By: Heather Somaini
There are lots of interesting or maybe curious things we discovered in our IVF process. One is that there is a tremendous amount of drugs involved. They have to essentially shut down how your body naturally works and manipulate it all with pharmaceuticals. It’s sort of fascinating. I definitely saw Dr. S, our fertility doctor, as a mad scientist.
Tere went and picked up the fertility drugs we were about to begin taking along with the customized calendars for each of us to know what we were to take and when. Honestly, it looked like she had gone wardrobe shopping – two large bags, one for each of us, naturally. The directions and calendars were impossible to understand. I thought I had gotten pretty good at this stuff by now but no amount of studying that night was going to make me understand the information in front of me and how it connected to what appeared to be a smorgasbord of liquids in vials of all sizes with a multitude of colors matched with a plethora of needles in a range of gauges.
The next day one of the nurses worked through it all with me over the phone, explaining what we needed to do. Now our bathroom looked like a true pharmacy. Drugs as far as the eye could see. It was pretty awesome. The new wrinkle with all of these drugs was that I was now in charge of not only giving Tere all of her shots but also doing my own. It’s not so bad, but boy, if you don’t get the angle right – it can hurt!
Tere and I always felt very strongly about legally securing our parental rights, not only together but also individually for our children. During our first pregnancy, I was put in touch with a lawyer who specialized in situations like ours. Since I had already gone through everything with her then, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on what we needed to do once we were pregnant. I was surprised when Dr. S’s office informed us that we needed to draw up a co-parenting agreement before we could move forward with the IVF process. Tere and I had to hire our own lawyers so we each had our own representation and were appropriately knowledgeable about what we were endeavoring to do. The lawyers agreed on the document and we signed it. What it essentially said was that I was not giving up my parental rights to my eggs that would be fertilized and implanted in Tere and Tere was not a surrogate and in fact, gaining parental rights to those embryos.
The legal aspects for a same-sex couple with children are challenging. The lack of a country-wide understanding of marriage puts us and our children in jeopardy. Drawing up as many legal documents as possible is important. We shouldn’t have to; but we do. Ignoring it because we shouldn’t have to is not an excuse to leave our children potentially vulnerable and exposed.
So before we were even pregnant, before we even fertilized any eggs, our potential children already had their first (of many) legal documents to determine their place in the world. Ultimately, there were a number of other things we did to secure our parentage that I’m sure you’ll read about in a future blog. It was a pain and the lawyers got their fees but I sleep better at night knowing that in the unfortunate event of either my or Tere’s death, there is no question what should happen to our kids and who they should be with.
But back to the drugs…