*Below is the e-mail that we sent to friends and family announcing our pregnancy. I got the idea (and borrowed some of the FAQs) from a post on www.surromomsonline.com
To the author of the original post, Thank you for the great idea :)
Friends and Family,
We have really wonderful news to share…we’re expecting a baby! Baby M------ will make his or her debut around late March/early April 2009!
Are you sitting down? Because this next piece of info may throw you for a loop….
I’m not pregnant, our surrogate is! And she lives in India!
We know that you may have questions so we put together a list of Baby M----- frequently asked questions.
Baby M----- FAQs
Q: Why are you using a surrogate?
A: Shortly after our wedding in July 2004, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. My treatment went well and I had a hysterectomy with preservation of my ovaries in September 2004. Since I have my ovaries I can produce eggs; however, because I no longer have a uterus I can’t carry a baby. I’m sure you all feel better now that you know my medical history.
Q: How did you get your baby into your surrogate’s womb?
A: We went through a cycle of in vitro fertilization or IVF. The IVF process begins with the hyper-stimulation of a woman’s ovaries to produce more than one egg in a cycle. After her eggs are deemed “mature” by her doctor, the eggs are then surgically removed from her ovaries and placed in a petri dish with her husband’s sperm. While in the petri dish, the sperm fertilizes one or more of the eggs, thus creating embryo(s). The embryos continue to mature in the petri dish for a few days, after which time the doctor transfers them to the woman’s uterus. For us, the only difference was in the last step. Since I no longer have a uterus, the doctor put our embryos into our surrogate’s uterus. While I was taking my IVF meds our surrogate was also taking meds to prepare her uterus to carry our baby.
Q: Is the baby related to both of you, or to the surrogate, or…?
A: The baby is as much our genetic child as if we had conceived him or her the old-fashioned way. Our baby is just being carried in someone else’s womb for nine months.
Q: What is you surrogate like? Why would she want to do this?
A: M, our surrogate is very kind. She has three children, and the money that she receives she will use to send her sons to school. The amount of money that she is making is the equivalent to ten years salary! That is a life-changing amount of money.
Q: Have you thought about adoption?
A: Adoption is a very long and complex process. A lot of people think that there are tons of babies sitting around waiting for good homes, but this is simply not true. It is a long and difficult process. We wanted to try surrogacy first and then move to adoption if it didn’t work.
Q: Why India?
A: I never in my whole life thought that I would ever go to India, much less make a baby in India. B and I spent the greater part of 2007 researching surrogacy here in the United States. We found that it is an extremely bureaucratic and expensive process. We knew that as a young couple, saving for a home, and paying down student loans, that our dream of having a baby through surrogacy here in the US might not happen. Because of this we started to research other options. I read an article online about American couples going to India for fertility treatments and surrogacy because of the simplicity and cost-effectiveness compared to the process in the U.S. At first, I thought they were insane. Then a few weeks later I was reading Marie Claire magazine and came across another article about American couples going to India for fertility treatments and surrogacy. I couldn’t believe it. Then Oprah aired a segment about surrogacy in India. Seriously, Oprah is like god in our country. She wouldn’t have someone on her show that wasn’t legit, especially after the James Frey incident. We started e-mailing clinics in early November of 2007. We decided that Dr. Patel, the doctor who was featured in both Marie Claire magazine and on Oprah was the doctor that we wanted to treat us. We chose her because of her high success rate (44%), and her first-class treatment of the surrogate mothers. She puts the surrogates first and ensures that these women are making the choice on their own to become surrogates. She has all of the surrogates live in a house with a maid, cook, and 24-hour access to healthcare. She also ensures that the money that the surrogates earn is used wisely – either to start small businesses, to buy homes, or to educate their children. We were put on a waitlist (250-300 people long at the time) and remained in contact with Dr. Patel. In May 2008, we found out that she had chosen dates for us! We travelled to India for treatment July 1 and returned home to the US on July 17.
Q: What if your surrogate doesn’t want to give you the baby?
A: She signed a contract, so she has no legal claim to the baby. Also, the baby will be turned over to us immediately after the birth.
Q: Will your baby be a US citizen?
A: Yes, our baby will be a US citizen. After our baby is born we will have to go to the US Consulate in Mumbai to obtain a US Passport for our baby.
Also, if you would like to follow our journey from beginning to end check out our blog:
T & B