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From His Perspective…..

We husbands can add a few details perhaps left unsaid by the surrogates.  Thankfully, all I have to say is positive and should be fun.

My wife might tell you that we learned about surrogacy through a friend who had been a surrogate twice in the past.  She might also then say, since her pregnancies were so smooth and easy, that providing the gift of children by acting as a vessel felt like an enriching experience.  She would be completely right to say that.  What she might not mention is, that after toying with the idea off and on for a couple of years–at one point she considered offering to carry her cousin’s child, but their adoption went through–she really didn’t start seriously thinking about it until around 10pm on December 20, 2011.

Now, it’s not that I’m good with dates or anything…okay, I am…but I have a secret I’ll divulge: Google. I had to look up the Season 1 Premiere of HBO’s Hung. The missus and I gave it our obligatory chance (it’s HBO so it must be good) and during one the main character’s epiphany moments of what his special talent might be, my wife turned to me and said she was thinking she might want to seriously look into being a surrogate.  Being well aware of her special talents, I took the high road and knew what she meant: she didn’t have a problem being pregnant; it would be equivalent to her getting a part-time job (but without leaving home); and she would make another couple extremely happy.

It didn’t take very long for me to consider it.  If she wanted to go through the whole experience, I would support her.  I was amazed at her ability to cope with her body changes with such grace the first two times around.  Thankfully, my wife handles discomfort and pain well.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been so comfortable with the idea.  It’s not that she internalizes it; she’s just good at gritting, bearing it, and taking frequent naps.  If she felt she could do it, so could I.

What I didn’t say up front was that I was really looking forward to her pregnant body as she fills out quite nicely.  I didn’t have any hang ups in relation to her carrying another person’s child.  It’s her body, not mine; and she could make whatever decision she wanted in regards to it.  Granted, I would have to live with those decisions.  This was a part that served well.  She bounced back smoothly from the past two pregnancies and had limited signs to show for it.  

What I didn’t realize until we were well into the process was how much fun it would be to mess with friends and family.  Telling them Mary’s pregnant and then watching the sideways glance since they all knew I had a vasectomy 5 years ago.  We’d let them hang on that for a little while, let the room get a little uncomfortable and then delve in for the laugh.  But what turned out to be the most fun and satisfying part of the whole experience was seeing the happiness on the Intended Parent’s (IP’s) faces.  They were just so delighted, which in turn, made me delighted. I remember the inexplicable happiness of holding both my girls when they were first born.  It was similar to watching a really good, heart-touching movie.  I got all the warm and fuzzies and then got to go home and have a good night’s sleep.

We’re working on our next surrogacy now since the first one went so well.  This time, like last, we’re partnered with a same sex couple that is more local that the last. This experience, so far, has been much more enriching.  I remember the excitement of witnessing the beginning of the process, the joy of knowing my child was growing, the adventure of seeing nature mature right in front of me…and most of all, the anticipation of seeing my child for the first time. These guys are going through all the same experiences I went through before.  I get to live vicariously through them and relive the whole experience, but this time, do it with the idea of giving such a priceless gift, as well.

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My Story Thus Far…

I had a friend who had been a surrogate twice already. She got me thinking on it. I had had such easy pregnancies and was looking for a way to use my own special “talents” to help someone else.  I asked her out for a cup of coffee and picked her brain. She told me she thought I’d make a great surrogate. I’m happily married with two children and no plans for more. I’ve always been perfectly healthy, and my husband had a vasectomy after our second child. “No more kids than hands” was our motto. We love them both dearly and they are such perfect little clones of each of us, that we felt complete as a family. To be able to give that to someone else was such a mind-blowingly easy choice to make. My husband, kids, friends and family were all on board as well. Knowing all that; I submitted my application to Surrogate Alternatives (SAI) and began the process.

I met my first couple back in December of 2008. They were a lovely German couple who had been trying in many different ways to conceive for almost a decade. My heart just reached out to them. We instantly hit it off and began our journey together. Unfortunately, after many attempts, roadblocks and heartache they decided to stop trying. It was just too much for them and I completely understood. They told me it was nobody’s fault, just a lot of bad luck and that if they ever wanted to try again they’d choose me in a heartbeat. It was tough for me, but in retrospect I’m so glad it went this way because I now knew what could happen and was able to be mentally prepared for it. We are still good friends to this day.

SAI then placed me with another couple in September of 2011. They were a wonderful gay couple from Australia who had already had twins via surrogacy and wanted a younger sibling to complete their family. This time around it was easy-breezy! They had frozen embryos from their last time. We only used one and on the first attempt that little embryo stuck! Both they and I were amazed and overjoyed. My pregnancy was so easy too. Everything ran like clockwork with absolutely no hiccups. These guys were so supportive every step of the way. We exchanged emails, phone calls and communicated through Skype. I would give the guys updates and ultrasound pictures and we would chat about our lives. They even made it out for a couple of doctor visits and our families got to go to Disneyland together! My kids loved the fact that we were helping them have a baby and bragged to everyone they could about it.

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On September 23rd 2012 (which also happens to be the Founder of SAI’s birthday) their beautiful, perfectly healthy, little baby girl was born. I was just about a week early so they made it out the day after I delivered and were greeted with the newest member of their family. I was surprised at just how helpful and accommodating the hospital here was towards the whole surrogate situation. They made everyone feel so comfortable and the process ran smoothly. After the family got all the required paperwork done they went home with their little one and we still exchange emails and they send me super cute pictures of her.

I had such a warm feeling regarding every aspect of my journey that after I healed from my delivery I spoke with my husband and we decided we’d like to help another couple. All of the shots, doctor’s appointments, etc. is so worth it for the payoff of seeing a parent hold their child for the first time. Everyone who longs for a child of their own and to become a parent should have the opportunity; and I want nothing more than to be able to make that dream come true. I’ve been blessed with strong fertility and I have no desire for any more children of my own, so why shouldn’t someone else who is in need benefit from my help? It’s as simple as that.

As of this week, my contracts are signed with another gay couple and I’ve started injections. The embryo transfer should take place in Mid-March. This couple is local! It’s also their first rodeo and they are so elated to be starting a family! I can’t wait because this will be a totally different experience for all of us involved. Wish us luck and positive, sticky thoughts 🙂

 

Do you have what it takes?

This is a call for help to all women who enjoy being pregnant and who would love to help others. Have you ever considered becoming a surrogate mother? It just may be something that could change your life! You could help build a family from the ground up and be emotionally and financially rewarded in the process.

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A surrogate mother is a special woman who helps others who physically cannot carry a child themselves. She, through IVF (In-vitro Fertilization), carries another’s person’s child in her womb and relinquishes that child to the Intended Parents when the child is born. A surrogate mother is a selfless angel helping others in their quest to become parents.

Surrogate Alternatives, Inc. (SAI) has the best “surro-sister” mentoring program in the world. These women have all been surrogates themselves and work alongside new surrogate mothers every step of the way. There are monthly support group meetings, family events and weekend retreats twice a year for all of their surrogate mothers to attend. The staff are always available to answer any and all questions you have and even attend doctor visits with you if you so desire. They hold hands and guide lives. Every woman has a different experience. Some carry twins, some help IP’s from around the world, some want a little involvement others want a lot. The additional support that SAI provides enriches every one of these journeys.

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SAI needs you! If you meet the following criteria for their program, call them today!

1) You have to have given birth to at least one of your own and are raising that child
2) You cannot be not on welfare, AFDC or housing assistance.
3) You are between the ages of 21-40 (if you are older than 38, you have to have delivered in the past two years).
4) You cannot have had any serious medical conditions during your pregnancy or delivery.
5) You must be able to provide medical and delivery records, if requested.
6) You must have a vehicle and a valid driver’s license to be able to attend your doctor appointments.
7) You must be willing to be tested for STD’s and undergo a drug screening.
8) You must have a stable residence with no plans of moving out of your state from the time you submit your application to delivery.
9) You must agree to a background check and a psychological screening.

The total fees you receive are between $35,000-$50,000. Repeat surrogate fees are higher. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate for pain and suffering and reimbursement. If you are solely relying on this as income, this is not the “job” for you.

Becoming a surrogate mother is not for everyone. Those who choose to become surrogates are uniquely special women. Some of these ladies find the experience so richly rewarding that they choose to continue on and help more than one couple.

If you think YOU could be someone’s angel and give them ultimate gift: the gift of sacrifice, compassion and love; you may just have what it takes to be a surrogate mother. The rewards go above and beyond any monetary gain and it is an experience you will never forget.

If you feel you are that kind of person, apply with SAI today and see where this path takes you.

SAI’s office number is (619) 397-0757

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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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The best gift ever…what Surrogate Mothers give their Intended Parents

It is one of the longest, roughest and most winding roads that lead someone to consider having a surrogate carry their child. As long as it takes to get there, the journey has just begun when you arrive. A woman who chooses to become a surrogate begins the process with a giving heart.

 

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When an Intended Parent (IP) is matched with a surrogate a bond forms. It’s different for everyone but the basics are the same. Yearning meets donation, where wanting and giving come together to travel the same path for as long as the journey takes.

A surrogate who is healthy, fertile and willing to carry a baby in her womb for nine months means HOPE; she is a gift unlike any other. Step by step this gift increases in value until ultimately; the greatest gift of all has been achieved: Life, a child to complete a family.

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What most outsiders don’t realize is that women who choose to become surrogates don’t do it for the money, or the recognition. We are in it for the rush! That wonderfully, amazing rush; just knowing we have the power and ability to help someone else. We can give what others need. It’s a powerful feeling to be able to provide something that comes so easily to us. We are givers in the truest sense of the word. The fulfillment we receive is from seeing the look on the faces of the new parents when they hear their baby’s first heartbeat, when they see the first ultrasound and when they finally get to meet their precious child for the first time. Those moments are priceless and being a part of those moments makes us shine. No monetary compensation could equal the pure joy that fills your heart to share something so life changing with someone else.

Whether you are longing to be a parent and aching for a child or you are a woman looking for something more to give in life, ask yourself this: Are you ready to change a total stranger’s life and make a difference in the world?

This journey may have roadblocks and bumps along the way, but it is an adventure, that’s for sure and if you are the kind of person who can be selfless and can open your heart up to the possibilities, it may just be the most rewarding experience of your life!

At http://www.SurrogateAlternatives.com you’ll find your answers. Also, any comments left will be answered by some of the most knowledgeable people in the field of IVF and surrogacy. So please, ask away. As I have said before; there are never too many questions when it comes to pregnancy…