Our journey to surrogacy commenced when I fell pregnant with our first born Jack in 2006. Despite having hyperemesis, my pregnancy was going well until my 20 week scan where they found that he was small for dates. After much investigation, they discovered that I had an autoimmune disease called antiphospholipid antibody syndrome which did not impact my body until I was pregnant. The syndrome caused my placenta to clot, which meant very little of anything was getting through to Jack.
The Drs started to give me massive doses of blood thinners to keep the remaining placenta flowing and soon ended up in hospital on bed rest. The Drs would scan me most days, and I was willing Jack to put on weight. At 27 weeks I was told that he would he would need to be born that day as he had reverse flow in his placenta.
Jack was born weighing 492gms and went straight to the NICU, but he was a fighter. Two days later Jack had a bleed into his lung as a result of being so little. The Drs advised us to take him of life support.
We said good bye to our son 2 days after he was born.
Our next son Charlie was born in 2008. Lucky for us I had had a TIA not long before I fell pregnant, so I was on high doses of blood thinners as a precaution. The Drs kept a very close eye on us. Charlie made it through to 37 weeks and was perfect in every way.
After having had the TIA my neurologist referred me for an Ecco to determine where the stroke originated. It turned out that I had stenosis and regurgitation from my mitral valve. I was advised that they would continue to monitor my heart and at some point I would need open heart surgery to fix it.
Soon after, we fell pregnant with our third child. It was a little different this time. As I had not had any further TIA’s they reduced the amount of blood thinners I was on. They monitored us closely until our 19 week scan where everything was looking very good. I was told we would not need another scan until 28 weeks. A number of weeks later I had not felt much movement so as a precaution we went to the hospital. After some investigations we were told that everything was good. A week later I started bleeding. We rushed into the hospital. They could not find the heartbeat so suggested that we have a scan. When they did the scan George’s little body was lifeless. Our beautiful little boy was delivered stillborn the next day at 26 weeks.
After losing George, my Cardiologist advised that I was not able to try for any more children until my heart was fixed. Three months later I had my heart surgery. They repaired my valve so I would be able to go on to have more children.
12 weeks after the surgery we were able to start trying to fall pregnant again but it took a little longer to have success this time. My hyperemesis kicked in a lot earlier and I had a sneaking suspicion that I may be carrying twins. I went for an early scan. There was only one sac and it was empty. It was a blighted ovum, an egg sack but no foetus. A few days later I went to hospital for a D&C.
This time there were no further pregnancies. We went to a Fertility Specialist and found that I had gone into early menopause and advised that IVF would be our best chance of success. After 3 rounds of IVF we were told that we should consider looking for an egg donor if I wished to have more children.
A lovely friend offered to donate to us. We were very excited to share this journey with her. Our friend went through a cycle of IVF and had the egg pick up on Wednesday. I was due to have the embryo transfer on the Friday.
On the Thursday I had my yearly cardiac review. The results were not what I expected. I was told that the previous repair had not held and that I would require further surgery. This time it was recommended that I have a mechanical valve that would preclude any further children. I was also advised that if I was to have the transfer the following day that there was a chance that both myself and any baby could die as my heart would not be able to cope.
I cancelled our transfer for the Friday. We tried to grow the embryos to day 5 but none survived.
I have since had my further open heart surgery and now have a mechanical valve. This means that I am now on warfarin therapy for the rest of my life which precludes carrying a further child. So here we are, desperately wanting to add to our family, however, we find ourselves in a situation where we have to refinance the house in order to do this as we are not entitled to Medicare rebates for surrogacy.
Please help us change the discrimination that precludes us from being entitled to Medicare rebates and help us complete our family that we have tried so desperately for.