Karma, 30 years old
My journey to motherhood took approximately 1,825 days by the time our daughter arrived on June 11, 2008. My husband and I became parents through the gift of gestational surrogacy made possible by a lot of doctors and lab technicians, frozen embryos, and my amazing sister. This baby girl was definitely a team effort!
It all started in 2003 when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 30. At the time, I had just met my husband only a month before so things were BRAND new, and I was finishing up a journalism degree. Cancer was definitely not in the big picture plans. I was lucky that my oncologist, a mother herself, considered my fertility to be a priority and made sure I had a consult immediately with a fertility specialist. Because my treatment meant I’d lose my natural fertility, my husband and I had 24 hours to decide whether or not we wanted to create embryos—did I mention we’d only be dating for a month?
The decision, while complicated, was an easy one to make, and we moved forward with an IVF cycle, which resulted in 20 embryos. I went on to do my chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and was in remission a few months later. A few years after that my husband and I were married and we decided it was time to thaw some of our embryos out to see what could happen. I thought it would just work, the first time. Not even close… endless hormone cycles, transfers, tears, frustrations, and no success. We finally admitted defeat. The cancer treatment had wreaked havoc on my body, and carrying a baby wasn’t going to be possible for me.
My sister had always told me she would carry a baby for me if I needed her to—even back when I was first diagnosed and we knew that could be something we’d have to consider. So after lots of talking, planning, thinking, and more talking, we all decided to give it a shot. Then came all the complicated stuff: the counselling sessions, the lawyers, the lawyers’ fees, the doctor visits, the countless medical tests, the stress, the fear, the worry, the anxiety… it was a process that required a lot emotional stamina. But through it all I was always grateful we had the opportunity to even attempt to have our own biological baby. If it hadn’t been for my oncologist recommending I look into IVF pre-chemo, it probably wouldn’t have happened. Having a baby was the last thing on my mind when I was diagnosed.
But in the end it was a huge success. We have our beautiful daughter, our own biological baby, who was frozen as an embryo for five years, and I’m now officially considered cured. It’s been a great year!