My answer is always the same: "I wasn’t giving a baby away; I was borrowing their embryo, growing their baby and then giving him or her back."
This is the only healthy way for a surrogate to see her journey. I’ve never met a surrogate who struggled to give the baby to the Intended Parents when it was born, because they understand the clear lines of why they are helping. They WANT to see the new parents hold their newborn baby. It gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment to see the baby and know that without them, that baby wouldn't be here. It also helps teach proper language to their own children while they are pregnant and preparing to give birth and explain to their kids why the baby won't be coming home to their house.
Canadian Law does not allow for women to be compensated for being a surrogate, but she can be reimbursed for an array of expenses related to the pregnancy.
Some of those expenses can include:
· Internet bill & cell phone charges
· Mileage for driving to surrogacy related locations
· Maternity clothes, Vitamins & Supplements
· Housekeeping and any physically stressful jobs like snow removal
· Counselling expenses
· Wellness expenses such as gym membership, massage, chiropractic care, foot care, & yoga
· Hygiene products and pregnancy supports
Not too many women offer to get pregnant for someone else if they hated being pregnant. It’s definitely a qualification we prefer. If you were sick your entire pregnancy and couldn’t wait for it to be over, it’s going to be a long journey as a surrogate and it’s not highly recommended. Having a low stress pregnancy is the key to everyone feeling comfortable and happy.
When I do consultations with women, I try and always do a consultation with their spouse also. It’s important to know if their significant other is supportive of their choice. We actually want to field any questions they have right at the beginning so they feel as comfortable with the decision as the surrogate does. We would never recommend a woman be a surrogate without their biggest family support onboard. In fact, we encourage them to be an active part of the entire journey from matching, to 'dating', to weekly communication throughout the different stages. It makes them feel a part of the process and that they are not an outsider to what is happening.
It’s important to know the difference between Gestational Surrogacy and Traditional Surrogacy. Gestational is when you have no biological relation to the baby. The Intended Parents are both the donors or they have a third party donor and they create embryos that are transferred into a surrogate’s womb. Traditional is when the surrogate uses her eggs and she is the biological relation. For many reasons, we do not participate in traditional surrogacy through our programs. I don’t believe the risks involved in that process are warranted in most cases and prefer everyone have their own roles to play. So although we still occasionally hear of some traditional surrogates, as a general rule we don’t encourage it.
The answer to why is very personal to each woman who makes the choice of surrogacy. I can only speak for myself, but I feel that life is about helping others. If you can, you simply should. It's the view on life that I've always had. It was important for me to teach a valuable lesson to my children about giving back to others. I wanted to make an impact in someone else’s lives in the best way I knew how. Having babies was a breeze for me! So it just made sense. But through the process I also saw the ripple effect when you create life – it never is just the parents of the baby that are changed. Everyone around you and them sees and begins to process your choice differently. It’s incredible to experience such beauty unfold.
The adoption process is not without it's faults. It can be very long, and extremely difficult to sit and wait for years just hoping you might be picked. And many children who end up in the system for adoption have minor to major medical and emotional issues due to being taken away from the parents. Just getting a healthy baby handed over to the parents is very rare. For some people the question of adoption is actually quite offensive. Families are created in many different ways now thanks to advances in science. The moral debate about these advances shouldn’t be subject for debate when a woman has decided to help a family. That is her choice, just as it is the parents’ choice to begin a journey that is wrought with no guarantees, anxiety, and financial burden. The blessing of having a biological child is one that so many of us take for granted. When we have children that look like us and are a part of us, we can’t possibly understand the agony that Intended Parents go through.
Every clinic doctor has their own protocols for medications and cycling, but for the most part surrogates are always on a basic protocol of estrace and progesterone. The reason for these medications is to build up a thick lining inside the uterus (estrace) and then ‘fake’ the body into thinking you are pregnant (progesterone), so that you don’t ovulate. Then the transfer is done and the embryo has all the proper hormones to implant and begin growing. You will have to stay on the medications until 10 - 12 weeks, which is the universally accepted timeline by the experts in the field. This is when they feel that the placenta is developed and enough of your own hormones are present now to sustain the fetus.