For those of you unfamiliar with the surrogacy process, here is a little bit about how I got to where I am today…
My name is Leslie Mattern, I am currently 29 (I applied when I was 28), I have been married for 6.5 years, and I have two amazing daughters, 5 and 3. I work full time as a store manger and am currently working towards my bachelor’s in Criminalistics.
Probably the most common question I get is why? Why I want to be a surrogate. My answer is: why not? I had such wonderful pregnancies and I absolutely loved being pregnant. I donated my eggs when I was 21, but that was an anonymous procedure so this time I’m really looking forward to getting to know the family I’m helping because they are amazing!
I did some research (thanks Google!) and found several different surrogacy agencies available, but I decided to go with ConceiveAbilities because they have this amazing video talking about surrogacy on their website. (Here’s a link: www.conceiveabilities.com) I filled out the online application and the process began. Within the first four months, I had a phone interview, followed by a home visit, then I had to have the medical records for my previous pregnancies sent to the agency, and then a psych eval (where I completed a personality questionnaire containing 800+ questions!). However, there is a lot of waiting and down time between each step. By this point it was late June and we had decided to move back to Denver from Houston. Luckily for us, ConceiveAbilities has offices in Denver (and Chicago) so the move didn’t effect us at all. Within a few weeks of moving back to Denver, we had a match meeting set up with a couple who had been waiting for a Denver based surrogate.
Going to the match meeting was like going on a blind date. I was so nervous and excited and terrified, but meeting them was like catching up with old friends. A mediator from ConceiveAbilities was present to keep the conversation flowing and to make sure all the important topics were covered. It was a little overwhelming because you’ve just met this couple for the first time and you have to discuss any and all possible scenarios including how many embryos will be transferred, what happens if it’s twins or triplets? Are you ok with selective reduction? Are you ok with termination of the pregnancy if something is found to be genetically wrong with the babies? What happens if there are complications that threaten the life of the baby? What if there are complications that threaten the life of the surrogate? It was nothing like an actual first date would be! You have to answer such intimate questions to people you’ve just met, but I can’t tell you enough how important all those questions are in the long run. You must all be on the same page before proceeding. They were all questions I would have never thought about myself.
It was a little awkward in the beginning, but we very quickly knew they were the best match for us. They explained how the intended mother (IM) had an emergency hysterectomy during the birth of their only son and what had led them to choosing surrogacy. I was surprised how emotional the entire evening was. When explaining to them why I had chosen to become a surrogate I began to cry. I told them about my two daughters and how I couldn’t imagine my life without them. I so badly wanted to be able to give them the same opportunity to grow their family. By the end of the evening, we left feeling overjoyed that we had the option to help such an amazing couple. I think we emailed our case manager before even getting out of the parking lot that we wanted to work with them. But, we couldn’t speak to them again until we cleared legal.
From there, it was on to medical work up, then a mock cycle, then 8 weeks of legal. During this time, I was talking to my husband’s aunt on the phone and just updating her on where we were in the process and some general details about the couple we would be working with. She stopped me in the middle and asked if she could ask their names. I didn’t really know how to respond so she took my hesitation as a yes and correctly guessed their names. She actually knew quite a lot about them which was totally confusing until she explained that the IM is 2nd cousins with my husband! Talk about a small world. We’re not religious people by any means, but sometimes things just happen and it’s incredible. This was definitely one of those times. We were so excited that we were unknowingly paired with family. It makes this journey all the more special to us, but we couldn’t discuss it with them until after clearing legal and that was a long wait!
We got officially legally cleared on Christmas eve and it was the best gift ever. It was so nice to finally be able to communicate with our intended parents (IPs) again after more than five months of no communication! The next two months flew by.
I received a giant box of medications the end of January and was able to start my meds, which include patches that are applied to your abdomen, subcutaneous injections that go in your tummy, intramuscular injections that go on the outside of your behind near your hip, baby aspirin, and some antibiotics to be taken before the embryo transfer, but my least favorite medication of all are the vaginal suppositories. (Yes, you read that correctly). You begin them the day the IM does her egg retrieval and they are 3 times a day…everyday… up through the first few weeks of pregnancy. (I will gladly take the injections in my behind over the suppositories any day!)
But finally, after a year of the “hurry up and wait” game, transfer day is here! I couldn’t be more excited or happy for my IPs!