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How Can Intended Parents Feel Comfortable When Not in Total Control?
a blog by Tricia Howard, Fertility SOURCE Companies (The Donor SOURCE and The Surrogacy SOURCE), December 5, 2013
Having to struggle with fertility and being told you will not be able to have a child on your own not only opens the gate of flooding emotions; it opens the gate to the list of endless questions that lie ahead. Intended parents are now not in control of everything, and will be reaching out to other women for help. Those other women include the egg donor and/or the gestational carrier. These women complete the “team” that will help reach the goal of creating a family, but how are intended parents supposed to feel comfortable with people whom they have never met before, assisting with such a huge part of their life?
The endless list of questions typically begins with why do these women want to be egg donors or gestational carriers? Did they see an ad somewhere which financially motivates them? The answers to these initial questions will vary for each woman of course. Most women can make a personal connection with someone in their life that has struggled with infertility. This person may be a family member, a friend, or a co worker, no matter how close they are to this person, they have followed their struggle and it makes their desire to help stronger. They know the feeling of being a parent and the joy it brings to their life. They want to be able to give that gift so others can share in that joy as well, and have their life complete. There may be financial reasons for their decision as well, and that is ok. Perhaps the egg donor or gestational carrier want to save for a house, college fund for the children, or also to have income so they can stay home with their children. No matter what drives these women, they have made a decision to give the gift of life to another person and that is goal that everyone starts off with.
How can intended parents be sure their egg donor and gestational carrier are being cooperative during the medication stage when they are preparing for the egg retrieval and embryo transfer? There has been so much invested by this time, financially and emotionally, the fear of a cycle being disrupted because of an error is looming over intended parents. When dealing with human beings, it is impossible to guarantee everyone will do what they are told, or that no mistakes may happen. We must remember that we are dealing with women who understand the commitment they’ve entered into, and understand the struggles of their intended parents. They have been educated and screened by their agency, the psychologist, and the fertility center staff. There are legal contracts involved for this process as well. The egg donors and gestational carriers are monitored very closely by the team professionals involved with this journey and they have all the support they need.
There is a woman in charge of carrying your baby for 9 months. Will she care for the child as best she can? Not being in control of the pregnancy can cause much worry. Intended parents, who are used to so much disappointment, have now reached the pregnancy stage, perhaps a stage never reached before. When so much disappointment has taken place in their life, it is hard to relax, as they may be waiting for something to go wrong. When asked what the important factors to you are when deciding on a gestational carrier, “non smoker/no drugs/be healthy” are always at the top of the list. These are top requirements for any agency as well. The gestational carriers available must meet criteria that will allow them to carry a healthy pregnancy. These women have to have had an uncomplicated pregnancy of their own, which will confirm she knows how to take care of her health. Keeping the lines of communication open at all times, without being intrusive, may help intended parents to feel more comfortable. It is wonderful when the intended parents can communicate directly with the obstetrician as well. Reading literature is often a choice intended parents make, so they can follow the pregnancy. This is ok, as long as they understand there can be discrepancies, as each pregnancy is different. If there are ever any medical concerns, communicating them with the doctor is the best option. The pregnancy journey should be an exciting time for everyone and enjoyed.
Preparations for delivery can also cause concerns. Will she call right away? Will she have a bond with the baby? Where will we go after the delivery? These are the most common questions and are all good questions that should be asked to make the delivery phone number of a family member if the intended parents cannot be reached. If the due date is close, staying as local to the hospital as possible is a great option as well. She has carried your child, and it had always been “your” child. She and her family have looked forward to this day for a very long time. She cannot wait to see your face when your child is born. From the beginning the connection between her and the child is that she is doing this to help her intended parents. This child is not hers. Speaking to the hospital prior to delivery about accommodations will help the process go smoothly. Most hospitals will offer intended parents a room to stay in, based on availability. This allows for you to take your child to a private room and begin the bonding process.
There is a flood of emotions in the beginning and there is a flood of emotions at the end. Taking away as much doubt and concern is very important, and choosing the right professionals to help with this journey will allow intended parents to feel comfortable with their decision to extend their Baby Team with women who want them to be able to feel the joys of parenthood also.
Tricia Howard, Manager of Surrogacy Case Management, has extensive knowledge in egg donation and the surrogacy process. Having had personal experience as a surrogate mother, Tricia wanted to pursue her continued dream of helping people experience the joys of parenthood. Tricia states, “I believe everyone should have the chance to fulfill their dreams of having a family. I am excited to guide intended parents and surrogates through the surrogacy process.” This, combined with her dedication and emotional connection to each client, ensures that each client understands and feels complete support throughout their endeavor. Ultimately, Tricia feels it is a privilege to work in the business of helping to create dreams come true.