My friend Rebecca and I have the “tradition” that every first Tuesday of the month we get our girls together. When the weather gets really hot, or really cold for that matter, we meet up at the play area of the Mountain Meadows Mall. Rebecca and I both have 5-year-old girls, and they love to play there. School is out at 12.30; my daughter Beth and I have a quick lunch and then head down to the mall.
When I arrived, Rebecca was there with Stephanie, and both girls held hands and went toward the play area. As we kept an eye on both girls and sipped on our coffee, Rebecca told me that she and Cesar were thinking of getting pregnant again. I thought that was wonderful news. Then she said, “Susan, it’s not the pregnant that you think.” My eyes opened wide and I continued to sip my coffee as we kept an eye on the girls. “I know this is going to sound weird, but Cesar, Stephanie and I are going to become Surrogates.” I continued to listen. I had heard about Surrogacy before, but I had never really thought about it. I immediately became engaged.
She went on to tell me that she and her husband did not want any more children after Stephanie, but that she loved being pregnant. I remember how much she enjoyed that. They had been wanting to travel back to South America where Cesar was from, but they never seemed to have the money for it. They had started researching Surrogacy agencies and found one called Omega Family Surrogates. It was close to where we lived and it seemed to have had excellent ratings. The also paid more than other Surrogacy Agencies.
As I kept an eye on the girls I realized that Beth needed to go to the bathroom. I was excited that she was already potty trained, but accidents still happened. I got up, and asked Rebecca if Stephanie needed to go as well. I took both girls, and when I got back to the table and the girls returned to the play area, I asked Rebecca about the requirements to become a Surrogate and asked her if she met them all. As she showed me their website (and kept an eye on the girls) I saw one requirement that caught me off guard.
“Why do you have to be a mother to become a Surrogate? Don’t you just have to be willing to have a child for someone who is not able to?” Her eyes softened and she said that she, too, had had the same question. She had already done her research and found that the most helpful information came from the blogs and information that this Surrogacy Agency had provided. She also had medical information that her own OBYN had provided her.
The following turned out to be the reasoning behind having to be a mother before becoming a Surrogate:
You must be familiar with your body while it goes through changes pregnancy entails. Rebecca showed me posts, and blogs that said that being a first-time mom, is hard enough as it is (We both know that is true). It is also true that you have no idea how your body is going to react to a pregnancy, and you don’t know what sort of risks you could face. You could also be prone to post-partum depression, a condition you only encounter if you have given birth, hence, you must be a mother first.
I remember that when I was thinking about getting pregnant, I asked my mom what sort of things she had to face. I found out that she had to be on bed rest because she is a small woman and it was hard for her to carry. In my case, my iron level went so low that I had to have a special diet that was high in iron. I could not have known this if I had not had Beth.
You must be able to show that your body is able to carry a baby to full term with minimum risk. It was interesting for me to find out that most couples that resort to Surrogacy from this company Rebecca was considering came from China. It seems that there is a high infertility rate, and the field of reproductive medicine is not as developed as it is here in the US. Some women are too frail to stand a full pregnancy, and this is why they resort to Surrogacy. So it is important to the Intended Parents that the Surrogate be able to show that she already has healthy children, and that they are healthy themselves. Intended Parents do not want to put their Surrogate at risk either emotionally or physically to have a child for them.
Secondary Infertility is a condition that I was unfamiliar with. This means that once you have had your first child, there is a possibility that you will not be able have your second. Now, it is also true that after you have had your first child you are more probable to have a second pregnancy without a problem, or face the same issues you did in your first. This is why it caught me off guard. I have heard that there are couples that after they have had a child, they do not get pregnant even if the same conditions as before were in place. Sometimes it has to do with the man’s sperm count, or that maybe with the previous pregnancy the woman’s body changed and is just not capable of holding a child again. These are common reasons couples do not have more children.
Rebecca shared that in the Surrogacy context, it would be unfair to ask a woman whose first pregnancy is a Surrogate pregnancy, to risk her chance of having children of her own. I think she is right.
I have heard from my friends that have more than one child that each kid is different, and each pregnancy has its own personality. So it may be that with the Surrogate Pregnancy things go very differently from how it was with your own children. This is where and when the company gets involved through professionals who make sure that the pregnancy and birth go according to plan.
Both of our girls had now sat down, and were not running around. They looked bored, and it was our cue that it was time to go. Rebecca and I laughed, and promised that next time we were going to continue this conversation. She would also keep me posted on how her process with Omega Family Global was progressing. We got ready to leave, threw our cups into the trash, got the strollers, clothes, and everything else together and headed toward the parking lot.