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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Career Crossroads

It has been months since I’ve written at length about my decision to leave my full-time, decently well-paying job. I left my job after my sick benefits ran out after our 4th miscarriage in May. After months of recommendations from my counsellor and family doctor Mr. MPB and I finally decided I needed to leave a very high stress job in which I was working 70+ hours a week. Combining our recurrent pregnancy loss with my job, I was burning out. I need to focus on my physical and emotional recovery from our 4 miscarriages. I needed to focus on providing the best chance possible for our next pregnancy.

We are in a very fortunate position in that we can afford for me to not be working. We made the decision to buy a house that we could afford on one income, and further e have both worked very hard for a number of years and have saving that made this an option for us.

But, here’s the thing, I never intended to be a stay-at-home mom, let alone my current state a stay-at-home dog mommy and wife.

There have been many things about this break that I have enjoyed, one of my favourites has been that I’m not waking up at 3am in a cold sweat due to some imminent work problem. I’ve been learning to sleep again. I have also been taking the time to search for meaningful moments of happiness. Truthfully though, I think my husband has probably enjoyed me not working the most – he has not stepped inside a grocery store in months, he has not been spending time loading and unloading the dishwasher, and he has not been cooking nearly as much. I have been cooking the vast majority of our meals, and some days in addition to making supper, I even make him breakfast and lunch!

While I have done a bit of private consulting in the last month, it has been sporadic at best and now as we transition from trying for one more healthy pregnancy to fully focusing on adoption, I feel as though I should be returning to some sort of more regular employment.

The problem is that I have no idea what I want to do! All I know right now, is that I spent 6 years in university achieving multiple degrees and 8 years working in a profession that I want out of! Shit.

So, what do I do?! How do I figure this out? It has taken me months to write on the topic of my professional challenges because I’m finding the entire topic very anxiety provoking – just thinking about this puts me into a state of slight panic, I can literally feel my heart rate increasing as I type this.

20141111 - Career CrossroadsI am afraid that I am going to end up going back to what I’ve been doing because it’s easy and I’m good at it, even though the work doesn’t excite me and the industry is slowly killing my spirit. And what if I cannot get a job I want in a different industry – it’s not particularly easy to change from one professional industry to another.  Then I’ll be forced back into the industry.

I’ve thought a lot about going back to school. But, I am afraid if I go back to school to get another master degree or even a PhD, I will be doing it simply to delay making a real decision about my professional future.

Honestly, I feel almost paralyzed by my fear. Fear that I’m going to take the wrong job, or fear that I’m going to make a big change and still not like what I am doing.

So, being a classic type-a personality who needs to control everything, months ago I decided if I’m going to do this, I need to do it right. So, I hired a career counsellor. I was told I should stay in my current profession because I’m good at it – yup, that was a waste of $1500. Okay, that was a little harsh. Truthfully, career counselling was able to help me articulate why I did not like my job and my profession. Which means I can now articulate what I am unwilling to do:

  1. I will not travel more than 2 nights a month. I used to travel 3-4 days a week, and I will not accept a job that requires this type of travel.
  2. I will not work for a company that does not share my moral compass and ethical values. I need a company that stands by its nicely written corporate philosophies in practice, not just as a marketing practice.
  3. I will not work more than 32 hours a week on a regular basis. I do not want a full time job, and more importantly I will not work 70+ hours a week on a regular basis. I understand that during intense short-term crunch times I may need to work more, and I’m okay with that.
  4. I will not work overtime without fair compensation. I expect to be compensated fairly for my time.
  5. Who I work with matters more then what I actually work on.

The career counsellor also helped me identify what skills I currently use that I really enjoy and what I need to be successful in my next adventure:

I am skilled at group facilitation and public engagement, and enjoy the challenges of ensuring respectful dialogue on controversial topics. I am also skilled at leading team and motivating individuals to achieve project goals and objectives. I am skilled at and enjoy strategic project management, and I thrive when there is variation in the projects as I like the excitement of new experiences and knowledge. When I find myself in uncharted territory, I like to research alternative case studies, trends and best practices to help determine the best course of action. When immersed in a project, my actions are well thought out and deliberate. I need space and time to develop the strategic approach to solve problems.

My strongest interests are people, writing, learning and perusing new adventures. I want to lead and contribute to teams and conversations where I learn as much as I teach and that are respectful of the unique perspectives of all participants. I need to feel that I am contributing to the greater good and making a positive contribution to the world.  

As a very social person, I need to work with collaborative teams, yet have a quiet workspace available for concentrated and focused activities. To further optimize my performance and be a good team member, I need a workspace that has natural light, is flexible in respect to my work hours and location and has a short daily commute. I require recognition in the form of time-in-lieu and quiet praise from those I work with.

Most importantly to be successful and healthy, I must hold true to my personal integrity and ethical convictions.

But, here’s the problem, while I have taken this break and met with a career counsellor, I still cannot identify what I actually want to do when I grow up! I am used to being able to sort through information and make an educated decision on what the best course of action is. Instead, I’m honestly lost and overwhelmed by it. It’s a strange feeling for me and I don’t know what to do about it.

Has anyone else been through a career crises? How did you figure out what to do?

Does anyone have any suggestions about possible industries I should look into? (note that i have intentionally not said what I currently do because I don’t want to constrain any possible ideas).

If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.

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