After the post a few weeks ago from a wannabe-surrogate, we got a wonderful submission from a woman who’s in the middle of her process of surrogacy. Given the interest in the subject, I was stoked to have a chance to share A.M.’s story. -Ariel
My interest in surrogacy began years ago, when a couple I knew was fighting a long battle against infertility and losing. I was pregnant with my second son at the time and I remember thinking as soon as he was born, I would love nothing more than to be a surrogate for them to carry the baby waiting for for years. They eventually adopted a daughter shortly before my son was born and the idea was put on the back burner.
Then, when I was pregnant with my daughter, a close friend was also pregnant at the same time — but as a surrogate. I followed her journey closely and intently. It was after meeting the couple she carried for that I knew this was something I definitely wanted to do. Watching two people become a family of four and seeing the complete love and appreciation in their eyes was nothing short of amazing.
As time went on, surrogacy was always on my mind. I’m a great candidate: I am good at being pregnant. I have routine pregnancies and uncomplicated deliveries. I like — even love — being pregnant. My husband and I are done having children of our own. My husband enjoys me when I’m pregnant. And the biggest reason: my kids are simply my life.
I know many moms can relate to that. I love my children so fiercely and can’t fathom life without them. But less tangible is the idea of wanting a child with every fiber of your being and simply not being able to make that happen. I conceived easily and do not even pretend to understand what infertile or same-sex couples experience. But I know that longing for a child, and I know how devastated I would be if that dream could never become a reality. I wanted to help.
I should note here that there are two types of surrogacy: traditional, in which the carrier uses her own egg, and gestational, which involves using eggs from the intended mother or a donor. I knew for sure that I wanted to be a gestational surrogate and desired no genetic connection between myself and the baby.
So, when my daughter was about six months old, I began the process. I should note here that there are two types of surrogacy: traditional, in which the carrier uses her own egg, and gestational, which involves using eggs from the intended mother or a donor. I knew for sure that I wanted to be a gestational surrogate and desired no genetic connection between myself and the baby. I also knew that I felt more comfortable using an agency rather than doing things independently. Luckily, since I had a friend who was a surrogate, choosing the agency was easy. I sent in my application and crossed my fingers.
Applying with the agency triggered an avalanche of truly time-intensive work. Agencies are very thorough, and for good reason. IPs (intended parents) want a surrogate who is going to give them the best possible chance at a healthy pregnancy, safe birth and financially smooth and stable journey. That means they want the cream of the crop, so to speak. I supplied medical records, took a psychological exam, completed a medical screening, and both my husband and I underwent background checks and interviews with a psychologist. Saying it was stressful would be an understatement.
After about two months, I got the long-awaited news that I was finally accepted as a carrier in their program and the next step was matching. Oh, the book I could write about the matching experience and how incredible it was to feel so connected to someone I had never met. I will summarize it by saying that I was matched with the most awesome gay couple. Two men who share a deep desire to be parents and look forward to enriching this child’s life in every way possible.
I did not originally think I would carry for a same-sex couple, but after talking to them, our fates were sealed. They are who I was meant to do this for and they deserve to be parents just as much as anyone else.
I did not originally think I would carry for a same-sex couple, but after talking to them, our fates were sealed. They are who I was meant to do this for and they deserve to be parents just as much as anyone else. It hurts me to hear people say that they should “just adopt” without understanding how difficult or impossible that can be for a gay couple, or that they may also have the inherent desire to have biological children just like any heterosexual person.
The next step in our journey was to actually get to transfer day. The guys had chosen an egg donor and I would be doing IVF in order to conceive a baby or babies created from the donor eggs and my Intended Father’s sperm. This is another seemingly never-ending process. In reality ours was short compared to some — the time from match to transfer was about five months, and thank the stars that it worked on the first try. Others aren’t so lucky and will go through two, three or even more transfers before getting pregnant, if they ever do.
I won’t lie, the process is hard, physically and emotionally. Anyone who has been through an IVF cycle can attest to that. I was on all sorts of hormones and injections for months on end. It can wreak havoc on you if you let it but I fought hard to stay positive and enjoy the process. We went through a canceled cycle, two different egg donors, poor quality embryos and a crash transfer to get the remaining three inside me before they expired in the petri dish. Then? We crossed our fingers and hoped like mad.
And after all that? More waiting. Waiting is definitely a common theme in surrogacy.