Interview with a Surrogate Mother

surrogate motherLast month I had the opportunity to interview a surrogate mother.

There is so much mystery, misunderstanding, and assumptions surrounding the surrogacy process. Talking with this woman gave me a window into her experience and motivation for becoming a surrogate.

Some of what we discussed included how she came to be a surrogate mother, her current pregnancy, and it’s impacts on her life. I felt very fortunate to be able to ask difficult questions and get very honest answers.

Now I will share our conversation with all of you…

Tell me a little bit about how you came to be a surrogate and what goes into the surrogacy arrangement.

How I came to be a surrogate is a bit of a funny story. I was texting with a friend, who said she had been messaging with a friend, who was on her third surrogate pregnancy and we were commenting with what I believe to be the “standard” comments are. “Oh I could never do that” and the like. After we had ended the conversation I got to thinking and did a little research of my own.

I knew there was money to be made but that wasn’t my driving force.

I loved being pregnant with my two girls but my husband and I both agreed that two children were enough for us. I kind of saw this as my opportunity to be pregnant and birth again without any of the responsibility or financial obligations afterwards.

The surrogacy arrangement is a long process.

I started by filling out the initial application which then led to a more in-depth application. Eventually there was a phone interview with the staff and then the matching process began. Once the agency finds a couple they think you would work well with, there is a phone meeting. If that goes well an in-person meeting is set up. If that goes well, contract talks begin. There are several drafts of that and phone meetings with lawyers. Once all of that was finalized, there was full day of medical screenings for my husband and I at the fertility clinic. Once all of that testing came back (and because it was clear) I started the medications to suppress ovulation and then eventually simulate uterine lining to prepare for the embryo transfer.

Embryo transfer for me was stressful because we were working with a frozen embryo and while I knew the date in advance I was waiting for a phone call the day of the transfer to know if the embryo survived the thawing process. From the time the phone call came in until my transfer was 4-5 hours and I was three hours away.

After the transfer the waiting game begins.

Twelve days later you go to the hospital for a pregnancy test to see if the embryo took. In my case the embryo did take and I am currently 26 weeks pregnant with a baby boy.

I was matched with a wonderful gay couple who have one son from a previous surrogate pregnancy.

What is the hardest part about doing this?

I don’t know that I would define any of what I’m doing as hard. I have always enjoyed being pregnant so I am really enjoying that. Explaining and dealing with other peoples comments may be the hardest part.

What sorts of comments do you mean?

I don’t know if there has been any particular comment that anyone has made that makes this hard. Most comments have been very positive. In fact people are so positive and complementary about me doing this it makes me feel inadequate.

What are the best parts of this experience?

Helping other people and sharing a pregnancy with my children. My oldest child was 21 months old when I got pregnant with my second and she doesn’t have many, if any memories, of my pregnancy and or the infancy of my youngest.

What have you learned from this?

I think the most surprising thing that my husband and I both learned came the day we were at the fertility clinic. The number of young couples who were at the fertility clinic was so surprising to us. My husband and I did not have any trouble conceiving either one of our children and to see the number of people our age at the clinic for treatment of whatever kind was astonishing to us. It really drove home the point that we are helping another family.

What have been people’s reactions? Reactions from your family?

Reactions have been generally positive. My husband has been having some fun with it. People find out I’m pregnant and the usual “congrats” follow. He then informs them it’s not his which brings on some “oh…I’m sorry” and then he goes on to explain the surrogacy but he enjoys seeing people squirm a little bit.

My family and my husband’s family have been very supportive. There was some initial concern over having to “give up your baby” but the reality of it is that it’s not my baby at all.

How is this pregnancy different from your other pregnancies?

Its been very different. With my girls I had pretty bad morning sickness from the beginning until anywhere between 12-20 weeks. With this one I had some minor nausea and food aversions but nothing compared to my girls. Another really weird difference is that I had an immune system of steel with the girls…I joke I could have licked the floor at McDonalds and been fine. This time around if I’m within three miles of someone who sneezes, I’m sick.

What are you doing to prepare yourself for separating from the baby after its born?

I don’t know that I’m doing anything specifically to prepare myself. The whole process seems to lend itself to preparing yourself. I communicate with the intended parents regularly which enforces the idea that this baby isn’t coming home with me. I am also making no preparations at home for a new baby. We aren’t buying diapers, we aren’t preparing to make room, there isn’t a crib being set up. Yes I’m pregnant and growing but that is where it ends for us.

Is there anything additional you want to add?

This has been such a wonderful opportunity for our whole family. My children get to experience pregnancy, my husband and I are enjoying another pregnancy but without the worries of what comes next.

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