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Lin & Marc

New York

Topics: IVF, Reproductive Health, Surrogacy
Area of Life Affected: Family Relationships, Finances

Lin and Marc

Seems Like Science Fiction

When my husband Lin and I first talked about having a kid, it seemed more fantasy than reality. Mostly, it came up in the kinds of late-night talks where the quixotic and practical softly tussle it out, and in the morning you’re back to square one. But eventually we did get serious.

“It’s amazing, and forever will be, that we had access to a process that at first seemed more science fiction than family planning.”

We considered adoption, and after deciding against it, felt a little guilty. So many kids in need of homes, my conscience droned. But we wanted for at least one of us to be related biologically to the little whippersnapper – it’s true. Which left surrogacy, a topic as foreign to us as the ancient silk-weaving techniques of the Indian subcontinent.

So we started researching. And soon after a friend, out of the blue, offered to be our surrogate. It had come up over drinks, so we waited a while to see if it came up often, and soberly enough, to be considered real. It did, and then it didn’t, when she realized that she was fine with everything about the process – except the pregnancy. And really, who could blame her?

In looking into things, we quickly learned that traditional surrogacy, where the surrogate’s own eggs are fertilized in vitro with the sperm of a would-be father, was basically extinct in the US, having been replaced by the newer, shinier, and markedly more expensive process of gestational surrogacy, whereby embryos created from donor eggs and sperm from the bio-dad are transferred to a biologically unrelated “carrier” to ripen.

It was only by way of a ridiculously optimistic overview of our finances that we eventually opted in, and submersed ourselves in a process that, even in the best of circumstances can be wearying, as idiosyncrasies of biology, legality and personality converge to up the ante of what’s already a high-stakes affair. After a false start or two, we were lucky to be matched with our carrier, Jeanne (not her real name) within about 8 months – some wait much longer. And then my sister offered to donate her eggs to the effort, making her my eternal hero, and solving one of the thornier aspects of the parentage puzzle in a way that allowed both Lin and I to be related to our child.

Our carrier had a miscarriage after our first embryo transfer. It was early, about six weeks in, and not nearly as traumatic as it would have been a few months later. Still, it wasn’t fun, and we had to dust ourselves off before moving forward. A few weeks after the second transfer, Jeanne called to tell us she’d had some pretty heavy bleeding, and the writing on the wall was terrifying. She scheduled an emergency appointment at our IVF clinic outside of Boston for the next morning, and we made plans to attend. It was right after Hurricane Sandy, so I waited in line for 2 hours to gas up the car, only to have the station run out when I was a few yards away. We ended up getting on the train at Penn Station with about 45 seconds to spare, and made it out of Gotham.

In the ultrasound room the next morning, no one talked. Minutes like hours, and finally something on the screen, and then something else. She had not had another miscarriage. There were two embryos, both looking fine. Big, pent-up exhale. Seven months later, Jeanne gave birth to our twin sons, Max and Otis, in an eastern Connecticut delivery room. Several women friends had told me throughout the process that we’d forget the hardships once we’d reached the goal, and I have to agree that it’s mostly true.

It’s amazing, and forever will be, that we had access to a process that at first seemed more science fiction than family planning. And we are so grateful, to my sister and to Jeanne of course, but to doctors and counselors – and even lawyers! – who helped make our family a reality. And to the State of Connecticut, whose laws in relation to gestational surrogacy are among the best, most tested, and most reliably progressive in the country. We’ve been parents for 14 months now, and it was all possible because we had the option to pursue the reproductive technology that worked for us – which is pretty great. But enough about that; there are diapers to change.

Marc is a private chef and a contributor to The Huffington Post; his blog covering the surrogacy process from beginning to end is called The Junior Project. Lin is a video editor at a television production company. They live together with their sons, Max and Otis.

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