Marisa & Doug


My husband and I decided to start trying for a family on my 30th birthday. I had never had any issues of any kind, so I expected a fairly easy and smooth path to conception, pregnancy and baby. I was very interested in the process and had been tracking my cycles for over a year, so we were more than prepared. After six months of no luck I checked in with my regular OB/GYN, who luckily referred me right away to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (even though we technically had only been trying for six months, I had been off all birth control for over two years with no pregnancy). Everything checked out except for what seemed like a minor problem in the infertility world, which was one blocked tube. I had surgery to remove it and then we tried three months of Clomid and Intrauterine Inseminations, again with no luck. We moved on to In-Vitro Fertilization with full confidence, as I was still only 30 years old and we had no known fertility issues.

We ultimately ended up doing seven IVF cycles with my own eggs, and three IVF cycles with donor DNA, all of which ended in either miscarriage or failures. Eventually, after five terrible years of fertility treatments, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease which affected my ability to carry a healthy pregnancy to term, and our option was to use a gestational surrogate with our own DNA. 

I was stunned, aghast and felt betrayed by my country that it was illegal to find a surrogate where I lived in the state of New York, and would be forced to find one out of state. More financial burden to me, more heartache, more logistics, more more more. How could I possibly get through this unnecessary hurdle in addition to everything else?  I could barely keep track of the overwhelming logistics I was forced to endure, and thus in the process I lost my job because coordinating all of this took 100% of my time and mental energy.

I was lucky to find a wonderful and supportive gestational carrier agency who matched us with the most wonderful surrogate in the state of Texas. Again, I had to coordinate an IVF cycle out of town, finding two clinics (one in New York and one in Texas), figure out travel dates according to the IVF cycle, hotels, and more and more logistics. We flew down there for IVF #11, transferred two embryos to our surrogate, and happily both implanted, were healthy and grew into actual take home babies!

We are currently blessed to have these twins after all the heartache my husband and I experienced, but having to go out of state, away from my support system here in New York and the unnecessary financial burden of being forced to find a surrogate out of state is astounding.

Lastly, one of the most upsetting parts of not being able to use a carrier in New York is that after everything we had been through and experienced, all the devastation and loss, my husband missed the birth of our children. Texas was just too far away to get to in time as our surrogate went into labor early. If our surrogate had been within a two hour radius, he would have been there, and this is something that will haunt my husband his entire life. What about the grandparents who had also lived through the five years of infertility and miscarriage hell who finally had grandchildren, but who were unable to even meet the babies in person until they were a month old and we were finally able to travel back home to New York? 

Beyond the family and emotional aspects of this, when it comes down to numbers, New York is simply losing money. All the money that we spent in Texas could have happily been spent here in New York- from all the doctor appointments, to the births in the hospital, to the thousands of dollars we spent at baby stores purchasing items we needed for two preemie babies and our extended stay in Texas, not to mention the loss of work my husband was forced to do while we had to live in Texas during the twin’s NICU time. Why would New York outsource something that it can easily do here, for its constituents? It’s time for New York to join reality and become the family friendly state it ought to be.

Gabby Henrie