So we're at the 10 week mark already! How did that even happen? We had another early start, so Talulah was packed off to my (Michael's) parents the night before for a sleepover, much to her excitement. Our alarm woke us at 0430, and by 0510 we were out the door, showered an semi awake in the car heading from our village into Birmingham, making the 25 minute car journey. We collected our tickets and headed our way to the train. The Virgin Trains service is pretty good to be fair, it takes 1hr and 23 mins, so we're in London just after 0730. We took the time to catch up with a friend and grab some breakfast, to chat with her about her own fertility journey, which has been a struggle with 7 failed IVF attempts, a pain I can't even imagine. Hopefully, her future is looking brighter, she certainly looked really positive and it was such a pleasure to see her looking so at ease, healthy and relaxed. We then jumped back on the tube, with our bellies full and made our way to meet 'C' at Euston station. and head to CRGH.
Seeing her (and her family) is always a pleasure, she's looking so well and clearly taking care of herself, we really are so blessed to have such an amazing surrogate. We're also so lucky that our journey is taking place in the UK, being able to be present at every scan, support with all the appointments and to see how healthy she is whilst watching our baby grow and being looked after so perfectly. It's just a further reminder why we're such advocates for UK Surrogacy, and to keep telling people so. UK Surrogacy is absolutely the right decision for us, and its so accessible, still more than couples think. With the Law Reform currently underway we hope that the government seriously considers the amendments required, mainly around the Parental Order process (to protect all parties), which will hopefully mean the legal parents are exactly that from birth, rather than 4-6 months later due to the current bizarre and out of date legislation. I totally understand why some couples opt to go abroad, but what I struggle to understand is why when something is so accessible here (with excellent HFEA regulation through UK Fertility Clinics) in the UK costs around £35k in our situation inc our Surrogates expenses, Donor Eggs and IVF treatment, but in the States costs upwards of £110k, in cases where the baby or babies arrive early and need NICU soe couples have spent close to £200k - a cost which is for most of us is out of reach. Anyway, rant over...
So today's scan marks the last appointment with CRGH, but before we fully complete our treatment we opted for some additional tests. We wanted to undergo a non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) analyses the DNA circulating in our surrogates blood, detectable from 10 weeks gestation. Its a blood test which does not pose any risk to the pregnancy. The test starts with an ultrasound scan to confirm the dates of the pregnancy and presence of a foetal heartbeat - which was showing us bang on track with our due date of the 4th September, however C only carries to 38w, so late August is more than likely.
This test is a new option in prenatal screening for Down syndrome (trisomy 21), Edwards syndrome (trisomy 18 ), Patau’s Syndrome (trisomy 13) and also common chromosomal conditions associated with X and Y chromosome. As the test looks closely at the X and Y chromosome it also means we will also know the gender of the baby, in around 10 days time! Eeeeeeek!!
See here for more information of NIPT from CRGH's website : https://crgh.co.uk/investigations/nipt/
Our scan was magical, the Sonographer was terrific and scanned C internally, the image quality was amazing and even the Sonographer was impressed with how clear our images were. We got to see our baby wriggling, and just sitting there - we even saw their face and managed to get it all on video. Just amazing and emotional. What made it even more special, we got to see each and every clinician and medical professional by pure chance. Another special moment.
Next steps? Well we should get out test results in around 10 days, so fingers crossed everything is all OK, then on the 21st Feb we have our 12w NHS Scan, local to C at her local NHS Trust.
Next Blog; Working in Partnership with Fertility Clinics, as our services to IP's ramp up