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If you’re having FAQ’s I feel bad for you son, I’ve got 99 problems but a contract ain’t one.

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It’s homework time people. Nobody likes it; nobody wants to read it, but you HAVE TO READ YOUR CONTRACT! Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. Everything you ever wanted, needed, and never even though of knowing is in there. It’s the Rosetta stone of surrogacy and I’m talking to EVERYONE here. Surrogates, egg donors, and intended parents alike. If you think of absolutely any questions whatsoever, I promise you will find the answer in your contract.

“Hey, my surrogate wants to go cross country skiing, can she do that?”

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The answer is in there! I’m not kidding. And by the way answer is no. 

Fertility lawyers need to think of every situation and every solution.

“Can I have sex after a transfer?”  Or
“Is organic food reimbursable?”  Or
“Who pays the insurance copays?”  Or
“Does the surrogate have a right to see our baby after she gives birth?”

It’s funny, the questions you think of after entering a legally binding situation, stuff that never would have occurred to you before this crazy journey began. But you know what? You are in no way the first to think of these questions, so ask away. Your attorney will gladly give you the page number of your personalized contract that will tell you all you need to know.

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Before you’ve even put pen to paper your lawyer will have told you so much. They’ll have gone over every single page with you. You’ll have tweaked it here and there and it’ll have gone back and forth between law firms. There is a lot of legislation to do with surrogacy and that’s a good thing, even if it is tedious. And you know what? You won’t remember most of it. There is no way, unless you have a photographic memory, you will know what and where you read that certain line that you now need to know. And that’s ok too. You’ll have a copy that will become your best friend. Your own personal bible, your treasure map, so to speak. Do you want your stress levels to go down and your anxiety to melt away? Then read your contract! It will guide you through with the comforting reassurance that can only come from the law. Knowing your rights and staying well informed from beginning to end makes for such a smoother journey. Trust me, I know. I’ve read these things from cover to cover multiple times. They make for great bedtime stories. Not only because it’ll probably put you to sleep, but also because you will sleep so much easier once those nagging questions have been answered.

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I feel like the old school mistress looking down her glasses, pointing a ruler at you and telling you to “Pay Attention!” But seriously I mean it. I don’t want to boss you around or tell you what to do. It’s just the Mom in me wanting what’s fair and best for everyone. You see, the more informed you are the better you feel. The better you feel the smoother things go. The smoother things go the better the chances of that cute little baby in the picture with its new parents. Get it?

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…Now go and wash your hands, it’s flu season. And bundle up warm, it’s cold outside (well unless you are here in California, it’s gorgeous here 😉

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Where’s The Baby?…casual encounters of a surrogate.

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My neighbor comes out and takes her kids to school at the same time I do almost every morning (they go to a different school otherwise we’d totally car pool). We’re not close, but we’re civil: “Hi,” “Good Morning,” “Going to be cold isn’t it?” that kind of thing.  She saw how I was pregnant throughout the year but we never really talked about it. She smiled at the bump and asked if it was a girl or a boy? I just said “girl” and smiled back.  We’re in that morning rush and I wasn’t going to pull her aside to tell her I’m a surrogate, explain the whole deal to her, and make our kids late to school and most likely freak her out in the process. It just wasn’t convenient.

Well, after I had delivered and was up on my feet again taking the girls to school, she sees me. Clearly not pregnant anymore and… no baby anywhere… no car seat… no nothing. I said “Good morning”, smiled and pulled away. I could tell she was thoroughly confused. Her eyes were processing. Should she be apologetic, sympathetic? Had something terrible happened? But I was happy, not grieving? What had I done with the child! The next few times we saw each other, I could tell she was clearly baffled but she never brought it up and since then she doesn’t really speak to me at all. I can tell I unsettle her but I don’t feel like I need to explain my life to an almost stranger. I’m friendly and open so maybe someday she’ll ask. Especially now that I’m going to do it again 🙂

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I’ve had many similar situations with the people I see on a daily basis. The ones you’re not close to but are friendly enough to say hello to. The crossing guard at my daughter’s school, my bank teller, the lady who always seems to get in the elevator at the same time I do, the dad picking up his son in my daughter’s class, every one of these people has made casual remarks about me being pregnant. I’ll vaguely answer “It’s a girl,” “due in September,” or “I don’t know the name yet.”  And if I have the time or I feel comfortable enough around them I’ll tell them what’s what and that: “it’s not mine”, or “I’m a surrogate.” I never, ever know how they’ll react. I had the check-out lady at Target come around the register, give me a big hug, a kiss on the cheek, and with tears in her eyes tell me what a wonderful thing I was doing; since her daughter couldn’t conceive and she knew how I was changing someone’s life. That was totally unexpected and made me cry (also I was hormonal from being pregnant at the time). I had a man look at me in disgust and snidely remark to his wife that he could never allow her to “sell a baby”. My husband had to pull me away at that point (again, hormonal and would most likely have ripped him a new one).

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There was that one time I was out with my 5 year old and a woman made a comment to her about getting a little brother or sister and my daughter looked up at her and quipped “It’s not even ours.”  I’ve never seen a woman walk away so quickly without trying to look like it. Awkward! But I have to admit I laughed after she left.

My kids have been great with this. They absolutely loved everything about me being a surrogate for another couple. They don’t want any more sibling competition and are happy that Mommy is helping others to become parents too. They get it. I think it clicked more easily for them than it did with my friends. I have found that my 8 year old had been telling her teacher and all her school friends about me before I had a chance to myself. Her teacher then bragged to other teachers about what I was doing so that when I went in to tell her, everyone knew already and it was no big deal.

People will always amaze you. For better or worse. I have found it’s usually for the better. And what’s more amazing is that surrogacy is becoming “The New Normal.” People tend to just be curious these days instead of ignorant or closed minded. There is a part of me who wants to get a pamphlet printed out entitled: So the Woman you’re Speaking to is a Surrogate: 10 most FAQ’s. That way I can just be like “here you go… talk to me if you have any questions, my number is on the back.” Because that has happened! I’ve had not one but two friends of friends who have heard what I have done, asked for my phone number and have picked my brain about the whole thing. It’s amazing. When I signed up to become a surrogate I didn’t even think about these situations occurring in my life; but I’m sure glad they have. It’s a whole new world out there.

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