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Infertility, Surrogacy and Adoptions: Oh My!

a blog by Jamie Pursley, March 21, 2012

Ninety-one days goes by a lot faster than you realize. It was December 14, 2011 when everything happened.

I remember like it was yesterday — our very first prenatal appointment and the first time I laid eyes on my precious baby. Parallel with that incredible memory, I also remember the first time I’ve ever physically felt my heart stop. I was told I had a “bicornuate uterus,” and I was told that I shouldn’t worry about it.

Big mistake.

Had the words “don’t worry about it” not had been mentioned, I probably would have been OK. I knew something wasn’t right from that moment, and I was proven right four months later when my uterus ruptured causing me to lose my unborn son and my uterus. A partial hysterectomy at 27 years old isn’t fair, but nothing in life is.

Immediately, being the people my husband and I are, we began planning our attack on this issue called “infertility.” No label will stop me from having children, and just to prove life wrong, I’m going to help other women defeat this, too! I’m a little stubborn when it comes to being told no, so we had a plan before we even left the hospital.

We had no idea what would be proposed by my wonderful cousin who wished to carry a child for us. The words “I will be your surrogate” are now the sweetest words I have ever heard. Through the local attention of what happened to us via our foundation, the Robert William Foundation (named after our precious son), we began raising money immediately to help cover the costs of this fertility treatment process, which our insurance does not provide for in our policy.

Fearing the worst, we entered our first appointment at Carolinas Medical Center's (CMC) Women’s Institute in Charlotte, N.C., and received our first quote: it would cost around $20,000 for our in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle, fertility drugs, and embryo transfer. Then another $6,000 for the attorney fees was added to that, preliminarily totaling $26,000. While we thankfully will not have to provide a paycheck to our surrogate (most surrogates earn a hefty paycheck — anywhere from $20-$40,000), we still will cover her travel costs and maternity clothes. So, $30,000 and a year later, we will hopefully be expecting our first child.

But, it might not be that simple. We have so many questions: What happens if the embryo transfer doesn’t hold? How is the baby affected when it’s made up of our genes, but growing from an entirely different blood supply from the surrogate? There are so many questions that come up and shatter the black-and-white image of a surrogate carrying your child for you.

We have decided to meet with the REACH clinic in Charlotte as well, which is the only clinic in the area that offers financing for IVF costs. We are comfortable at the CMC clinic, but feel like we should explore all options before deciding on where to have the procedure. It’s more than just “shopping” for a fertility doctor, it’s finding a fit and a match that the couple feels comfortable with and trusts. When you want a baby, you will do anything to get it; when you lose a baby, you will do everything short of driving to the moon. You spend sleepless nights researching and comparing, and finally you decide that the best way to make the decision is to start the process.

So here we go, and the first step is to decide where our fertility “home” will be.

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