After some devastating family losses and personal health issues, Dr. Dorette Noorhasan, an esteemed OB/GYN and fertility specialist, wanted to have a child of her own. In her new book, Miracle Baby: A Fertility Doctor's Fight for Motherhood, she details her personal journey to parenthood, pursuing surrogacy and the many emotional ups and downs of the entire experience that led to her beautiful son, Leo.
Below, ConceiveAbilities asks Dr. Noorhasan about her amazing story and her insight from both a doctor and patient’s perspective.
ConceiveAbilities: What motivated you to share your own story?
Dr. Noorhasan: I am a very private person. Publicly sharing my life story and including details of my struggles to start a family was not initially a comfortable situation for me. A few months before my son was born, I started sharing my story with my patients. They were the ones who told me that my story gave them hope and that I needed to share my story with others. So, I wrote this book because my patients asked me to share my story.
ConceiveAbilities: The opening chapter describes the delivery of your son, Leo. It’s engaging, moving and hopefully encouraging to those reading the book who are currently in the “trying to conceive” trenches and/or pursuing surrogacy. While some books may have made the reader wait to find out if you were successful, why did you decide to share this part up front?
Dr. Noorhasan: I chose to share the delivery of my son as the first chapter because I wanted this book to be a book about hope. Having a positive beginning makes a reader want to read more about the book. You may have noticed that the last chapter is also a hopeful chapter with me coming full circle in the pursuit of parenthood.
ConceiveAbilities: Due to the health issues you experienced, it was recommended that you work with a surrogate to have a child. Can you describe the feeling of accepting that you wouldn’t be able to carry your own child? For those in a similar situation, do you have words of wisdom?
Dr. Noorhasan: Hearing the words that it was “medically unsafe” for me to carry my own child was a hard pill to swallow. After all, I am a woman with functioning reproductive organs, and yet, I couldn’t use them. I too wanted to experience pregnancy, including having my baby kick inside of me. I now had to trust another woman to carry my child. These were emotionally very difficult circumstances to come to terms with. I spent years doing my own soul-searching before finding peace with my human limitations.
ConceiveAbilities: In the book, you share your experiences of working with a surrogacy agency to find a gestational carrier. You say, “Since I had a medical background, I thought I knew what to look for.” What would you say to intended parents who are starting this journey in terms of finding the right agency for them and going through the process of finding an ideal surrogate?
Dr. Noorhasan: I thought I knew what to look for in finding a surrogate, but I was wrong. I essentially was learning on the job. The best advice that I can give other intended parents is to find a surrogacy agency and a surrogate who you are comfortable with in order to have a good working relationship.
ConceiveAbilities: You touch on how you have you would often go back and forth between approaching both the IVF and surrogacy pregnancy from a doctor's perspective and then, other times, an intended parent. Do you think having a background in fertility medicine made things easier or more complicated as you know more than the average patient?
Dr. Noorhasan: Having a medical background, particularly specializing in fertility, was both helpful and sometimes a hindrance. I am knowledgeable about what was happening, which was helpful since I was aware of everything and did not feel lost in the process. However, I am also aware of everything that can potentially go wrong at every step of the process, which makes it very difficult to get excited and happy about the small “wins.” I did not allow myself to be happy until I finally held my child for the first time.
ConceiveAbilities: Once the process began and a pregnancy was achieved (hooray!), how was it to have someone carry your child? Especially since, as you share in the book, there were complications with the pregnancy.
Dr. Noorhasan: Because I had already made peace with the fact that someone else was carrying my child before the process began, I had no hang ups about another woman carrying my child. There were complications with the pregnancy, but at that point the only thing that I could do was be supportive of my gestational carrier.
ConceiveAbilities: What do you hope the takeaway is for readers?
Dr. Noorhasan: There are two parallel stories in the book: one about my journey to motherhood and the other, my life story. Both stories are filled with lots of ups and unfortunately lots of downs, but what I want people to get out of the book is hope. Hope that in the end, everything will work itself out one way or the other.
ConceiveAbilities: Lastly, how has it felt sharing your own personal story in this book? How are you finding the experience and the feedback?
Dr. Noorhasan: I was afraid to share my own personal story, but I have only received positive feedback. Many people have complimented me on having the courage to share my story. We will only be able to help others with infertility by sharing our own stories. There is a need for awareness.
If you want to purchase Miracle Baby: A Fertility Doctor's Fight for Motherhood, please visit Dr. Noorhasan’s site. And if you have any questions about the surrogacy process either from an intended parent or potential gestational carrier point of view, please contact us. Our experts can guide you through your surrogacy journey. We’re here to help!
Written by Jennifer (Jay) Palumbo
Jay is a writer, a healthcare and family building advocate, CEO of Wonder Woman Writer LLC, a comic, a thyroid cancer survivor, a wife and mother of two extraordinary boys. Check out her Instagram and LinkedIn.
All Things Conceivable is a blog dedicated to sharing the knowledge and expert opinions of the dedicated team at ConceiveAbilities, a Chicago-based egg donation and surrogacy agency.