Surrogacy isn’t for the faint of heart, and many have asked what made us decide to pursue it. To be honest, surrogacy wasn’t even on our minds when we first started trying to conceive. Unfortunately, I have a disease called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which in my case, means that I only have periods about 3 or 4 times a year. A regular couple with no issues has a 25% chance of conceiving within the first year, and so you can imagine how difficult it would be for a couple like us to time it right.
We started the journey by seeing a fertility specialist, who started us off on Clomid and Femara, and then moved onto injectible hormones, similar to what they use in IVF. All together, throughout the course of 4 years, we have completed 13 medicated cycles, the last six paired with an IUI. Unfortunately, never once did we see a positive on a pregnancy test, and we knew we’d have to move onto IVF, and hoped that it might be our answer.
When we started IVF in 2016, we were extremely hopeful, especially after my first egg retrieval, when I produced 37 eggs! 10 of those were mature and fertilized normally to day 5, and went to be frozen. Most of them were excellent quality embryos, and we were delighted. Our first cycle, however, ended anti-climatically by resulting in a negative pregnancy test, which was really discouraging. What’s worse is that the next three cycles of IVF that we had all lead to a positive pregnancy test, but would always end in a miscarriage around the 8th week. We lost two sets of twins and a singleton, and it was an extremely dark period in our lives. In addition, because we had three losses in a row, I now had the label of “unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss” to add to my long list of infertility ailments. Our doctor couldn’t find any reason why I was losing them continuously, and suggested surrogacy at our last appointment, which was incredibly disheartening, because I always wanted to have the experience of being pregnant. Everything, from growing a bump to feeling the baby kick, I wanted to have the full experience, but it felt like my dreams of carrying a pregnancy was crushed in a single blow.
For two days after that appointment, we struggled with the idea of surrogacy. We had never really considered it seriously up to this point, because we thought we would get pregnant eventually through IVF. Now, I had to give up the thought of pregnancy, and it broke my heart even more. But compared to the thought of being childless vs. having our own bio kids, we definitely knew that we wanted to keep pursuing the latter, especially since our embryos were always high quality, and it is literally just a womb that we needed to have our embryos be born. Hence, we began our journey into surrogacy, and to Ukraine!