I have many things to be thankful for. Having the best gestational carrier is definitely one of them.
In order to have a transfer on October 31, we needed to get the gestational carrier agreement completed and signed by last Wednesday. Annie, our gestational carrier, was great. She received the draft on Monday at noon and read it completely by 3pm. She had a few questions that she had to run by her attorney. Her attorney didn’t get back to her until Tuesday morning. Annie let me know that she and they attorney spoke on the phone and there were a few concerns/questions that our attorneys had to discuss and make changes for. Annie asked if I wanted to know what those concerns were. So we spoke about it.
So this is the tricky thing. Annie lives in a surrogacy friendly state. However, she is only about 40 minutes from a big town in the neighboring state that is not surrogacy friendly. In fact, commercial surrogacy is illegal in that neighboring state. In the contract, there is an item about restricting her from traveling to the next state once she reaches 24 week gestation. The problem is, Annie’s parents live 8 hours away in that neighboring state and her sister lives in the big town in the neighboring state 40 minutes away from Annie. Annie goes to see her parents once every couple of years and she just went in the summer. Her sister sometimes throws birthday parties for her kids and Annie would like to be able to attend. Annie does not plan on being at the next state big town for more than a couple of hours each time, and she does not plan on traveling to her parents’ place in the near future. However, she was worried about the what-ifs. If there is a family emergency such as her parents being very sick, her presence in the surrogacy unfriendly state would be considered a breach of the contract. She felt that 24-week restriction was a bit too early. I was glad that she was willing to share with me. At first I was willing to adjust the restriction to 35 weeks. However, Bob didn’t feel very comfortable with that since 35 weeks is so close to delivery. So we agreed on 32 weeks and that she could only go for a family emergency that requires her presence after 32 weeks and with OB permission. And we agreed that if she was to somehow deliver while visiting her parents, she’d try her very best to deliver in the next next state, as her parents live 45 minutes away from a surrogacy friendly next state. I checked that there is a hospital there with a level 4 NICU.
I didn’t wait for the other attorney to contact my attorney. I took matter in my own hands and presented the case to my attorney and cc’d Annie, agency owner, and Bob. My attorney responded within ten minutes. This is what she wrote:
“Note there is significant risk if she were to deliver unexpectedly in [surrogacy unfriendly neighboring state] since surrogacy is illegal there. If she were to deliver in [surrogacy friendly next next state] , it would be fine. It is a simplified legal process and we could establish parentage fairly easily. If you are comfortable with the potential risk, we can modify the language from 24 to 32 weeks and provide for travel after 32 weeks only in an emergency and with OB approval. However, if Annie doesn’t plan to travel to [surrogacy unfriendly neighboring state] during pregnancy anyway, then I would keep the 24 week restriction but add the exception so that anytime after 24 weeks she can only travel if there is a family emergency that requires her presence and OB approval. There is just a lot of risk with [surrogacy unfriendly neighboring state]. So while I understand the exception language, I would apply the exception for any travel past the 24 week mark.”
I asked her to clarify the legal consequences for delivering in [surrogacy unfriendly neighboring state], she said:
“I’m not licensed to practice there so I don’t know all of the ins and outs of what might occur, but what I can tell you is that [surrogacy unfriendly neighboring state] prohibits any kind of paid surrogacy. Any surrogacy agreement for compensation is void and wouldn’t be enforced. Meaning, you’d have to go through an adoption process. Also, the parties to an agreement could face criminal charges as a violation of the statute is a gross misdemeanor.”
Oh definitely not what we would want to deal with.
So here comes the part where I think and feel that we have the best gestational carrier. I texted Annie and told her that there was a lot to digest, and please take her time and let us all pray about it. It would be okay if we didn’t get the contract done on Wednesday. It wasn’t even a few minutes before she wrote me back with this:
“Kenneth and I are comfortable with the language of 24 weeks and traveling if family emergency with OB permission. A little sacrifice for your big reward!”
Boy that was when I started to tear up. This is a woman who has Bob and my best interest at heart. She is willing to sacrifice her freedom of going to see her family because of us. She understands how important it is for us to stay put in her state and not to venture into the next state where legal consequences are dire. I asked her if she was okay even if she couldn’t go to her sister’s kids’ birthday parties. She was okay with it. I texted her back saying, “Did I tell you already that you and Kenneth are lovely people? You are both so lovely and I am tearing up.” She wrote back, “That’s why we’re doing this together. You and Bob are awesome and we can’t wait for you to hold your baby together!”
Our legal team is awesome. We received the final copy of the agreement with all the changes. We all signed on Wednesday. Dr. E received the letter of legal clearance Wednesday evening at 8:30pm. Because of that, Annie could take her last birth control pill on Wednesday and go to her ultrasound appointment on Thursday. She reported that everything went well with the ultrasound. We got the Okay from Dr. E’s office and Annie will start her estrogen pills today! I couldn’t believe how quickly everyone got the agreement done. Because of that, we are on our way to our transfer on October 31, 2016.
God has carried us through many trials and triumphs during this journey. It was definitely NOT our doing to have come across such a perfect surrogate for us. I trust her 100% on doing her best to take care of our baby. We have already booked the plane tickets for her and her husband to come for the transfer. With all of these things done, I feel so relieved to leave for my trip to visit my grandmother in Asia this coming Friday without much to worry about. This is such an exciting time and hopefully everything will continue to fall into place for the rest of our journey.