In 2018, we decided we were ready to start a family. We naively planned for an immediate pregnancy and 9 months later- a baby! But that is not at all how things progressed. Long story, very short, we landed at an IVF clinic where we were diagnosed with a mess of male and female infertility after about 6 months of trying to conceive naturally. The reason we advanced to an IVF clinic so quickly was because of a misdiagnosis, which was heartbreaking but we actually look at it as a blessing because it lead us to uncover many other issues that would hinder us from conceiving naturally. Our world came crashing down around us, we leaned hard on family and friends and even harder on each other- we buckled down and started a non-stop process of IVF cycles and transfers- it became our entire life and our identity. Every ounce of our time and mental capacity was dedicated to IVF and searching for our miracle. We were not at all prepared for the toll it would and still does take on us. There were countless procedures, surgeries, needles, pills, and doctor appointments that left us broken, but through it all, we remained determined.
On April 28, 2020 our daughter was transferred. We had so much heartbreak leading up to that day, we had been here before, in the same room, same procedure, and it never had a good outcome. But she stuck, she grew, and slowly we allowed ourselves to imagine a life with our baby we had dreamed of for SO long.
Around 20 weeks Chelsea started experiencing complications and at 29 weeks we were admitted to the hospital for severe preeclampsia. Lillian (Lilly) was born via emergency c-section at 31 weeks on November 15, 2020; she is truly a miracle. It was the most terrifying experience we will ever go through but our little girl is a fighter, we are in awe of her every single day. We spent a heartbreaking 6.5 weeks in the NICU but are so thankful for the amazing nurses and doctors that supported us and took care of our baby. We celebrated our first Thanksgiving and Christmas as a family of 3 in the hospital and made each day as special as possible for Lilly until we were able to bring her home.
It wasn’t long after Lilly’s birth that we started to have conversations about future children with our medical team. We met with different doctors that have worked with us over the years and everyone has agreed it is unsafe for Chelsea to carry any future children. This was earth shattering to us- we hate to admit it but we constantly find ourselves asking why us? Haven’t we been through enough? But then we have to remind ourselves we are SO blessed in so many ways, we have SO much to be thankful for and we will get through this just as we have gotten through all of the hard times leading up to this moment.
So now we are here. We are dedicated to building our family and we will do anything to give Lilly a sibling. We have heard so many amazing stories of surrogacy and we look at it as not only building our family with our child but building our family with another family. We know whoever carries our next child is going to be a gift sent from God and that person will give us the greatest gift of a lifetime.
Our biggest joy in life is our daughter- spending time with her is the brightest part of each and every day. We enjoy going to the beach, going on walks, traveling, spending time with friends and family and binging a good show! We love the holiday season and spend it with both sides of our family. Our 6 year old Goldendoodle, Sulley, is the best big brother- his favorite hobbies include running on the beach, snuggling on the couch and playing with his numerous toys.
- Location: Virginia Beach
- Number of embryos: 2
- Agency: Circle Surrogacy
- Surrogate Compensation: Medium
The Biggest Ask Says
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine provides the following recommendations for evaluation of gestational carriers (i.e., many fertility clinics will require the following for their gestational carriers) :
- Carried at least 1 child without complications
- Fewer than 3 deliveries via c-section
- Body mass index in between 19 and 32
- No smoking, abusing drugs, alcohol or prescription medications
- Not receiving welfare, public housing or cash assistance from the government
- Has a stable home life with emotional and child care support
- No mental health conditions requiring the use of medications within the last 6 months (including depression)
- No criminal record
No one likes to talk about surrogate compensation, but it is an important factor in any surrogacy agreement. The following is how we classify high, medium and low compensation (excluding the value of any benefits). Many factors affect surrogate compensation including surrogate experience (e.g., has the woman been a surrogate before?), whether the surrogate is signed up with an agency and surrogate preferences.
- Low = surrogate compensation less than $20,000
- Medium = surrogate compensation between $20,000 and $40,000
- High = surrogate compensation greater than $40,000