For many, surrogacy is said to be one of the most enriching and fulfilling achievements of a lifetime. However, taking the first step can be difficult; the research needed to make an informed decision can be overwhelming, to say the least. If only it were as easy as talking to a friend over lunch!
For that reason, we spoke with Amber, who has already undergone the surrogacy process, to get the scoop on what she went through and what she can offer to those considering it for themselves:
Fertility Bridges: What drew you to consider surrogacy?
Amber: A few different things drew me to surrogacy– helping a couple with infertility issues achieve something they cannot do on their own, going through another pregnancy, watching my body transform over 9 months, and the cherry on top is earning good money that provides for my family.
I looked into surrogacy after my second son in 2011 but ended up not going through with it, and I’m glad I didn’t because my daughter surprised us in 2015. In April 2016, I started the application process for surrogacy. Keep in mind I had been researching agencies for the past five years and picking my friends brains who were surrogates.
Fertility Bridges: I see, all great reasons! What would you say was the best part of the process for you?
Amber: There are two parts of the process that made it the best for me. [First was] having your Intended Parents (IPs) attend the fetal heartbeat appointment, which is where your pregnancy is confirmed by fetal heartbeat [via] a transvaginal ultrasound. When the IPs hear their baby’s heartbeat or beats (multiples) for the first time, their facial expressions are priceless.
The second thing is handing over the baby, or babies in my case, and just seeing the look of relief and pure joy of my IPs. Knowing that I helped bring these miracles in the world is such a fulfilling feeling.
Fertility Bridges: That’s beautiful! Is there any advice or encouragement you can give to those who might be considering surrogacy?
Amber: Do your research and do not settle for an agency or IPs. Agencies and IPs need surrogates, so it’s ok to take your time to find the right fit. Surrogacy IS NOT which agency has the highest base compensation because it’s not a quick way to make a buck. Pregnancy is a risk and women who think they might make a good surrogate should look into those risks.
Talk to past and current surrogates because we all have different experiences. Join FB Surrogates groups and observe the spectrum of IVF pregnancies. I feel like some woman just say I’ve had good pregnancies/deliveries, I think I’d be a good surrogate. An IVF pregnancy is not the same as a biological pregnancy!
Some girls don’t consider the medications they have to be on for 8-12 weeks. Some are shocked that they have to give themselves daily injections and shockingly some think they have the option of stopping meds because the injections hurt, the headache never goes away or they don’t like the mood swings. Some girls do not understand that they need all the support they can get during a Surrogacy. If you are employed, it’s best to get the support of your employer and close colleagues because you will have more doctor appointments than you are accustomed to from your own pregnancy. It also helps to get them on board prior to starting the process so that you don’t stress yourself out on how to tell your employer or have to explain why you are taking so much PTO.
If you are single, it’s best to get support from your friends. You have to consider who is going to take care of you and your kids when you have to attend appointments, be put on bed rest or go in to delivery. If you have a significant other you should have a very serious conversation about the support you will need and if you are done with your own family. Some women don’t take into consideration that a Surrogacy might be your last pregnancy so make sure you’ve completed your family first because you could risk not being able to have more children after a pregnancy.
Some girls don’t think about the mental or emotional roller coaster Surrogacy can be. IVF pregnancy is not an exact science. If it were, then surrogates would not be needed. Girls who sign up to be a surrogate need to understand that once they start this process it may or may not be more difficult for them to get pregnant by way of IVF compared to natural conception in their history. Keep in mind IVF doctors are tricking our bodies to take on a pregnancy that is not biologically ours. Again I think girls sign up thinking they’ll get pregnant and then paid not realizing that it might take a few attempts before an embryo actually sticks.
We’d like to thank Amber for taking the time to chat with us about her experience; we hope her story can inspire you to do your own research. Of course, we are always available to assist you with any questions as well—just reach out to us and we will be happy to provide any information you need!