Things are starting to feel a little real for us now. Less than a week till our IVF appointment and hopefully start getting ready for egg stimulation.
Yesterday Michael and I had our appointment with our lawyer – Kate Cherry (who I highly recommend). Don’t get me wrong I love Kate – she is awesome – but geez that’s a waste of money and time! Under the legislation it is a requirement to get legal advice about the surrogacy legislation. I’ve read the legislation a zillion times so there wasn’t anything Kate said that I did not know already.
The legislation does not require a lawyer to draft the surrogacy agreement, so I drafted it myself – with help from other surrogacy contracts and a few friends, so Kate just reviewed it and made some minor changes. But even she said, given the agreement is not legally enforceable it really is not that big of a deal.
So for that lovely visit we paid a hefty price (happy to share fee off the record), and Kate was by far the cheapest compared to the zillion other lawyers I called. Many other lawyers would not even give us advice if I wrote the agreement.
Anyway so we got out legal advice, made a few changes to the agreement and signed it – YAH!!!!!!!!!!!! So excited our agreement is signed – well at least half signed, Chloe and Matt still need to sign it.
So Chloe and Matt are meeting with their lawyer, Agnes from Hall Payne, on Thursday. Hopefully Agnes loves the agreement and Chloe and Matt can sign. Or if she wants any changes they can be made then and there, Matt and Chloe can sign and Michael and I can sign the amended agreement in the next few days.
Once the agreement is signed – wait for it – we have ourselves a totally unenforceable agreement. Yep you read right, we pay a zillion dollars to the lawyers to have an agreement that is not even enforceable. Crazy isn’t it?
Anyway the agreement means the clinic will allow us to start the IVF process and that’s the main thing, that’s the baby making stuff so that’s what really counts.
I’ve also started to ring around a few hospitals and OBs to find out how they handle a surrogacy pregnancy. Well hasn’t that proved interesting!!!
I’ll be honest with you, previously I haven’t thought much about the birth – I just want a baby and however it comes in the world is just fine with me, as long as I get to take a baby home – right? Well talking to Narelle our counsellor – she got me thinking how important it is to get the bonding right with the baby as soon as it is born. And how important it is that all medical professionals involved understand and appreciate that I am the mother of the baby and treat me as such.
So I called the maternity ward at the Wesley Hospital – where I had Myla – I had such a great experience there, it was the logical place to start. I know they have had a surrogacy birth before because my OB Dr Cook delivered surrogacy twins there. The head nurse seemed quite taken back by me ringing and asking about the policy/protocols regarding surrogacy. I do get that, its not everyday people think about surrogacy, so I totally understand. But she made me feel like surrogacy was some black market, shonky, under the table deal. Like we were all in on a secret and she would help cover it all up. I just didn’t get a good vibe from her at all.
Perhaps I should tell you what I do want from my hospital experience. Basically I want the same experience any other mother has when she gives birth to her baby and stays in hospital with her baby for a few days. Nothing less, nothing more. Not too much to ask – right?
So I would like to be there with Chloe when she gives birth (she hasn’t decided what sort of birth she would like yet – that’s her decision, not mine). When baby arrives, I want to be the first to hold him or her, I want to cuddle and oooh and ahhhhh over the baby, preferably with Michael right by my side. I then want to stay in the privacy of my own room with my baby, where I have the privacy to feed, bath and again oooh and ahhhh over my newborn baby. What every mother wants – right? I would like to hear from anyone who argues that I am not entitled to this?
Of course when Chloe is ready I want her to meet/hold the amazing gift she just brought into the world.
But I acknowledge a few things will be different due to the surrogacy:
· another woman will give birth to my baby (yah Chloe your awesome!!!),
· I will have the most amazing opportunity to take a front row seat in watching my baby being born!!!
· Chloe will be considered the legal guardian of the baby and go on the birth certificate as the mother (this will be changed once the parentage orders are granted)
· Chloe will need to sign any official documents relating to the baby – but Chloe can easily talk to Michael and I before doing this
· Chloe will have the official say in what happens to the baby in terms of injections, feeding, general care – again Chloe can talk with ask – and she can even give a blanket ok to the maternity ward that the baby will be cared for by me whilst in hospital.
So to me the only real differences SHOULD be that Chloe is the legal guardian and has to sign legal documents. Everything else can be the same as any other birth.
However when I call the Wesley hospital I am told that I would not be able to book into a room in the hospital, I could sleep on the floor in Chloe’s room if I wanted too. The baby would also stay in Chloe’s room and she would be responsible for baby’s day-to-day needs. I was not impressed to say the least. I mean who wants to look after a newborn child that’s not theirs?
I called St Andrews Hospital, a member of Ramsay Health hospitals – two surrogate friends have given birth in other Ramsay Health hospitals and had fantastic experiences. The nurse there was very honest and said they had never had a surrogate birth – which I already knew. She said as a result they did not have any policy on the it, but that she would be happy to make some calls and get back to me.
Yesterday I got a great email from the nurse saying, I could stay in the hospital (cost unknown but she would get back to me), I would be able to care for the baby and be considered by all staff as the mother of the child – however still acknowledging that Chloe was the legal guardian. She even said it would be Chloe’s preference whether she would be admitted to maternity or the normal part of the hospital.
Exactly what I wanted – but more than that I got the vibe that they were keen to facilitate the surrogacy and ensure it was a wonderful experience for both Chloe and I.
I also got a recommendation for an OB at the hospital Dr Rachel Green. I sent her an email and within 30 mins she called me back (impressive). She seemed very keen to have Chloe and I as patients. I explained to her that I wanted to be apart of the pregnancy, that whilst it was Chloe’s body it was my baby. I explained that I did not want to considered as just a support to Chloe but that this was also my pregnancy. She totally understood this and got how important it was for me to be 100% apart of the pregnancy. She said that she had called the maternity ward to discuss the situation and had already discovered I had been in contact with them.
Chloe is happy to have the baby at either hospital – so I think it is decided that St Andrews and Dr Green will be the ones. I feel almost guilty – I have had all my surgeries at the Wesley and I had a fantastic experience there and I love Dr Cook, but I think getting the bonding with our baby right is just too important.
On another note – Michael and I are going to dinner with Chloe and Matt this weekend – without children!!! Woot woot – thought we would have a few drinks to celebrate getting this show on the road.
Hopefully this time next week I will be able to tell you all about my egg stimulation – exciting stuff!
Oh and congratulations on the birth of baby girl number 4!!!!! To my lovely friends Anita and Cameron.