If you’ve been a reader of the blog for a while now, you know that I gave birth to a surrogate baby on July 4th in 2012. It was my first time being a gestational surrogate, and I can still say it was honestly one of the greatest things I have ever had the honor to be a part of in my life. Currently, I am in the middle of cycling for another round of surrogacy for the same couple, hoping to have a sibling for their beautiful little girl to play with. The reason for this post is to answer some of the FAQ’s I have received in regards to gestational surrogacy.
1. Do You Get Paid?
Believe it or not, the number one question I am asked about gestational surrogacy by far is if I am paid. The short answer is yes, gestational surrogates do receive compensation for their time, effort and recovery. However, the answer is so much more complicated than that. There is no specific answer as to how much a surrogate receives, because it is a personal thing worked out between a surrogate and the intended parents they choose to work with.
There is also so much more that goes into being a surrogate than people realize. For instance, it took almost exactly 2 years from the time I first started making arrangements with the intended parents I chose to when their baby was finally delivered to their arms. There are much much easier ways I could have made the same amount of money in two years than being a surrogate. So, if you are thinking of doing it for the money, you really should think again.
2. Is it Hard to Give Up the Baby?
The second most commonly asked question I receive about surrogacy is whether it was hard for me to give up the baby at the end. My answer is always “Absolutely not.” Again, this is something that can vary by surrogate, and I personally know some who really struggled with the whole process afterward, but it is important to have the right mindset going in and to be prepared.
By being prepared, I mean that you need to make absolutely sure that you are done having your own children. If you still have a deep longing to add to your own family, it will make it harder for you when the surro-baby is born. I went into the surrogacy knowing that the baby was not mine in any way and that I would hand her over at the end. It was as simple as that.
3. You Have to Have Shots?
This is a question I get once people realize that getting the baby into you is not as simple as wishing it there. I don’t think it is really well known what medication and testing processes a surrogate has to go through even before they can even transfer the embryo to your uterus.
Every clinic is different, but I have had to do Lupron shots with small insulin needles in my stomach for two weeks, large gauge intramuscular injections of Delestrogen every other day into my backside, as well as daily Progesterone intramuscular injections in my backside. Before the surrogacy begins, you have to have multiple types of ultrasounds, a pap smear, saline sonogram, blood work and even psychological testing. If the transfer of the embryo is successful, you will continue medication until at least 6 weeks gestation. The total of my shots last surrogacy was over 200.
4. How Involved Were the Intended Parents?
This is another question that is going to vary by surrogate. Each surrogate has different intended parents and preferences. My intended parents live in Virginia and I live in Florida. They did not attend any appointments with me during the pregnancy, In fact, after the transfer, I did not see them again until 9 months later when I delivered the baby. They were not present at the birth, but arrived the following day, and I loved it.
I loved that they gave me space and trusted me to do my job well and carry their baby as I would my own. I loved having some time to spend with her before they arrived after she was born. Every relationship will be different, but if you are thinking of being a surrogate, be sure to make your wishes and needs known up front, and make sure they mesh with those of your intended parents.
5. Do You Keep in Touch?
Again, this answer will be different for every surrogate. Since I gave birth to the surro-baby 4 years ago, I have seen her once and that was by chance. We happened to all be in the same city unplanned, and they met up to let me see her. Having said that, it does not bother me at all. I feel like a distant friend that adores the daughter of her friends and that is fine by me. We are friends on Facebook and I see photos of her there, and honestly, I do not want or need anything else.
6. Are There Requirements for Being a Surrogate?
Although there are certain guidelines, this is an answer that can bend and stretch depending on what clinic your intended parents choose to work with. Also, if you use a surrogacy agency, then some of them have their own strict guidelines as well. Basically, you need to have had healthy pregnancies in the past, no more than 5 pregnancies for most clinics (ours made an exception since I worked with them before), a healthy BMI and lifestyle, good mental health, no on-going conditions that could be adversely affected by a pregnancy and most agencies will not work with a surrogate who is on public assistance.
There are many more questions that I have been asked over the years about gestational surrogacy, but this are the most frequently asked. Do you have a question about being a gestational surrogate? If so, leave it below. If I get enough questions, I will do a live Facebook stream and answer them for everyone over on my Facebook page Life With 4 Boys.