Along for the Ride: 1st Trimester Screening

Surrogacy Picture

Around the 13 week mark of pregnancy you have the choice to complete some optional screenings. These tests, which typically pair an ultrasound with some blood work, give you a risk assessment for chromosomal concerns like Down syndrome and Trisomy 18. These screenings don’t offer diagnosis, just a risk factor for potential disorders.

 

These screenings are tests that my husband and I never elected to complete in our own pregnancies.

But when you’re a surrogate, sometimes you have to do things a little differently.

My intended parents wanted these tests done. And, as they’re not invasive and these are their children, I feel as though I’m really in no position to deny them this test. So, we had them done.

What was kind of unique is that my intended parents planned a visit to my hometown in order to attend these screenings. It was a great visual and literal reminder that, while I don’t feel any maternal bond to the twins, these babies aren’t mine. And choices that relate to their health aren’t mine to make either.

So, intended parents in tow, we went first to my OBGYN’s office for a check up. The parents watched their first live ultrasound of their children’s hearts beating. They got to meet the lady who will deliver their children in, hopefully no less than 24 weeks.

Then they got to walk across the street to the hospital to meet the nurses there, and tour the labor and delivery unit. They literally walked in the rooms where their twins could be born in a matter of months. We made plans about logistics and talked about hospital policy surrounding things like security and mandatory NICU stays for twins.

And then it was time. We went to meet the high risk twin team and have the assessments done. The ultrasound was perfect, everything looked great. While one twin was napping, the other was dancing around like crazy. I watched with pride as my intended mother’s eyes welled with tears. After all of these years, she was watching her children live and in real time.

I had a moment of inward reflection as I saw that. There I lay, my long term future not really impacted by the little cubs growing inside my body, holding the hand of a woman who fought so hard to create those little babies. While her immediate future isn’t impacted as severely as mine is, this journey ends with a very big impact on her long term future.

 

So yes, I took some tests I wouldn’t take if this were my own pregnancy. But doesn’t that seem so incredibly minor when seated next to a woman watching her children’s hearts beat for the first time?

And, follow up, we just got the blood work results today. We have the all clear.


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Resources:

What to do With Unused Needles

Trust & Your Intended Parents

Why Women Choose Surrogacy

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: An Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Red Wheel Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.