Tonight we sat down with family member and her husband to have an open and honest discussion about her being our gestational carrier.
One of the first major decisions was where we should have this conversation. We thought at first it might be good to go out for dinner so no one would have to cook/host, but quickly realized that wouldn’t work as this isn’t a conversation to have in public. I am pretty sure every table near us would have quickly become uncomfortable with the topic of conversations and the fact that at some point during the conversation I was pretty sure we all would be in tears. (We were, so good call there).
Having the conversation at our house would be difficult in that we are in the middle of a major home remodel and the house is a disaster. No one really wants drywall dust in their food, but in the middle of a remodel it is inevitable. I suspect that it probably isn’t very good for you, so we definitely do not want the vessel that will be carrying our child consuming it.
That leaves family members house. I felt bad about having them host, but in the end it worked out the best. I was a little worried about the kids being there. Our niece and nephew are already aware that family member may be carrying our baby – she has had conversations with them to make sure that the family is OK with her decision. That being said, they have the vanilla version of things and I knew we would be talking about some very adult topics – I didn’t want family member and her husband to have to answer questions later about things that they may not have been ready to discuss with young children. It worked out that the kids had a school event that night that the grandparents were able to cover.
It also worked out that we had wine. We had a lot to talk about, and not everything was “sunshine and rainbows”.
We started out by talking about family members decision process to be our gestational carrier. We needed to know that she had come to this decision knowing all the facts and on her own terms. GC is a wonderful and very optimistic person and this will be a tough and trying process. The last thing that I would ever want would be for some of her optimism to fade because of miscarriage or other setbacks that could be a real possibility.
We also needed to know that family member's husband was OK with this decision. This also very greatly impacts him. His wife will be pregnant with someone else’s child and will giving that child away at the end of the pregnancy. His wife will go through all of the ups and downs of pregnancy for none of the benefit. With any pregnancy there is always a risk (however small) that there could be complications and that his wife may no longer be able to have children. Is he OK with these risks?
The feeling of the family are also a very important factor. Our niece and nephew are going to watch their mother carry a child that will not be their sibling. In our case there will always be a relationship, but it is still not quite the same. Mark’s parents have been nothing but supportive, which is also extremely important. This situation could drive a family apart if everyone is not on the same page. This would have been an issue with my family member being our gestational carrier. While it was a disappointment that didn’t end up working out, it may have also been a blessing.
I then expressed how grateful I was to be given such a special gift. I talked about how it was a process for me to accept this gift, and how deep down I felt that I may not be worthy of it.
By this time everyone was in tears.
Once we got out stuff together again, it was time to have the difficult discussions. I had brought an example gestational carrier contract with for us to go through the terms together – it was 30 pages. We needed to discuss everything from the number of transfer attempts and the number of embryos transferred each attempt to termination in the event of birth defects to coverage of medical costs to compensation for services.
It was a very heavy but very necessary conversation. Our clinic (as do most clinics) requires us to have a binding legal gestational carrier contract executed by the intended parents, the gestational carrier and her spouse. Gestational Surrogacy is a complicated process that is filled with emotion. All parties need to discuss all possibilities and facets of the arrangement and process up front and without emotion.
We had sent the contract over to family member and her husband earlier so that they had time to digest and discuss. The good news was that we were already on the same page for most of the matters and were on the same page for the more difficult ones. It was really just a matter of making some more minor decisions together.
After all of that we had more wine. The wine was a good idea. Cheers to the beginning of a beautiful journey together.