Some days I should just keep my mouth shut …

I have mentioned the fact that I have been thinking about surrogacy for some time and some of the background to that.

I discussed it with Kennith.  In reality he would prefer it if I did not pursue it. However he accepts that if the need/want in me is so strong  (I realise I sound like the short balding guy from Star Wars), he will support me.  However he wants to be sure that I proceed with caution and as little risk to me as possible.

Kennith feels I will fail the psychological analysis.  Sadly I agree with him.  That is probably where I will tick all the wrong blocks, and be overwhelmed with all the what if’s and starting blabbing on uncontrollably and crying and they will write “unsatisfactory” on their form.

I contacted some agencies.  I have been turned down due to the fact that I have had three c-sections, which puts me into a high/higher risk according to their “tick a block” list (sorry to sound a bit bitter, I’m also not feeling very well and struggling with insomnia, so I am not such a happy camper today).

Someone I met through a forum contacted me and said that she was dealing with a set of intended parents who were Johannesburg based.  They had a Cape Town based egg donor and would I be interested in speaking to them about the possibility of acting as a surrogate.

I was meant to meet with a couple this Friday, as they were going to be in Cape Town. It was really just a meet and greet, and to see what their expectations were and whether it aligned with what mine were – and maybe whether we potentially could see us working together.

I was really excited that finally there was some “progress” and someone wanted to talk about my uterus.  Go little uterus!!

Unfortunately they have not confirmed the appointment.  So I take it to mean that either they have cooled to me, or cooled to the idea, or there is possibly something else happening which they have not made me aware of.  I am quite disappointed actually.

Yesterday a private social worker contacted me – she was referred to me by a contact through my blog, who had acted as a surrogate before.

I spoke to the social worker and she was really great.  We had a lengthy discussion and I explained that I appear to be an “untouchable” based on my three c-sections – I wanted to blurt that out right at the start, so she knew what she was dealing with before she got too excited.

I also explained that I had gone to my OBGYN on Tuesday and he had confirmed that there was no pre-existing condition to exclude me from embarking on a 4th or even a 5th pregnancy.  He is a very cautious (and very experienced) OBGYN, so counseled me at length on the potential risks that I may face and we discussed the idea of surrogacy at length.

Strangely his comments were “Why do it?  You have nothing to prove.  It is not like you are doing it for a friend/sister/cousin – it would be for a stranger. Why would you want to do it?”

I really can’t argue with him – I do not know what my motivation is, so it is difficult to quantify or qualify it to someone else, let alone myself.  I just want to – and really that is it in a nutshell.

Maybe it is the simple act of charity.  Maybe it is the liberal ingestion of too much wine.

What if I get to do this, and for me it does not seem that huge in comparison to what other people have to endure to have a baby.

I am not naive enough to not comprehend that there are inherent risks.   I think I am fairly well read and well informed even for a novice.  I am not saying any pregnancy is easy.  Any pregnancy or procedure does carry a certain measure of risk – I do get that, I know stuff about this and do comprehend the risks.

Sure I prefer not to think of myself as dead, or with a ruptured uterus, but I understand that this is a possible outcome – which cannot be ascertained at the outset (as with any pregnancy).

I also grasp that there are potentially huge psychological costs and other factors at play here that may affect me, my family and my children in ways I cannot begin to  comprehend – I hear and understand that too.

That being said, if pregnancy is (relatively) easy for me and I am able to make peace with the baby I am carrying not being mine genetically, and I am willing to go through this to give a couple something they cannot have any other way, then why would I not consider it.

Imagine the power of that play it forward?

At least let me go through the process to see if it is something I can do.  I think I am a bit puzzled at people’s reaction.  They almost have a look of revulsion on their faces that I would consider this.  They start edging away from me in a she-has-leprosy sort of manner.

Is this  not what charity is about, the showing generosity of spirit to your fellow man/woman?

If you can do something to assist someone, why should you not?  And what is more generous that giving someone something that they yearn for more than life itself?

Why must we agree to nod and go “ag shame” but then walk away, why can’t we assist if we can and we feel strongly about it?

Last  night the subject came up in book/wine club – obviously I brought it up, it is not something that comes up by accident.

I realise that maybe I skate on the thin ice where angels fear to tread.  But my thinking is that everyone in bookclub is a mom, and  must understand the fierce love they have for their child and thus be able to make the leap of who it must feel to be that someone who is desperate for a child of their own, and who has literally moved heaven and earth to try to get there.

Maybe if they comprehend that, maybe they can empathise with how desperate it must be for someone not to experience that – through no fault of their own.

Being denied that basic human right and need – the right to procreate because of a stupid roll of the stupid dice.  Having the odds stacked against them which really seems so unfair beyond any measure of my comprehension.

At the same time I am not seeking approval from others.  I welcome healthy debate and am open to the idea that someone may have an opinion that makes me go, “shewie, never thought of that.”

I nearly sh*t in my pants when one of the girls made a statement first basically saying that infertiles need to “just relax” things will happen.

Listen, I am not an infertile, but even I took offense to that.

I nearly pooped a bit in my beige knickers right there!!

Of course years of fertility treatment, injection in the arse, the abdomen, being probed and proded, miscarriages, BFN and all the tears, clearly were in vain – they should have just relaxed.  I wish someone had told them before – wow, sometimes the answer is the simple one (insert sarcastic smiley face here!)

Then there was another comment basically saying that well if it is not meant to be, there must be a reason that God does not mean it to be (insert WTF smiley face here!)

If I had not actually had bits of poo escape from my anus before that, I think some did now!

I sat looking across the room at someone who has three healthy children, who knows how that feels to have your own children.

Who for all intense purposes is a lovely, warm, caring, loving person who lives what I would assume to be a good life and cares for others in the world. But here she sits and actually thinks that if you have unfortunate ovaries, or a uterus that just is not playing along, or your partner has unlucky sperm, you should just sit back and go “Oh well, God meant this to be, so there you are!”

Then does that mean God means it to be when a 12 year old girl is gang raped in a township on her way home from school, falls pregnant and decides to go into labour in the toilet and throw the baby in the dustbin, because she is so terrified and does not know what other choices she has?

Because if God meant that to be, then I think we all need to sit down and have a little talk.

People are so quick to use this blanket phrase of “things happen for a reason” and “it is God’s will” – I am not denying that many people love a bit of cliché to get then through troubled times, but seriously!

But I digress as my adrenaline level climbs.

The bottom line is, for now I think surrogacy is huge.  If I can I would like to act as a surrogate.

I spoke to the social worker and she said she would take my case to the Ethics Committee that meet in the first week of August.  They, it appears, have the final say.

If they say no, then well that is that, and I should just happily skip off in to the sunset and say something profound.  Odds are I won’t and I will be upset, but there is not much more I can do than I have done.

If they say yes, then I would have to first go to a nominated doctor who would do an exam and make a decision as to physically whether I would be approved to be considered to be a possible surrogate.  Of course at that point I would still have to go through the interviews and psychological screening and anything could happen there.

On the other hand, the ethics committee (I actually have no idea who they are – I am just saying it like I am familiar with them) really makes the decision as to whether I am a possible/potential/maybe candidate.

So there we are, now you know!

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14 Comments

  1. Sue

     /  July 30, 2010

    You are considering doing something for someone that would mean they could be blessed with a baby of their own. Bless your cotton socks for even thinking about doing it!

    Reply
  2. Kiki

     /  July 30, 2010

    This is such a thought provoking topic! I think it is really honourable of you and that if it is something that you want to look into and see if you can then no one should look down at you.

    We tried to fall pregnant for a over a year and had some complications and considered adoption and people also would look at us like we were mad and only give us the cons but at the end of the day it was us who didnt have the baby we so desired to have.

    And I believe that God is in control but that we are not to sit back and twiddle our thumbs and wait for him to provide. If I am retrenched and dont have a job and say God is in control but I dont look for another job then that is just stupid.

    Sorry I am waffling now but just wanted to let you know that what you are considering is amazing and if you can do it GOOD FOR YOU and the couple you can help!

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  July 30, 2010

      The issue right now is that an “ethics committee” decides my fate. They get to sit around a table and decide whether to let me go ahead or say a final “no.” I am not so sure I will be gracious when accepting the possible and more than likely final “no”. Instinctively I know that they will probably say no – however I also know surrogates who have had c-sections and have had 4. But at the end of the day I do not get to make the decision.

      However I feel I have been running around for so long to just get someone to listen to me, and to assist me in moving forward on this, that I am also a bit exhausted and also a bit frustrated that someone else gets to make the decision for me.

      I think that part that spurred my anger when having this conversation with my friends is just the archaic views held by some, and more importantly how they got to sit there with their healthy ovaries and mobile sperm, and think that others who want to children, should just relax or “trust in God” – the unfairness of it all, really sets me off.

      Reply
      • Kiki

         /  July 30, 2010

        From what I know about you, you love to be in control and are not one who likes to hurry up and wait for someone else to make a decision in their time!

        It is easy to say that people should be patient etc. when you are not in the situation. I think you have been reading about what others are going thru and the pain they feel when they cant conceive etc.

        Reply
  3. Tania

     /  July 30, 2010

    I say just do what you feel on your heart. Everyone else does not matter outside of your immediate family. People are different and have their own opinions and thoughts. I do too. This is not about me but about You and Your desire to help people in this manner.

    Reply
  4. Lynese

     /  July 29, 2010

    As an infertile, I am so grateful that there are empathetic, caring fertiles like you out there!
    I have heard all those stupid remarks too, and all it does is make you feel even more alienated, guilty and sad. This along with the rage that engulfs you because IT IS JUST NOT FAIR!
    Surrogacy is an incredible gift and the fact that you are considering it says so much about your heart.

    Reply
  5. Nicky

     /  July 29, 2010

    This is also a subject dear to my heart. When I was pregnant, I googled something, and came accross a website called alittlepregnant.com. It’s about this woman’s struggle for kids. From her site I just clicked on the links in her sidebar, and it was such an eye opener for me! so many people wanting kids, and not being able to have them….I spent so much time reading those blogs( from beggining to end, of course) and I realised that if I could help, I totally would. I’ve been toying with the idea of egg donation( surrogacy briefly crossed my mind, but I dont think I’m up for it) for some time now, but havent actually made my mind up yet- I too think I will fail the psychological test. Last week after church, one of the ladies who I never chat to, explained how desperately she has tried to concieve, since her marriage ten years ago, and no luck. She has an older daughter, but she has no kids with her current husband. Shes’ been for tests, etc- the only way she could do it was egg donation. After 6 years, they basically gave up, but the longing is still there.They had asked sister’s etc for a donation, but everyone refused.Being the idiot I am, I said, I would have given you an egg! And she was like ” I’ll keep tht in mind”. Shit. I dont think I could give an egg to someone who I will see in church every Sunday, no thanks. I could do it if it were anonymous, I think. Or I’d like to think.
    Also, on the relax bit- with my extensive reading on the subject, I’m fully aware that infertiles LOATHE AND DETEST when people tell them to relax. But there have been so many cases of people either adopting, or eventually succeeding in having a child, and then suddenly, they’r pregnant on their own. Do read Tertia.org. Tertia had a real struggle with infertility, and then after several dissapointments, she had twins with the help of I.V.F. A few years later, she is also mom to Max- he was conceived “the old fashioned way”, and she had a brilliant, easy pregnancy with him( as far as I can tell from reading her blog. ) These things do happen!
    Just remember, people who have no knowledge of infertility dont realise that “you should just relax” is not appropriate to say to infertiles. Because for every happy story of people “relaxing”, there are many that dont end that way.

    I say go for it, if this is something you really want to do, and in the meantime, I’ll try to russle up some courage to do the egg donation(anonymously!!!)

    Reply
  6. I only have one question. Are you absolutely sure that you don’t want to have another baby of your own?

    If the answer is yes then go for it.

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  July 30, 2010

      I think the short answer is that I am never sure of anything. I am sure that three children is enough for me – however going to the pap smear check-up and for that moment when he put KY on my abdomen and started having a look see – there was a big part of me that wanted to see a little bean with a heart beat. I realise it is ridiculous, and we can speak forever about why I am so obsessed with having children, and whether there is a hole I am trying to fill, and really does orange ever go with pink, but these are the questions – and I do not always have the answers. I also believe that I am fluid, and what I feel today, may not be what I feel next year as my influences change and also what I am exposed to affects how I feel about a subject.

      So the short answer is …. I don’t know….

      Reply
  7. Nisey

     /  July 29, 2010

    As an infertile i can conclude that those comments are the norm. My new favourite is now that you have a child (we’re adopting) you are bound to fall pregnant. Unless anyone’s heard of fallopian tubes regrowing like lizards tails that’s highly unlikely!!

    I think what you are doing is amazing – i personally never considered surrogacy but i know there are lots of desperate couples that need more people like you. the response to your pursuit makes me wonder how many others like you that regretfully don’t have skin as thick as a rhino are put off by the judegemental comments and opinions of others and end up not following their desire to surrogate?

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  July 29, 2010

      I honestly think that society at large is even stupider and more insensitive than even I gave them credit for – and I thought of them on a fairly low level.

      I was seriously annoyed last night – but you kind of sit there and think, you know everyone is entitled to their opinion, bigots and the village idiot too – but how in God’s green earth can you be so sanctimonious and so stupid to not think for a minute how it feels to be in someone else’s shoes.

      I really do not know what it is about IF that resonates with me. When I read posts and threads, I cry and laugh with them – sadly more crying than laughing. Their journeys and trials just strike a chord with me. I have no idea what it is about what IF go through that echoes with my soul. Maybe that I am some deranged IF-stalker person …. sigh …. see how I will fail psychological examinations!

      Reply
  8. I say “go for it”! There are so few people out there like you. I just wish I could do something like this but I’m not a suitable candidate because of me being overweight 😦 – Although I had two pregnancies without any problems and two healthy children

    Reply
    • reluctantmom

       /  July 29, 2010

      I think the issue right now is whether they (the mysterious) they – will allow me to do it.

      Surrogacy is so regulated that it has to have a court approve it before you even get started – so to get to that point you need to go through all the physical, psychological and other screening before you even get there.

      I think right now I just want to be “allowed” to go ahead and try and get through all of that.

      Reply
  9. Sharon

     /  July 29, 2010

    Right! I think I just had a little bit of poop escape my anus as I read this. The ignorance and arrogance of some “breeders” seriously infuriates me! My first reaction is – smug b*tch to say those things! Because clearly she was so far more deserving of a brood of children than us infertiles.

    I applaud you! Go for it! What you’re doing is a beautiful thing. The world needs to people like you!

    Reply

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