Sunday, 28 February 2010
Well we're in the final stretch of our 2WW and i'm extremely nervous and apprehensive about tomorrow. This 2WW feels like its been the longest two weeks ever....I have wished it away but now it's nearly finished I just hope to god that it continues with positive news. We find out Monday around 12 p.m. Hong Kong time which is GMT +8. We've done all we can to make sure this pregnancy happens, even letting the little ones get to the blastocyst stage as we knew there was a risk that most of them wouldn't even make it to that stage. The SM has been taking all her injections regularly with supplements and we know her period is due tomorrow. So either way we will know tomorrow! She hasn't felt any different which I don't know is a good sign or not and it's quite difficult now not to feel negative as we are so far away from the SM. We're just praying for good news! The embryo's should of been transferred around the 12-15th Feb, but as the SM lining wasn't ready they allowed the embryo's to proceed to the blastocyst stage and they were eventually transferred on the 17th Feb. Although its only been 11 days since embryo transfer, it has been 16 days since the embryos were created, so hopefully they are growing nicely in their new home!! We'll post again tomorrow but would appreciate any positive energy or thoughts that come our way!! Fingers crossed x
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
To keep ourselves occupied, we have downloaded pictures of our Embryos, the first one is of 3 that were transferred to our surrogate on the 17th Feb and the other picture is of 3 Blastocyst embryo's that were frozen, and two that were too small and underdeveloped at that stage. We have a weekend of waiting to come, which wont be fun at all but Monday is soon here! If you don't know what a blastocyst is, I'll try and explain in a roundabout way......Are you seated comfortably??? :)
During normal conception the embryo doesn't normally reach the uterus until day four or five after fertilisation, and by delaying transfer, the blastocyst can be placed into the uterus at the same stage that it would arrive naturally. Usually only 30-50 percent of embryos grow to blastocyst stage, so by doing this process you are giving the embryos the best chance of development and also stop the chance of implanting embryos that would not have developed naturally. Still with us???
Hope that makes sense and you can work out what the pictures actually are. In the three that were transferred, the thinner layer around the outside eventually turns into the umbilical cord and the small group of cells becomes the baby! (everything crossed!) We'll update on Monday x
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Well, we're half way through the dreaded 2WW.....it feels like sometimes it's taking ages and at others going fast, we have 5 more days left and should hopefully hear on Monday. I feel like I can concentrate on nothing else at the minute and it's affecting my work at school. It's hard to concentrate when you want something so badly that you feel your head could explode at times! We can do no more than just wait and hold our breath! We heard off Amp yesterday who said the surrogate is doing well and still injecting to help the embryo's attach and grow.... Don't have much to say but thank you all for your love and support over the last few weeks, it means a lot to us to have your thoughts with us over this horrible wait. We'll update again on Monday so watch this space...keep everything crossed!!!
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Surrogate had another check-up on Monday, but her womb lining still wasn't ready. So the 11 embryo's we're allowed to culture to the blastocyst stage. Was worried that any other good quality embryo's other than the best three (for implant) might not be able to be frozen, but got told that with a different combination of chemicals, blastocyst embryo's CAN be frozen, although it does cost more.
Another check-up for the SM was scheduled for Wednesday (today). At 10am, 3 good quality blastocyst embryo's were transfered. We met Amp, the surrogacy agent early afternoon and received the following news:
From the original 11 good quality embryo's, by day five, 8 had progressed to blastocyst stage, but only 6 were good quality. So three have been transfered today, and the remaining 3 have been frozen.
Now the dreaded 12 day wait..... fingers EXTREMELY tightly crossed!!!!
Monday, 15 February 2010
This weekend was Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day, and everyone has disappeared. Information is very thin on the ground. There is probably not much news to give, but the wait is killing me!!!! I dread to think how awful and tense the 'two week wait' is going to be when the embryo's are finally transfered.
SM was scanned on Sunday, and her womb lining still isn't the desired thickness for embryo transfer. So more injections, and she will return to the hospital on Tuesday for another scan.
Still have 11 good embryos (as of Tuesday afternoon), so the hospital recommend allowing 4 to develop to the blastocyst stage, with a view to implant 3. The other 7 have now been frozen. This means that embryo implant will either take place tomorrow or Wednesday (day 5). Fingers very tightly crossed that the SM's wall lining will have been given every opportunity to develop to the desired thickness!!!
Going to the hospital tomorrow to meet the doctor, see where everything is at, and will probably go to the UK Consulate to enquire what documents I will need to issue any children born a UK passport.
Saturday, 13 February 2010
We selected our egg donor from a list sent from the agency about 2 months prior (we decided around Christmas time). This allowed the hospital and agency time to find a potential Surrogate Mother (SM from here on) and ensure that through medication, they could synchronize their periods.
During our first weekend in Bangkok, whilst donating sperm, the egg donor had 35 eggs extracted (yes, 35!!!!!!!!!!) at the same time. Of these, 23 were good quality according to the lab. After fertilizing these with the sperm on Friday 12th Feb, we was informed by email Saturday morning that we have 11 good quality embryo's developing, amazing news!
The hospital advise that we use three embryo's for implant, and we freeze the remaining 8 for further use if the first attempt is not successful.
According to the hospital, the SM had more injections on Friday to increase her wall thickness (it needs to be around 7mm) She will have another scan on Sunday (Valentine's Day) to see if she is ready. If she is, they will transfer the embryo's on Monday 15th.
We have been given the option to develop the 3 embryo's to the blastocyst stage. This means that the embryo will be more mature and potentially stronger (with 120 cells) than implanting an embryo at a lesser-developed stage (with maybe 8-16 cells). This costs an extra THB10,000, but might only be necessary if the SM's lining is not thick enough, allowing extra time for the wall to increase whilst maintaining the quality of the embryo's without freezing.
We are waiting for the hospital to get back to us tomorrow (Sunday 14th) to see what stage the SM is at, if she will be ready for embryo transfer on Monday, or if we have to wait a day or two more...
Arrived in Bangkok on February 11th, met Amp (a member of the agency staff) at the airport. Got to our hotel in the Silom area downtown about 11pm, and arranged to meet Amp at a local subway station at 8.30am next day, to get to the hospital at 9.30am
Regardless of the need for sleep, and to feel on top form in the morning, the need for a 'pint or two' to clam our apprehension quickly took over, and crawling into bed at 3am certainly didn't help waking up for a 8am alarm! Feeling a little bit rough, and disappointed that I didn't feel on top form, we got to the hospital at 9.30am.
We had to have a HIV and hepatitis tests, so we waited in the hospital cafe, drinking a coffee in 34 degree heat, in February, listening to Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas' waiting for the results... very surreal!!!
The dreaded sperm donation, led into a windowless room, not dissimilar to young offender's institution with off-putting straight Thai porn didn't really help create the right mood, but got the 'job done' and the container was swiftly passed to the laboratory and received with a surprisingly dignified bow and sense of ceremony, but much appreciated.
So far, surrogacy in Thailand cost's the following: (THB = Thai Baht)
Egg Donor Fee: THB90,000
Agency Fee: THB119,000
ICSI Treatment: THB170,000
Surrogate Mother's Pharmaceutical's : THB54,000
(This includes ultrasounds, medicines, hormone injections for the full term of the pregnancy and the preparation of the Egg Donor)
Surrogate Screening and Lab Fees: THB6,800
Initial Compensation for SM: THB15,000
(This is for maternity clothes after 3 months)
Miscellaneous Compensation for SM: THB17,000
This is for any missed employment, transport fees, doctors appointments, child care if needed
Surrogate Fee: THB221,000 (paid in 10 installments)
Multiple Birth: THB37,000 per additional child
Delivery: THB39,000 PLUS US$750 for C Section
Additional freezing of developed embryos:
Storage Container: THB15,000
(plus THB1,400 per embryo frozen)
Total: THB746,000.oo (not including cost of C-Section and freezing embryo's at THB1,400 each)
At todays exchange rate, this is approximately the following:
Great British Pounds: 14,327
Given that we live in Hong Kong, we was instantly attracted to the fact that Bangkok is just a 2 hour flight away. Although distance is not the 'deal breaker' it certainly helped knowing that we could visit at short notice whenever we liked, and at modest cost.
We compared Thai surrogacy to Indian surrogacy, as these are the most competitive in fees. We could not afford to work with surrogacy in the USA at all!
The costs of surrogacy in Thailand is fairly affordable, (a little cheaper than India) and unlike India, the compensation paid to the surrogate mother (at our particular agency) is paid in 10 equal installments.
In India, we was informed that the TOTAL surrogate compensation was due to be paid on first signs of a viable pregnancy (just the blood test, not the 12 week scan). This is by no means typical of all clinics in India, just the particular one we enquired with. We was advised of other clinics that have better fee plans/schedules, but our enquiries with Bangkok had reached the point of the whole process being very viable for us and almost ready for us to start, so we decided to make a firm commitment to work with Thailand.
Paying monthly installments makes the whole process more affordable from monthly salary, and removes one of the larger lump-sum payments in the initial stages!
The hospital is very modern, with good facilities, extremely nice staff and a general sense on visiting that all patients are treated with care and respect. There is absolutely nothing 'third world' about the hospital whatsoever, and it is certainly a much nicer place to be than most UK hospitals.
Thailand is an amazing country, and Bangkok, after the initial sense of being overwhelming always turns out to be a very relaxed, friendly and open minded city and a pleasure to visit. Thai egg donors and surrogate mothers also tend to be extremely healthy, with good diets, non-smokers, non-drinkers etc. We also discovered that the donors and surrogates tend to be introduced to the agency and hospital via 'friends-of-friends' and word of mouth. There is absolutely no feeling of it being exploitive, at least to us.
We are Adam and Michael, and have been in a relationship for nearly 11 years. We are from the UK, and both currently live and work in Hong Kong. We have wanted to raise our own family together for a number of years, and are currently using a surrogate mother in Thailand working with Synphaet (Ram) Hospital in Bangkok.
We have started this blog during the weekend of egg retrieval and fertilisation, but we are going to take you through the process and our experiences from the beginning and update daily from here. We found that there is an abundance of information on (gay) surrogacy in the US and India, and very little about the options available in Thailand. Although there are a huge number of concerns, anxieties, legal issues etc working in a country that is maybe not so established and transparent on the surrogacy map, we hope that our experiences will give insight to anyone else considering working with Thai surrogacy.
Hope you find this blog interesting and useful...
Adam and Michael