Nothing much has changed in our day-to-day lives since we've made our decision to look for a gestational surrogate. Honestly, for my husband, nothing has changed. I'm, perhaps, a bit more hopeful...most of the time.
If a friend or family member would volunteer, this might be a lot easier. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened yet. Several people have said that they would if they could...which is extremely nice of them. Of course the fact remains that for various reasons, I don't think any of them will be able to help us out. Some of them live in states where it would be too difficult. Some have had pregnancy or other medical issues that would preclude them. (For example, my friend with the autistic son has said that she would do it if she could...however since her child's autism is probably the result of in utero exposure to the epilepsy medication that she takes, not so much)
Mr. W still really wants it to work out this way, and if I'm being honest, so do I. I don't want to have to seek someone out. Not really. I have trust issues in general and I would just find it so much more comforting to not have to establish that level of trust with someone that I don't already know. As a mother of a 2 year old who has never left her child with a babysitter or in the church nursery...well, I just don't know how to make myself alright with letting someone in on something so very delicate.
I'm trying to be a realist. It likely isn't going to work out that way. If we are going to do this, we are going to have to seek someone out. I've looked at agencies, I've looked at ads on surrogate websites. I've read through countless threads on message boards. Mr. W and I understand that this is going to be an expensive undertaking (even if we were to work with a friend we would be paying all of the medical expenses in addition to financial compensation for our friend). I do, however, have some problems with what I'm finding.
First, I'm being turned off to a lot of people rather quickly. Call me a snob, say what you will -- I simply cannot handle reading ads that begin "Thank you for reading my add." It is an ad, not an add. Incorrect spelling is a big deal for me, apparently. (Compleat? Seriously? NO!) I don't know why I'm so disturbed by ads and message board posts with bad spelling and grammar, but I am. I find myself not taking these women seriously.
I know that's not the way to look at things. Knowing the correct spelling of a word or how to use it properly has nothing to do with the ability to gestate a human being. It says nothing about the love and caring that a person could have in their heart. And yet I have such a hard time getting past it.
My next big problem is the expense. I found a woman who is looking to be a first time GS who had posted several times and I just liked the way her posts read. She had linked to her web site in one post and I read her blog. I still liked her. Then I read her list of what she expects in compensation.
I'm completely fine with a lot of it. Perhaps most of it. But then I just hit a mental roadblock. I'm not naming names or posting links, and from what I'm reading she isn't asking for more than what others are asking for, so I feel alright listing her fees and where I'm at in my thinking.
As her base compensation she wants $20,000 paid out over 10 months. If a multiple pregnancy occurs, that becomes $25,000. So far I'm completely ok with this. It's a lot of money, but it's well within the norm as I'm reading things. Quite honestly, it's much less than what I would be paying if I went through an agency. I don't like that there is an additional fee for multiples and hadn't really planned to offer that to a friend -- maybe because I'm looking at the compensation as a number that would be agreed upon with the understanding that a resulting pregnancy could be a singleton or twins. Further, I think that if you're saying you would not undergo a selective reduction, you shouldn't really say "but I will want more money from you for carrying more babies." I'm not saying that I would want to reduce from twins to a single baby -- I absolutely wouldn't. I'm just saying that if a carrier is saying that they would not reduce that it's a bit unfair to say that the intended parents should then pay them more for something they may not want to have happen in the first place. (I know, I know...if that's a problem for an intended parent, find another carrier). Honestly, this isn't even a problem for me, it's just the general feeling of it being unfair that I find unsettling. I can't help it. I'm one of those people -- I get all fired up over perceived injustices that have nothing to do with me. I can't help it. It's just who I am.
Ok. So I don't like that the compensation changes, but I get that it has to -- seriously, you can't expect to gestate higher order multiples and have the same easy pregnancy as with a singleton. Maybe my problem is that the extra money kicks in with twins which is not on the same scale of issues as triplets or quads or *my head just exploded thinking of larger numbers of newborns than that*.
I expect to give a couple hundred dollars for maternity clothes. In my ideal world, I'd go skipping through the maternity section hand in hand with my surrogate trying on clothes and just buy them for her. So the fact that she's asking for a $500 clothing allowance is no big deal to me. Not at all. She needs to wear clothing. I get it. In a perfect world, it wouldn't be a dollar amount. In my perfect world, we'd just go shopping together and we would buy the clothes that she needs. It might be more, it might be less. It really wouldn't matter. Since that wouldn't be likely to happen, a set amount of money for her to use on clothing is fine. (I would, however, have a problem with paying that money if I found out that she used it for anything other than maternity clothing. Perhaps I'd be more comfortable with giving her a gift card to a maternity store in that amount.)
Now come the expenses that I'm really not sure that I agree with. A $250 mock cycle fee. A $750 transfer fee. $250 for any dropped or cancelled cycles. $750 for "invasive procedures." $225 monthly expenses allowance (which is supposed to include insurance premiums). $3,000 c-section fee.
I don't understand those extras. I just don't. I don't see how you can agree to carry a child for someone else, knowing that IVF is required to do so...and still expect they will give you extra money for the actual transfer? Isn't that part of what you were agreeing to do in the outset? Why is that an "extra"??? It's kind of the most important part and the reason I'm willing to compensate so much for carrying my child is that it is my child being transferred! And while I haven't personally undergone an IVF cycle, I do understand that a mock cycle is pretty common, so again -- why the extra money there?
Can someone explain to me why those extras are extras? I'm fully aware that I'm going to be paying all of the medical expenses. I don't know that I should be responsible for paying her monthly insurance payments (why am I responsible for keeping her insured -- I understand I'm responsible for the expenses incurred as a result of the pregnancy, but she would be paying to have insurance whether she was carrying my baby or not!).
What are your thoughts on all of this?