Every Adventure Requires a First Step

Krystal and I have spent a lot of time soul searching on what the best pathway was for us when creating our family. For awhile we choose IUI, mostly for financial reasons. After many conversations, tears, and budget spreadsheets we have decided to begin the process of Reciprocal IVF. (If you need a reminder of what exactly that is, check out this post.) What this means for us is that we will use Krystal’s egg with a donor sperm to implant an embryo that will *hopefully* result in pregnancy which I will carry.

As you can imagine this was a hard decision and one that we both feel despite the financial implication is the right path for our family. It is the path that allows us both a part in the creation and gives us each a unique connection to our child.

So what’s the next step in this adventure?

We contacted RMA and there were a few things we needed to do.

  1. Get updated Infectious Diseases labs for each of us
  2. I (Madi) will need a Saline Ultrasound/Mock
  3. Have a session with their resident counselor
  4. Begin the legal process

We were able to get our labs done locally, hassle free and covered by insurance so it only ended up costing us about $20 each.

I went for my ultrasound and came back with a perfect bill of health. My uterus is healthy and normal. The mock, which is basically them inserting the same tube that they will insert for the transfer was very smooth and went off without a hitch. So all good reports!

With any medical procedure there is more than just a physical impact there is also a mental impact. Because of this RMA requires that you have a session with the resident counselor before starting any fertility treatments. This was our second session with Mayu (we had one at the beginning of this process). She definitely asks questions we hadn’t thought about as well as provide us with resources and expectations on how the process will go.

The legal process is a little different from IUI. In addition to a second-parent adoption, we will also have to complete a Reciprocal IVF Agreement. This basically states that Krystal, although she is donating an egg, is not intended to be a donor but a parent. It also states that although I will be a gestational carrier I am not acting merely as a surrogate but as a parent. Once the pregnancy is further along we can begin the second-parent adoption process for BOTH of us to legally adopt the child and be considered by the state as a legal parent (even though it is biologically Krystal’s child and she will be listed on the birth certificate as well as myself). We are working with Christina Molitor and so far we have been very pleased with her services.

After reading this 11 page agreement, I was incredibly sad. The agreement outlines everything from Krystal being present in the delivery room, her name being on the birth certificate, her presence in the appointments. Even what should happen to the eggs, embroys before and after implantation should we be seperated or divorced. It’s sad because these statements are what a doctor’s office needs to grant our relationship (or transactions) validity. Do these same requirements hold true for heterosexual couples? We just need to remember that this is for the safety, security and stability of our child and not our own comfort.

Since signing we have completed our education modules that outline the process of IVF, which was super informative. I would have loved to have this a lot earlier on in the process! We have purchased sperm. Krystal has also started on birth control to suppress her cycle and prepare for hormone injections which we will begin in the next couple of weeks.

We are extremely excited about this next step in our marriage and we look forward to sharing this journey with you!

One Year of Happily Ever After: Part 1

Before we get into all the mushy stuff of celebrating our anniversary lets re-cap our first year of marriage with a few of the highlights.

Capture

We celebrated a weekend early by taking a road trip to San Antonio. We splurged and stayed at La Cantera Resort & Spa and adventured at some tourist spots that we hadn’t been to.

Krystal and I have made it a goal in our first year of marriage to branch out, go on adventures together, and just generally do fun stuff. Since we are typically boring home bodies sometimes this is a stretch for us. We had a blast having new adventures in San Antonio, some we hadn’t experienced in years and some brand new.

We are adults so the is a perfectly acceptable breakfast. Don’t judge us!

I hadn’t been to the Tower of America’s in years and Krystal had never been. And the opposite was true for the boat rides on the Riverwalk so we become tourist Sunday morning.

Krystal would like me to state that I didn’t not take her to the zoo… in the 60 degree weather. Also, I was an extreme tourist with my new selfie-stick that drove Krystal insane but at the end of the trip approved she the purchase. I will say it is pretty bad ass and worth the money if you are searching for the perfect one. I can’t wait to use it in Cancun and it will come in handy on trips that are just us two.

 

5 Tips to Changing to Cruelty-Free Products

Over the past several months I have begun the process of changing a variety of our household, beauty, and skincare products to Cruelty-Free products. In addition to searching for cruelty-free I also tend to gravitate towards vegan/all natural products merely … Continue reading

“united by love and some very expensive semen”

Quite a catchy title huh? I read that in “Confessions of the Other Mother” a book I recommended a couple of posts back. Although it is humorous it also rings really true. Unfortunately for us, all the love in the world isn’t going to create a child. Science has not gotten that far. So we need sperm. Lots of very expensive sperm.

How does one go about purchasing sperm you ask. Well…first we needed to figure out what kind of sperm we needed. We needed to check our lab work so our genes combined with the donors wouldn’t create any health defects. Thankfully we can use any sperm donor with no restrictions. Now it just depends on the method in which we want to conceive.

Types of Sperm:

If we were to do an ICI we would purchase ICI sperm. This sperm is washed once to remove basically everything that isn’t semen. It is the least expensive ranging at about $740-$865 a vial. One vial gives you one try.

If we were to do IUI or IVF we would you IUI sperm. This sperm is washed twice and is the most expensive ranging about $840-$965 a vial.

What kindof Donor?:

Now what kind of donor do you want? Anonymous? Open Donor? ID Disclosure. All of these options range in price with anonymous being the least and ID Disclosure being the most expensive. Each options give you and your children different options and pathways should you want them now or in the future.

One thing you should also consider if you hope to have multiple children is do you want the children to all be genetically related. This comes into play for example if we were to use my egg and donor sperm for the first pregnancy and Krystal’s egg for the second. The children would not be genetically related if we didn’t use the same donor. Sperm runs out quickly (surprising I know) and a donor that has 25+ vials available today might have none available tomorrow. So if having your children be genetically related is very important to you then you must buy the sperm for as many cycles as you want to try. For us that magic number is six.

Costs:

So lets add all this up with a couple of hypotheticals… lets say we needed 6 vials of IUI sperm it would cost the following

Anonymous Donor $840 x 6 = $5040

Open Donor $890 x 6 = $5340

ID Disclosure Donor $965 x 6 = $5790

That doesn’t include storage. The vials you aren’t using have to be stored at the sperm bank till you are ready for them. Storage can range from $400-$500 a year per vial. So if we got pregnant on the first try and didn’t want to try for baby number 2 till the first child was 3 years old the storage fees would be roughly $8300. This doesn’t include shipping either; sperm banks have to ship the vial to your doctor in very specific (expensive) storage devices and for each shipment it is about $200.00.

So what’s the next step for us? We save… we save a lot.

Recently I have been reading a book called Buying Dad: One woman’s search for the perfect sperm donor by Harlyn Aizley. If you can stomach the constant whinning and martyrdom it does a relatively good job of showing the emotional reality of the fertility process.

ICI, IUI, IVF: What does it all mean?

I can’t tell you how many people have asked, “So you’re just going to use a turkey baster right?” If only it was that simple! There are a few options that are available to us and all vary in price and medical impact. I hope to give a brief (and not too detailed) overview of each.

ICI or Intracervical Insemination: This technique is probably the closest you will get to a turkey baster because it can be done at home or in a doctors office. ICI involves injecting the sperm into the cervix and mimics “normal” conception and has about the same success rates. Since the sperm is unwashed it has higher rates of infection (more on what this means in the next post).

IUI or Intrauterine Insemination: IUI involves injecting sperm through a narrow catheter directly into the woman’s uterus.  IUI can be done with the aid of medication and a trigger shot to pin point the exact time period in which ovulation occurs. This is a helpful procedure because it gives the sperm a head start by inserting the sperm past the hostile environment of the cervix. A good estimate for each cycle would be anywhere ranging from $1,500-3,000.

IVF or In Vitro Fertilization: IVF is a procedure that involves retrieving eggs and sperm from the bodies of a male and female (or in our case a donor) and placing them together in a laboratory dish to enhance fertilization. Fertilized eggs are then transferred several days later into the female’s uterus where implantation and embryo development will hopefully occur in a normal pregnancy. During this process the woman (or persons donating/receiving the egg) take hormones in the form of shots to increase the number of eggs produced. This procedure is rather costly and is very rarely covered by insurance. A good estimate for each cycle would be anywhere ranging from $14,000-20,000.

I am not a certified medical professional. These definitions and explanations are purely from my own research and experience. You should always go with the information you doctor has provided. The book I recommended in my last post “Lesbian Conception 101” has very helpful descriptions and overviews of each of these procedures.