American Surrogacy in Ukraine
Hello folks, here’s a quick update on what’s we’ve been up to! We have been busy getting the house ready (the nursery is STILL in progress, haha), and preparing for our trip, which is only about a week away! One of the more important tasks for preparation is to make sure you have all of your documents ready, so that the US Citizenship process is smooth and quick. Everyone will tell you that US folks are lucky, because our process is very quick, compared to our European counterparts. Most Euro folks need to stay about 3 – 4 months with court proceedings to get your country to accept your baby for citizenship, so we are thankful that our trip will hopefully be only around 4 – 6 weeks. However, because we are having twins and we don’t really know when they come, we are prepared and ready to go at any time! PDF LINK This is the checklist that Biotexcom will provide you to collect before you head over. The passports and marriage certificate is easy – we had all of those already. However, the apostilization can be tricky. When I got married to K, I changed my name, but the marriage certificate doesn’t indicate the name change. So we had to get a letter written by an attorney stating how my name had changed, and then get it notarized. We were so fortunate to have one of K’s old high school students (who is now a practicing lawyer) hook us up with the letter and notarization – we were so grateful! Then K took the document to Indianapolis to get it apostilled (sp?) by the Secretary of State. Apostilization is basically just getting something notarized on an international level, so that other governments (in our case, Ukraine) will accept legal documents that you present. K was able to finish all of this in a day, so it wasn’t a huge ordeal, although I’m not quite sure how much prep-work was involved in doing this. The only concern that we have is that since I was naturalized in the US in my 20’s, that Ukraine officials might request my birth certificate from Korea, which I don’t have. We sent off everything to Biotexcom, and are now awaiting confirmation of whether this is satisfactory, or whether we need to have my naturalization certificate apostilled, but since it’s at the federal level, we’re hoping this is okay, as it is pretty US official. We’ll keep you posted on what happens! On another note, is anyone interested in having a webinar where I can answer your questions that you might have? If so, please leave a comment or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org – and hopefully we can get something set up in the next two weeks!
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Hello lovely folks! Can you believe we’re already in February?! Months ago, I would have thought February is ages away – turns out, it goes faster than you think! This time, we skyped with Yuliya and her growing belly.is.HUGE. All I could think was, I hope that she doesn’t get too many battle scars! She seemed very happy and healthy, and told us the boys have been keeping her up at night, where sometimes, she wakes up because they kick her! I smirked to myself when I heard that, because both K and I are total night owls – so not surprised that the boys get their main source of energy around dawn! One thing that was a big surprise to us was that Yuliya had actually been staying in Kiev already since Christmas, the day we missed Skyping with her. We had not been informed that she had already moved to the maternity house, but were glad to hear it, just so she can be well monitored and taken care of. We asked if it was too hard because of her 5 year-old son, who lives 16 hours away. She told us that they had already been there to visit, so that made me feel better. I made a mental note to definitely buy gifts for Yuliya, her son, and her mother, who has been watching over Yuliya throughout this whole process. I’m not sure what I will get them right now, but I’ll keep you posted! If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment on this post. Another funny bit is that when I turned on my Skype on my laptop to get ready, once logged in, I saw three messages from Yaryna on Christmas, saying that Yuliya had to leave her meeting early and that Skyping was not possible for this reason. I was irked because I don’t really use Skype on my phone, so I never got those messages, and wish that Biotexcom could have made it a point to at least let me know through email that Yuliya had been moved there, and that there were some scheduling difficulties. The main issue that we’ve had with Biotexcom is communication, and I realize more and more that cultural differences play into it quite a bit. I also wondered that if she had been there since Christmas, we could have Skyped with her as much as we’d like, no? But at this point, we’re just focused on our mission to get the babies here ASAP. Soooooo right after getting off the phone with Yuliya, we went right onto our laptops and bought our tickets to Kiev! Since the boys are still measuring a week ahead, and Yuliya herself said she feels like she will have them in 3 – 4 weeks, I’m just nervous about not getting there in time! We are flying out March 1st, and our estimated twins due date puts us around 3/14, even though the official due date is 4/14, since twins tend to come in a month early. We asked Anna for advice on when to buy, and she seemed to think that our plan was fine, and told us they would give us updates right away if anything changes. We were able to get round trip tickets for around $800 round trip, which was way better than our original trip, so that’s been great! Do keep in mind that we are flying out of Chicago instead of Indianapolis, because there were cheaper and less layovers when we chose major airports. We chose with our budget in mind, but also with flight time, as I wanted to get the shortest trip span available, since being on a plane with babies can be scary. According to our tickets, our trips back and forth are around 12 hours, which is much better than the 15 hours that is the norm. However, since we’re flying into Chicago, and have a 3 hour car ride home, I’m not sure what our plan is there – perhaps we should spend the night at a hotel and drive down tomorrow. We’ll keep you posted either way! Here are the reports, videos, and heartbeat scans (no audio – sorry!). You’ll be seeing a lot more posts from me, since now we’re much closer to leaving. Thank you so much for your continued support – and remember, if you have any questions, you can always comment on the post or send me a message :)! Heartbeat Baby A from ASIU on Vimeo.
Hello Everyone! First of, I want to apologize to everyone who was worried for our babies – I’m sorry to cause such angst. We both have been extremely busy starting in November, because I started a pop-up leggings shop in town (www.nimbustights.com), and will continue to do this on the side while we get ready for the boys! It was a blast and I learned so much (I will only have the retail location until the end of January, but continue to sell online). Feel free to check it out! But in the meantime… The reason I have not updated is simply because we haven’t had a chance to Skype with Yuliya since October! Our November session was while we were traveling on vacation, and the last session, which was actually on Christmas Day. I emailed BioTexCom about skyping with Yuliya on Christmas Day, and they advised that they would set it up and send me the details. However, on Christmas Eve, I still hadn’t heard from them, so I sent another email over – but it was too late, and we once again missed our Skype session. We have still be receiving our scans and reports, but honestly, without connecting with Yuliya, it doesn’t seem real, and I don’t feel nearly connected to Yuliya and the babies than two months ago. To be honest, it really upset me that I wasn’t able to Skype with her on Christmas Day, especially since the next time we are to Skype is on the 30th of January, but I am sure it will pass by faster than ever. Below I’m attaching all of the reports for both of the missed visits: We’re both a bit anxious now, because we need to start planning our trip over there, and start to work on the second floor, which has received absolutely no love since November! We’ve started to tear out the bathroom, and just bought a new tub to install next week. The flooring folks will be back in a few weeks, so we got to get to painting pronto! Baby showers are also happening next month – One is in California, and the other in Indiana. So there are lots of things happening, but all I wish I could have is to spend some time hearing about how the babies have been doing – we’re wondering if they’re still measuring ahead, if they’ve been active in their belly, etc. So hopefully, we will have more to report in two weeks. But as far as we know, they are healthy and fine, and so we will update you next time (and more on time)!
Everyone has been asking us how our two week wait has gone this time, and I have to be honest, it has been the best two week wait ever! The reasons for this are: I’m not stressed out about being careful about everything I eat or do No pressure on my body to do this “right” No feverish early testing with the typical ups and downs No stressing about beta levels not doubling Distracted because we are moving to Indiana at the end of August Distracted because I am interviewing for jobs in Indiana, which require a presentation Distracted due to sorting through our mess, packing boxes, and having people constantly over to see our apartment As you might imagine, with all of this going on, it’s been easy to be distracted and stressed about other things, and so the time flew by. Because we did our transfer on July 22nd, we also thought that our surrogate would do her pregnancy on August 5th, so we were expecting something by Saturday night or Monday morning at the latest. But to our surprise, Yaryna called us early morning Friday to share that: OUR SURROGATE IS PREGNANT, WITH A BETA OF 1116!!! So, the thoughts that are running through my head: Ohmygod, did this really work?!?! This is totally surreal and UNBELIEVABLE Okay now, don’t get too excited, because we’ve miscarried in weeks 6 – 9, and it’s only week 4… But then again, the embryos are in a 20 year-old uterus, compared to my ancient 37 year-old hostile womb environment Wow, the beta for 13dp5dt is right on the mark for twins, according to http://www.betabase.info! Could it be that our dreams are coming true?! INSANE Okay now, don’t get too excited, because we’ve miscarried in weeks 6 – 9, and it’s only week 4… So that’s been pretty much on an endless repeat in my head when I think about it surrogacy, while K, the realist between us, is probably patiently only focused on #2. Obviously, that is the best way to go, to be hesitant to get too happy, because we’ve been there 3 times before, and were absolutely crushed when we lost them. Plus, I’m still pretty stressed about interviewing and moving, so it has been easy to put things on the back burner. The next time we’ll hear from Biotex is on August 29th, because they are closed from the 14th – the 27th. Because of the break, I’m expecting them to have a huge number of people back to do ultrasounds and check-ups and such, so giving them until late Tuesday or early Wednesday to get back to us. Although they usually do the first ultrasound on week 6, because of the break, I’m estimating that our surro will be 7w+4d, which isn’t a bad thing in my mind. The later, the more certain we can feel! Incidentally, August 29th is also the day we are moving and leaving Boston, so things will be a bit crazy! But definitely will keep everyone posted on how things go.
We finally got our embryo grading report! We hadn’t received any information on how the embryos were developing, and it was great to finally get a look. This embryo grading report is a lot different from the ones we’ve received in the US; but it was pretty easy to figure it out. To summarize, we had 18 mature eggs, which were fertilized and grown to day 3. One of the embryos didn’t make it, so we ended up having 17 embryos. 14 embryos were frozen after making it to day 3 as 8 celled, as you can see below (they are marked as 8bl,l). 7 embryos made it to day 5 as blastocysts, and the best three were transferred to the surrogate, while the other 4 were frozen. We were a bit surprised, because our original plan was to only grow 3 to the blastocysts stage without doing the preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), as the process involves taking out a cell from the embryo, which can cause the embryo to fail, as any disturbance to the embryo can cause damage. Embryos of bad quality does not result in a baby that has issues of some sort; rather, it results in no pregnancy at all. According to the report below, they actually grew out another 4 to blastocysts stage before freezing them. When I emailed my case manager about this, she assured me that if the transfer should fail, that we could take any of the day 3 embryos and have PGD completed, which determines if there are any genetic issues in the embryo, and also what sex the embryos are. I’m guessing that the clinic wanted to freeze a few more blastocysts in case we changed our mind about doing the PGD. Either way, we’re happy to know that we have plenty of backup embryos just in case we need to try again, or if we decide to have another child in the future. I find it interesting that we had so many embryos from this round of IVF, where in the past, we had about 10 day 5 blastocysts, which isn’t a bad haul either. We wondered why we had so many this time, and came to the conclusion that maybe the eggs were in better shape because they let them grow out to past the usual threshold that we’ve had in the past, where they would trigger when the follicles were around the 16 – 18mm range. The last ultrasound we had showed the follicles being size 12mm – 19mm, and I had another day of stimming and the Lupron trigger, before coasting to the egg retrieval. In theory, that means the 19mm could have grown to 25mm, although I have no idea what size the follicles were at retrieval. So this is just a theory that we came up with, and we might be completely wrong, so take this with a grain of salt.