My assignment, courtesy of Julie, is to let you all know how things are going lately. I have typed out snippets, only to erase them moments later. I’ve considered IM’ing Julie and asking her to delay posting anything so that I might craft something clever or profound.
I’ve done my best to convey to those of you that have participated in Julie’s raffle of the quilt (which I covet), how profoundly touched I am that Julie would sacrifice this quilt, being so generous of her time, her artistry, her very being, and how many of you have felt my pain, and have helped to heal the hole in my soul.
Once again – a profound thanks.
(I’ll make this admission here – I had to continually remind myself that buying my own chances for that quilt was counterproductive, and that it might be awkward to have Julie announce ‘And the winner of the quilt raffle for Boulder, is…..er, Boulder?!”)
But here’s the thing. Surrogacy? It is really, really hard some days. I consider myself an absolute professional when in comes to IVF. I mean, if they’d let me, I could probably do the whole process from start to finish (though awkwardly) without any supervision.
Now I have these new tasks to factor in. Lawyers, contracts, mock cycles, psychology appointments, and so much more. I feel like I need to make a bullet point list with each step along the way to mark off, so that I can sense the light at the end of the tunnel – and know it isn’t a freight train.
I find myself feeling absolutely overwhelmed some days. I feel paralyzed. I want to procrastinate. And then I find myself trying to figure out why when something is so important to me – why don’t I just dive in and tackle the issues?
Then I realize – it is because I’m at the end of my path. I’m at plan “z” - what if it doesn’t work?
Then I freeze.
I understand philosophically that inaction is, in fact, action. But I think I’m protecting my heart from breaking in to pieces around me.
My cycle in February was delayed. I was hoping to get going this past week. My clinic, however, has just thrown me a major curve ball. (An aside - any gifts that I received which had a shortened shelf live were passed on to ladies in need - thank you.)
We are now required (due to a FDA ruling from May 2005) to quarantine my husband’s sperm for 6 months. Once that quarantine time has passed and he’s shown to be clear of things like HIV, Hep B, Hep C, and CMG, to name a few, then they will let us do a fresh cycle with a transfer to our surrogate. Where I’m frustrated is that this is the first time this issue has come up.
I’ve been told it is because the clinic follows “SART” guidelines. I cannot find these “guidelines,” but have found this (go ahead and read it – I’ll wait):
1. Eggs and embryos need not be quarantined.
In the preamble to the proposed rule, FDA stated that reproductive cells and tissues that can reliably be stored should be quarantined for at least 6 months so that the donor could be retested and determined to eligible. FDA listed spermatozoa and sperm progenitor cells as examples of those that maintain function and integrity during storage. ASRM submitted comments to FDA urging them not to require storage of oocytes and embryos, and in the final rule FDA did clarify that they did not intend the quarantine and retesting requirement to apply to embryos and oocytes. The six-month quarantine requirement in §1271.60(a) and the re-testing requirement in §1271.85(d) apply only to anonymous semen donors
The six-month quarantine requirement in §1271.60(a) and the re-testing requirement in §1271.85(d) apply only to anonymous semen donors. Also, you do not have to obtain a specimen for testing at each donation from a repeat anonymous donor, so long as the initial specimen was tested and you do not release any of the donations until after the donor has been retested at least six months post-donation.
I do not want to become persnickety with my clinic. I have an excellent relationship with all of the people at the clinic, and with my RE, in particular. But this new interpretation is unsettling to me.
Why is it that ASRM appears to be indicating that a known donor does not need to be quarantined – yet SART is not in agreement with the amended ruling?
Does anyone out there have a clinic that is not following the rationale of my clinic? Are they affiliated with SART? Does anyone have access to the SART guidelines for me to read? (If you do, would you please email me?)
Several kind readers have shared their personal experiences, and I’m finding differing interpretations – and would love to be able to present alternatives to my RE, whom I find to be receptive to my input.
So, we are in quarantine mode. And I’m hoping that in the 22 minutes I spend away from my husband each day, there isn’t any deviant behavior that will jeopardize the quarantine. I’m very clear with my expectations for him.
He can do heroin – just not in the living room.