A surrogacy journey - tips for intended parentsJan 25, 2021
By the time we go down the path of surrogacy, we’ve usually been trying to conceive for quite some time.
Using a surrogate to carry our baby is more often than not THE last option in our bag of tricks after exhausting all possible avenues. IUI, IVF, invasive exploratory surgeries, diets, acupuncture, homeopaths, supplements, special teas and magic potions. We’ve tried the lot!
We don’t like the idea of someone else carrying our baby. Plain and simple.
My vision of becoming a mum always included ME being pregnant. I dreamed of experiencing pregnancy for myself. To watch my belly grow, feel my baby kick, and revel in all the excitement that becoming a new mum entails.
So, when our fertility specialist told us that the only way for us to have a baby of our own was Surrogacy, my heart broke a little. Ok, it was like someone reaching into my chest and ripping my heart out.
After the initial shock and pain, there was fear. Going through the IVF process is already complicated and overwhelming enough without adding Surrogacy to it. Everything we had read online about the process was very daunting, plus it sounded crazy expensive.
But we also wanted to be parents more than anything else in this world, so we approached our next phase with a practical mindset. This was just the next step in our fertility journey. We had a problem, and this was our solution.
We were very blessed that my husband’s sister put up her hand immediately and volunteered. She had seen us struggle trying to conceive (ttc) for the last 2 years and had witnessed our heart-ache. Plus, she loved being pregnant. So, we started the next step in our process.
I know that the surrogacy law is different in each country and even across states. In Australia (which is where I’m from), Commercial surrogacy is illegal. This means that you need to find someone who will carry a baby for you without payment. It is also a highly regulated and lengthy process with complicated legislation.
Daunting didn’t even come close.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE CONTEMPLATING USING A SURROGATE TO HAVE A BABY, HERE ARE SOME THINGS I LEARNED ALONG THE WAY THAT MAY HELP -
Where do you start? It is important to find a fertility specialist that you like and trust. Infertility is stressful enough without having the extra burden of wading your way through the legal jargon of the Surrogacy Act. Our Fertility specialist was Dr Ben Kroon at Eve Health and we went through the surrogacy program with Queensland Fertility Group. They were both amazing and provided a step by step guide from beginning to end. They were also able to recommend counsellors and lawyers to assist.
A level of acceptance that this is your path is essential. If you do not accept it, your sadness and frustration will creep into your Surrogacy adventure. Let go of any shame or failure attached to it. There is a legal requirement for counselling before you enter into your surrogacy agreement, however I would suggest further counselling or support from a fertility coach beyond the “tick and flick” required by the legislation.
Be prepared for this to take some time. After we had a signed surrogacy agreement and a green light, it took over two years, 9 IVF cycles and a miscarriage to have a pregnancy that stuck. I don’t say this to scare you, however it is important that you are realistic in your expectations. It is also important that your surrogate is aware of this. The process you follow to getting your surrogacy arrangement signed off is time consuming and expensive, so you don’t want to go through the beginning part, only to find out that your surrogate can’t handle the bumps in the road.
Communication with your surrogate is essential throughout the process. This is not just a transaction – it is an emotional journey. When your heart breaks, your surrogates heart breaks too. Going into this you need to work out how to support not only yourself, but someone else too – she will need to provide as much positive energy for your baby as possible. If I had my time over again, I would have scheduled joint counselling or coaching all the way through, to keep the communication channels open.
Your surrogate does not want your baby. She wants YOU to have a baby. That is why she agreed to this. I always had a fear that my sister in law would form a bond with my baby that wouldn’t be broken, however that just isn’t true. From the moment my little boy landed in my arms, he was my baby, and I was his mummy.
Surrogacy has so many opportunities to share love and join beautiful people who may otherwise never have connected. In our case, it brought our family closer together. I also know people who have used complete strangers and have still formed a beautiful bond with them. Try to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Having said that, it is completely ok to wish that things were different. It is possible to be grateful AND crave a better path at the same time.
To be honest with you, it has taken me a long time to accept the path I had to go down to have my baby boy. It takes a lot of inner work to let go of the anger and insecurities and make peace with the fact that things did not go according to my original plan. But today, my little boy knows that his Aunty carried him in her belly because mine was broken. And if he’s ok with it, so am I.
If you’re about to embark on or are currently going down the path of surrogacy, please feel free to email me with any questions regarding my journey and experience.
You can also watch my YouTube video on this very subject HERE.
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