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Saturday, 28 August 2021 10:43

“Enough With The COVID-19 Baby Boom Jokes!” Why Infertility Is Harder Than Ever

When you are dealing with infertility, you get used to the hurtful comments. Not that anyone is trying to be insensitive, but it’s the friend complaining about the decor at her baby shower or all of the cracks about how childless people have it so good because we get to sleep in. It’s always tough, but during the COVID-19 pandemic it has gotten tougher. People love to joke about the baby boom nine months from now — as if everyone stuck at home can just choose to get pregnant. The other day, a friend of mine posted a meme that shows parents lined up bumper-to-bumper to put their kids back in school when the lockdown is over. There’s another one that compares isolation for people with kids to isolation for people without them.

I don’t want to seem unsympathetic to what parents are dealing with right now: parenting full-time while trying to work and manage homeschooling. But trust me when I say that my husband and I are not at home gardening, doing couples yoga, and having sophisticated wine nights like the meme suggests. Like the thousands of Canadians who’ve had their IVF treatments postponed or canceled as a result of COVID-19 we are living in limbo, we are losing precious time, and we would kill to have your problems.

My fertility story is like a lot of other fertility stories. We had put off having kids for a few years —  I wanted to wait until we moved closer to my family, which we did in 2016. That same year, we stopped using protection. I knew the statistics about women over 35 getting pregnant (I was 36), but I wasn’t worried. We are both healthy and fit. My aunt had her kids at 36 and 41. I figured it would just happen. We had been “trying” for a few months when a close friend of mine got pregnant right away — and she’s older than I am! That hit hard. I started tracking my ovulation, buying those ridiculously expensive pee sticks. In April 2017, my family physician referred us to HART Fertility Clinic in Hamilton. I had no idea what lay ahead.

People hear IVF and think, you get a few needles, you get a baby. I guess there are some candidates who get lucky, but a lot of us struggle for years. Since that first visit to a specialist I have been through more tests and workups and assessments than I ever could have imagined. The hormones, the bloating, the injections, the probing. Between the blood samples and the intervaginal ultrasounds I have spent the last half decade getting poked. At one point my entire arm was a giant bruise. We started with four rounds of IUI (interuterine insemination, where sperm is injected into your uterus). When that didn’t work, we moved onto IVF, which is a lot more invasive (surgery to extract eggs from the body so that they can be fertilized in a lab and then re-implanted) — and more expensive.

Ontario is one of the few provinces that covers one round for women under 43, but the wait can be over two years. We wanted to get started, so we paid for the first round ourselves. And the second one. Both well over $15,000 when you include surgery and medication. After the second round, I did a pregnancy test at home and it came up positive. It was Christmas morning — I know — like something out of a Hallmark movie. We were so excited. We called our parents. Over FaceTime, I showed my sister the stick I had peed on. Six weeks later, we had a routine check-up. We saw the heartbeat, everything was coming along great. The same day, I started cramping and bleeding and eventually miscarried. To go from being so excited to so devastated in one afternoon — I wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy.

Last year we finally came up for government funding, so we did a third round, which was a total bust. After we decided to start with a new doctor who was supposed to be a miracle worker. We ended up with one viable embryo. That’s not great in terms of numbers (in our first two rounds we had more), but the doctor told us that it was a really high quality, meaning the chances of a successful pregnancy were good. That was late January. You have to wait a full menstrual cycle before implantation, so that’s what I was doing when COVID-19 became an issue.

My implantation was just a few days away when I got the call telling me that it was canceled, one of the elective surgeries put on the back burner during the pandemic. I was expecting it, but it was still like, Are you kidding me? A major pandemic hasn’t happened since the Spanish Flu and now it comes five days before my implantation. Part of me is so frustrated that we couldn’t have been just a couple of weeks earlier or COVID-19 couldn’t have been a couple of weeks later. In some ways it would be amazing to be pregnant right now — to have a purpose while we’re all stuck at home. The other part of me feels lucky that we aren’t in the early stages of a pregnancy, having to go to the hospital and grappling with the uncertainty of any effects COVID-19 could have on pregnant women and their babies.

Our embryo can last 100 years, so that part isn’t a problem. But that doesn’t mean time isn’t important. If this implantation doesn’t work, my age will impact our chances for the next time. I turned 40 in isolation. I know it’s just a number, but it’s a milestone. I don’t think I ever would have imagined being 40 and not having kids.

It’s looking like clinics will reopen in mid-May, so we’re hoping that happens and we can move forward. Waiting and uncertainty is a big part of what makes infertility so hard, so just knowing that there is an end in sight is encouraging. Until then, I’ve been doing my best to stay positive, stay connected. Infertility is an isolating experience: Most of the people in my life have families and it can feel really lonely not to be part of “the club” as I call it. I am obsessed with my nieces and nephews. We’ve been FaceTiming a lot these days and it’s great. But seeing everyone at home with their families… it’s not easy. I’m mostly okay — I feel like I cried so much last year that I’m kind of passed that point — but it will creep up every now and then. On some days I’m able to be calm and think about things in really clinical, practical terms. And other days it’s like, MY BABY IS FROZEN IN A LAB AND THERE’S NOTHING I CAN DO!

My husband, Chris, has been amazing. Of course he deals with his own disappointments, but he is always pointing out the bright side. There are people who had to stop their IVF treatment before their eggs were harvested, so that means all of those hormones and money for nothing. At least we have something to be hopeful about. We have our embryo.

Mother’s Day is this weekend and of course that’s a little emotional, but I’ll get through it. Maybe by this time next year we’ll finally be parents. I have this strong feeling that it’s a girl. This is going to sound crazy, but the other day I bought a book and I put it in the room that will be, that we hope will be, the baby’s room. It’s called I Love You To The Moon And Back. It's kinda perfect for us; Chris and I joke that we have already been to the moon and back trying to become parents.

More information about traditional vs gestational surrogacy on our site.

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Testimonials

We have been very satisfied, I have been comfortable at the clinic and with my doctor. I was heard. I could ask any questions. I like you have hu-mor, despite the circumstances. Great clinic. Your service has been very good. You have been a huge support and very spacious. You have been available 24 hours a day. You have the answer to all the questions we have been asked. You have accommodated our nervousness, you have rejoiced with us, you have been there throughout. I could not have wished ...
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A and S
The communication with surrogate is easy and better than what we expected. The updates are provided as scheduled with occasional surprises
S
The support was great. It was easy on us that the coordination was done by the delivering dreams team while being completely transparent with us on the progress. The communication with the delivering dreams team was always fast, responsive, and easy.
E and K
Thank you kate. You have been great today and all the other days ❤ you are a great team. We are very satisfied and happy for your help.
Sonny
We were confident before in our choice, but this experience has confirmed beyond any doubt that we choose the best agency.
Doyles
I loved working with Susan and her team and highly recommend them to anyone considering her services. She's is great at every aspect of a process and knows how to handle delicate matters.
Diana Lyakhovetska
Susan truly understands the needs of parents using surrogacy, and offers comprehensive emotional support to parents as they experience the journey!
Christine Hughes Pontier
The team at Delivering Dreams is amazing! Their attention to detail and ability to put your mind at ease while growing your family is like none other. They handled everything for us, and I never once doubted they would help us accomplish our dreams.
Margaret Jones
I’ve known Susan for several years now, and I’ve always been impressed by her attention to her clients’ needs. I’ve known her to work ardently and diligently to solve whatever challenges, no matter how unique, that prevent her clients from completing their families. She is a problem-solver, and she earnestly believes in providing the best options and in making surrogacy opportunities realities: this is not merely a business for Susan. She will help customize the process for your needs and to ...
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Mary Woods
Susan has a keen sense of business and goes to the max to solve her clients’ problems. She is super knowledgeable on business, laws and how things work in surrogacy in general, and specifically on Ukrainian surrogacy. She is an advocate for transparency in a market that’s often opaque and full of hidden risks. I really enjoyed working with Susan. She really pays attention to detail and was always looking out for my best interest above all. Highly recommend!
Laurie Tham
Delivering Dreams goes above and beyond what other surrogacy agencies offer. After speaking with Susan, I see how they anticipate every part of the process, down to details that I had never even considered. I didn’t know what I didn’t know! Surrogacy can be really complicated and confusing. What an amazing sense of relief to have a company so dedicated to managing the WHOLE process and taking away as much of the stress as possible.
Kate Varness
I have gotten to know Susan through a group where we are members. I have found her to be a genuine and caring person. Her consideration for others and love of her work with Ukrainian surrogates and parents-to-be are evident in all her decision making. She is passionate about being a force for the greater good and helping where she can. I have been amazed at the way she is able to smoothly navigate the complicated maze of requirements in the surrogacy process. I am happy to give her my highest...
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Rose Anne Barbour Huck
Susan Kibler is kind.  She clearly loves those she works with and loves what she does.  Susan listens deeply and compassionately and can make you laugh all in the space of one conversation.  She is wonderful!  If you are feeling worried, she'll hear you.  If you have questions, she will find answers for you. If you need help, she does her very best to support you.  I feel so fortunate to have found her and imagine you will too.
Frances Russell
Susan has the ability to really connect on a personal level quickly.  I have found her easy to talk to and have been so grateful for her guidance.  She is one of those people who offers so much to her clients.  She sees the big picture and has a heart for the most intimate concerns.  She is highly skilled and able to manage what can certainly be challenging and uncomfortable experiences, making them feel easier.  She will take charge at the perfect times and guide you when you really need her...
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Susan Seare
The international surrogacy world is complicated. Susan Kibler knows its ins-and-outs. She knows the people and outfits you can trust and the ones to avoid. She insists on the best for her clients and handles the details so they don't have to worry about them. If you want to take the international surrogacy journey, you can trust Delivering Dreams International Surrogacy Agency to guide you on that path.
Nancy Linnerooth
My friend and I had a positive experience working with Susan. Susan is always super responsive and caring. She is very professional, helpful and reliable. My friend has soo much troubles trying having a baby for many years. My friend and her husband were about to give up their dream of having a baby. Susan Kersch Kibler found the way to help. She has unlimited energy, attentive to detail and super efficient. Great to work with!
Polina Clend
Susan is passionate about helping people become families. She is a trustworthy confidant to have on your side.
Kristen Ancker
Our experience with Delivering Dreams has been overwhelmingly positive. The team seems to be genuinely dedicated to helping us to realize our dream of having a child. The constant communication leading up to the trip and the numerous touch points made us feel comforted in what has been a very challenging and uncomfortable situation. We always had streamlined communication through the group chat and was frequently checked on during our stay.
Marilyn

Under Ukrainian law, surrogacy is a legal affordable option for traditionally married couples to have children using their own embryos, or with either an egg or sperm donor. There must be a medical reason you can’t carry a child. You are also able to participate if you have had 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts.

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Under Ukrainian law, surrogacy is a legal affordable option for traditionally married couples to have children using their own embryos, or with either an egg or sperm donor. There must be a medical reason you can’t carry a child. You are also able to participate if you have had 4 unsuccessful IVF attempts.