The relationship between two men and Anne took place between Oregon and New York. Here she answers our questions about surrogacy – and offers insight about her inspirational path as a surrogate.
PP: The growth of the Internet has helped many women learn about surrogacy, but before it existed, most information was found in libraries, through friends, or friends-of-friends. When and how did you first learn about surrogacy
Anne: I was flipping through a free parenting magazine at home and saw an ad for Growing Generations. It immediately piqued my interest and I started looking up information online. I actually didn’t meet any other surrogates until I was pregnant.
PP: What path did you take to learn more about it
Anne: I looked at the GG website, of course. Mostly I read about other families’ experiences through blogs. I also talked at length to the surrogacy coordinator at GG.
PP: How did you first make contact with the parent(s)
Anne: The surrogacy agency set up a meet-and-greet with the potential parents.
PP: Everyone has a biological clock – even men. How many times have you been a surrogate?
Anne: Only once, but I’ve considered it again recently.
PP: How old were you when you decided to become a surrogate?
Anne: I was 29 and my son was 15 months old.
PP: How old were you when became a surrogate?
PP: Did your age affect the timing of your surrogacy experience
Anne: Not really, I believe most agencies will accept surrogates into their late 30’s.
PP: Self-appointed moralists have views about surrogacy that seem limited to many of us. Some surrogates won’t help gays or lesbians. But even surrogates liberal enough to help lesbians and gay men may have issues with kids raised in single-parent households. When did you first consider helping a gay person with surrogacy
Anne: I actually never considered having a baby for a hetero couple. It seems to me that if a hetero couple is going through surrogacy it is their “last resort”. There are too many negative emotions associated with that for me to have a positive experience as a surrogate. With a gay man (or couple) this is an awesome opportunity to have a genetic link in the world. I felt like it would be a fun, exciting adventure full of hope and joy.
PP: Were you a surrogate for a single person or a couple
Anne: A couple of great guys.
PP: Did the relationship status of the parent have any influence on your decision to match?
Anne: I guess I’d have to say it didn’t hurt my decision. Having a baby is such a huge responsibility, just having someone else there for emotional support is a blessing. Ultimately it depends on the support structure of the intended parent. If there’s a lot of support from other family members, it’s not for me to judge whether or not that’s enough support.
PP: Can you name 3 reasons you became a surrogate?
Anne: One of the biggest reasons was that I felt good about being able to do it. I didn’t want to look back on my life and be disappointed that I missed an opportunity. I also wanted a do-over for my first pregnancy. I was so nervous (neurotic really) that I didn’t really enjoy the experience. And, I was pretty sure I was done having kids of my own, but maybe I wanted to “try it on” again before making a final decision.
PP: Do you intend to pursue surrogacy again?
Anne: I have seriously considered surrogacy again. I enjoyed the experience a lot! So far, I haven’t found the right person or couple to get me to commit yet.
PP: Did you meet any opposition from friends or family when deciding on becoming a surrogate?
Anne: Yes! It was the weirdest thing I’ve ever encountered. Friends that I’d known for years were sort of angry about it asking why I’d do such a thing. My response to them was – why not? In the end, I didn’t lose any friends over it. I think everyone made their peace with it. I think the biggest worry for them was that they thought I’d want to keep the baby. My husband on the other hand had fun fueling the fire with comments like, “Yeah, my wife’s having another man’s baby…”
PP: I’ve probably left out a question or two. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Anne: In the beginning, like anything, it was fun and exciting. I had convinced myself long before the embryo transfer that this was not my child. The first trimester was a long road for me. I had to inject myself with hormones daily to trick my body into thinking I was pregnant so I wouldn’t reject the embryos. Then I had weekly appointments with my doctor to make sure everything was progressing smoothly.
It was a little weird to be carrying something that was not a genetic part of myself. However as the pregnancy progressed and I started to feel the baby move it became less weird and more exciting again. It also helped that I was not having to inject myself with hormones daily at that point.
From then on, it was just like a regular pregnancy. Just long stretches of boredom broken up my moments of excitement.
Of course the birth was the most exciting part! The intended parents were in the room for the whole thing. I know a lot of people are sort of taken back by that. But how could I not let them see their baby being born? It seemed like the right thing to do. Besides, once you’re in the delivery room you pretty much kiss your modesty goodbye anyway.
But I must say that my recovery time was so much quicker without a little one waking me up every 3 hours to eat!
All in all it was a great experience, but one that I blindly walked into. I think that I was lucky that things turned out well. But for sure I can say proudly that I helped create a gorgeous family!