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October 27, 2005

Where babies come from

Getting to 50,000 , I want to know!

So I need you all to tell me where babies come from. No, really. Let me explain. As I've mentioned, I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year. And I need a bit of background research help.

Super-condensed plot summary: Shortly after same-sex marriage becomes legal in Massachusetts, Greg (an English professor at a small college) and Sean Patrick decide to get married and have a baby. They ask Greg's best friend Christine to be their gestational surrogate. Christine successfully gets pregnant. Sean Patrick decides he actually doesn't want the marriage and family thing, now that he thinks about it, and leaves. Greg freaks out and isn't sure he really wants the baby at this point either. Then Christine finds out she's carrying twins, and she and Greg have to figure out what to do.

Now. I'm going to have the initial "will you do it?" conversation be in a prologue and then pick up the story once Christine is pregnant, so I won't need any in-depth descriptions of medical procedures. But I want to at least have my facts straight on the basics. So I'm looking for research suggestions: books, Web sites, etc. for facts, as well as blogs for personal stories. Here are some of the questions I need to figure out:

1. What fertility procedure would be most likely here? I was initially thinking IVF, but maybe IUI? But would that decrease the likelihood of twins? The twins are kind of integral to the plot.
2. I think I want the babies to be genetically Christine's. Assuming, for the moment, IVF, would it be likely that they would use her eggs? Assuming no fertility problems, is there a higher success rate for IVF using the eggs of the person who will be carrying the baby rather than donor eggs?
3. I'd also like one twin to be biologically Greg's child and the other to be biologically Sean Patrick's. Is this plausible?
4. What are the major complications they'd be watching for in a twin pregnancy?

Any responses, thoughts, tips, etc. would be most appreciated. Also, I am setting up a list of people who will receive the story via e-mail as I write it. If you are interested, let me know.

Posted by Kat at October 27, 2005 09:51 AM

What a timely topic.... ;-)
One of the complications with twins would be prematurity, particularly with low-birth weights, in which the babies would have to stay in the NICU. Sometimes the mom is put on bedrest before that happens to try to give the babies a little more time inside. I don't know anything about any of your other questions though...


Posted by: Jen at October 27, 2005 04:18 PM

I'm not 100% sure this is plausible, but what about if several of Christine's eggs were fertilized with sperm from both men? (Whis would be IVF, I think. I'm not really up on my fertility treatments!) Then it's possible that two embryos could implant resulting in fraternal twins. Maybe? Sounds very interesting! Now you've got me thinking too! :-)

Posted by: Courtney at October 27, 2005 05:04 PM

Okay, web sites: http://www.resolve.org, http://www.inciid.org, http://www.ivfconnections.com,
http://www.surromoms.com (google surromoms if this doesn't work)

1. Gestational surrogacy is a term that means the surrogate is using an egg that is not hers. The term for what you're looking for is traditional surrogacy.

2. It could be IVF or IUI for traditional surrogacy; gestational surrogacy would have to be IVF (because it would basically be a donor egg procedure). IUI and IVF are pretty much equally likely to produce twins if you use medications. IVF is actually *less* likely to produce high-order multiples (triplets +). All those spetuplets in the news are IUI babies. Just another fun fact from your friendly neighborhood defensive infertile woman. :) Assuming the surrogate is young and fertile, there's no reason to believe the egg of another young and fertile woman would be more effective than her own. So if you write her under 30 with a normal reproductive history, you're all set.

3. This really *isn't* plausible. It might be *possible* with IVF, though you wouldn't be able to find out the biological relationship of the children until after birth (I suppose you could find out with amnio or CVS, but I don't think they'd recommend the procedure just for that--you'd have to ask a doc on that one). But I can't think of a doctor who would use two men's sperm in one IVF procedure. It's getting really sketchy ethically. You *could* have them have an informal surrogacy arrangement (which would probably make some of the things that you're describing, people bailing, etc., more plausible). You need to go through a LOT of hoops to do something like this with a doctor, and I'm not saying it isn't possible for someone to be deluding himself through all the screening and legal mumbo jumbo and psychological tests and affidavits, etc., but it's less likely than if three people got kind of stupid and said "hey, let's all have a baby together" and they did home insemination (also called ICI, or "turkey baster method" lol) with both men's sperm, and she got pg with twins and they happened to be from the two different men's sperm. Not terribly likely, but not impossible. But yeah, implausible. That one is going to be a long shot, I gotta tell you. You could TRY writing to one of the advice docs on INCIID to see about the ethics of the thing, but I'm thinking no way. They don't go there for the exact reason of the plotline of your book. They're not in the business of creating children where the responsiblity for parenting is unclear or subject to legal challenge.

4. Get a book on twin pregnancy--you can find them at barnes and noble or, lol, the library, and look at that. There are many complications and the chances of having complications are doubled compared to singleton pregnancies, so you've got plenty to work with there.

Feel free to ask me questions about DI and IVF. This is an area in which I know my shit. ;)

Posted by: mamacate at October 27, 2005 07:54 PM

my brain is mush so I'm simply going to say that Cate knows her shit and if you have any specific questions feel free to email me! (or Cate - she has the personal experience while I have lots and lots of books on the subjects. My ob rotation is next and I can't wait to see and participate in births...)

I'm game for reading your novel, though I might not be the fastest person to get back to you (due to scheduling). Please add me to the list!

(I'm trying to catch up and am now going to settle in to read what else has been going on..congrats on a finished blanket!)

Posted by: Kristen at October 27, 2005 09:27 PM

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