Andy and Hilary's Surrogacy Journey

To paraphrase an old song, “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes (Hilary) with a baby carriage,” or so we thought. My husband Andy and I married in July of 2011. In our early thirties, we knew that we wanted to start a family as soon as possible. In the summer of 2012, we were elated to find out that I was pregnant. What a glorious time in our lives. We were in the upswing of our careers, excited about the future and our biggest problem was agreeing on the choice of a name from the lists that we would compile while dreaming about our expected child.

 Driving to see the OB Doctor for a 6-week exam, it was impossible to wipe the smile off our faces. After seeing the heartbeat, I was given a brochure about the first trimester of pregnancy and now I felt like I was part of this exclusive club of newly expectant mothers. Leaning over to Andy, I could barely contain my excitement when I whispered to him, “We’re going to have a baby! We’re going to have a baby!”

 I am sure that many of you can relate to an incident in your life where you wish you could just freeze that moment in time. This was our moment, so certain of a successful outcome. Sadly, that was not to be the case. At 9 weeks, the nurse could not locate a heartbeat. The doctor came in and said I had a miscarriage in utero. She said a miscarriage was not unusual and to try again.

 Despite our loss, we looked at one another and felt gratitude that we had each other and the support of our family and friends.  I remember thinking that we’d get it right the second time. At this point, we decided to adopt a  puppy from a shelter in February of 2013 and within weeks, we were overjoyed to find out I was pregnant again. Life was looking good!

 When your first pregnancy ends in miscarriage, you can’t help but feel a little cautious. However, it didn’t stop us from dreaming about the baby—who and what he or she would be like. Once again, we went to the OB and I still remember seeing the blinking light on the sonogram screen which indicated a tiny heartbeat.
Sadly weeks later, our worse fears were confirmed. Our second pregnancy ended in another in utero miscarriage. We were so dismayed and discouraged.

Could we muster up the resolve to try again? Now in
our mid-thirties, Andy was somehow confident that this would eventually work out. I could only hear my own biological clock ticking loudly. And to make matters worse, try as we may, I was not getting pregnant.

 We opted to go to a fertility specialist. We underwent 3 IUIs (intrauterine insemination). No success. Our next step was to try IVF (in vitro fertilization): this would allow for a “selection” of the healthiest embryos we created and hopefully maximize our chance of having a baby. By the summer of 2015, I was pregnant for the third time. Once again, the pregnancy never got beyond the 6th week.

 We felt quite hopeless. Our hearts ached. We wanted answers to why I continued to miscarry. All the battery of tests performed provided no conclusive reason for the miscarriages. There is 1% of the population that fall under the category of “undetermined causes.” To date, science has not come up with a reason. Maybe my body perceives it as this “foreign” object and wants to expel it.

 What options were left? We had run out of all the infertility insurance, and our family had put in huge amounts of money to help us get this far(over $60,000).The last suggestion from the fertility specialist was to go to another reproductive endocrinologist that could provide more advance tests He advised us to go through another round of IVF but have the embryos undergo a test known as “PGD” (preimplantation genetic diagnosis) to ensure that there were no genetic mutations or problems.

 Following the specialists’ advice, we gave pregnancy one last shot.  In the spring of 2016, I was pregnant for the fourth time.  As you can imagine, it was a tense time. I worried that every little movement and sensation was the end. The first sonogram looked good, but I was experiencing some minor complications. Nonetheless, the staff at the facility we were working with seemed convinced that everything was fine and working out this time. Though we were hopeful, we tried to keep our expectations subdued. There was a second sonogram, and we heard the heartbeat. How can you restrain your excitement when you actually hear what you’re told is your own child’s heartbeat?

Despite the tests and assurances of good health, we had a follow up sonogram, and for the fourth and last time, we were told that we had lost what could have been our child. Our despair was palpable. It was hard to understand that while we were able to produce healthy embryos, I just couldn’t carry a full pregnancy.

 With a mortgage to pay, no more infertility insurance plus undergoing all those special tests, IVFs and paying to keep the embryos frozen, etc. we were drained, emotionally, and financially. We then began thinking about adoption. Many do not know that the cost of adopting a baby can be in the neighborhood of $50,000. Nonetheless, we picked an adoption agency and sent a down payment. We underwent a home study evaluation, which is reviewed once a year in regard to our living arrangements and any life cycle changes in our family of origin. We were fingerprinted. We had someone from the housing department check the safety of our house, etc.

Eighteen months have gone by and there hasn’t been any matches made with an expectant mother. We remain hopeful that the adoption agency will come through but we have to keep our options open.

 So, what are our options? We don’t even know if a birth mother will select us to adopt her baby but what we do know is the following: We have 3 healthy genetically tested embryos still left. What we need is a gestational carrier. We cannot close our eyes to this possibility. The cost of a gestational carrier via the use of going through an agency that does all the testing mentally and physically of the possible carrier, in addition to what the carrier wants (anywhere from $20,000-$40,000) plus legal cost ($25,000 plus), plus out of pocket costs for fertility medication, the embryo transfer, life insurance for the carrier, clothes, housing, delivery room costs etc., and of course the agency taking its share amounts to on average $130,000.00.

 We are hoping that you will help us raise $50,000 in funds. We will take out a loan for the balance.  Although we have good jobs and we are trying to save again, it would not be possible for us to come up with the sum of money needed. It is a very difficult and humbling experience to ask for money. Any support you offer us will be graciously received. Your compassion and your donation will bring us closer to realizing our dream of finally having a child. From hopeless to hopeful is our new focus. We thank you for being part of our journey!

 Hilary and Andy Fink


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Hilary Rox 
Baltimore, MD
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