My Medical Evaluation
By: Julie Stromwall
It’s here! Medical evaluation day! I’m hoping to share my experience with you so you can imagine what to expect on the big day!
Planning for the medical evaluation is always exciting. Once I was officially matched with my Intended Parents, my case manager let me know that I would need to inform them at the start of my next menstrual cycle. Sure, it seems a little weird at first to discuss my cycle with people… but it’s all part of the job!
I got my period on my expected start date of 1/19/18. I woke up early in the morning and was so very excited to share the news with the Agency, the Intended Mother and the Reproductive Clinic! Later that afternoon, the clinic called to schedule my medical evaluation. The evaluation needs to be scheduled between cycle day (CD) 7-10 when the lining of the uterus has already shed and the doctor can get a good look via the transvaginal ultrasound.
We scheduled my evaluation for CD #7. I arrived with my husband, Adam, about a half hour before my appointment to complete paperwork. Most Spouses/Partners need to have a blood draw and give a urine sample as well, so Adam decided to come along that day so we could get it out of the way. Also, we got to meet the Intended Mother in person for the first time that day, and there’s no way he would miss that! Note: the Intended Parents are not always able to come to this appointment.
After giving a urine sample and getting my blood drawn, the Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) met with my husband and myself in private to speak about surrogacy. She asked me my personal pregnancy histories as well as my surrogacy pregnancy histories. She asked how many embryos I would be willing to transfer and went over her standard protocol for an embryo transfer. I jotted down some notes as she spoke and tried to think of as many questions as I could.
It would be a great idea to speak with your case manager before the medical evaluation if you have questions about the evaulation. Your case manager (and surrogate sisters!) will have a lot answers to commonly asked questions! REs have many patients to see a day and sometimes you may not feel as though you understand it all… but don’t worry! ABC is great at explaining this!
Next, I had my my saline sonohysterogram (also known as a saline ultrasound). The intended mom and co-owner Julie Allgood joined my husband and I in the room for this procedure. It’s very important for me to help my IPs get involved in my journey, so I encourage them to come to as many appointments as they can, even if that means losing some modesty (although they do stand at my head, rather than my feet;)!) If you are a surrogate and would rather your IPs wait in the lobby, that is totally fine! The RE can fill them in after the exam. Please let your case manager know, and she can speak with your IPs about this.
For the exam, I did not experience any pain. The doctor asked the nurse to take some pictures via ultrasound of my uterus. Once she was done, she removed the catheter and let me know everything looked great and we would just be waiting for my blood work to come back before being issued medical clearance. She began to leave the room and let me know I could go ahead and get dressed. Obviously, I did leak some saline… no wonder there’s a stack of sanitary napkins right there for you to use!
On the way out, the RE’s nurse told me it typically takes ten business days to receive all the results. That means by February 8th or so, I should know if I am medically cleared or not. Sometimes it can take longer, or things can come up that would require additional blood tests to be repeated in a month. REs check for STDs, immunity to Hepatitis B (not always required), immunity to chicken pox & whether or not you have had a recent exposure to cytomegalovirus (cmv). If you don’t know what cmv is, please take the time to educate yourself. You may visit this link for resources: www.nationalcmv.org
I am looking forward to completing this part of my journey and moving on to obtaining legal clearance! Please check back in early February for an update!