“How can you have a baby and give it away?”
My answer was always the same – I wasn’t having a baby and giving it away; I was growing a baby and giving it back. This is the only healthy way for a surrogate to see her journey. Without that mind-frame it can blur the lines. I’ve also never met a surrogate who struggled to give the baby to the Intended Parents when it was born.
“How much are they paying you?”
Let’s be very clear. Canadian Law does not allow for women to be compensated for being a surrogate. 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, etc
· Hygiene products and pregnancy supports.
“Do you like being pregnant?”
Not too many women offer to get pregnant for someone else if they hated being pregnant. It’s kind of a qualification. If you were sick your entire pregnancy and couldn’t wait for it to be over, it’s going to be a long haul as a surrogate and it’s not highly recommended. Having a low stress pregnancy is the key to everyone feeling comfortable and happy.
“What does your spouse think?”
When I do consultations with women, I always do a consultation with their spouse also. It’s important to know that their significant other is supportive of their choice. Without this, it’s a big red flag that you will have struggles throughout the journey. You can’t embark on something like being a surrogate without having the person you need the most at your side.
“Is it your egg?”
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, mostly legal, I do not participate in traditional surrogacy. 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. My agency is strictly Gestational Surrogacy.
“Why do you want to do this?”
Yes, the big question why? This answer is very personal to each woman who walks the road of surrogacy. I can only speak for myself, but I felt that life was simply not just about us. 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.
“Why don’t they just adopt?”
A lot of Intended Parents feel strongly about this question. My Intended Parents were a gay couple. The adoption process for them would have been long, and extremely difficult as the system isn’t designed to help gay families thrive. The reality is that this question is actually offensive to many. Families are created in many different ways now thanks to advances in science. The moral debate about these advances shouldn’t be subject to conversation when a woman has decided to help a family. That is her choice, as it is the parents’ choice to begin a journey that is wrought with expenses, worry and trust. The pull of having a biological child is one that so many of us take for granted because it came so easy to us. When we have children that look like us, we can’t possibly understand the agony that Intended Parents go through.
“What kind of medications are you on and why?”
Every clinic doctor has their own protocols for medications and cycling, but for the most part surrogates are always on estrace and progesterone. No, they can’t do it the old fashioned way! wink wink. The reason for these medications is to build up a nice 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 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.