Displaying items by tag: COVID19
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.
A woman in Idaho, who served as a surrogate for a couple, decided to care for the baby for almost half a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Just two months before Emily Chrislisp was scheduled to give birth, COVID-19 became a global pandemic — pausing all travel and putting up strict restrictions to stop the spread.
Yeah! Good news!
Ukraine is planning out its future and taking cautious careful steps. They have outlined a 4 step plan with the implementation of each step based on Covid-19 related health metrics.
In the video below I outline the first two steps. They opened the farmer’s markets last Friday, May 1 and hope to achieve stage 2 around May 11th.
A clarification in this video: the requirement that triggers step 2 is an increase in Covid-19 infection cases not more than 5% over 10 consecutive days.
But wait there is more!!
Just today, May 5th, Ukraine has opened for incoming shipments of biological material (like priceless sperm, eggs and embryos). The sending countries must also permit shipping. This is now what we are waiting on.
As of hitting the send button to you, these countries include some Eastern European countries and Germany. Discussions with IVF clinics seem to indicate that other European countries as well as Australia may allow outgoing shipments. We are still investigating the US.
Moving forward with medical treatments:
The top-tier clinics we work with were quick to react the virus. In the initial uncertainty, we stopped new procedures quickly, before it was even recommended by international ART organizations. Because pregnancies are ongoing, we have learned together and quickly implemented every protection, and preventative measure and procedure possible. (I should probably do a video just on this!) We have the resources to ensure the highest grade of gear and adjust the environment and surroundings to minimize risk. For all these reasons, we hope that we may be in a better place to return to normal than some.
I will keep you updated in a constantly changing situation.
Please reach out your questions.
Stay safe and healthy!
Learn more About International Surrogacy In Ukraine:
Delivering Dreams helps couples throughout the world struggling with infertility have children. Located in NJ and Kyiv and Lviv, Ukraine, our amazing medical facilities and professionals, surrogates and donors are in Ukraine, because Ukrainian law protects the rights of parents and their children from inception at affordable costs and high success rates.
Unique to Delivering Dreams, we offer guaranteed not to exceed, all-inclusive pricing and contracts under US law to provide prospective parents legal and financial security.
1 in 6 couples are struggling with infertility. You are not alone. We want to be your path to parenthood.
We want to update you on the situation in Ukraine with Covid-19; how surrogacy in Ukraine is impacted by the virus and how we are handling the new risks to continue to provide healthy and successful surrogacy journeys.
Please understand these are very uncertain times and all dates mentioned are as of today, March 19, 2020, and may change as the situation develops.
SITUATION ON THE GROUND IN UKRAINE:
The first case of the Coronavirus in Kyiv on March 12th. It was someone who returned from Italy. On that date Ukraine took fast measures, installing a nationwide quarantine. All schools and shopping malls were closed.
Ukraine has closed its borders to anyone traveling from Europe or stopping in Europe on route to Ukraine. This will be in place until April 3rd.
On March 16th Ukraine closed the Metro, and intercity transportation until April 3rd. Domestic flights are grounded.
As of March 17th, there are 30 confirmed cases. It is believed this number is a low estimate, as many people are not coming forward and there are not enough testing kits.
The government declared a state of emergency in Radomyshl and Chernivtsi. Radomyshl is about 3 hours drive west from Kyiv In the Zytomir region. Chernivtsi region is in the far southwest of the country. Interestingly, they are not at all near each other.
The goal is the same as everywhere in the world: self-isolation. Groups have been limited to no more than 10 individuals.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
We have always known that the best way to ensure a healthy child for you is to guarantee the healthiest surrogates and donors. A surrogate or donor with even a normal cold or flu is a potential risk to your success.
The measures we have always had in place continue to protect our couples from COVID-19. We have experience dealing successfully with the mass measles outbreak. Our surrogacy selection process includes the following elements in addition to 50 medical tests to ensure their health:
- Ensuring that our surrogates and donors have strong and healthy immune systems
- Checking their health history
- Where they have lived and making sure they live in areas that have not been affected and have a degree of social isolation – not living in cities and densely populated areas.
- Making sure they have always had good nutrition, a healthy living and working environment to ensure the best immunity
- Educated smart surrogates and donors that understand the risks and responsibility of maintaining good health and hygiene and implement them vigorously
- Surrogates and donors that are accountable and responsible, sensible and trustworthy. This is essential to ensure that medications are taken exactly as necessary on a strict schedule and that health measures and virus prevention are followed.
- Surrogates with healthy families and children with no health or immunity issues
- We move our surrogates earlier than most to apartments near our clinic. Typically we move them in their 5th
- Those surrogates near our clinics are always in their own apartments. This imposes a social distancing we always thought was important for health reasons, but also provides a low stress environment.
- Personal around the clock doctor availability
- Constant check ins from our staff on our surrogates and donors
CORONAVIRUS’S DIRECT IMPACT ON SURROGACY IN UKRAINE AND ADDITIONAL MEASURES AS A RESULT OF THE VIRUS:
- Travel restrictions may not permit you to be at the birth and exit documentation may be delayed. We have taken contingencies to take care of your child and allow you to see the delivery and child virtually. Not the same, but the best we can do under the circumstances.
- We are working with Embassies on emergency actions to allow travel and child documentation. We are keeping in constant contact with them and preparing for births and solving the problems of parent and child travel and documentation.
- We are only screening and considering surrogates and donors from areas where there are no cases or quarantines.
- Educating Surrogates and Donors about virus and illness protection for themselves, their family and friends by proper hygiene, cleaning and social distancing
- Educating about the symptoms of coronavirus and ensuring they contact our doctors immediately if symptoms arise for assistance
- Anyone planning on traveling to start IVF stimulation or to donate sperm should delay travel until this crisis has passed. This is not only to avoid travel problems, but to prevent exposure and the stress that can affect your fertility. Our recommendation is that you cryopreserve your biological material so that it can be shipped later.
- No Intended Parent should donate if they have any symptoms or think they may have come in contact with someone with the Coronavirus. It is best to be overly cautious.
- Shipping of biological material was banned to and from all highly effected areas. Now with the new rules limiting travel, shipping from most countries are on hold. At this point, shipping from the US can only resume after April 12th and Europe after April 3rd. This is subject to country by country regulations and could well change as the situation develops. Peter Hura of CryoArk a specialty shipping company, says the company has made a decision to halt shipping in the face of constantly changing situation to protect against and potential dangers to shipments, and couriers.
- According to ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) there have been no adverse effects from women who tested positive for Covid-19 on their children. The children have been negative for the virus. However, these results are not scientific and as so little is known, pregnancy should be avoided. Therefore, we are cancelling all egg retrievals and transfers until April 12th to be very careful. This is also the recommendation of the European ESHRE association.
- We are replacing any surrogate or donor with any potential illness, should it be coronavirus or a cold or flu, at no expense to couples for a new donor and surrogate that meets your criteria and requested characteristics.
WHAT IS GOING ON AS NORMAL?
- We continue to screen donors and surrogates within the limitations above
- The first step of preparing documents for your surrogacy and acceptance into the Ukrainian surrogacy program
- You can choose your surrogate and donor so you will be ready to start as soon as possible.
Please contact me at any time with any questions.
Stay healthy, Susan
Company name: Delivering Dreams International Surrogacy Agency
Name: Susan Kibler
Tel.: +1 908 386 3864
Tel: +380 32 253-7541