Friday 04th December 2020
Today saw a return to CRGH for the third time on my surrogacy adventure. On this occasion, I would be undergoing post-quarantine blood tests. My semen sample had been provided 3 months previous, and at the time I underwent an initial set of blood tests to ascertain the status of my sexual health. These tests usually only identify a person's sexual health status in the months leading up to the day of testing, but may not necessarily identify infections that have occurred in the weeks leading up to the test. As such, the second set of blood tests must be carried out post-donation. This is the only way of being certain that the semen sample which I had provided was free from infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis. Furthermore, HFEA legislation requires a 6-month quarantine of gametes (sex cells). However, with advances in infection testing, such as Nucleic Acid testing (NAT), forensic serology can now detect infection with a timeframe less than 3 months. As such, the time of quarantining can be cut by half or less.
I arrived early for my appointment and was sent straight to the first floor. After a short wait, I was called for my blood test. The nurse invited me to sit down in the seat next to the desk, not the large, cushioned medical chair I had sat in previous. As I sat down I caught an eye of the sample pots which would be used. Six vials, six! Last time I had nine vials taken from my left arm and felt super woozy following collection. “I was told I wouldn’t need much taken” I exclaimed to the nurse. Carol her name was. A bubbly nurse with the most friendly face. “I think they lied to you” she quipped. “Do you not want me in the other chair?” I asked. “No, I find this one is much easier,” she said. She retrieved a pillow and placed it under my right arm with my arm comfortably rested on top. She asked me to clench my fist a few times. “You have very good veins” she cheerily stated, “Feel free to look away.” "She's seen my sort before," I thought to myself. After sterilising my arm, she informed me that I would feel a sharp scratch. She wasn’t wrong, but it was very brief. She asked me what I would be doing for Christmas, presumably to take my mind off the moment. “A quiet one this year I imagine” I stated, “How about you?” I enquired. She began to tell me the story of how her husband had died of coronavirus, 6 months previous. As such, she and her children would not be celebrating as they once would. A stark reminder of the reality for many during these challenging times. Before I knew it she was done. “That was quick,” I said. “I don’t hang about” she joked. And to make a change, I didn’t feel woozy either!
Following a quick trip to the restroom to produce a urine sample, I was told I was all done! This was a strange feeling, as I had become quite used to my regular trips to London. Only this time there was no appointment to make for future treatment. Everything now rested on my egg donor to attend in the new year, hopefully in January, to have her eggs retrieved for embryos to be created.
I spent the rest of my day taking in the sights of London (and a little bit of shopping too!) And it wouldn’t be a trip to London without a little bit of celebrity spotting. On this occasion, on my walk through Regents Park, I had the pleasure of passing Siobhán McSweeney (of ‘Derry Girls’ fame).
Until Next time, Keeping the Dad Dream alive!
Read more from my Dad.Be blog here
Follow me on Instagram @stephens_surrogacy_adventure