Interested In Learning More About Surrogacy? Check Out Our Interview With A Surrogate Parent!

Interested in learning more about surrogacy? Check out our interview with a surrogate parent!
Surrogacy has been in the news lately - from celebrities who use surrogates to moms who act as surrogates for their daughters (check back later today!). I've always found the topic interesting. During law school, I did an extensive research project and presentation on surrogacy and the laws (or lack thereof) governing it for a bioethics class. I've never lost my interest! I find a lot of what I read fascinating -- including the misinformation about surrogacy, which is plentiful. A friend of mine acted as a surrogate recently and I asked her a handful of questions. Following is an interview with Coley, a mom of three (two biological children and one adopted child) with a fourth on the way, who carried a baby for another couple.

What motivated you to become a surrogate?

After the birth of our youngest biological daughter in 2007, a good friend of mine (who is also an adoptive parent) confided in me that she was longing for another baby. Knowing that it could never medically happen for them, the first words out of my mouth were, “I can carry a baby for you.” She and I had become very close during the course of our family’s first adoption in 2006 (our daughters were friends in their orphanage in Vietnam) and I knew that it was easily something I could do for her and her family. During the weeks that followed she determined that the cost of completing a surrogacy journey just wasn’t possible for them but I had already been doing research and talking to other surrogates, and I knew that it was something I could do for another couple. Six months later, I was matched with a wonderful couple from a neighboring state and we were on our way to making them parents! My friend continued to be one of my biggest supporters during my journey.

What was the hardest part?

The hardest part of my surrogacy journey was probably the blighted ovums that resulted from our first frozen embryo transfer. We went to our first transfer with the intention of transferring a single thawed five-day old blast but the embryologist had thawed two after the first one appeared to be a little “frost-bitten." We transferred both thawed embryos because I couldn’t bear the thought of the one being destroyed for no reason. Fourteen days later, our blood tests came back positive. We were excited to be pregnant, but I was nervous that we might be looking at twins. At what would have been our seven-week ultrasound I was really looking forward to being able to call the intended parents with good news of a strong heartbeat, or two. Instead, I had to call them to tell them that we were faced with four blighted ovums - the two embryos we had transferred both implanted but then split and quit, resulting in four empty sacs. What should have been the day I told them they were expecting, turned into the day I had to tell them that we were going to have to start all over again. That was a tough day.

What was the best part?

It’s so difficult to choose a “best” part. There are so many near the top of the list – hearing them cry as they watched the video of their daughter’s heartbeat for the first time, seeing the excitement on their faces every time they saw my belly get bigger and bigger, or the day they arrived for the birth of their daughter….but probably the absolute best part didn’t come until about eight months after they took their daughter home. Living a big state away, we don’t get a chance to get together as often as we’d both like but when we did finally get together, baby S~ was about eight months old. Seeing their family together was so magical. She was old enough to interact using her very own personality and they were having so much fun as a family. It made every painful injection, every invasive appointment, and even the emergency c-section totally worth it!

What are some common misconceptions about surrogacy?

There are many misconceptions surrounding surrogacy -- almost too many to mention -- but one of the ones that irks me the most is that there is a thick class line between surrogates and intended parents. In the world of surrogacy you’ve got doctors, lawyers, teachers, PhD students, stay at home moms, business owners, etc, and you’d never know what side of the equation they’re on.

Would you do it again?

In a heartbeat. The couple I worked with are two of the most wonderful people I know. They're wonderful parents and I am so happy to have been able to make that happen for them.

Do you have any regrets?

None whatsoever. We took our time, crossed all the appropriate bridges, and in the end, had a very enjoyable journey. I wouldn't change even one moment of it.

What would you like other people to know about surrogacy?

There are so many things people need to know before pursuing surrogacy (either as a surrogate or as an intended parent), but above all else, listen to what the experienced community members have to share with you. Many times new and hopeful surrogates/intended parents will jump into surrogacy matches, ignoring all warnings and cautionary tales in the expectation that their story will be an exception, and not the rule. That’s not the way things work. Surrogacy is not an easy buck or an easy way to get a newborn. It is not something to rush into or take lightly, and that goes for both surrogates and intended parents. Don’t misunderstand, surrogacy can be wonderful - when it’s done right. There are no short cuts, no quick fixes, and no going back once that baby has been created. Please do research if you’re interested in surrogacy, join message boards, plug into the surrogacy community around you, and listen to the stories that others have to share about their journeys.

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Thanks so much to Coley for sharing her experience! Do you have any questions about surrogacy? If you there's anything you'd like to know, leave your inquiries in the comments section. I'll ask Coley to address them.

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