An Article, a Friend: Two Stories of Hope via Third-party Reproduction

I've often talked about the close bond that form despite the great challenges that we face in the infertile community. Some of those bonds break past the anonymity of chat rooms/blogs and flourish into real life friendships. Well, such a friendship was formed between my friend Sunshine and me.

Whether it's the years of trying, the losses or the countless invasive procedures, each of our journeys are painful and emotionally debilitating ones. Well, of everyone I know, my friend Sunshine has been through hell. Pure, unforgiving hell. You only have to glance at her infertility journey recap page to get the picture.

Beyond the numbers and figures, I see the true image of a determined soul who never completely gave into despair and always fought through the blizzard (both figuratively and literally) to finally hold two babies in her arms.

This last chapter of her IF journey introduced us to one other pivotal character -- a gestational carrier named Kelly. She has proven to be the most benevolent and dedicated carrier one could hope for. I read each of Sunshine's entries with great interest and admiration. The decision and experience of going through a gestational carrier was a very rewarding one, and one that has resulted in the births of twins.

I feel the need to point out that not all experiences with carriers are as affable and yield such exceptional outcomes. Stories of carriers who take the money and vanish; carriers who sue the parents to get the child back; carriers who smoke and drink during the pregnancy. Like all diverged paths to parenthood, the one of third-party reproduction can be fraught with challenges.

There must have been something in the infertile air, because on the same weekend that Sunshine announced that her little miracles were finally here, I came across this article in The New York Times Magazine: "Meet the Twiblings" by Melanie Therstrom.

After undergoing infertility treatments, Therstrom and her husband decided to turn to third-party reproduction options. They opted for an egg donor and for the embryos (donor egg + Therstrom's husband's sperm) to be transferred to two gestational carriers. The babies were born just days apart. It is a fascinating and thought provoking journey. And like all infertility stories, there were many expressions of the loss of hope, the coping mechanisms and the retrospective look on the journey that resonated with me and I believe will resonate with you as well -- the common threads that connect us all.

Here, a few highlights from the article:

"For many couples, the most crushing aspect of fertility treatment is not all the early morning blood-draws but the haunting feeling that the universe is telling them that their union is not — in a spiritual, as well as a biological, sense — fruitful."


"We were careful to refer to the fetuses as the “drafts” rather than our chosen names to remind ourselves that they were notes toward the children we wanted, but if they died, they were just beginnings like all the embryos had been, and we would start again."

"Plan A — making babies with the tools you have around the house, as they say, the fun, free tools — faded into the background, and Plan B became foreground. I can count the ways Plan B is a less-desirable way to have children — the route seems to take you off the edge of the world and into the land of scrolly dragons. But when you actually go there, the map shifts. The brain’s ability to rewrite — to destinize, as it were — the birth story and turn a barn into a manger is so powerful that Plan B, all its unsexiness notwithstanding, became the best plan, because Plan B created the children that we have and are convinced we had to have."


 
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