A lot has happened since we checked in here last. It has been an interesting, and somehow very long, couple of weeks full of medical questionnaires, logistical decision making, conversations with friends and family, and a Skype call (more on that in a minute).
I never expected this process to change me in the ways that is has or is. In committing to do this for another family, you wade in as far as it takes into their hurts in an attempt to swim out of them together. You schedule appointments, submit a fair amount of continual paperwork, make plans, change those plans, maybe change them again, get good news, get we'll-get-through-this type news; all while hoping that the whole thing works out for the best, hoping that a mama somewhere gets to hold her little squish and gush like a fire hydrant of emotion because of how beautiful that little life is.
I feel this way and I'm not even the one who will be carrying the baby, committing my all to the miracle-making that is being pregnant; no, that would be my wife. I'm so lucky she married me for so many reasons, but the way that she deeply cares about others is among my favorites. I was not surprised, really, when she brought up surrogacy. It was a natural next step for our family now that I've had a few weeks to step back and look at it in the overall context of her selflessness and beauty of spirit.
I am a man blessed, no doubt.
Our Skype call went well. We navigated about a dozen time zones to connect with a couple from China. They are a simple couple with a lot of love to give a baby; enough to prompt them to move figurative mountains in the pursuit of one.
There are several libraries' worth of articles written online regarding China and why fertility is in crisis there. Pollution, policy, stress, and a cultural importance placed upon consanguinity are all blamed, among many, many other factors, for the steep decline in fertility rates. And if you read more than a few minutes on fertility rates, you'll likely stumble across the World Health Organization's (WHO) projection that infertility and sterility will be the third-most serious disease worldwide in the 21st century, after cancer and cardiovascular diseases (Qiao & Feng 2014). Mind numbing. The very biological process that furthers the existence of man on this planet is projected to, in the next 83 years or less, harm humanity in its brokenness in ways that are only surpassed by cancer and heart problems. Strange. Sad, too. Very, very sad.
One of my very favorite movies is Children of Men. In it, infertility is the norm. In fact, the world's youngest people are 18 years old and are regarded as moderate celebrities. Pregnancy is an urban myth in a mid-apocalyptic world teetering on collapse after nearly two decades of maternity wards closing down and being filled with only silence and baffled nurses. When I watched the film, never did I dream that I might see the world even sort of go that way. It is an odd time to be alive: we're on the verge of traversing the globe at incredible rates in tubes (a la The Jetsons) and space travel is near-privatized. The first human embryo was very recently genetically modified and cures for various diseases seem within reach; no longer pipe dreams. Our technology as a human race is incredible.
But something as historically simple as getting pregnant is becoming, for many, insurmountable; for some, financially impossible. Their families will end.
I'm not pointing this out because we are heroes. I'm doing it because we are just a couple of kids who started a family and love it so much that we want to make that possible for others. We want to create something beautiful (and squishy!). We want to help make a family whole.
I mentioned earlier the conversations we have had in recent weeks. This surrogacy journey is not one that we are "still considering" or "making up our minds about." We are doing this. We have a trip planned to have final medical and psychological evaluation done and a follow-up trip coming together for an embryo transfer. We have legal teams in place. We have an agency working at a furious pace to put this all together perfectly. This is happening.
I'm not surprised that we have had a few people oppose our decision to pursue surrogacy. The overwhelming majority is rooting us on in fashion that is incredible to witness, and I thank each of you who have done so for doing so; it is so very encouraging.
To the rest: I'm sorry you feel the need to try and convince us otherwise.
Anyway, because ending on a downer is dumb, we are going on vacation soon! To the ocean!! It will be fantastic. Our kids have never seen it and I can't wait to watch their wonder. Or their apathy and follow up questions about what's for dinner.