Surrogacy Part Two: Why did I choose this?

Updated Oct 12 2015
Guest post by A.M.

After explaining how she became a gestational carrier in Part One, A.M. describes her pregnancy and answers the big WHY? question everyone seems to want to ask. – Stephanie

β™‘ pregnant
Photo by Flickr user janineomg, used with Creative Commons license.

After an excruciatingly long week, I finally got the faintest of faint positives on a home pregnancy test. Two days later, a digital test confirmed it with the beautiful word, "Pregnant." We weren't out of the woods yet of course, and the following weeks were filled with more daily hormone injections in the hopes that things would "stick" and I wouldn't miscarry.

At 7 weeks pregnant, I had my first ultrasound and it was confirmed that I was carrying just one tiny baby with a strong beating heart. We were all a little shocked that the 27 harvested eggs had dropped to only three viable embryos, and only one of those had managed to cling on for dear life. But one is all it takes, and we were overjoyed and ecstatic.

Today, I'm almost half way through my pregnancy. It has been totally uneventful, just like my others. In a few days we'll find out whether the intended parents are expecting a son or a daughter. They and their families are excited beyond words for this new life and I feel honored and blessed beyond measure that they chose me and trust me to take care of something so precious to them. It is really just the most rad, indescribable feeling.

I am asked the "Why?" question a lot. Sometimes, if the asker is respectful and genuinely wants to know more, I go into detail. After all, I totally love spreading the awesomeness of surrogacy whenever I can.

When people find out I'm a surrogate, they are usually one of two things: either utterly confused, or overtaken with a mix of morbid curiosity and fascination. Very few people really understand what it means or why I would choose to do something so intimate for a complete stranger.

I am asked the "Why?" question a lot. Sometimes, if the asker is respectful and genuinely wants to know more, I go into detail. After all, I totally love spreading the awesomeness of surrogacy whenever I can. But often people will pry and ask far too personal questions so I keep it short.

I won't lie, the comments can be hurtful. The vast majority of women who find out I'm carrying someone else's baby will contort their face in horror while exclaiming, "Oh, I could NEVER do that. I could never give my child up," … as if I'm less of a mother and must lack some special maternal instinct because I CAN do it. The answer I give in my head is, "Well, neither could I. Good thing it's not MY baby!" What I actually say is usually accompanied by a smile and something along the lines of, "I know, not many people could! That's why surrogates are so special."

People also often want to know if I think it will be hard to "give the baby up." In short: no. Not at all. Because I'm not giving it up — I'm simply giving it BACK. The baby is not mine, it was never mine and I don't think of it that way. The hands-down best moment in this whole journey will be giving birth and watching my IPs become a family. That's what my goal was in the first place and I won't be sad about that, I will be overjoyed to have experienced it.

But even more important to note is that surrogacy is not a "get rich quick" scheme. It is a long, drawn out process that requires a much more heartfelt commitment than just wanting the money.

While I welcome most questions from strangers, the single one I absolutely cannot stand is, "WOW, I bet you get paid a ton of money, huh? How much is it?" Not only is this incredibly rude (do you go around asking anyone else their salary?) but it also is so far away from the true reason most women do surrogacy.

Yes, we are compensated. We deserve every bit of that compensation, too. Even the easiest pregnancy is extremely hard work and is a risk. It is, essentially, a job that we are doing. No one else goes to work for free! But even more important to note is that surrogacy is not a "get rich quick" scheme. It is a long, drawn out process that requires a much more heartfelt commitment than just wanting the money. It can take years to complete and there is no guarantee you will ever actually get pregnant. So while the money is much appreciated, it is definitely not the driving force behind a surrogate.

Really though, most people mean no offense and are truly interested and want to learn more. And for that, I get excited to share. The most awesome in my book are those who offer a simple "Wow, you are amazing. Thank you for doing that."

Recently, there has been a buzz about surrogacy in the media thanks to Elton John, Nicole Kidman, and the many other celebrities who have been brave enough to share their stories. My hope is that we as a society are moving towards a better understanding of the process and an appreciation for the women who risk their lives and put everything on hold to help others.

I want people to know that surrogates are really not much different from anyone else. We are not money-hungry, emotionless automatons. We are not attempting to fill an emotional void and we do not have secret desires to keep the baby. We are normal moms who love our kids and want others to experience that love too. We see a need and we fulfill it, and it ends up being one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives. Simple as that.

  1. Thank you for this series. It has really opened my eyes to this side of parenting. I was always convinced that adoption was the best choice for everyone (adoption IS a beautiful thing!). I never stopped to think that someone that is homosexual, or struggling with infertility would also long for the same feelings of excitement that I have with my own biological daughter. I really do wish that everyone in the world had the chance to experience having a child of their own if they wanted to. You really are doing such a selfless and beautiful thing for other people. Thank you.

    • To be honest I never considered the reasoning behind it much either until I was matched with my guys and began talking to them about their reasons for choosing surrogacy. After they explained, it made perfect sense. No one asks a hetero couple who has just announced a pregnancy why they didn't just adopt, you know? Same thing here!

      Thank you for the comments, I really appreciate it!

  2. Wow-You are doing an incredibly important and fullfilling job there Stephanie. I wish there were more surrogates out there like you for those who want to build their families. I wanted very much to do that job until I found out that I was barren, and now I honor and appreciate it even more.

    • OOH!! I just wanted to point out the author is "A.M." as it says in the post — I'm definitely not the author of this post. The bubble quote at the top is to explain that this post is part 2 of the series. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh, I say, "I could never do that!" usually, but it never occurred to me that it could be interpreted as a negative statement toward the surrogate — thanks for pointing that out!

    I remember watching a short on surrogacy on.. 20/20 I think, in 2008 or early 2009, and she pointed out that while from the outside surrogacy looks like a lot of money, when you break it down to hourly it's really much less than most people make for their labor and time. I like to keep that in mind.

    It is an amazing thing you're doing; I'm always impressed by the sheer awesome of women who choose to be a surrogate. πŸ˜€

    • No worries! I'm sure most people don't mean it negatively when they say that sort of thing, but sometimes the facial expression that comes along with it is a little odd/offensive. I think now I've just heard it so much that it's hard to differentiate the two intentions.

      And yep, you're spot on with the money thing. I think one of my surro friends calculated it out and it was around 81 cents an hour. I get rewards of much greater value in this whole experience than just the monetary compensation so it's always nice when people understand that and respect it.

      Thank you for your sweet comments!

  4. Cool perspective! I can't wait to hear how it turns out and what you think of the whole process once it's over. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is great!
    I hope we'll get another post after the baby is out and about!
    I'm curious to know if you'll have any relationship in the future with the little one, perhaps like a really cool aunt/godmother?

    • Yes, we plan to have a relationship for life! We live in different parts of the country so I won't see them often but we will keep in touch.

  6. I wish I could be a surrogate, but after two c-sections it won't happen. I think this is AWESOME and a seriously wonderful gift. (I loved being pregnant too BTW!)

  7. I have wanted to be pregnant for twenty years now, and finally am. I am 33 weeks along and, I have to admit, I have loved nearly every minute of it. We miscarried at 10 weeks with our first pregnancy — which has just made this one all the more precious. When I was 20 I wanted to be pregnant so badly, but did not want to raise a child. I seriously contemplated being a surrogate to a gay male friend and his partner. However, I didn't have the level of selflessness that you have. I have friends who have gone through IVF and it is no joke. I thank you for giving this incredible gift to someone else.

  8. Thank you for teaching us about surrogacy. i have seen a couple of close friends struggle with infertility, thankfully they have now concieved through IVF but it is wonderful to know there are amazing women like you out there who can help them achieve their dreams if they can't carry a baby themselves. Unfortunately here in Australia it is illegal to pay someone compensation for being a surrogate, you can pay medical costs but that's it so it would be incredibly hard to go down that path, just as you said, "who goes to work for free?"

  9. Wow. This is just amazing. I am another person who would say "I couldn't do that" but it is because I am not that unselfish and I am a very anxious pregnant woman!

    I have a friend who has wanted to have a baby for years and has miscarried several times. Now she is diagnosed with bladder cancer and going through treatment. She has wondered if anyone would ever surrogate for a woman with cancer. It's a tricky question and such a sad situation.

    Applause to A.M.

    • There are many surrogates who would! My agency works with a special organization dealing with HIV+ IPs and there are many women willing to carry for them, so I'm sure it would be no different for someone with cancer. I hope she is able to have a child one day.

  10. You really are awesome!

    Will you breastfeed after birth and provide milk to the baby after it goes home with his/her family?

  11. Even though I know tons of other surrogates now, finding another one is like finding a unicorn! πŸ™‚ I love it. I'm Giddy.

    What agency are you with. Would love to find out more about you . . . how many segments are in this series?

    The money question always drives me batty. I make more teaching part time than being a surrogate, and even though my last couple was well known, I think it's funny how people think that meant that I got more money . . . Yeah, that's called extortion!

    Again- would love for you to visit my blog (it goes through 2 journeys from 2008- currently) .. . Yay babies!

    Or if you're on twitter follow me rummelhartfive, then I can have a way to talk to you more if you'd like. Again, another unicorn, yay!

    • Hey Kelly, thanks so much for the comments! I have visited your blog before, awhile back, I think I may have even commented. I love it, and love the work you do for the cause. I'll follow you on Twitter and we can chat more. πŸ™‚

  12. Hello there fellow surrogate! I'm currently 22 weeks pregnant with twins and on my 2nd surrogacy journey for the same gay couple. Reading your posts was like reading a monologue! I have said/felt almost everything you wrote about.

    I agree with Kelly, who I know and adore, that it's great to find others who do this and understand what's involved. I'd love to chat as well so if you're open to it, Kelly can forward me your info. Thanks for being so honest and Yay Babies!

    • Hi Heather,

      YAY for more surros and sibling projects! You are awesome. I would love to get in touch with you as well, Kelly can forward my info along!

  13. When other nosey moms tell me they couldn't give up the baby, I tell them, 'While I adore my own, I don't really like other people's kids." I love saying that!

  14. Thank you for sharing your story. I love hearing your point of view. I am recently going through the paper work to try to be a egg donator. I'm not doing it for the money. I'm honestly doing it to help out other couples who have trouble conceiving. I'm also a member of the bone marrow registry too, so I have this mission to help as many people as I can since I am healthy. Reading your post, makes me want to consider surrogacy, too. Although, it will have to wait because I do want children of my own first before I consider something like this. Thank you for doing this! It takes a really big heart to do this. I will look forward to reading more of your story.

  15. Hi,

    I'm in the surrogate process (started my Lupron) and I'm so glad you wrote this. These words are my exact thoughts. I feel like when I start to tell people more and more I will direct them to your posts. Thank you so much for sharing! I couldn't have said it better. Good luck on the rest of your pregnancy!

  16. what a great entry and introduction into surrogacy! i am also a gestational surrogate. i am 21 weeks along and feel so incredibly blessed to be helping out a couple who has tried, in vain, for so long to have a baby. i cannot wait for the day she's born and they complete their family!

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