It was March 19th at 6:38pm with less than 24 hours before my embryo transfer, and my donor cycle was cancelled.
We were almost to San Diego, which was a four-hour trip to where I was to begin my embryo transfer. The next morning, the call came.
My intended parents decided to cancel the embryo transfer.
Initially, I felt disappointed and to be honest, a bit sad. After all of these years, the parents would have to wait even longer. After a month of diligently taking medication, countless injections and having regular checkups to prepare to be a surrogate--gone with a single call.
I did however take comfort that everything is in God’s perfect timing.
As we pulled off the freeway to head back home I asked my husband:
"Why did this happen? Why would they take such drastic measures at the last minute?!"At that moment, I was so grateful that my case manager, Ashley from SurrogateFirst, called me to provide me with much needed details to process this shock. Ashley spoke to her colleagues, lawyers and the administering IVF clinic doctor to piece together all the details and it became clear that it was a much more complex situation than initially thought.
I have learned since those moments on March 19th that just a few hours before, California Governor Newsom ordered everyone to “stay at home” - effectively shutting down all non-essential businesses, which included IVF clinics. This compounded the seriousness of many other existing recommendations from other surrogacy agencies.
For example, just two days before on March 17th
American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in consultation with the CDC recommended that IVF clinics suspend most treatments based on what is best for the patients because:
- There is no cure for the COVID-19 virus and although there are vaccines being tested none would be available to pregnant women leaving those infected with just their own immune systems to combat the virus.
- Based on the current situation of non-essential business closures that could last for months, there would potentially be limited to no medical care to those that become pregnant.
- In anticipation that a surge of COVID-19 cases is upon us they felt that any additional cycles that would utilize medical services and facilities would potentially overburden the already near capacity hospitals fighting the virus.
In a handful of cases, such as ours, surrogates and intended parents that were right at the cusp of embryo transfer were given background information, and the option to move forward or not.
I can’t imagine what a stressful situation and difficult decision they had to make.
On the one hand, the intended parents have been waiting years for this moment, and they spent a lot of money on our journey already. I was perfectly ready to carry the baby they had been wishing for so long.
On the other hand, they had to consider the safety of their baby for the entirety of his/her life, what would happen if I were infected with the coronavirus, or what would happen if they couldn’t travel to be here for the birth. Ultimately, with no more time to spare, they were convinced to err on the side of caution. It was best for everyone involved - the baby, their family and for mine as well.
After discussing with Ashley and taking into consideration the unique circumstances this virus has placed us in, we decided to follow the advice of the medical professionals.
I came away feeling more grateful; however the disappointment is something that I believe we will all continue to feel for so many years.
This experience has taught me that the surrogacy journey by itself is already a huge responsibility. To have these additional unexpected and uncontrollable challenges occur as they did for us, having a strong support group like my family, SurrogateFirst, and intended parents to overcome together whatever we're faced with was invaluable.
Tonight I am safely back home with my family and I look forward to the opportunity to help bless the Lee family with a baby in the future, whenever that may be. God bless everyone!