Texas: Dear Supportive Surrogate

Dear Supportive Surrogate:

I had a boyfriend 15 years ago who gave me genital warts. I haven’t had a flare-up for 10 years, and my OB has said that it’s not an issue for me when being pregnant or delivering, unless I have a flare-up. But I recently was denied to be a gestational carrier by a fertility clinic for just that reason. What’s up with that? I am so eager to be a surrogate and I feel really upset about this. – Frustrated in Franktown

Dear Frustrated:

That is really frustrating! I get it: a diagnosis of HSV-2, or genital warts, isn’t fun, but it’s also not the end of the world. And your OB is right that it is generally very low risk when it comes to being pregnant and delivering. However, it’s also true that fertility clinics can be very strict about HSV-2 and will sometimes deny working with a surrogate who has it. This is because there is a (slight) risk of passing the disease on to a fetus in utero or during delivery. For this reason, some agencies won’t approve a candidate because it’s hard to get a clinic to approve the candidate. There are agencies and clinics that do accept candidates who have had HSV-2, as long as intended parents are aware of the risks and the GC is willing to take antiviral medications toward the end f the pregnancy and willing to have a c-section if there is an active outbreak at delivery. I really hear you. It feels terrible to be turned down by an agency or clinic for something that doesn’t seem like that big of a risk, and it can feel like a judgment. But it’s not at all a judgment of you personally – fertility clinics, agencies and IPs are all working a risk game, and some will take bigger risks than others. HSV-2 isn’t that big of a risk in the scheme of things, and you may find a different clinic or agency that will be less stringent on this particular diagnosis. 

Dear Supportive Surrogate:

I have 3 kids, and had great pregnancies and deliveries with all of them. But during my second pregnancy I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. I never had a high blood sugar reading other than the day of the 3-hour glucose tolerance test, and I never took medication for it. I just ate well and stayed active (like I did with my other pregnancies). A friend of mine who wanted to be a surrogate was denied by an agency for having had gestational diabetes. Now I’m afraid I’ll be denied; but my OB had said it wasn’t a big deal, and that I probably didn’t actually have gestational diabetes. How I do move forward with my dream to become a carrier for another family? – Healthy and Dreaming 

Dear HAD:

One of the challenges about being a surrogate is that your health history (specifically your writtenhealth history, such as medical records) is picked over with a fine-tooth comb, and things that wouldn’t normally be a big deal for your own pregnancy become a big deal for a surrogacy pregnancy. Some agencies and fertility clinics will work with surrogate candidates who had diet-controlled gestational diabetes, and some won’t because the risk is greater that you will test positive for gestational diabetes in future pregnancies. As it is impossible to prove that you didn’t have gestational diabetes (though it may be probably in your OB’s eyes), stricter fertility clinics may turn you down, and agencies that work with stricter fertility clinics may turn you down, too. When you start on your journey of finding an agency or self-matching, make sure everyone knows you had a gestational diabetes diagnosis. Some agencies may accept you and just not match you with IPs who are using a more strict clinic. Don’t be discouraged! There is still the chance to find the perfect family to work with. It just might take a little more effort to find the right agency and fertility clinic.

If you have a question for the Supportive Surrogate, please email her at info@texassurro.com with the subject line Dear Supportive Surrogate.