5 Things That Would Surprise You About Being a Surrogate
When people find out that I have carried five children as a three-time surrogate (yes you counted right, two sets of twins plus one), I usually get one of two responses:
“Oh that is amazing, I could never do that.”
“Oh that is amazing, I have thought about being a surrogate before.”
Although most people respond that they couldn’t be a surrogate, usually either because they had horrible pregnancies or they would become too emotionally attached to the baby, it surprises me how many have actually considered it.
It takes more than a heart for helping couples birth their dreams in order to take the leap to actually being a surrogate. There are so many things to consider, some of which you have probably never even thought about:
The application and matching process between surrogates and intended parents is similar to a dating matchmaker process.
If you are choosing to utilize a surrogacy agency (which I always recommend), potential surrogates and intended parents submit an application and information that is compiled into a profile that goes into a database. The profile contains pictures, medical history, lifestyle questions, education & work background, and short answer essays to questions like, “Why do you want to be a surrogate?” Usually, the Director of the surrogacy agency or Matching Coordinator works to pair potential matches. The process includes in-person meetings or telephone calls where questions are asked and answered and both sides get to know each other. Both the surrogate and intended parents get to choose who they get to work with, so both sides find a good fit.
There are a bunch of legal things involved (as you can tell, I’m not a legal or medical expert).
Every state has different laws when it comes to surrogacy. Up until recently, Oklahoma still viewed surrogacy as child trafficking. Part of the process includes both the surrogates and intended parents utilizing lawyers to create a Surrogacy Agreement. Intended parents and their lawyers must also do some extra work to protect legal rights and establish what happens on the birth certificate and who gets the baby after birth.
Every journey, intended parent and surrogate is different.
I love the uniqueness of each of my three journeys. Some families are open about their journey and some are private. Some families are very involved in the ongoing medical appointments and communications and some are more hands-off. Some see the surrogate-intended parent relationship as a business relationship and some invite you in as a member of their family.
A surrogacy journey will affect almost every decision you make for up to two years.
Most contracts state that you are willing to undergo up to three embryo transfers over the course of a year. Anytime you are going through fertility treatments and pregnancy, it will affect your schedule, sleep, diet, exercise, energy level, and travel schedule (not to mention periods of abstinence with your husband). Fertility treatments often include small self-administered shots in your stomach and larger (usually) assisted shots in your buttocks for up to 12 weeks. If you aren’t able to give yourself shots in your rear end, who will be there at the same time every night that can do it? What if you are put on bedrest? Who would take care of your kids? What do you say to people who ask questions or make comments to you about being pregnant? How will you handle your body image after you deliver the little miracle, but don’t have a precious baby to carry around that shows why you are 30 pounds overweight and look pregnant? I could go on, but this gives you an idea of some things to think about.
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You can’t describe the amazingness of the journey.
Words can’t clearly express what it is like to literally birth the dreams of another couple. It doesn’t help that you already have all those extra fertility drugs and pregnancy hormones racing through your body, but the emotions and fulfillment that come when you see the parents hold their baby for the first time are life-changing.
That is the moment that makes all the shots, doctors’ visits, cravings, morning sickness, extra belly fat, and stretch marks all worth it!
As a 3x surrogate, speaker and strategizer, Tiffany Jo Baker is the right-hand woman and dream carrier who helps goal-getters, entrepreneurs, and couples dealing with infertility fuel and fulfill their God-given dreams, purposes, and projects. If you are considering becoming a surrogate or using a surrogate and have a question, she is happy to help. Message her on Instagram or Facebook @tiffanyjobaker.