Thursday, July 28, 2011


Major news on the homefront. I've been keeping it kinda hush-hush because I wanted to see how it plays out before I opened my mouth. Don't wanna jinx it, you know? I'm feeling pretty confident at this point so I think it's okay to say something.

Obviously this is in regards to my same-sex couple, woohoo! A word from Tricare: since we both have the same insurance coverage, everything is COVERED 100%. Oh mylanta! This is some of the most exciting news I've ever gotten in a long, long time. I feel like a kid that got their own candy store for Christmas, haha. After doing my own research and having my IPs talk with four different people (one from each of the regions), they got an email confirming everything. We have it and we have it in writing. Such a huge relief! Insurance has always been the road block that derailed every other potential match so to have this work out just takes a huge load off my back.

The second amazing thing I have to share is that we have a date set to meet! They have a confirmed flight, hotel and rental car. Fat Kid and I will be in Kansas (moving my sister to Arizona) and we'll have to cut our time a little short, but it's SO worth it! I'm so excited to meet them face-to-face, introduce them to my little guy and just be able to spend time getting to know them. Only a few more weeks!

Right now we're waiting on a lawyer here in Missouri to get back into town and to call us back so we can iron out some of those details and figure out our next steps. I'm super excited and I can't wait to get things squared away so we can move forward. I'm SO glad things have finally fallen into place and I'm not ever-waiting in the pool of surrogates to be chosen. Yay for something finally going right! I'll keep things updated as they progress. YAY!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Oh my gosh, so I've been trying to contain my excitement, but I can't hold it in any longer! I have found the PERFECT IPs. Freaking amazing couple, also military which solves the insurance dilemma. We've discussed compensation, picked out a hospital for the baby to be born at, got lawyers lined up and are setting a date to meet. Honestly, I didn't want to get too excited, especially since it seems the insurance was proving to be more of an insurmountable obstacle than anything and since I had gotten so far with other IPs only to have something like that halt our progress, but it seems nothing can stop us now!

We still have some minor things to work through. The contracts need to be drafted, double checking on a few things with the insurance and then figuring out when to start. They want to start ASAP and to be honest, I'm so excited that I do too, but I don't want our travel plans to impede. We also have to meet in person first and scheduling that may be interesting.

It truly feels like this is the right couple. They've been in constant contact, working with me on everything and things just fit. Strangely, all of the prior IPs seem to have dropped off the face of the earth. I don't know if that's fate's way of saying, "HEY! This is right!" or what, but that's how I'm taking it.

Next step: off the BC and tracking cycles while we work things through. Yay!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Patience Never Was My Virtue

Nothing new on the insurance front. Go figure.

There's a lot of talk in one of the groups I'm a member of (non-surrogacy related) about siblings and many of the girls are pregnant again. I feel bad saying this, but recently I was given the opportunity to watch a 6 week old baby while his parents went to the store. Simple task, not too long and an easy baby. Holding him, I started thinking of how small Fat Kid used to be, but I didn't get those stabbing pains in my ovaries that I expected. I enjoyed my time with him, but it just solidified the fact that I'm content just having one child.

On the surro front, I recently contacted a new couple and I have to say, based on the little bit that I know now, they're my favorites. Out of the three prior IPs I was speaking with, only one still remains. The last one (waiting on the RE coordinator) had a friend step up and offer to be their surro. They will be undergoing testing next month and I'm their backup. The second (legal issues) makes me uncomfortable. It seems to be one obstacle after another with her (sperm release, insurance coverage, etc) and things are just too complicated for my comfort. The first (finding an egg donor) is still in the running, but communication with them is usually slow. Anyway, this new couple is super promising and I'm anxious to see how things progress. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Waiting Game

And so we play the waiting game *sigh* I think I've been less anxious during the 2WW! There's not much going on right now because I'm waiting on everything it seems. I mailed my letter to insurance last Thursday so I'm waiting to hear back from them (hopefully this week if I'm lucky). From there I'll make an appointment to meet with JAG and that will likely take forever because anything with the military takes ages.

On the IP front, not much has changed. I have one looking for an egg donor and discussing with the attorney; one working to sort out the legal issues with chosen sperm as well as her own insurance coverage for the baby/babies; and the final one whose RE coordinator is calling all of her potentials to help narrow it down from three potential surrogates to one.

I had originally planned to leave my family life out of this blog. My intention was to make this strictly about surrogacy and the process, thoughts, emotions, etc involved, but so much of a surrogate is dependent on her family that I can see it is impossible to leave them out of this, especially in slow times like this :D

With that said, Fat Kid's most recent well-baby appointment revealed a heart murmur. Nothing too huge, but it has the potential to be something more serious as it's common on both sides of the family. We've got a referral to a pediatric cardiologist and are awaiting that appointment in the coming weeks. He's otherwise enjoying the hot days outside in his splasher pool and being the crazy little guy that he is.
N's schedule is ever-changing as his platoon moves from white to red cycle. They've been sending him to more schools and between those and doing road patrols, his time home is limited. It's not ideal, but understood.
As for me, my days are mostly spent working with Fat Kid. His vocabulary (both spoken and signed words) is increasing at an exponential rate. It makes me incredibly proud to see him learning so much, especially at such a young age. He's mimicking everything I do so it's not uncommon to find him "spinning" different objects on his fingers (dvds are a favorite). He also loves to brush everyone's hair, including poor daddy who has no hair :) When he lets me, I've been devoting more time to school and trying to get through it as quickly as possible. My goal is to finish and take my certification exams before N deploys so we'll see how that works. I'm also looking into starting another home-based direct sales business to complement my Scentsy business. Part of me thinks it would be more successful than Scentsy, but there's still the part of convincing N, haha. We'll see how it all works out. For now, it's just the waiting game...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

There's been a lot of press about military surrogates, especially in the last few years. It seems we, as military dependents, are hot commodities because TriCare doesn't completely exclude surrogacy from its coverage. The only problem with that is that military surrogates are becoming more and more popular and TriCare is getting more and more stingy. A military surrogate group I'm a member of has more horror stories when using TriCare than successes.

The situation happens like this: TriCare refuses claims, sends a certified letter to the surrogate requesting her contract and then flat-out refuses to pay for anything. A few women are actually being asked to provide contracts for surrogacies that they completed years ago that TriCare had initially paid for.

Before you get your panties in a twist, yes, I understand that TriCare isn't technically an insurance company, but rather a government organization paid for by taxpayers and it's a privilege, blah blah blah. Here's what I don't get, aren't the IPs that pay taxes deserving of a child? Shouldn't they be allowed to have a baby without having to jump through ridiculous hoops? Honestly, (and here's the part where you start to hate me), I think that TriCare is better serving surrogate contracts than it is covering half its beneficiaries. There's a military stereotype that's fairly accurate for most families and it really bothers me. Men join as early as possible, marry before they leave for Basic and babies are popped out as fast as they can. It's not uncommon to find a woman under 25 with at least 3-4 children and 95% of them are on some sort of state assistance. It's also said that every family with at least one child ranked E5 and below qualifies for WIC and there is definitely an overabundance of military families on WIC. Why not teach self-sufficiency and money management instead? Forgive me, military baby factories, if I'd like my son to have the best I can give him WITHOUT state assistance. Forgive me if you won't find me standing in line for my WIC checks or food stamps.

Alas, I get sidetracked. My first call to TriWest, I was assured that they would cover everything during the surrogate pregnancy as though it were my own pregnancy with the exception of how it would be billed. Andrea (the rep) said nothing about the clauses or anything of the sort and simply explained the coverage in-network and the point-of-service cost-sharing out-of-network.

A little more prodding...Willy, today, reiterated the clauses and transferred me to the claims department where Carolyn told me she couldn't guarantee any payments because the third party liability division (coupled with JAG) handled all of the surrogate contracts and claims. Of course, they didn't have a phone number so I'm drafting a lovely letter in an attempt to gather some information from them.

My favorite option is a home birth with a midwife. Much cheaper and something I've always wanted. It's all out-of-pocket though and not an option with a multiple birth so the situation gets a bit more tricky, but it's definitely an option for now.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Is Surrogacy Right For Me? Part Two

Before becoming a surrogate, you have to fit a somewhat specific criteria. Most agencies won't work with you if you don't meet the specifications, but some IPs will work with you if some of the minor ones aren't met if you go independently. The short list includes:

*Having given birth prior and within the previous 5 years-This one's non-negotiable regardless of whether you're with an agency or independent. The reasons include having proven fertility and lesser risks during pregnancy/delivery, knowing the emotional aspect ahead of time and the risks that come with surrogacy.

*Age-Most prefer you to be at least 21 but no more than 39. With traditional surrogacy (using your eggs, not the IM or donors), the age limits are a bit more strict.

*BMI-A BMI between 18 and 24 is ideal. There isn't much wiggle room here.

*Prior pregnancies should have no complications or preterm delivery (before 36 weeks unless with multiples)-Most REs will request medical records that include your most recent pap smear, STD panel and then all of your prenatal and delivery records.

*Smoke, drug and alcohol free-You cannot be a smoker (must have been smoke-free for at least 6 months) or be exposed to a significant amount of secondhand smoke either at home or work. No drugs at all (even prescription) and no alcohol consumption during pregnancy.

*Custody/Background Check-You MUST have custody of your children and be able to pass a background check. If anything in your living situation is questionable, you will most likely be passed up. You must have a stable home situation.

*Finances-No government assistance of any kind. Some independent IPs are willing to overlook things like WIC, but it's not a guarantee. You're better off not having it.

*Testing-Both you and your partner will have to submit recent (within 12 months) STD panels as well as undergo psych evaluation. The surrogate will likely have an MMPI test as well.

Keep in mind, this list is not all-inclusive. Surrogates that have insurance plans that don't have a surrogacy exclusion will almost always be preferred and surrogates in certain states are chosen over others.

So what's your first step? Research. Find out as much as you can about the process, the things to think about, the average compensation and then start thinking everything through. Once you research everything, start gathering your medical records. Do as much leg work as possible beforehand. Educate yourself so that your potential IPs know you're serious and committed to the process. Then buckle up and enjoy the ride! :)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Is Surrogacy Right For Me?

One of the questions I get asked a lot is why I want to be a surrogate. Most people assume I'm choosing to carry for a family member or close friend and after finding out that I'm willing to carry for complete strangers, they immediately assume my motive is solely financial. While compensation is part of the surrogate "package," it is by no means my motivator and most definitely not my sole reason for embarking on this journey. There's a lot that goes into the decision to become a surrogate. There's much more to it than just "getting pregnant and having a baby."

The first thing to consider is whether or not your body can handle another pregnancy, especially a multiple pregnancy. One of the prerequisites of being a surrogate is having a child. You have to have both carried and delivered a healthy child and had that child remain in your custody. Having gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, placental abruption, any real dangerous or risky developments during previous pregnancies can make it difficult for an RE to work with you. Prior miscarriages may or may not work against you. Usually having a healthy pregnancy/birth after a miscarriage essentially negates the miscarriage.
Additionally, your body has to be able to handle the hormones you'll need to inject yourself with. If you don't react well to hormonal birth control or are unable to deal well with your hormones (i.e. crazy PMS and whatnot), you're probably not the best candidate.

Second, you need to evaluate your home situation. You need a strong, stable support system in place long before you start cycling. If you don't have a supportive spouse or significant other, surrogacy is not for you. If you're regularly stressed or unable to handle your own responsibilities, keep walking. If you're married, your husband will have to sign the contract as well so he needs to be on board. It's better if he's supportive and willing to help you with everything. Surrogacy is a very emotional process. Long before the actual pregnancy, there's a lot of potential disappointment and heartbreak and without my family, I'm not sure I'd be able to continue. Surrogates also need very flexible schedules with the ability to travel frequently and to attend many appointments.

The last thing you need to do is some soul-searching. Carrying any pregnancy is an emotional process. You have to be willing to do things the way your IPs want you to, not the way you want to and you have to understand that at the end of the pregnancy, after all of the time you've spent carrying and after laboring, you walk away with empty arms. Not only that, but you have to think about the hard stuff. How many embryos are you okay with transferring? What are your opinions on selective reductions? What about invasive testing procedures? Are you willing to lose your reproductive ability? How about sacrificing your own life to give another couple a child? There's a lot that goes into your contract. You have to think about what would happen if you were in a coma and put on life support. How long would you agree to carry before pulling the plug? Most people think about IVF and the risks that come with that, but they don't think about all of the what ifs that go along with pregnancy, invasive procedures and pregnancy/birth-related surgeries.

There's a lot of hard thinking that comes with your decision to be a surrogate. Do you go with an agency or go independent? What's reasonable for compensation? What do I want to find in IPs? What are things that I'm not willing to compromise on (reductions, invasive procedures, etc)? The process of finding IPs can take a good amount of time and that's only the start. Getting to the point of "getting" pregnant could take years. Ultimately, it's a very rewarding experience, but not for everyone.