Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Legal Clearance

I was notified today that legal clearance has been issued so we're officially in contract! I just got off the phone with the clinic and they are thinking the embryo transfer will be around October 24th...so soon!

On another note, I saw this funny article.  It's a little crass but I still find it funny.  Please read it before asking me any of these questions...
5 Things Not to Say to Gestational Surrogates

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What got me here

Hi there.  My name is Kalley Lackey.  And I am in the process of becoming a Gestational Surrogate.  This has been a very long process, in fact.  I began looking into it in August of 2014.  This post is going to be me, trying to remember everything that's happened arriving to this point in time, September 2015, in which I'm printing out the final version of my contract, with plans of having it notarized tonight.  Whoo hoo!
So, first things first, what is a gestational surrogate, or gestational carrier?  Well, essentially, I am going to be carrying another family's baby for them.  This baby isn't genetically related to me at all.  We will use invitro fertilization to implant a fertilized egg from the mother, technically known as the Intended Mother, and father, Intended Father, into my body.  There are various reasons why someone would need this.  Some medical, some not.  In my case, my Intended Mother cannot physically carry a child, so she needs help, and here I am.
So, you may at this point be asking yourself, WHY? What brought me to the point of wanting to be a surrogate?  Well, honestly, it was such a fluid progression that it's hard to remember at this point each step of the way, but essentially it's this:  After giving birth to my son and feeling the trauma of him being in the NICU for such a short time that he was, I was pretty determined that I didn't want to have any more children.  The stress of juggling 3 kids was enough for me, and I didn't think I could add another to the mix.  So in thinking that, I honestly started to feel guilty for all the people out there that try desperatly to have children, to no avail, and to serious heartbreak.  Heartbreak like I have never ever known.  See, I've never had trouble getting pregnant when my husband and I decided to.  I've never had a miscarriage.  I've never had a c-section or a premature baby.  And I've seen countless people suffer through these heartbreaks.  I've always felt lucky, or even blessed.  So what does one do when they have been given a tremendous gift?  I felt compelled to "give back".  I felt as though, my body does this well, this is easy for me, and I want to share with others who need help.  So I began by looking into egg donation.  
Firstly, I spoke with my own doctor.  I wanted to be sure it was medically ok for me to do.  To my surprise (kinda) he said yes and referred me to a local fertility clinic.
In the beginning, I had the feeling that "there's no way I could carry a child and GIVE IT UP".  I think this is how most people view surrogacy.  So I thought, maybe I could help by donating my healthy eggs.  I joined a few facebook groups and began watching and reading posts.  I found out that most surrogacy in America is handled through Agencies.  These agencies match intended parents, surrogates, egg donors together to match eachothers desires, needs, etc.  They help with the legal paperwork, accomodations, all of it.  To me, agencies sort of resemble dating services.  They find out what you're looking for, and match you with someone who fits the bill and then you go from there.  Of course, it's all approved and consented by me and the parents.  
So anyway, I submitted an application to be a donor to an agency in California that was connected with the clinic my Dr. had referred, and was contacted the next day asking if I would consider surrogacy.  I felt nervous but thought, "OK I'll look into it."
I started combing the internet, reading stories, watching videos etc.  There was one video I watched that completely shifted my perspective on surrogacy.  In a short clip, it showed a set of parents, walking with their pregnant surrogate.  Then at the end, the surrogate talking about seeing the parents holding their babies for the first time.  It immediately brought tears to my eyes.  What a gift!  Surrogacy isn't about "giving up" a baby of mine, it's about giving a gift.  A precious gift that I've experienced 3 times and continue to experience each day.  I'm giving back.  Helping.  Helping a family with something they can't do on their own.  [Some people within the surrogacy community, yes there is a surrogacy community, call themselves "9 month nannies".  This more correctly describes the mindset of a surrogate.  This isn't my baby to begin with, it's theirs.  I'm just helping it grow for 9 months until it can be RETURNED to it's parents.]  Once I saw that, I was sold, however, I had misconceptions about surrogacy, still.  I thought there would be no way I could go into it without giving up my values about the sanctity of life.  So, I thought, ok I'll talk with the agency, but tell them up front I don't want to consider abortion.  I thought they would cut me off right there and say "then it's not for you." But they didn't.  The were honest that it may take longer to find a match with the stipulations but it was possible!
My husband watched the same video I had and had a few questions about traditional (my egg) vs gestational surrogacy, but once that was cleared up, he felt the same conviction as I did. 
So fast forward over a year.  I have learned a lot.  I was matched in December 2014 with a single intended mother from China, but once it got to the contract stage, she changed her mind about termination so we cancelled the match.  After the frustration of that, I decided to change agencies to a more supportive agency of my views and convictions.  It has still taken a long time to find a match, but I have matched with an amazing couple from China!  In August, I flew down to LA for my medical clearance in which the fertility Dr cleared me to carry.  He actually told me that I was the perfect candidate for surrogacy.  My husband and I have also had to go through phychological evaluations and extensive background checks, etc to clear us for this.  
Once my medical clearance came in, in the end of August, it was time to start contracts.  That has been a long process as well, as all 54 pages have to be transalted to Chinese, and back for review.  But the final version is sitting next to my keyboard as I type!  We are expecting the embryo transfer to be end of October to early November at this point.  There is a lot more that goes on between now and then medically, to get me ready for transfer (DAILY INJECTIONS AHHH!) and get Intended Mother ready for egg retreival.  I will be traveling back down to LA for the embryo transfer with the same Dr, monitored locally, then will be released to my regular OBGYN after everything is safe and in the 2nd trimester.
This has been an amazing, enlightening process thus far.  I have learned a lot about myself.  A lot about perserverance and loss.  And I am so looking forward to sharing this with those around me.  I'm looking forward hoping this is going to be an amazing experience, life changing.  I'm going to be able to make a very real impact on someone on the other side of the planet.  How cool is that?!
Until next time...