One Surrogate's Journey

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Sunday, 27 July 2014 13:24
  • Written by Tina Valentine

HospitalIt all started back in 2006. My son was a year-and-a-half old and I knew that he'd be our only child. I was fine with this—I'd only ever wanted one child. What I wasn't prepared for was the desire to be pregnant again. My pregnancy wasn't perfect. It had its ups and downs, but overall it was amazing. The concept of having a life in you, sustaining that life with yours; it's simply incredible. For us though, it wasn't going to happen again. But did it have to be the end? I saw online, the word "surrogate." I wondered what that meant and did a lot of research about it. I found out that I'd have no genetic ties (as a gestational surrogate) to the baby. I could do that. It's not like I wanted a baby, I just enjoyed the pregnancy part. I wasn't going to be using my uterus for anything else now, why not give someone else a chance at the wonderful gift a baby can bring? I talked it over with my fiancée and he was supportive. He knows that when I do things, I make sure to do my "homework". He fully trusted my decision. So I contacted an agency. Sadly, it wasn't my time yet. My son was still nursing and I planned on self-weaning, so I had to wait. I would soon learn that "hurry up and wait" is a common term in the surrogacy world.

My son was done nursing about a year later, so I contacted the agency again. They were more than happy to help me and I got started on everything I needed to do. I filled out lots of paperwork, flew down to the clinic to be examined and tested, and had psychological testing done. After I was cleared, they gave me profiles of potential intended parents (IP's) to check out. Here comes the hard part. In the surrogacy world, there are many different people who need the use of a surrogate. Which one would I choose? While I didn't have a particular type in mind, I seem to gravitate towards gay men more than others, or maybe it was the agency and the profiles they were showing me? Either way, I was just fine with it. I picked out a set of IP's and we set up a match meeting. We met and we both loved each other- I wanted to help them. Unfortunately, it's never that easy. In surrogacy there are so many ways for things to go wrong. In our case, the embryos were just never good enough to continue growing. Three unsuccessful transfers later, we parted ways. The agency decided to part ways with me too. It wasn't me, they said, it was that no IP's wanted me. I felt like damaged goods. It took some time to get over what happened. It took me talking to others and understanding genetics a little better. I had to realize that it wasn't me. I was not the problem, it was the embryos. I decided to move forward.

At this point, I wanted to help more than ever. I tried signing up with a few different agencies but they all turned me down because of my past. Three failed transfers are not good for the reputation, even when they know it's not your fault. I can't blame them- IP's put a lot of money into this process and they want something that works. I decided to post an ad on a surrogacy forum. It worked. I met and was matched with a wonderful couple. Their situation was a little different. They wanted to co-parent, a gay man and his best friend (a woman). They were both so sweet and caring; I knew their baby would be loved. Life seems to like to throw me curve balls though and once again, we had a failed transfer. It was embryo quality striking again, but this time it was due to age. We all knew it might happen, but when you are in surrogacy, you always hope for the best. We only had that one transfer and the intended mother (best friend) decided not to move forward. After a few months of thinking about it, although the intended father wanted to move forward with an egg donor, he also decided this wasn't the right time for him.

So, I was at a loss again. I had to decide if I truly wanted to continue or just stop. A lot of surrogates in my shoes would have given up. That's definitely a lot of loss to take and it really does start to hurt your self-esteem. You second guess yourself and your body. I knew it wasn't me though. My body was fine. I knew I could do it. I placed another ad and received some emails from different agencies and people. Nothing seemed like the right fit. One day I received the email I'd been waiting for. It was from two gay men who were married and had decided that they wanted a baby together. Their email was funny and sarcastic, just my type of humor. They were perfect. We all met for lunch, to get to know each other a little better and we decided to work together. I knew this time would be different. And it was.

Our relationship was amazing. It was like we'd been friends for forever. We all decided working with an agency was the best and quickest option to get things moving along. And we did things fast! From match meeting to transfer was a quick four months, and only that long because the egg donor contract took a little longer than it should have. The guys decided that the best course of action was to get the embryos genetically tested. Why waste money on multiple transfers when you can know fairly quickly which ones will most likely work and which ones won't? It was brilliant. We transferred one beautiful boy embryo and after 5 long years of failure, I was pregnant.

Some women go into surrogacy knowing that they want a "business" type relationship, some women want a friendship. I was the latter. My guys didn't fail me. There wasn't a day that went by that I didn't hear from them. A simple hi, a joke or talking about life in general- we talked all the time. I was always keeping them updated about the progress of the pregnancy and they were able to come up to a few appointments throughout the 9 months. I got to visit them for an ultrasound and baby showers. We had fun getting to know each other and getting to know their son.

At 40 weeks and four days, they got to meet their son. He was like a perfect puzzle piece to fit in their family. They took to fatherhood well and enjoyed every moment. It was the best feeling ever for me. I'm proud I was able to help them with their dream, and they also helped me with mine. We still talk, not daily, but as often as they can. I see updates on Facebook about their son and I've been to visit a few times. His first birthday has come and gone and he is growing up to be the happiest toddler. Being able to see their family and know that I played a part in that happiness is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. Now I'm excited to be on the path to help create another family.

 

Article orignally pubished at The Handsome Father. Republished with permssion.