The Off-Site Bakery: Two Chairs


Hello, friends. Continued frustration at the recent, potentially permanent, stall in our gestational surrogacy process has crushed me this week. I have lost sleep, lost peace, and sometimes felt at risk of losing my mind.

And so, needing to take back some semblance of power in this situation, I have done one of the things I do best: write. The following is a letter that will be going to the person responsible for our recent setback. A copy will also be headed to Dr. Miracle (to keep him in the loop), to the department of patient advocacy, and to the Minister of Health.

 

September 17, 2016

Dear Person in Charge:

We have never met, but there are facts about my family you must know when you make decisions that impact us so profoundly.

There is a bedroom in our house where no one sleeps; it is a room I can barely force myself to enter these days. In the room are two rocking chairs.

One chair, tiny, rustic, and handmade, my father built for me when I was a little girl. It was a Christmas gift, and I suspect he made it in a year where our family budget leaned more toward gifts handmade with love than expensive items from the store. His intention has always been that my children would rock in the little brown chair one day, as I did when I was small.

The second chair was a recent gift from my husband’s side of the family. It was painted ivory many years ago but the finish has worn from decades of loving use. This is the chair my mother-in-law was rocked in as a baby, and where my husband was also rocked by his grandmother as an infant. We were given the chair when we successfully finished our IVF cycle this spring, when it seemed truly possible that we were finally moving along the path to parenthood.

My husband married me in 2012 knowing I would never bear our children. My hysterectomy nearly nine years ago, has, however, never stopped us from dreaming that we might one day find someone to carry our child. In spite of what we were told were nearly insurmountable odds, we worked together to find a gestational carrier, and, with Dr. Miracle and using in vitro fertilization, to create fifteen beautiful embryos, tiny hopes, for our surrogate to grow on our behalf.

This process so far has been emotionally, physically, and financially demanding, but we remain tenacious, a couple who believes we deserve to be parents. Forcing us to transfer to a private clinic instead of continuing our gestational surrogacy process where it has begun would place multiple undue, unjust burdens on us.

We have formed trust and confidence in Dr. Miracle and the excellent staff at his clinic: starting again with a new reproductive endocrinologist would be unnecessarily stressful at a time when we are already remarkably strained emotionally.

Moving to a private clinic would also necessitate additional testing, appointments, and time away from work for our amazing surrogate, who has already blessed us with so much of her time and energy. We wish to honour her by not requiring she invest more in preparing for our pregnancy than she already has.

Continued delays in the approval process to move forward increase the risk that our surrogate will no longer be able to help us. As we have been told many times, the greatest risk impacting gestational surrogacy arrangements is the loss of the carrier, a hazard that increases with each month we are delayed and weighs profoundly on our minds.

Additionally, the costs associated with completing our gestational surrogacy at a private clinic are at least quadruple what it would cost us out of pocket to continue with Dr. Miracle through the public clinic. We are ordinary people with a limited budget. The prohibitive increase in costs at the private fertility clinics would severely impact our family, and could prevent us from having a baby at all.

The distinction between us and most couples seeking support with infertility is the absence of a uterus. For most couples hoping to become a family, the odds of becoming pregnant are stated as a percentage. Our percentage is zero. We are not going to be wonderfully surprised with an improbable pregnancy. My husband and I are simply never going to have a biological child without the blessing of gestational surrogacy, a process that cannot move forward without your approval.

We feel emphatically that forcing a woman who cannot carry her own child to rely on the services of private fertility clinics is unethical and discriminatory. For any other infertility need, we could find support and hope through the public fertility clinic. Equitable provisions must exist within public health care for couples like us who do not fall within the common reaches of infertility treatment.

The bedroom in our house that holds two rocking chairs and all of our dwindling hopes is reserved for a child that we deeply long for, the tiny person we and so many around us pray for and continue to look forward to meeting. While the surrogacy process was going positively, while we were taking steps forward, we referred to this bedroom as “the baby’s room.” At this time, it has simply become “the empty room,” a symbol of our frustration and growing despair.

For these reasons, and due to our longing for a child that cannot be judiciously expressed in words, we urge you to reconsider your decision and allow our gestational surrogacy to continue as planned with Dr. Miracle’s assistance at the public clinic.

Respectfully,

 

Kay and The Electrician

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