This month, in the spirit of Halloween, we're looking at fears and misconceptions when it comes to third-party building. Contrary to widespread belief, pregnancy doesn't happen easily for all women. In some cases, it may never happen at all. Many couples struggle with infertility, and in some cases, using an egg donor or a gestational surrogate is necessary.
I, myself, have never had infertility issues. I was fortunate enough to have four children of my own but I've connected with many people who suffer from infertility. I've seen their pain and as a proud mother myself, I wanted to help give them the blessings I have been able to experience. This is why I became involved in the world of infertility. I initially started out as an egg donor and after donating several times, I became a gestational surrogate. I would go on to carry and deliver as a gestational surrogate a total of three times.
Both egg donation and surrogacy were each humbling and inspirational in their own unique way. However, whenever I share my journey, I'm always honest that these undertakings were not without their challenges. Surrogacy in particular entails a longer, more intense time commitment. Plus, when you donate eggs, you can do so privately if you so choose. Surrogacy though, there is no hiding that you are pregnant. People will ask you about it, make assumptions and you have to be a strong woman ready to take on such a role.
In short (and to be blunt), if you're considering being a surrogate and you are scared, then you're smart. That shows you're taking it seriously and to be an ideal surrogate, you need to.
Surrogacy can almost be compared to a rollercoaster ride. There's some fear involved but a feeling of accomplishment at the end. Should you truly fear it though? That depends on your comfort level and how you answer some real questions with real answers. Not what you think people will want to hear. The truth. Here are just a few you should consider:
Will you be able to hand back the child to the intended parents at the end of the process? Even though as a gestational surrogate, the child is not biologically yours, are you able to emotionally carry a baby, nurture the pregnancy, and still be able to hand the child back to their parents? It can't be just because you signed a contract. It must be that you feel passionately about helping intended parents who now rely on you.
Will your partner, husband and children be comfortable with you taking on this role? There can be no ifs, ands or butts. While you're pregnant, there can't be any snarky comments or passive aggressive remarks as this is a team effort. Either everyone is in, or you are out.
Are you healthy enough to take on another pregnancy? Every pregnancy, whether it's your own biological child or for an intended parent, can take a toll on your body. As they say, this is very much a marathon, not a sprint. Is your body up to the task and are you ok with effect this pregnancy may have on it?
Are you able to take the time out of your life, job, etc.? Pregnancies can be unpredictable. Of course, every effort is made to keep you safe, comfortable, happy and healthy but bed rest may be needed or frequent doctor appointments may occur should you have a concern like gestational diabetes. Are you already spread too thin with your current life commitments? Will your job be supportive? Again, how about your family? Will they pitch in to help?
As a surrogate myself, I can share with you that even with the risks, physical uncomfortableness, and odd questions from strangers at the grocery store about my gestational pregnancy; the beautiful gift of bringing a human life into this world to help create a family is a feeling I can't begin to put into words. The look on the intended parents faces when they hold their baby for the first time, especially after they've had empty arms for so long, is immeasurable. To have been a key part of making that happen is beyond indescribable.
So is surrogacy scary? It can be. But if you are serious about it and feel strongly about helping couples as much as I do, it can be the most rewarding thing you've ever done in your life.