Transfer Day-What It Was Like For My Husband, My Surrogate and Me!
“It’s literally just ten minutes… but that ten minutes is everything.” That’s what our last podcast guest said about her transfer. For our surrogate, my husband, and I, it was just a ten-minute procedure. But that ten minutes – that little step on the surrogacy journey – it changed our entire lives.
There are so many months and for some years and years of preparation leading up to the moment when an embryo is transferred to the uterus of a surrogate. For me and my husband, after years of dreaming, we’d taken all the steps to take on the surrogacy journey. We’d had so many conversations with each other about this day. We’d talked to therapists, to Mary and her team, to our doctors, and, of course, to our surrogate. And then suddenly, there was no more talk. There was just the three of us standing in a waiting room on the day of our embryo transfer
What Happens on Transfer Day
Our doctor had walked us through the process months ahead of transfer day. We’d worked with his clinic to make embryos. The doctor and his team fertilized our donated eggs, half with my genetic material, half with my husband’s. Out of the eggs that were donated, a few of them were healthy enough to freeze. And then he told us about what to expect from the transfer day.
On the day of the transfer, he told us that they would take one embryo from the freezer and thaw it. Most, but not all, embryos survive the thawing process. If the embryo survives, they’d carry it over to our surrogate to implant it, and with powerful science and a little luck, the embryo would attach to the wall of the uterus and start growing into a baby.
Not all intended parents can attend their surrogate’s transfer appointment, but we’d talked with our surrogate, Jehvana well in advance, and she was fine with our being there. We actually made a day of it, going to brunch together, giddily sharing our dreams for the future.
Seeing the Cells that Would Become Our Baby
In the waiting room, Jehvana was sitting on the examination table, kicking her feet in the air, looking expectantly at us. We made jokes about how great we all looked in hair nets and scrubs. Our nurse walked in. “Your B2 embryo has survived the thaw,” she said. “And in a few minutes the doctor will perform the transfer procedure.”
The nurse handed my husband and me a small folder. Inside was a picture of the blastocyst. THE BLASTOCYST!
THAT’s when I freaked out. I’d kept my composure all day, but the journey to becoming a dad was more real to me in that moment than any moment before. There before me was the blastocyst, the tiny group of cells that was going to have a chance at clinging to our surrogate’s uterus for dear life.
This was the tiny group of cells that might grow into a fetus that might grow into a baby that might one day become a kid I can cheer for at soccer games or dance recitals who might one day become an adult that drinks coffee with me on Christmas morning while we watch my grandkids open presents.
This group of cells in the photo might become my child.
The Transfer Procedure
My surrogate, my husband and I followed the nurse to a dimly lit procedure room, a medical theater where the doctor was waiting for us. Jehvana laid onto a bed behind a sheet where we could still see her face. On the wall was a window that connected to the lab. It reminded me of a drive through at a fast food place. A nurse cranked it open and leaned out.
She confirmed all the details – is this the right woman? Are these the right parents? Is everyone in the room ready for this? Yes. “Alright,” she said. “I’ll be back with the embryo!”
Through the window, she handed the doctor a small piece of equipment that held, invisible to me, our embryo. My husband and I watched the procedure on an ultrasound screen. We didn’t understand what we were looking at, but the doctor talked us through it.
“Alright, I’ll count down,” he said. “3… 2… 1…”
And then a shooting star flashed on the screen. We saw the tiniest little line of light against the midnight blue background.
“That was it,” the doctor said.
“What a beautiful visualization,” the nurse said.
A shooting star. That was our baby’s first act in the world. To come back to life from the freeze, survive the thaw, fly across space between the lab counter and the window, and zip like a star to the uterus wall where she’d take a magnificent chance at life.
That Little Group of Cells
That little group of cells is a bigger group of cells now, so big now that she can almost stand on her own. That group of cells is my daughter.
That group of cells grew into a little girl who sings to herself in her crib in the morning and laughs while trying to put her pacifier in my mouth.
The day our surrogate accepted our embryo into her womb changed our lives.
That was Transfer Day.
This blog post is part of a series describing each part of the Surrogacy Timeline. Check out this blog post to start from the beginning and read along to find out what it takes to make your surrogacy dreams come true!
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