Here are the questions we have been getting from all over about the surrogacy. We answered to the best we could! Feel free to post more questions in the comment section and we will answer them, or email them our way if you prefer to stay confidential!
Natalie and Tiffany
How is everyone related?
James and Natalie are husband and wife and have one child, Hunter, together. Sean and Tiffany are husband and wife and have two children, Holland and Blake, together. James and Tiffany are brother and sister, Natalie is Tiffany's sister in law.
When is Inception?
The original date was January 2012. Our first transfer we transferred two embryos with the hopes one would take, we were so saddened when neither took. The next transfer was March 30th 2012, where we transferred two embryos again in hopes one would take. We are happy to be pregnant with twins right now!
Who's egg and sperm is involved here?
It will be Natalie's eggs and James' sperm. Natalie lost her uterus but has many viable eggs still left in her ovaries. The baby will be a full sibling to their first son, Hunter. They will do an egg retrieval of Natalie to obtain the eggs necessary and James will make a deposit, then they will fertilize them in the lab.
How does Tiffany's body have to prepare for the implantation?
The first step is taking out Tiffany's IUD in October, she will do a mock cycle on estrogen patches to see how her body can form a thick uterus lining. Then she will tae Lupron shots for a few weeks to "put her ovaries to sleep" so they will not interfere. Progesterone and Estrace medications will also be introduced at the proper time with the real cycle of estrogen patches. She will also cleanse as a personal preference and get her body in the best shape ever to be the healthiest for the pregnancy.
How much does it cost?
First we were told, by our egg retrieval doctor, the cost would be $15,000. Then we met with the financial advisor at Seattle Reproductive Center and we were told up to $35,000 for the whole process. The $15,000 was just for the initial egg retrieval and inception. If it does not take the first time, it is $3,000-$4000 to implant another embryo if it is frozen from previous egg retrieval/fertilization process.
Can your brothers sperm jump into your egg?
This is our favorite question. Absolutely not. When we asked the doctor, he chuckled. It is already fertilized and cannot just un fertilize. This question always makes us laugh, and also made us second guess everything! Oh my gosh, what if??!
Does egg extraction hurt?
Yes, if you are awake, but Seattle Reproductive medicine gives you a general anesthetic. So Natalie will be asleep during this process.
How many embryos will you put in, and who decides this and how did you decide this?
We went back and forth on one or two for a long time. We all felt one would be the best, but also felt drawn to two. Ultimately the decision comes from some where else. In both of our transfer cases, the embryologist recommended transferring two based off of the quality and grade of the embryo. The hope each time is that one will take. When you transfer one embryo, you have about a 67% chance of getting pregnant. Transfer two embryos only increases that by 5-10%. In our case, we transfer two and neither took. Then transferred two again, and both took (we are assuming both took since each twin has their own sac, however will not be 100% until babies are born and they look identical or not, or DNA testing if looks cannot determine easily).
What if it's a girl?
It will be just as much fabulous as if it were a boy! I think we have gotten this question a few times because I (Tiffany) only have boys, and I think people might think that will make me want to keep the baby! It does not matter to me what the sex is, the baby will not be mine either way. If it is a girl, I can't wait because I would love to see a mini Natalie running around. Look out world though, look out! And of course I love boys so I would be happy to welcome yet another boy to the family.
Where will the baby be born?
Tiffany has an OB here in Bellingham, so she will be delivering here unless she is visiting elsewhere and baby decides to make an appearance!
Who will be in the delivery room?
Natalie, James, Sean, Tiffany the doctors and nurses, and our Birth Photographer. For the initial delivery, it will already be such a complex situation, we wanted to keep it simple, but will have grandparents waiting on the side lines to run in and meet their new grand baby(babies?). However, I am REALLY a big pushover when it comes to grandmas, so if one of the grandma's wants to come in, I am pretty sure I will welcome them with open legs. I mean arms.
What will happen when the baby is born?
We thought it best for the baby to go straight to Natalie and James for instant bonding. We are hoping to have Natalie cut the cord because not very many moms get the opportunity to cut their own baby's cord!
What happens after the release in the hospital?
We will go our separate ways. James and Natalie currently live in University Place, and Sean and Tiffany are 2 hours North in Bellingham. Sean will take Tiffany home to rest and heal and James and Natalie will take their newest additions home and be a family of four now!
How does insurance cover this process?
There is a secondary insurance that covers it like normal insurance. It will have to be purchased by James and Natalie, and we are figuring out which company right now.
How do you handle deciding the things you will eat, etc. and certain activities you will do while pregnant?
"I think if they replicate your other pregnancies, it would make us so comfortable. Pregnancy is a big deal to you and you don't take it lightly and so if you were to replicate those, that is all we could ask for." - Natalie speaking to Tiffany.
"Thank you! I do take it seriously, I think time in the womb is so important. I live really stress free, organic healthy pregnancies (minus the morning sickness in the beginning, and just being able to take down ANY food that will stay, fingers crossed!) and I think just eating healthy, taking my Organic Multi Vitamins and taking extra good care of myself before and during pregnancy to ensure an amazing stay in my womb!" - Tiffany
Do you have to get attorneys and contracts even though you guys are family?
Yes, Seattle Reproductive Medicine requires this before moving forward to protect all parties even though we are family. The attorney will write up our contract for each to decide and agree on, James and Natalie have their own attorney, and Sean and Tiffany have their own attorney.
What kind of special rules are or will be in your contract?
Nothing out of the ordinary, no smoking, no drinking, no heavy lifting, no sex. Okay, just kidding. So the contract will touch more upon Tiffany's right as to which kind of testing done on her body while pregnant, and her rights when it comes to terminating the pregnancy for example, if the baby were to have a birth defect that was found during pregnancy and James and Natalie wanted to terminate, Tiffany has a right to decide what she wants to do because although it is their baby, it is her body. This is a terrible worst case scenario that was brought to our attention as neither of us would ever have an abortion, we are hoping there would be no defect that would ever make anyone want terminate this pregnancy. James and Natalie want this baby regardless. It also covers the legality of who's child this is, that the baby is James and Natalie's and if I chose to breach this and kidnap the baby, I can't seek child support form my brother as my baby's daddy. Yes, that's in there, just in more legal terms! The contract is very long and complicated, it took a long time to review and makes changes as needed.
What will Tiffany do with her Breast Milk?
I am hoping to pump and give to the babies. Freeze each week and send it down. Breast milk is the best and there is no comparison, I would really like to give these babies this start in life.
How will Natalie feed the baby?
Natalie will try a shot to induce breast milk, this would be so amazing so she can bond right away in the special way with her babies.
Is it going to be hard for Tiffany after she gives birth to the baby?
To be honest? I think so. I have no idea what to expect or what to feel. I know it is not my baby, but my body might not understand and may yearn to be close to a baby after the 9 months spent together. This is just coming from someone who has already given birth twice. I have never given birth to someone else's child, so there is not way to predict how I might feel. I anticipate feeling some sense of saddness or loss, but over all I look forward to being able to go home and not wake up to a newborn, and heal, and know that my brother and his wife have another child! Their child. The good more than outweighs any moments of bad here. And I wouldn't even call them bad. Also, I have a really supportive amazing husband and a great group of friends and family, so I can't imagine healing alone.
Do you think it will be hard if you see the child being raised in away you don't aree with later in life?
I don't think it would be any different than seeing them raise my other nieces or nephews in a way I don't agree with. I guess I won't fully know how I will feel until I get there, but I anticipate having a bond with this child, but full on knowing he/she is not mine, so I would feel the same about any of my nieces or nephews in that situation if that makes sense?
Do you think it will be hard not to get involved in the decisions it makes while growing up?
No, because again, it is not genetically my child. I think if it were an adoption, an open adoption and I was watching my own child grow up I would have a hard time not interfering. However, James and Natalie are great parents and they will make great decisions to support this child so I will be there if he/she needs me, again just like I would for any of my other nieces or nephews. I will support their choices as parents since this will be their child and not mine.
What support will you need from your friends and family?
I think the morning sickness part will be the hardest. Just having people make meals, or stop by to play with my kids or help my husband with laundry every now and then would be amazing, but mostly just encouragement. I think after the birth I will want to be in bed for a few days. Healing from pregnancy can be physically and emotionally hard, I would love to be able to pop popcorn, and watch movies with my friends and family. Just to have company will make it easier I think. People to go on walks with and playing with my children and spending time with my husband.
What if anything will be the hardest part for Tiffany?
I think the hardest part will be the morning sickness, and the birth. I am hoping for another all natural child birth (this will be my 3rd drug free one IF I can do it) and that is not an easy task! Also, getting fat again. I really hate that part (not while I am pregnant, I seem to not notice that I get fat while pregnant, but afterwards, oh yes, I notice!) Not in a shallow way, more so, I never feel my best when I am overweight. The morning sickness is really hard on me, I always feel so alone and so miserable while being this sick. I hope it goes fast and I know it will be worth it!
What if anything will be the hardest part Natalie?
Awaiting the results hoping for it to work. Just not being there and being able to feel the pregnancy like last time, and not feeling as bonded from being pregnant with this baby. I am unsure how I will feel at that time. If it will still be weird not being the one who carried my baby, or the happiest moment of our lives! Another hard part will be figuring out when to explain these things to Hunter and to Baby X about what happened and how, just knowing when to tell and not wanting Hunter to feel bad for what happened.