Most of us have been planning it our whole lives—marriage, house, family. Except what happens when it doesn’t play out that way and six months, even six years later you’re still trying for that baby? Your Reproductive Endocrinologist (a.k.a RE) says your eggs look great, but for whatever reason you can’t get pregnant, or if you do, you miscarry. Your doctor or a friend suggests surrogacy. You shake your head; that’s something only celebrities do—but that’s not necessarily true.
There are many reasons why people pursue surrogacy. Some women have known since birth that they can’t bear a child, while others may have battled cancer or had hysterectomies along the way. When faced with infertility, it is often the only real choice to become a parent outside of adoption.
Unfortunately, the media has stirred up a lot of unnecessary fears about surrogacy. We’ve all seen the movies where the surrogate pretends to be pregnant and takes the couple for an emotionally and financially devastating roller coaster ride. Or maybe your local news team aired shocking reports about a surrogate who wants to keep the baby. Well, as former TV producers, we can tell you—it’s just not that interesting to talk about a surrogacy that works. The truth is, that’s what happens with most surrogacies—they work.
The strongest reason for pursuing surrogacy versus adoption is the ability to retain a biological connection with your child. With surrogacy, you have the option to be the biological parent. Of course, there are some situations where an egg donor, sperm donor, or both are used but even in these cases, surrogacy offers a unique advantage that adoption can’t.
With surrogacy, you get to play a significant part in the prenatal care of your baby. You can be there to hear the first heartbeat, you’re present at the eighteen-week ultrasound to find out your baby’s gender, and perhaps most importantly, you can be at the birth to hear your child’s first cry. In many states, your name goes directly on the birth certificate (an agency or lawyer can help you with this information). Basically, since it is a contractual relationship, the baby is yours even before the embryo is transferred to the surrogate’s uterus. You get to make medical decisions and have input in the pregnancy. And unlike an adoption, the surrogate cannot change her mind or take the baby back.
There are two kinds of surrogacy. In a gestational surrogacy, the carrier has no biological connection with the baby. In a traditional surrogacy, the surrogate is genetically related to the baby. Our personal preference is gestational surrogacy. Sure, it is more expensive—you need to add a reproductive clinic into the equation—but the laws are clearer and the environment is much more controlled. When a reproductive clinic is involved, there’s no chance of “faking” a pregnancy, which unfortunately sometimes happens with traditional surrogacies where home inseminations are done to achieve pregnancy.
Even so, in both types of surrogacies, you will need to work with the proper professionals—agency (unless you go independent and that comes with its own challenges), clinics, lawyers, psychologist, escrow company, etc. to ensure that you have a positive experience and outcome.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to overcome with surrogacy is the cost. Unfortunately, there is no way around it ... it is a very expensive journey. Most people save for years, mortgage their homes, and borrow the rest from banks or family members to pursue it. But in the end, when you are holding your child or children, it’s all worth it.
While this all may sound daunting, it can be done. Many couples and singles are becoming parents via surrogacy every day. It’s no longer just an option for celebrities. And in many ways, it’s an even surer path to parenthood than adoption, so don’t rule it out when you think you’ve got no choices left at all.
By Agency 4 Solutions
Photo courtesy of Barefoot & Pregnant