No, I'm not having another baby. Not exactly, anyway. I want to be a gestational surrogate, and am taking steps to become one. Crazy, right? Let me back up and tell you how I got here.
When I graduated from college I told several of my closest friends that if they ever had difficulty carrying a child I would be their surrogate, no questions asked. Years came and went with lots of babies. Many would have been relieved but I found myself disappointed. So imagine that disappointment simmering at the back of my mind for the past nine years.
Jump to last spring. I was listening to an episode of Strangers about Elizabeth and Mary, a young woman eager to donate a kidney and the woman she donated to. [Sidebar: if you're not listening to Strangers, you should be. It's amazing.] In short, Elizabeth feels that if you are able to donate a kidney you should do so. It's just like paying taxes or serving jury duty. While I have no strong desire to be a living organ donor, Elizabeth's passion and determination struck a nerve and brought to the surface all of my thoughts about surrogacy. I had easy pregnancies and I enjoyed being pregnant, for the most part. We're done adding to our own family, but it felt like a waste to let this "skill" go unused.
I broached the topic with my husband and he wasn't on board. His objections were reasonable and thoughtful, but I couldn't let it go. We had a second discussion and after I was unable to convince him I walked away full of emotion; but it was disappointment rather than anger. I literally could not stop thinking about it. I tried one more time, laying everything on the table.
I have never been a religious or spiritual person but I feel called to surrogacy the same way someone might feel called to the military or the clergy. I can't really explain it but I just know it's something I have to do.
I said my peace, asked him to truly think about, and then went to sleep. After about 2 weeks of thinking (and "have you thought about it" pestering from me) he said we could proceed with caution, keeping the safety and sanity of our family at the forefront. We decided that we needed to make it through Christmas but we could start the process in the new year.
I have spent the last six months slowly telling people about my crazy goal. Saying the words out loud, to a few friends and family, helped it feel real and allowed me to process all of the questions I would be faced with.
What if you're carrying twins or triplets? How do you get connected to the parents? Will you have another c-section? How much do you get paid?
That is a lot to think about but I will work with an agency to guide me through the process. The agency will take care of medical testing, legal protection on both sides, and screening prospective parents. I think it's possible to do surrogacy without an agency, but that creates risk for both the surrogate and the parents, so that's not smart for a first-time surrogate like myself.
Lastly, I am pleased to share that I just submitted my application to become a surrogate! There will be many tests, both physical and psychological, before I am ready to meet prospective parents but it feels great to take the first step.
As you can see from the post title, I am VERY EXCITED about all of the puns. Also this:
|image credit: Friends|