My last personal update was celebrating the completion of our counselling. This was the last step before our application to the Patient Review Panel. Due to completing all necessary documentation earlier than anticipated, we applied for the PRP with 1 day to go before their June cut off deadline.
After sending through our 3 trees worth of paperwork, the PRP made an assessment and gave us our hearing date which was last week. There was always the chance that we submitted later than others and may have had to wait until the following month but were fortunate to have been seen for the June hearing. (The PRP only meet once a month)
So off we trudged into the city. KiT/CaT, hubby and I. They want to see the main parties involved in any arrangement. As much as we were aware that no case that has been reviewed by the PRP has ever been rejected, there was still a nervousness lingering because the PRP now has a new chairperson and she already has a reputation for requesting additional information, delaying hearings and placing additional requirements on arrangements. We hung around in the waiting area for a little while before we got called in. I seem to recall that last time we went to the PRP, there were less people there… Sitting behind the table were 7 bodies- the chairperson, a lawyer, the PRP administrator and 4 other panel members. 2 males, 5 females. They briefly introduced themselves and outlined the process and asked us to introduce ourselves. KiT spoke first about her cancer diagnosis and treatment that subsequently left her unable to carry a child. CaT added in some points and then hubby and I spoke briefly about our roles. Then the panel asked us some questions. They asked me about my motivations, how my last journey went, whether I found the counselling and legals to be sufficient and we also spoke about the kids and how they have reacted to this second journey. They then asked KiT/CaT about their thoughts on the counselling and legal process.
Just to expand on that last point, I told the PRP that in comparison to last time, the legals were exactly the same- thorough and relevant and we were clear on our rights. I did however comment that the counselling was a lot more involved and challenging and really delved deeper than last time. I attributed this to the fact that the clinic had processed a lot more surrogacy arrangements since then and that our independent counsellor had seen a wide scope of journeys since early 2013- the good, the bad and the ugly. I was appreciative that their growth and expansion of knowledge enabled them to now ask questions based on experience.
So all up, this took about 20-25 minutes. It wasn’t all serious, we had laughs and interacted with the panel. Definitely not intimidating at all. We were then ushered into a waiting room while the panel deliberated. This was for about 5 minutes and we were called back into the room where they advised us that the arrangement had been APPROVED!! (happy dances all round!) A certificate would be emailed and sent to us within the next few days (it was) and then a hard copy, together with a report would be sent out in the post. They had no concerns with us as a group. There were a few comments that they made about our arrangement:
- They thought it was very proactive that we would seek counselling each trimester (at a minimum), whether things were going swimmingly or not. They also liked the idea of a post birth counselling debrief.
- They appreciated the lengths hubby and I had gone to in order to keep our kids informed and involved in the process.
- They were pleased that KiT/CaT had come to terms with their own infertility, had researched and sought lots of information before progressing down the path of finding a surrogate and making a commitment.
- They saw growth and reflection from our past journey that gave the panel some great insight.
In addition to this, I took the opportunity to ask the panel if they had any sway in amending legislation for surrogacy in VIC. They said they did not but were able to give me some resources through which to contact the right people. I outlined to them that although I felt VIC represented “best practice” in Australia for some legislation, other legislation is awful! So once uni is complete for the teaching period, I am going to start writing in order to enact some change here in VIC so our surrogacy legislation can become more clear.
So now that we have approval, what happens next? A visit with the FS will outline the process, bloods will make sure everything is in check and then we prepare for transfer. I will have bloods on day 1, a scan on day 10, then ovulation will be tracked via blood tests and pee sticks. The embryo will then be defrosted X days after ovulation and transferred! Although we cant do this until we have signed a couple more documents with the clinic, so that has to happen first.
And when will all this happen? I can’t be specific, sorry. As much as we all know I am an open book, there are some things that are being kept between KiT/CaT, hubby and myself. This is mostly out of respect for them and their wishes. I know some of their family and friends read this blog (hi there!), so I would be devastated if they found out information on here before they found out from KiT/CaT. And do you know how insanely long a pregnancy feels if people find out 2 weeks after transfer that you are pregnant?!
So here is what I will do. I will continue to blog. Continue to update on information.But I won’t be posting it. I will save it for an appropriate time to release and then you can read all about preparing for transfers, what transfer entails, the 2 week wait, testing, positive or negative outcomes, scans etc etc etc. Only when all parties consent to announcing anything, will an announcement be made. So don’t bug me, because I wont tell you nuffin!
In the meantime, I am sure I will find other things to waffle on about in here, so I wont be gone completely!
Outside of all things surrogacy, I am still go, go, go. Although uni has finished for the trimester, I have an exam! My first exam ever in 17 years. 17 YEARS!!! So to say I am slightly crapping myself is a bit of an understatement. But I (mostly) know my stuff so am convinced I will at least pass. I did a practice exam on the weekend and was pleased with the outcome (even though I ran out of time) which has given me a little bit of a confidence boost. But don’t wish me luck- wish me a good memory! Terminology, examples, theorists- I need to know it ALL! Once that is complete, I can resume getting my body and mind prepped well for transfer- whenever that may be! xo