The surrogacy approach to parenthood is one way to have a family. The legal process varies from state to state making it even more complicated for couples or individuals to pursue this course. There is a lot of unknown information regarding surrogacy. For instance, there are two different kinds of surrogacy. Gestational, also known as host or full surrogacy, was first achieved in April 1986. In this type of surrogacy, the surrogate becomes pregnant through in-vitro fertilization, meaning an embryo is fertilized outside the womb in a lab and then implanted into her uterus. The surrogate mother is not related to this child. She provides the womb for the infant to grow. In a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is implanted with the sperm of an intended father or sperm donor and the embryo becomes fertilized inside of her. She would be the biological mother of the child, but in a surrogate contract, she would give up all legal rights to the child (surrogate.com).
Steve and Terry’s Story
Steve and Terry have been together for 15 years. Terry had been previously married and had three biological children. Steve did not have any children, but had the desire to be a father. After about a year of dating, Steve asked Terry if he would be interested in having more children. He said he would be open to the idea. Steve said, “Although adoption is a great resource for some people, we never really thought about it.” He began doing research on surrogacy and was shocked at the number of agencies available. He found one that worked with same-sex couples and sent them an email. He received a reply agreeing to work with them. As the two different types of surrogacy were discussed, the couple chose to try traditional surrogacy. The agency matched them with a surrogate mother and they began the process.”Over the course of three years, we tried 12 times to get pregnant. All 12 were negative. We were completely devastated and we had spent about $30,000 and had nothing to show for it.”
Terry and Steve decided to try gestational surrogacy just one time. Since Terry had children, it was decided that Steve would be the biological father. This was a more complicated process as they had to find an egg donor and someone willing to carry the baby. It was also more expensive. Terry had the idea to ask a family member to be the egg donor so that the baby would be genetically related to them both. After much consideration and discussion, the family member agreed to do it for them.
They found a woman who had been a surrogate twice before and contacted her. She was willing to carry their baby. They all met at the fertility doctor’s office and were ready to proceed. The egg donor and surrogate were placed on medications to get their cycles matched up. They were eventually able to retrieve several viable eggs and create eight healthy embryos. A couple of days later they implanted two healthy embryos into the surrogate. “We were on pins and needles for the next week. Ten days later we found out that we were pregnant. We were absolutely thrilled because this was finally coming true after three years of waiting. Everything went like clockwork. Nine months later our son was born and we were there with our surrogate for his birth.”
Two years later, they decided they wanted to add to their family. After contacting the same egg donor and surrogate, they repeated the same procedure as before. Again, everything worked out perfectly and nine months later their daughter was born.
Steve says, “It’s crazy now looking back. Our kids through surrogacy are now 11 and 8, I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone by. I’m so grateful for the process of surrogacy and how it has completed our family. I’m also thrilled that I am now the father that I never thought I’d be.”
In 2018, Amy’s sister-in-law was struggling with infertility. She shared her thoughts about being a surrogate for them. Amy had recently gone through an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery of her own daughter. They thanked her for the offer but declined. A few years later, a friend of Amy’s was sharing her infertility story with her. Together they came up with the idea of Amy attempting to carry her friend’s embryo.
Amy has just recently begun this journey. She is 10 weeks into the pregnancy. They have only shared their story with a few people at this point. Amy says, “I have felt so many ranges of emotions with the experience from pure joy to concern, but it is still very early.”
Amy has had to make several life changes. Besides the months of hormone pills and injections to prepare her body for pregnancy, the couple has asked her to limit her caffeine and sugar intake along with processed meats. She has also been asked to not work overtime shifts as they are concerned about her being on her feet for too many hours. Amy shares her meal plans with them as well as her exercise routine and any symptoms she might be experiencing. Prior to this pregnancy, Amy enjoyed extensive training for half marathons but has been asked to keep her activity level to low-impact workouts.
Emma, Amy’s four-year-old daughter, loves saying that they are “helping grow a baby for another family.” Amy is a single mom who shares a very special bond with Emma. They do a lot of traveling together and recently bought their first home. Having two aunts go through infertility, Amy is no stranger to the emotional aspects of it all. It was common to talk about it in her home growing up. She works at a hospital as a NICU nurse and is surrounded by people facing turmoil and trials in their lives. Dealing with families in crisis gives her an added sense of compassion and empathy.
Amy looks forward to this journey and is considering doing it again for this couple. They have a second embryo and have discussed doing another round. For now, she will live her life as requested by her mother and father and pray that this is a successful endeavor for them all.
Surrogacy can be a wonderful experience for everyone involved. In addition to adoption, it offers couples another alternative to having the family they have dreamed of.