Surrogacy is such an amazing journey in life that only some get the pleasure of experiencing. It is such a personal and rewarding thing for someone to embark on and truly the greatest gift you can give to another.
Surrogacy does however come with a lot of questions and unknowns. Being prepared for this and having most of your questions answered before taking the leap is what we strive for here at Canadian Surrogacy Community.
We decided what better way to share important information with the community than asking real surrogates to participate in this “Surrogates tell all” interview. We have asked a range of surrogates all in different stages of their journeys (some just starting out, some experienced and some right in the middle of it) to share with us how surrogacy has been for them.
Hopefully this will give you all some insight into the ups and downs that come with making the amazing decision to help families in need.
When did you decide to become a surrogate? What triggered your decision?
Surro V – “Anyone who knows me knows I am a giving caring person and hasn’t been phased by this decision. It did all start many years ago when there was some uncertainty about how our own family would be created. We had just had a pregnancy loss and due to some rare complications were advised to wait at least 6 months before trying again. There was something utterly devastating about being told to wait when it was the one thing we wanted most in the world. Sadly, we experienced a second loss after that long wait and we had some real uncertainty at that point as to how we would build our family. We explored adoption as an option bit knew in our hearts we weren’t ready to go that route quite yet. Fortunately, our next 3 pregnancies resulted in healthy babies!! We are beyond blessed and so grateful! Our family is complete! When our youngest child was little I has a friend complete a surrogacy journey. I consider myself one of her biggest fans, her groupie and asked her 101 questions about every step of the way. She was happy to oblige. As her due date approached it only became clearer and clearer to me that this was the right choice for me. I spoke with my family to ensure support and was put in touch with the beautiful Angela courtesy of my friend. It wasn’t long after that I was able to start reading profiles and each one confirmed my decision more and more. There are so many stories out there I wanted to help! I struggled to choose but eventually made the decision and currently 32 weeks along with them. Looking forward to the very best to come!”
What was the reaction of your family/friends/partner to the news?
Surro A – “My family and friends have all been very positive and supportive, always asking how I’m feeling. Some people have responded quickly stating they could never be a surrogate and I believe that is ok. Not everyone is meant to do something like this and that’s ok. It takes a specific person to do certain things in life and being a surrogate definitely falls into that category.”
Did you feel you had a good amount of support from your doctor/nurse/fertility coach/friends/family?
Surro M – “The answer to this one is doctor maybe, nurse hell no, fertility coach there wasn’t any but I had Angela from Canadian Surrogacy Community holding my hand when I need it. Friend yes I have a friend who was and is a surrogate she was very supportive. My family what’s as supportive as they possibly could. I did have some up and downs with my husband but he did do his best. I think in my next journey he will know better and be more supportive.”
Where did you get information about the surrogacy process? Did you feel you were well informed of the process before beginning?
Surro M2 – “I wanted to begin my surrogacy journey a few years ago. I did what we all do, picked an agency and took the plunge… it was fast.. and looking back I wasn’t as ready as I thought I was. My son’s health was questionable, and I really needed something positive in my life. It is really all a blur as I was matched quickly, but never really started much more than that. I decided to call of the match when I wasn’t getting the support I needed at that time. 2 years later, I sent Angela an inbox and it has been rainbows and butterflies. No, SERIOUSLY! Any question, or concerns I have are answered. I have direct, personal support with Angela and the other surrogates in the program. I have never wondered what happen next, or if I had missed a step in the process.”
Were you compensated for being a surrogate?
Surro V – “Many people don’t know financial aspects of Surrogacy in Canada.
In Canada it is illegal to be compensated for being a surrogate. That being said reimbursement of costs incurred is allowed. Most legal contracts outline very specifically what things are and are not included in this, and there are some laws and regulations around it. No woman should ever find herself/ her family further behind financially because of the choice to carry for another. That being said I am sure it is not unheard of for some surrogates to “push the envelope” on what is considered reasonable reimbursement/expenses, or accepting gifts. I am certainly not one of those people, and believe the vast majority of surrogates are not. The important thing is to make sure surrogates and IPs are getting to know each other in advance and discussing these issues openly (as uncomfortable as it is) in order to ensure there is trust and consistency between them.”
What did the screening process look like for you? Was there anything with this part of the process you didn’t understand/agree with?
Surro C – “After matching with IP’s, it was time to move on to the screening process. The agency that I was working with was able to coordinate a date for screening to be done. I would be setting aside a specific day to be spending at the clinic where I would be filling out paperwork on my own medical history and my birth history (this can usually be done in advance as well). I would undergo a physical exam, much like a family doctor would do, have bloodwork done, a physiological screening with a surrogacy counsellor (about an hour) and also have a sonohystogram (a specialized ultrasound to look at my uterus). After all of this is done, I would have a sit down with the IVF doctor to discuss a plan for transfer. Nurses would be available to discuss the medication parts of the protocol and I would be given any medications or prescriptions needed to start on my journey.”
What was your pregnancy like? Which medications did you have to take through your and did you feel they effected your body a lot?
Surro A – “My first and second pregnancy were very similar. The first 12 weeks I felt nauseous all day long, but nothing so severe as to actually vomit. I start showing really early because my body is like “Oh you are pregnant? Perfect – poof here is your belly!” I went on diclectin for two weeks with my second pregnancy because I just felt so horrible, but after the 12 weeks I just start to balance out and I feel fantastic again! I loved being pregnant and always felt it was my natural state of being. I had a glow about me, people said. The medications were estrace and progesterone and in truth, nobody likes to needle their butt every day but I saw it as a means to an end. It is temporary. I didn’t have a lot of side effects. The medications didn’t make me crazy, but I always seemed to gain 10 lbs from them.”
Have you met the intended parent(s) in person? If so how was it?
Surro M2 – “I began chatting with IM in June 17’. We decided to match a month later… it wasn’t until transfer that we met in person. We decided to book an Airbnb big enough for her, her bestie, my bestie and myself. We both arrived within minutes of each other. We gathered our things and went inside. IM was sick with a cold so she kept her distance as or transfer was the next morning. That morning all showered and ready, we jumped into one car and drove to the clinic. It was as if 4 friends reunited after a couple years of not seeing each other. We all just “clicked” it was perfect. It was the perfect amount of inappropriate jokes on touchy subjects and the perfect amount of cuss words. I am so happy with my match. We still talk daily and I am currently 18 weeks pregnant.”
What kind of relationship, if any, would you like to have with the intended parents and the child during the pregnancy and after the birth?
Surro A – “I hope to have a positive friendly relationship with my intended parents during the journey of their child being born and continued afterwards. I hope to stay in their lives giving each other updates and visits including their family and mine. It’s a wonderful thing to meet these great people and to be able to give them something so precious and to be able to stay in their lives would be a wonderful blessing.”
Do you think surrogacy has changed you as a person? If yes, in what way?
Surro K – “Yes I believe that the surrogacy has definitely changed me; I believe that every pregnancy changes a woman. My first surrogate baby was born in May 2017 and it made me see the world so different. I got to see this tiny human bring so much joy to such a deserving family. If felt surreal that I was able to give such a unique gift.”
How did you feel after the surrogacy process was completed? Was there anything you would have liked to see different in a future journey?
Surro K – “After the journey was over it was surprisingly calm. It was nice to have my body back and heal without having to tend to a newborn. For my first journey I was communication with just one of the intending parents full time and I later found out that her parents missed a lot of what went on during the journey. It made me feel awful as I was unaware. I am now currently on my second journey and made sure that did not happen again by making a group chat so all parties were involved with every part of the communications.”
How did you feel after completing a surrogacy journey? Are you planning on being a surrogate again in the future?
Surro M – “I felt really good. My IPs and myself still talk and they update me with their little man. I love it. They where amazingly supportive through the whole journey and that is why I will do it again for them. They make me feel that I am still in their minds and hearts even though the journey is over as per the pregnancy but the lifelong journey is still going good and strong. I was fortunate enough to have amazing intended parents who loved and adored me enough to allow me to grow and be there to support as my belly grew and I can’t wait to give them another child because they are an amazing wonderful incredible couple so yes I would do this again.”
Has there been anything in your journey you were not expecting? How did it make you feel?
Surro R – “On my second journey with surrogacy everything was going amazing. We had our transfer and it took, blood work looked amazing and 2 ultrasounds confirmed a happy health baby. When I went to our 12-week scan everything changed. Unfortunately, we were told that at 11 weeks baby’s heart had stopped. As someone who has never suffered a miscarriage before it was devastating to both myself and the parents. I never thought that during this process anything like that would happen to us. Now since going through this I realize that the statistics show 1 in 4 women suffer a loss. I feel now it is good to be prepared going into this journey that things may come up that shake your core and it is a sad and unfortunate part of the process that we as surrogates really need to be prepared for. Thankfully I have incredible Intended Parents who were beyond supportive and we are all in the process of healing to try again in the future.
Is there anything you would like to say to women who are considering becoming a surrogate mother? One important piece of advice?
Surro A – “The best advice I can give someone who may be considering surrogacy is this… do your research. Know what you are getting into. And always have support. Intended Parents have been through so much grief and are in a vulnerable situation asking someone else to help. Be ready that if you move forward and speak with couples that it is something you absolutely want to see to the finish, because you may break their hearts otherwise. It takes a strong woman with a big heart to be a surrogate. If you truly want to help someone in the most amazing way imaginable, this may be the place for you.”
Is there anything you would like to say to intended parents considering surrogacy?
Surro C – “If there was one piece of advice that I could give to Intended Parents considering surrogacy, it’s wait for the right match. Do not rush into anything just because you are so excited to finally meet someone who is willing to do this for you. This person will be a HUGE part of your life so you should really take your time to get to know her and her family. Think about all of the aspects of this dynamic relationship and ask the hard questions. Be 100% real and honest, tell her everything and make sure she really knows who you are and what kind of journey you are hoping for. And please, don’t be afraid to un-match or move on if the connection isn’t right. The perfect surrogate for you is worth waiting for, trust me.”