I began the process with Zohra and Khelifa just about three years ago now and from the first conversation we were a wonderful match – everything just clicked. They were more a part of my family than some of my actual family. The plan was put into motion, dates were set! I was going to be implanted right around November 18th at the Sher Institute in Las Vegas by Dr. Sher. We had finalized everything except for one blood test. This one blood test was going to determine if Dr. Sher would implant the donor embryo so that I could be the Gestational Carrier. I was thinking this had been done previously with Dr. Virro and was a routine blood test so I wasn’t the least bit worried.
Then I received the call on Thursday at 4:30 from IARC letting me know they had received the call from Dr. Sher’s office indicating Khelifa and I had a “match”. There was one genetic marker in this blood test which matched making it nearly impossible for me to be their Surrogate. I was dumbfounded! I couldn’t even respond to IARC, I just sat there in silence. How after three years could we not know this? Why wasn’t this ever tested previously? What is going to happen now? Zohra and Khelifa have been trying for so long to have a baby and now they just encountered another road block in their ultimate goal. Why?!?
I could hear Titzania (my coordinator) on the telephone but the words she was saying to me really weren’t registering. She just kept asking how I felt and to say something to her. What could I say….the only words I was able to form was “this sucks!” Really? With my vocabulary all I could get out was “this sucks”? I was on the phone with her for nearly 45 minutes and couldn’t form complete sentences; everything that was rushing around in my head was coming out of my mouth only in what seemed like every fifth word. I don’t think I was making very much sense at all but in what I was saying and what the coordinator was saying here is the gist of the conversation:
Option A: Zohra and Khelifa can move forward with the Sher Institute using the Egg Donor that has already been chosen and meet her there in November. Have the eggs retrieved, fertilized and frozen for future use. They will then begin the process with IARC of choosing a new Surrogate to implant the newly frozen eggs into.
Option B: They can continue using me as a Surrogate not knowing whether or not this one genetic marker is actually the reason the previous two transfers were unsuccessful. We would not be able to use the Sher Institute because Dr. Sher is aware of the results from the blood work. Due to their combined age being over 100, they also would not be able to return to Toronto and use Dr. Virro (the Dr. we had been using previously). This would mean we would need to find another Dr. that would work with us based on their combined age being over 100, the results of the blood test and hope that the previous two transfers were unsuccessful just “because” instead of due to the results of the blood work.
How could I possibly choose the “best” option between these two choices? Of course I wanted to continue working with Zohra and Khelifa; they had become more of my family than some of my family, I had been working with them for so long, I knew how badly they wanted to have this baby and I felt I was the best person to work with them….we had this amazing connection. On the other hand – how could I be selfish and say “Pick me! Pick me!” when there was absolutely no certainty that one genetic marker matching Khelifa’s was or wasn’t the reason the previous two transfers didn’t work. What if they did find another Surrogate but didn’t feel the same towards her, what if she didn’t have the same relationship with the two of them as I? Would she remember to send them something at Christmas, remember to send them regular updates and emails? Would she send them pregnancy pictures and make a book detailing every aspect of the pregnancy so Zohra would have it for their child?
As much as I knew I was the perfect person to be their Surrogate and in my heart I knew they would never have the same relationship with another woman, I made the call to IARC and let them know my decision. It was so hard to do between my tears but I let them know…..If I needed to step aside so Zohra and Khelifa could have their ultimate goal of the healthy baby that they have been trying to have for so many years that I would graciously do so. Even knowing full well I was the person that in my heart was so perfect to carry their child.
IARC had a long conversation with Zohra and Khelifa letting them know their options and asked if they knew one way or another what they would like to do. I was told it was with a very heavy heart they choose to continue with the Sher Institute and will begin the process of searching for a new Surrogate. They felt the same as I, that I was so right to do this for them but they can’t take the chances of just not knowing if my being a match to Khelifa was the real reason the first two transfers didn’t work.
I was asked by my coordinator my parameters of being a Surrogate for someone else. My response was “someone exactly like Zohra and Khelifa. Someone that has been trying for MANY years to have a baby and not just a year or two. Someone very deserving and someone that really wants it because they will love the child….not just to make their resume look better.”
So…there you have it, the crappy news! Now, my “oven” is once again open for business! I guess we will see who the next intended parents are that choose to use my oven for their goods.