Why a Gestational Carrier / Surrogate is Not Right for Us

On multiple occasions in the last years, people have suggested we turn to a gestational carrier (GC)  to create our family. In many circumstances, we find this is suggested even before adoption.

I think most people have this fanciful idea that surrogacy is easy and affordable. Because, really, it sounds pretty straight forward. How hard is it to pull out a few eggs from me, introduce them to a few sperm from Mr. MPB in a cute little petri dish, and then gently place them inside another women?

News flash – IVF / surrogacy is hard! And it’s expensive!

See, as Canadians we cannot legally pay someone to be a GC. So, in addition to the costs of IVF which would be required to harvest my eggs and create the embroys, we would only pay their medical costs – i.e. the cost of the embryo transfers, medications, pregnancy care, etc. This means finding a GC is logistically a challenge locally. There are basically two options to finding a GC locally:

  1. Find a willing friend who just wants to be an amazing person and carry our child. Although we have received two “offers” in the last year from friends, both are probably unrealistic for a number of reasons including using their reproductive organs to carry their own children and their own unique medical challenges. Both of which would remove them from the list of realistic GCs. (We are truly blessed to have such friends in our lives, and am thankful for the love and support they have showed us).
  2. In a country where people are not typically motivated to be a surrogate for financial reasons, we could try to find someone who is.  But, they would have to agree to have all the financial payment stuff occur outside of the legal agreements – i.e. trust that we will actually pay them for carrying our child, when the legal documents will offer them absolutely no assurance that we will in fact pay them. Often payment happen by gifting the GC something at the end – i.e. a car. If this is the case, you are looking at an unofficial GC bill in the tens of thousands of dollars. I’m not really sure how you even find someone like this – put up an ad on Kijiji? Or take out a newspaper help wanted ad?

Or, we can go international and work with countries where it becomes possible to pay a GC. The top 3 countries that Canadians go to seem to be the USA, India and Thailand. Without travel costs appear to be at least $30,000, and even as high as $60,000 – $100,000 in some states (it is hard to get precise numbers without giving up all our personal and private data to online companies that I have not research enough to feel comfortable handing over our information to).  Oh, and going internationally also raises a lot of questions regarding the political stability of foreign nations – a quick 2 minute google on the situation of surrogacy/GC in Thailand since the country is now under military control should send anyone considering surrogacy/GC running given the upcoming laws outlawing the booming business. And India has a history of lower medical standards then we are used to in Canada.  These blunders are known to compromised the health of the mother during IVF, the GC during pregnancy and/or the baby before or after birth – we know someone who’s baby was born premature and they were unable to get the care in India that they could have received in a NICU in Canada.  This of course will result in long term negative consequences for their child. So, this leaves the USA as our next option.  While the USA has a great medical system for those who can afford it, we would be paying for everything out of pocket, without insurance of any sort.  This will not be affordable at all and thefore makes the USA the most expensive country.

Even if we did find a surrogate, either locally or internationally, we still have three significant hurdles in front of us:

  1. In addition to the surrogacy costs, GC requires that I undergo IVF, or we purchase donor eggs. So, yup, that’s another $15,000 for IVF locally using a clinic we no longer trust or an international clinic. Or $18,000 to get purchase donor eggs, again using a clinic we no longer trust or an international clinic. And given our history, we would absolutely be recommended to do PGD or CCS, so add another $20,000 to the bill. And then we would have all the costs associated with an FET using the GC. Suddenly, the cost of a GC are just as high as the costs of our anticipated treatment from Dr. B. (wow, that was a lot of acronyms).
  2. IVF does not always work – it is not a miracle cure for all things infertility. So, while Mr. MPB and I can create an embryo, and assuming we find ourselves a GC, IVF is no sure thing and does not guarantee us a child. What it means is that we will have another two week wait, another hope and potentially another devastating loss. The RPL cycle of hope and despair, is statistically likely to continue. Just this time, we will pay a small fortune to remove my toxic uterus from the equation. While it may work, we know all too well the intense hurt and emotional wreckage that a miscarriage leaves in its wake. Even the thought of losing another baby sends shivers down my spine as I recoil in fear. Honestly, I know in my heart, that I could not survive another loss right now. I simply cannot survive another one, and this in itself means we cannot go the route of GC.
  3. The idea of undergoing IVF right now scares the heck out of me. I know many women have gone through IVF in the past, and many

    more will in the future – and that’s great for those women. But, I don’t think it’s a viable option for me. I have no interest in putting my body through IVF. Remember, in two years my body has already gone through more then most.  My body has experienced 5 pregnancies and 5 miscarriages. My body has already gone through 2 D&C surgeries, (one which was a medically required termination/abortion) and multiple hellish cytotec/misoprostol treatments that did not go smoothly. My body has also gone through countless procedures and tests that I struggle to even keep track of anymore because the list is just so long.  And let’s not forget the mental health side of all of this.  Ultimately, my body no longer feels like my own, and I am currently working really hard to reclaim my body and put myself back together both emotionally and physically in a way that resembles a modified version of the old me (picture all the kinds horses and all the kings men trying to put me back together – it’s taking a lot of work). The idea of shooting myself up countless drugs to force my body to do something completely unnatural just doesn’t seem like the best idea right now.  I do realize that we could get around me doing IVF if we just use donor eggs, but honestly I don’t want to. This probably sounds horrible, but I don’t want to invest in an unsure thing (see point 2 above) when it won’t even be genetically ours. I’d rather take on the risks associated with adoption (i.e. health of the child due to risky birth mother behaviors) then to go ahead with a GC carrier using donor eggs and Mr. MBP’s sperm. Part of me feels as though I am taking away Mr. MPB’s ability to be a genetic father, but he seems to understand this and doesn’t appear to be hung up on the genetic composition of our child.

So, honestly, all of this is to say that people who can procreate like normal human beings do not understand the emotional or financial struggle that those of us who are attempting to create a child with multiple doctors and professional in the room with us.  There is nothing cheap or easy about using a GC. And right now, even if we remove the financial considerations from the equation, I just know I don’t have the strength and the mental stamina required to do invest myself in the GC route to creating our family.  We am not saying never, but right now as we start the adoption process we are absolutely saying not right now.

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42 Comments on “Why a Gestational Carrier / Surrogate is Not Right for Us

  1. I briefly looked into surrogacy as well and it took me all of about 10 minutes to tally up the costs and move on. So expensive.

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  2. I can totally understand this! J and I have had more than one person offer to be a surrogate for us, but it’s just not a road we want to go down. I could probably wrap my head around it eventually if we had to, but I don’t think that J could.

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  3. It’s great that you know exactly what you want, and exactly what you can and can’t handle. I think those are really hard things to figure it out, and some people never do. Only good can come from knowing yourself so well. It’s also going to make you an amazing mom. I’m so excited for your adoption adventure!

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  4. Wow, this is excellent! Seriously, you communicated this perfectly. I have had countless people ask and one close friend offer to be a GC. I just can’t take gambles like that. I love the idea of adoption. I think it’s great that you know what you want and you know why. Not that you should ever feel like you have to defend or justify your choices for choosing whatever you choose. XOX

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    • It’s amazing how so many people think surrogacy so easy to do. It’s also amazing how people think adoption is easy and affordable. Part of me is intrigued to see what people will say to us about both adoption and surrogacy when we start telling people in our real lives about our decision to adopt.
      (We have decided not to say a word to anyone in our real lives until about our decision to adopt until after we sit through the mandatory adoption seminar – we figure if we are going to change our minds that’s when we will do it).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Several weeks ago, I was in the car with my mom and she said, “Why don’t you guys just try a surrogate?” I practically choked. I asked her how much she thinks it costs to use a surrogate and she answered that her friend’s granddaughter gets paid about $15k. I had to remind her that you ALSO have to pay all medical expenses, etc. It seems people don’t think about that end. Minor detail! I love that you’re looking into adoption, and I’m really excited to learn more as you learn more!

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    • Your experience with your mom is just so true – people just assume surrogacy is an affordable and easy way to have a child. I guess we’ve all watched too many movies? 🙂

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  6. I absolutely love your “why or how” posts! As for feeling disconnected from your body, I can totally relate to that one right now. So many people don’t get how much infertility/RPL patients go through and that there are NO guarantees. I feel like I want a stamp that says that so I can stamp the forehead of anyone who asks me about our future plans. But then again, there would be NO GUARANTEES those people would “get it”. 🙂

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    • No Guarantees – you are so freaking right! I keep telling Mr. MPB that the only thing i am scared of now that we are heading down the adoption route is a fail adoption. There simply are no guarantees no matter what route people choose.

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  7. This all makes a lot of sense, sense that normal procreating people can’t understand. The suggestions from others to, “just do IVF, adopt, get a surrogate (they don’t even know the difference between surrogates and GCs) can be frustrating, even when we know they’re just trying to be helpful. I suppose if you see it on Oprah or the morning news, you’re an expert able to hand out helpful suggestions in unhelpful ways. 😉

    When I told my MIL that we were done and wouldn’t pursue a third baby, her instant response was, “if you want a third, you can just adopt.”. Like it was that easy, like picking out a winter coat. I said, “um no, we will not JUST adopt, which is insanely expensive. Not to mention that that’s like stealing a baby from someone who really CAN’T have a baby.”. Her response was, “there are plenty of babies who need families.”. Oh boy. Delusional. By her theory, I could have one under my Christmas tree this year if I just asked Santa nicely.

    I like this post for so many reasons. It is articulate and explains what isn’t easy about having a GC (like…everything!). And it explains why it’s not for everyone, especially you.

    Hugs!

    PS… I’ll ask Santa for a baby for you. 😉

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    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences – I so appreciate it.
      I love the comment that there are plenty of babies who need families – I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions out there about adoption. Honestly, there is an average 3 year waiting list for us to adopt locally – clearly there are not that many!
      I have family who adopted, but since they already had 3 children they had to go overseas as they would have had to wait years before they could have adopted a local child.
      Oh, I should ask Santa for a baby too! I think that sounds like a wonderful idea. (Although now all I can think about is how funny would it be to ask a mall santa that – first I’d have to go see a mall santa and second how awkward would that be for the mall santa). 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I just wrote a post about this last week. We are facing the same sort of dilemmas that you are. The idea of mortgaging our lives and depleting our savings for something that only has a 15% chance of working for us. Most people do not understand the struggle that most of us are facing. I have been told to give up my business and go get a 9-5 job with full benefits. I have been told that my reluctance to pay for IVF emotionally and physically is in direct correlation to my abilities to be a good parent. If I try, I will make a good mother. If I don’t, well then I probably won’t make a good mother. It is an isolated roller coaster.

    Here is my post.

    http://writerajharte.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/bye-buy-baby/

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    • Thank so much for sharing you post – I cannot believe someone actually told you your reluctance to pay for IVF is a direct correlation to your abilities to be a good parent. I completely hear you on everything you said in your post – there is an eventual end point, there just has to be for the sake of finances and emotional health.
      Thanks again, and i look forward to following your blog and seeing what’s in store for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nobody could accuse you of equivocating when it comes to this issue. 😉 A GC or surrogate is clearly a flat-out non-starter! Sounds like adoption feels like the better fit for growing your family. I wish only the best and much tenacity in your pursuit of that goal. I truly hope it helps your dream of raising children without bankrupting you (or raising your ire too completely!) come true.

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  10. I’m right with you on this one too. I just cannot see this as an option for my husband and I. Not even just the costs, but it’s just too much for me mentally. I also don’t feel comfortable with IVF right now. I might be there some day, but just not right now. I just feel like I’ve already been through so much. Thank you for sharing.

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    • It’s nice to know I’m not alone in all my thoughts! Thank you!
      As for IVF, we couldn’t justify it when there is absolutely no scientific evidence to say that it would reduce our chances of miscarriage, so it just didn’t make sense.

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  11. I’m so sorry surrogacy is not likely going to work either hon, but so glad it has made your decision to move forward with adoption that much clearer. I can’t help feeling that everything is aligning towards this being the right decision and I’m so hopeful it will bring you your family.

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  12. This is exactly how I am feeling at the moment (the humpty dumpty part)! I can see why a gc just simply isn’t a good option for you guys but I think adoption is looking good for you!

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    • Who knew one day I’d grow up to understand humpty dumpty in a whole new way!
      I’m sorry you too understand the feeling of needing to be put back together – hopefully we both make it happen. 🙂

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  13. I know that it is a hard decision that you are faced with. Try not to let anyone deter you from what you want to do. At least in my eyes whatever you decide to do is the right thing and I fully support your decision!

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  14. My husband and I had discussed this and I refused, not for money issue but for one principle I live by. I cannot in my right conscious having it done knowing i had done three IVFs and lost my baby. I would feel betrayed. I am so glad you had this resolved between you and your husband, and you two are in an agreement. Thanks for sharing this.

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