In 2008, I was a single mom of a three-year-old girl and full-time insurance agent. I needed additional income but could not squeeze in a second job and still have time for my daughter. I did not want to give up raising her myself.
It was then that a friend mentioned the idea of being a “Surrogate Mother”. I had heard of the term before but was unsure of what it required. My friend explained how surrogacy had helped her family start a business and gave her amazing connections with the families she had carried for. She immediately had my full attention. I thought what an amazing way to make miracles happen for a loving and deserving family while helping to better the financial situation for myself for my daughter.
That night I went home and began my own research, I was fascinated by the process but still was not sure if surrogacy was for me. I had a lot to consider: a full-time job, an already hectic schedule, caring for my daughter, as well as, would my family think I was crazy? I decided step one, was to make an appointment with my OB/GYN.
I was surprised at how excited and supportive my doctor was to hear I was considering being a surrogate. After completing the exam and being told I was physically fit, the office provided me with a list of trusted agencies. I went home and began calling them. They all were professional, and some were even aggressive, wanting my immediate commitment. One agency required a home visit, including meeting my entire family. While I had nothing to hide and keep a tidy home, the request felt too intrusive. I called another agency on the list and asked for an informational meeting. I wasn’t prepared to sign forms or make a commitment, but just wanted answers to my many questions. At the meeting, I was greeted with hugs and big smiles by a very warm office staff. Right away, I felt at home and confident that I would be in great hands. I met with the Surrogate Intake coordinator; she made me feel relaxed and explained the program step by step. I was ready to sign up with this agency.
The wait time from when forms are signed to when a surrogate is matched can vary. For myself, I was matched with a lovely couple in Ireland within 2 weeks.
The day I was to start my tummy injections I received a phone call from the agency letting me know that the couple had backed out. It was heartbreaking. I had already taken so many steps to get matched and really liked them. My profile was put back into the database.
Two days later, the agency connected me by phone to a lovely couple from Taiwan, who were so sweet. I agreed to be matched with them. A few months later, they came to the U.S. for medical screening and met with me and my family. We all had an enjoyable dinner together and I couldn’t get over the excitement at the idea of having a baby to call their own.
The embryo transfer happened the following month, and I became pregnant. But during the ultrasound six weeks later, we could not find a heartbeat. Complete devastation. We all cried for days. But, we renewed our dedication and started again at the beginning. The result was yet another failed transfer, and another heartbreak. The IVF center typically advises their patients that it may take up to 3 transfers before a successful pregnancy. Unfortunately, after a few more failed transfers (we were at our fifth attempt) The Intended Parents gave up, and we parted ways. At this point, I had been taking injections for almost 2 years, with failed embryo transfer attempts every few months. I was beginning to feel that surrogacy was not meant for me. But it was worse for the Intended Parents who were completely distraught. I never heard from them again. Even though I tried not to take it personal, it was hard after going through something so personal together for 2 years. The agency was supportive and convinced me that I did all I for these hopeful parents, but that there are so many factors that determine pregnancy, including the quality of the embryos being transferred. I stopped after that, to take some time for myself, as well as to let my body rest from the hormones. Three months later I decided to give it one more try.
I contacted the agency who welcomed me back with open arms. They had an Intended Parent who would be a PERFECT match. He was a single man who had focused his entire life on his career, and who didn’t want to wait for a companion to start a family. And there I was! Two months later I was undergoing the embryo transfer once again. Ten days after that, the IVF center called. I was so nervous and shaking as I waited for the results. They said “You’re more than pregnant!! Looks like you may have twins!!” I could hear everyone hooting and hollering in the background. The ultrasound six weeks later confirmed one strong heartbeat, as well as, a second embryonic sac but without an audible heartbeat. I called my Intended Father to let him know the fantastic news. He was overjoyed and a little scared at the possibility of twins!! Unfortunately a few days later, I experienced bleeding and lost what we believed to be the second baby. I was scared I had lost the entire pregnancy but the other fetus was thriving.
The rest of the pregnancy was beautiful, although it did feel different from that of my daughter’s. Although the Intended Father and I did not communicate much due to a language barrier, I felt empowered by his trust in me and the precious treasure I was carrying for him. Because of the baby’s large size, the doctor determined close to 34 weeks that I was going to need a C-section. I was nervous. My daughter was born naturally, and didn’t want to deal with the recovery of a C-section. But I understood the risk of what I had signed up for, and a trusted the advice of the doctor who was looking out for the health of me and the baby.
The Intended Father arrived the day before the scheduled C-section. We had only spoken by phone and I was on my way to his hotel to meet him for the first time. Once again, I was nervous! He greeted me by running out of his hotel room, down stairs, and straight to me with open arms. He was a big bundle of love! At that moment, I understood that I was carrying this man’s future dreams. I also knew he was going to be in my life forever and that we shared such an amazing bond.
At the hospital the next morning was my entire family, my Intended Father, and some of his close friends who travelled here for support. Although he hesitated when first approached about the delivery plan, my Intended Father was present in the delivery room for the C-section and the arrival of his child – a 10.2 lb. baby boy! I can’t describe the look on his ecstatic face the first moment he saw his son through tear-filled eyes, but I will never forget it for the rest of my life. His son is now 5 years old and to this day my Intended Father and I are closer than ever. We email and exchange photos regularly, and we are planning a visit next year.
My surrogacy experience was life-changing, not only for my Intended Father, but also me and my family. It was miraculous and extremely special. I would love more than anything to do it again! Surrogacy is the most selfless gift you could ever give. I always say that Surrogate Mothers are “Earths Angels”. We give life to loving couples or single parents who want more than anything to have a child to call their own. How could anyone not want to make such a precious impact on the world?