnancy under way. (Start crossing those fingers and toes, please.)

As required, Matt left a genetic sample after our meeting with Dr. K and then we were finished. Altogether we were at the clinic for just under an hour.

And Then We Got An E-mail

Matt’s iPhone chimed shortly after we returned to our hotel, signaling a new e-mail. It was from Dr. K.

“We have done the scan of your chosen egg donor,” it read. “I’m afraid that she has a poor response and it is not advisable to go ahead with her. Please find attached an egg donor who would be ready for egg collection on Friday. If you approve, we can go ahead with the cycle. Otherwise we will send you a list of immediately available donors to choose from and start the cycle.”


The egg donor we’d chosen, whom we’d affectionately nicknamed Yearbook Pose (as we don’t know her name and never will, and needed a way to refer to her based on her egg donor profile picture), apparently wasn’t going to work out.

We weren’t crazy about the donor profile we’d been forwarded as an immediately replacement. We sent Dr. K an e-mail and asked if we could see the other currently available egg donors, knowing that choosing someone other than the immediate replacement would delay our process for weeks. We were still considering the immediately available donor, but we wanted to see what other options were available.

That night, after near-constant refreshing of Matt’s e-mail inbox, we received 16 potential egg donor profiles to review. One woman became our favorite right away and became The Girl Next Door in our profile nickname vernacular. She looked sweet, wholesome, and subtly pretty.

She was our winner.


Day Three and Another E-mail

We decided to take it easy on our third day in Mumbai. We had a lazy breakfast and spent time on Skype and FaceTime with our families. We also wanted to hang around the hotel a bit to see if Dr. K would e-mail back a confirmation of our new donor and any instructions on how we would proceed. We were uncertain of all the ramifications (timing, financial, etc.) that might result from the egg donor changes.

Later that afternoon, once we started to get a little stir crazy at the hotel, and before we were about to head out to a movie, Matt’s iPhone chimed as another e-mail from Dr. K popped into his inbox.

“Kindly find attached a new egg donor profile, whose eggs have resulted in a previous pregnancy, and whose eggs would be ready for pick-up in a day or two,” the e-mail read. “You can choose to proceed with your cycle with her if you like her profile. Kindly let me know as soon as possible, enabling me to proceed with your cycle accordingly.”

Apparently the time lag required for The Girl Next Door to get synched up with hormonal injections, as well as our surrogate’s cycle, would be an obstacle we could quickly overcome if we liked this third donor.

We opened the profile Dr. K. had attached.


“Are you okay with this donor?” Matt asked me.

I thought for a bit. I had really liked Girl Next Door. I liked this donor, too, though, and liked the idea of staying on our currently scheduled cycle.

“I am,” I said. “Are you?”

Matt nodded.

The moment felt big. There was a pause before we did anything.

Then Matt tapped out an e-mail to Dr. K to confirm that we were ready to go with this third donor.

We don’t have a cutesy referential nickname for this photo. This one we’ll simply call Our Egg Donor.


Trying to Navigate Mumbai…

25 Jul

If this elephant lives in India, he knows exactly how I feel.