When You Become a Surrogate Mother It’s a Joyous Experience
Since I’ve been a surrogate twice, people often ask me how to become a surrogate mother. What they really want to know is, how did I become a surrogate mother and why. The how is the easy part to explain, here’s a list of typical requirements to become a surrogate mother. If you meet the requirements on this list there’s a good chance you will qualify to become a surrogate:
- Be age 21-39;
- Have at least 1 child;
- Be a non-smoker, non drug-user with healthy lifestyle and weight;
- Have no major pregnancy complications;
- Have a BMI under 34;
- Have no felony convictions;
- Be a resident of a surrogacy friendly state, CA, CO, OR, IL, TX or NV;
- Be a US citizen or legal resident; and
- Have a spouse or significant other who is in agreement with the decision to become a surrogate.
The requirements to become a surrogate mother don’t begin to explain the deep joy and satisfaction you can get from helping someone else complete their family. When I talk to other surrogates the first thing I notice is that all of us have had easy pregnancies and love being pregnant, not just put up with it because we want the baby but actually love the state of being pregnant. We feel good, energized and like our best selves at that time. Who wouldn’t want to feel like that again? The other thing most of the surrogates have in common is that our families are complete, we love and adore our children but know that we don’t want to have any more. Personally, I feel like I can only take care of two children really well, the way my husband and I want to parent. Obviously, we could have more but right now we are putting our all into the two we have, any more would be a stretch for us timewise, financially and emotionally.
I love kids and I love being pregnant, the idea that I can help create life is still mind-boggling. This is one of the reasons I wanted to become a surrogate. When I think about women who are unable to carry their own children I feel terrible for them because I know what they’re missing. There’s nothing like the love, joy and contentedness of having your own child. It’s definitely an experience that everyone who wants it should have. Is it any wonder I was attracted to the idea of surrogacy, the experience of pregnancy coupled with the joy of creating a family for someone who desperately wants a family and will be wonderful parents? My feeling is that anybody who works so hard at becoming a parent, undergoing fertility testing, IVF, and finally surrogacy, is going to put just as much energy, heart and soul into parenting. OK, helicopter parenting.
When people ask how I felt handing over the baby I tell them it was a joyous experience. I was lucky that in both my surrogacy journeys I made an emotional connection to the intended parents. Each time after meeting the intended parents I felt they were people I could relate to and be friends with. It was important to be to be comfortable with them and them with me since I would be carrying their longed for child. When you think about it, nine months is a long time to wait for anything, it helps the wait if you get regular updates on the progress and you trust the person helping you achieve your goal. I sent regular updates to both my surro families and invited them to be present for important medical appointments, like the first ultrasound. Their pregnancy, my body, we all had a stake in this pregnancy. It was an honor that they trusted me with something as important as carrying their child, if the bond of trust hadn’t been there the whole process would not have been as smooth.
While discussing how I approached handing over the baby, the first thing I tell people is that it was not my baby. I was just performing some intensive, 24/7 babysitting. Since I was a gestational carrier both time, that means that my egg was not used for conception, I was implanted with embryos the couple had created. The baby literally was not mine. This is how my husband and I explained it to our young children and anyone who asked. The kids got it right away but sometimes adults took a little longer.
For both of my surrogacy journeys the intended parents lived within a realistic driving distance so we were reasonably sure they would make it to the delivery. Naturally both times the parents came as soon as my husband called so they arrived before the birth. I had arranged for the baby to be handed to the mother first, not to me, since it was her baby. It was an incredible experience to see the baby handed to the mother. Both of us, and probably everyone else in the room, had tears of joy running down our faces as she kissed her baby for the first time. I remember that occurrence with my own children as one of the best in my life and couldn’t wait for the intended mother to experience it for herself. The joy in my heart when I looked at the new family I had helped create was indescribable, I guess that’s why I did it twice.