I love being pregnant but I do not want any more babies. Maybe I could have a baby for someone else. But goodness, where do I start? Am I even qualified?
Have you ever thought any of the above? Have you even considered becoming a gestational surrogate but not sure if it's really something for you?
I have been a gestational surrogate three times. I not only know firsthand what the experience entails but if this is something you've been debating about, I can help provide you with both candid insight and guidance.
Surrogacy requires a leap of faith - not only in the agency and other professionals you'll be working with, but certainly, trust in the intended parents. It also takes the commitment of your loved ones' to support this incredible undertaking. And let's not forget your own ability to quite possibly be seen in the community as doing something very unusual!
Most people in the general public do not realize the differences between "traditional" and "gestational" surrogacy. So it's not uncommon to hear questions from family and friends - or even strangers - about your connection to the child you're carrying. They often don't realize that gestational surrogacy removes many of the legal and ethical issues that comes up surrounding infertility.
If you are considering surrogacy, a smart first step is knowing how "traditional" and "gestational" differ.
Gestational surrogate vs traditional surrogate. What's the difference?
A gestational surrogate is a woman who carries a child but has no genetic connection to her. The embryo is created by the intended mother's egg or an egg donor as well as the intended father's sperm or a sperm donor through the (IVF) In Vitro Fertilization process.
A traditional surrogate is a woman who carries a child that does have a genetic connection to her. The surrogate is artificially inseminated utilizing her own egg and the intended father's sperm or a sperm donor.
When I first approached the subject with my family about being a surrogate, it was not taken very well. Naturally, there were a lot of concerns but eventually my family did support me. That support is vital throughout the entire surrogacy journey.
To be a surrogate, you must have a passion to be pregnant as well as a generous heart. This cannot be just about the money as there are numerous physical, emotional and legal aspects involved. You are committing your time and your body to bring a child into this world. While you are compensated for this, it takes someone who feels strongly about the main objective of surrogacy, to help others, that make for an ideal and engaged surrogate.
Pregnancy is hard regardless if you're carrying for yourself or someone else. It is especially more difficult when you know at the end of it all, you don't get to keep "the prize". Being a gestational surrogate is a lengthy time commitment, where you essentially put your life on hold, endure daily injections (before and after the embryo transfer) and then once you're pregnant, all that comes with being pregnancy.
There is a lot to learn when you do decide to become a gestational surrogate. One of many is the various surrogacy terms that are used, many interchangeably. Below are examples of the most commonly used terms:
- (GC) Gestational Carrier ~ (GS) Gestational Surrogate ~ Surrogate ~ Surro ~ (SM) Surrogate mother ~ Gestational substitute mother
- (IP) Intended Parent ~ (PP) Prospective Parent ~ (FP) Future Parent ~ Commissioning Couple ~ Recipient ~ (IM) Intended Mother ~ (IF) Intended Father
- (IVF) In-vitro fertilization
- (ED) Egg Donor ~ Oocyte (egg)
- Commercial surrogacy - when a surrogate receives compensation beyond reimbursement of medical and other reasonable expenses
- Altruistic surrogacy - when a surrogate is given no financial compensation except for out of pocket expenses such as medical costs, travel, time off work, etc.
Now that you know the different kind of surrogacies and the terms used, I'd like to impress upon you the more emotional aspect. While one of my goals as an educator and agency is to prepare you for what surrogacy entails from start to finish, some of the experience is difficult to put into words.
The Gift You're Giving:
Throughout each journey, I have witnessed the devastations, tears, anger, hurt, and frustrations from each of the couples I helped. What makes it so rewarding though is that I get to witness the excitements, joy, and gratefulness. With every emotion they felt, I felt it as well. The feeling is indescribable. To be a part of such an life changing journey where I'm a key piece in building a family fills me with tremendous gratitude. If this is something you decide to take on, I have no doubt that you too will feel that special kind of gratitude I'm speaking of.
And that's one of the things I've learned that I'd like to leave you with this week: Many people ask how can you carry a child and then give the child away. For me, I understood that it was never my child. I was the incubator, again - the key piece in helping someone create their family. Therefore, it's not giving the child away. I am handing him or her or they back to the parents they were destined to be with.
Would you like to learn more? Please be sure to come back for Week Two of our series where we will talk specific requirements. If you can't wait for next week, please fill out this form or call 844-404-BABY.