Actually, the more accurate term is “gestational carrier”. This means I will be carrying and delivering a baby for a couple who cannot have one on their own (that’s the plan, at least). I will have no biological connection to the child as the embryo has been created from the genetics of the intended parents through IVF.
Simply put, it’s going to be their bun in my oven.
This is a journey I’ve been on since January of this year, and I’ve always intended to share openly about it when the time felt right…
Hello, present moment.
I have reached the point where it feels inauthentic to continue to keep secret something that has been a pretty big part of my life for the last several months and will eventually become impossible to hide.
My sister and husband (yes, in that order) were the first to know when I began looking into the possibility of becoming a surrogate. Both were immediately supportive which was encouraging as I pursued the lengthy process.
Of course, my husband would have to be supportive as his full cooperation has already been and will continue to be required through this process. I love and appreciate how open minded he was when I told him this was something I wanted to do. He barely blinked.
When we purchased our first home a couple years ago I remember thinking it was a lot of paperwork. Well, the screening process for surrogacy made that look like child’s play. From full medical histories and background checks to financial and psychological screenings, we jumped through a lot of hoops.
By early spring, I had been matched with an incredibly sweet couple. (For confidentiality, I will be keeping any details about their identities private.) Next came the contract phase with lawyers and many details to consider. And by the time summer began, I’d already flown out to San Diego Fertility Center to get my full medical clearance.
If you know me, you know that San Diego is like my second home. My sister lives there. Nick and I got married there. It’s my favorite destination and the only place outside of Minnesota that my son, Beau, has traveled to in his short life.
So you can imagine how excited I was when I learned that was the location of the clinic I’d be working with.
It felt serendipitous.
As of today, I am preparing to head back to San Diego for the embryo transfer which is scheduled to take place next month. In the weeks leading up to the transfer I will be on a protocol of medications to prepare my body as well as making several trips to my local clinic for blood tests and ultrasounds.
Over the past several months, I’ve slowly shared the news with those in my everyday life. I learned quickly that there’s no real way to “lead in” to it, as the subject is pretty far out of left field for most people. The only way is to just come out and say it.
The reactions have been mixed but overall incredibly positive. It took me a long time, and heaps of courage, to tell my parents. I finally did and if I’d known how they’d respond, I wouldn’t have been so scared to to tell them. More to come on that in a later post…
My least favorite reaction, the one many of you reading this may be having right now, is this one;
“I could never do that!”
And my only response to that is, respectfully; “Don’t you do it then.”
I understand it’s definitely not for everyone. And I’ll never be able to explain exactly what made me make that first phone call to get more information on how to pursue it, except that it was on my heart to do so.
But I’d like to share the reasons why I have decided to be a surrogate. The main reason is simple:
I can, so I will.
And that’s really how I feel.
My son turns two next week which means I’m already putting up with comments about it being “time for another!” Here’s the deal people…
We are pretty sure we want a sibling for him. Eventually. Not right now. We’re doing just fine (and finally getting sleep again) as a family of three. I simply wasn’t created to be a mother to a toddler and an infant at the same time. Although I’m in complete awe of the women, including several friends of mine, who do it. It’s just not for me.
Also, do you know how much it costs to have two kids in daycare? No, thanks.
In the meantime, I have a perfectly functional uterus!
I know so many couples who are struggling with infertility. My heart breaks for them. I fully realize how blessed I am that Beau was unplanned – he was a welcome surprise shortly after our wedding. Not once did I have to feel crushed by the disappointment of getting my period when I was hoping for a pregnancy.
Any couple who has reached the point of needing a surrogate has struggled for years and felt completely hopeless. If I can help just one of those couples become parents, then why not do it?
There’s one more reaction to my news that makes me a bit uncomfortable;
“You’re so selfless!”
While that’s a very nice thing to say, it just doesn’t ring true for me. I’m not selfless. There are many reason I’m doing this that have nothing to do with self-sacrifice. They could even be seen as selfish!
First, I loved being pregnant. I’ve never felt healthier or more beautiful than I did during that time.
Sure, I remember how tired I was in the first trimester (it pales in comparison to the exhaustion I felt in the first year of Beau’s life – perspective is everything). And that first week or two of healing “down there” after giving birth wasn’t great. But overall, I have no major complaints.
Everything about pregnancy and childbirth fascinates me. I want to experience all of that again. Except this time, I won’t be the one bringing the baby home when it’s all over!
I’ll be sleeping.
Second, I am intentionally seeking a fulfilling and altruistic life experience. A few of those close to me have expressed their concern that this may not be a positive experience, that I’ll become emotionally attached to the baby I carry. But I’ve reassured them that I’m going into this with eyes wide open and have formed a healthy detachment from the very start of this process.
When I finally do deliver, I will simply be giving the baby back to its parents. I can’t wait to see their faces when they meet their child for the first time. What a moment to be a part of.
And finally, I will be giving my own family the gift of being debt free. While it’s not the only or most important reason I’m doing this – it’s certainly on the list. I’m not going to lie about that.
For these reasons and maybe some others that I can’t fully articulate, I am going to be a surrogate. Surprise!!
Stay tuned to Mankato Moms Blog for future posts about my journey…