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Surrogacy and some uncomfortable feelings about it


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  #1  
March 22nd, 2012, 08:33 AM
MindyRambo's Avatar Super Mommy
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First off, it's been way too quiet in here!

Seems like lately I have been hearing a lot about surrogacy, and not just on this board, but on other boards and in real life.

I am going to open myself up here to possible flammage by admitting that itís one thing that I have always felt really judgemental about. I would like to understand it a bit more, and I would like to feel less judgemental about it. Letís face it, itís none of my freaking business.

I think one thing that really bothers me, and it also bothered me on adoption boards, is that when someone annouces they will be a surrogate, that is then followed by a flurry of compliments to that person to the effect of ďYou are so selfless, so generous, what a wonderful gift to give to another coupleĒ

I have to admit it really rubs me the wrong way. I actually donít see it as that selfless, especially since big $ can be made being a surrogate. Itís not altruistic imo, and in fact I can see how some people could thrive on that attention, and I donít think thatís a good thing. Those comments rubbed me the wrong way on adoption boards too, because I donít think you need to be a saint to adopt or to place a child for adoption, and it pisses me off when people say that, because it implies that you would have to be saint to love a child that is not biologically your own. I think some are convinced they could only love their bio kids and thatís just crazy to me.

I think the thing that bothers me the most though is my own perception of it leading to the commodification of children.

I also think that when you use your own eggs to be a surrogate you are opening yourself up (and the couple) to a lot of possible legal problems.

I also know that a new generation of children is finally getting old enough to talk about their experiences being the children of surrogates. Iíve heard a lot from these young people and many of them feel abandoned by their surrogate, they wish they had a relationship with the person who gave them life, and they are often denied this by surrogates who go out of their way not to ďget attachedĒ to the child they are carrying.

I would like to understand better, and I hate the judgement I feel. Please help me see things from a different perspective.
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  #2  
March 22nd, 2012, 09:49 AM
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I think for me, it depends on why the person is becoming a surrogate. We have 2 sets of friends that have been TTC for 5+ years. One couple has adopted twice and the other couple has gone through countless procedures to conceive. For either couple, I would surrogate for them (and would in a second if it wasn't illegal in our state). The only thing I would want would be my medical bills paid, no extra money or fees for a "uterus rental" type of situation.

I do think its a selfless act - giving up your body for 10 months and basically getting nothing for it at the end of it seems very selfless to me. Pregnancy is such an intimate thing and there is such a strong bond between you and the baby, I have to imagine its a conflicting situation to be pregnant with a child that is possibly not yours and knowing that you will be giving the baby to someone else when its all said and done. I do think it is a wonderful thing to do for another person or couple, if its done for the right reasons.

For me, I don't think I could ever have step children or begin a relationship where there are already children involved. I have a friend currently going through it with his new gf and her young son and I can see the strain its putting on the relationship. DH and I both feel the same way about it, neither of us can imagine taking care of another person's child especially because we have our own children already. Maybe it would be easier if you didn't have biological children to be in a step child situation.

As far as the abandonment from the surrogates goes, I think that has a lot more to do with the parents and the surrogate's terms for how involved the surrogate will be in the child's life. Its sad that they feel abandoned, but that may not be the fault of the surrogate.
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  #3  
March 22nd, 2012, 04:04 PM
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I don't know if it's selfless or not. I didn't think you could make money being a surrogate in the US though? I know laws vary by state, but I thought that went across the board.

I have a friend who has been trying for a decade to have a child. I decided awhile ago that if they couldn't get pregnant or wanted a surrogate, I would do it. I would do it because I know how badly they would like a biological child. Yes they could adopt, and they have (they have a 9 year old adopted child they love dearly), but I also know how much it means to them to have a biological child. I would not ask for any money, just have my medical expenses covered (which I believe is common in many surrogacy arrangments). I would not use my own eggs, nor my DH's sperm. It would have to either be biologically theirs or a donor for me to do it. I would stay in the child's life as much as the parents would want me to. I would write the child, and hope to have family events together with my friends family and mine. I would hope that my children and that child would consider themselves family.
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  #4  
March 22nd, 2012, 05:12 PM
peace.love.audrey's Avatar Twins? Pinch me!
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Well, since I know you are partially talking about me, I guess I should come voice my opinion too.

I was originally going to be a surrogate for a good friend of mine and her DH, for free, but we found out her egg quality wasn't the greatest and they made the decision to end the journey. I was already in surrogacy mode so I put my feelers out and got put in touch with another couple who was looking. I felt an immediate connection with them and an empathy for their situation since I tried for 6 years to get pregnant and honestly thought I would never be a mommy. I am fortunately now able to get pregnant and have a genuine desire to help them become a family. At this point in time, my family is complete and I feel ready and willing to make their dreams come true. I am not asking for some huge amount of money in compensation but the reality is that I am using my eggs and I am giving up 10+ months of my life to help someone else with their dreams. Since they are not close family or a long time friend, I feel like the risks and possible emotional/physical consequences do come at a small price. Its not like I'm "charging" them so I can go pay cash for a new car or take a trip around the world, it's because I am putting my life and my familys future on the line. As far as the children feeling abandoned, they want me to be involved in the child's life and I wouldn't have it any other way. I will bond with the baby but definitely not like I bond with the children I raise...I bond thru the joys and struggles of parenting, not thru u/s and feeling kicks and if that makes me a monster, then so be it.

And I never post about surrogacy to get the "oh, you're so selfless, blah blah, blah" because I know why I do what I do and I never ask for anyone else's permission or for anyone to blow smoke up my @ss. I post because I enjoy bouncing ideas off of people and hearing others experiences.
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  #5  
March 22nd, 2012, 07:55 PM
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Oh man. Let me go make some popcorn! I wish I could have a drink for this one!

Carry on.
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  #6  
March 22nd, 2012, 08:48 PM
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No worries Jillian, I can drink for two
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  #7  
March 22nd, 2012, 09:11 PM
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Jillian, you've never been at a loss for words so please let me know what you're getting so excited about.
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  #8  
March 22nd, 2012, 11:35 PM
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Seems like there are some personal feelings involved in this and I find that fascinating to watch. Maybe I'm wrong?

My thoughts on surrogacy come from emotional places and not real research or experience. I can't really comment on what it would be like or the impact it would have on my family.
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  #9  
March 23rd, 2012, 12:20 AM
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The only real feelings I see are coming from the OP hanging out in the bitter barn.
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Last edited by peace.love.audrey; March 23rd, 2012 at 12:23 AM.
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  #10  
March 23rd, 2012, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BittyBugsMama View Post
I think for me, it depends on why the person is becoming a surrogate. We have 2 sets of friends that have been TTC for 5+ years. One couple has adopted twice and the other couple has gone through countless procedures to conceive. For either couple, I would surrogate for them (and would in a second if it wasn't illegal in our state). The only thing I would want would be my medical bills paid, no extra money or fees for a "uterus rental" type of situation.

I do think its a selfless act - giving up your body for 10 months and basically getting nothing for it at the end of it seems very selfless to me. Pregnancy is such an intimate thing and there is such a strong bond between you and the baby, I have to imagine its a conflicting situation to be pregnant with a child that is possibly not yours and knowing that you will be giving the baby to someone else when its all said and done. I do think it is a wonderful thing to do for another person or couple, if its done for the right reasons.

For me, I don't think I could ever have step children or begin a relationship where there are already children involved. I have a friend currently going through it with his new gf and her young son and I can see the strain its putting on the relationship. DH and I both feel the same way about it, neither of us can imagine taking care of another person's child especially because we have our own children already. Maybe it would be easier if you didn't have biological children to be in a step child situation.

As far as the abandonment from the surrogates goes, I think that has a lot more to do with the parents and the surrogate's terms for how involved the surrogate will be in the child's life. Its sad that they feel abandoned, but that may not be the fault of the surrogate.
Yeah, I think I can understand being a surrogate better if you are doing it for someone you know well, who has tried for a long time unsucessfully to conceive. It's more doing it for people you don't know that I have a hard time understanding.

As to the comment about step children, I find it a little off putting, but then again I'm sure that many people think my feelings about surrogacy are off putting too, but they are feelings, right. They aren't necessarily rational, you can't really help them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyHippy View Post
I don't know if it's selfless or not. I didn't think you could make money being a surrogate in the US though? I know laws vary by state, but I thought that went across the board.

I have a friend who has been trying for a decade to have a child. I decided awhile ago that if they couldn't get pregnant or wanted a surrogate, I would do it. I would do it because I know how badly they would like a biological child. Yes they could adopt, and they have (they have a 9 year old adopted child they love dearly), but I also know how much it means to them to have a biological child. I would not ask for any money, just have my medical expenses covered (which I believe is common in many surrogacy arrangments). I would not use my own eggs, nor my DH's sperm. It would have to either be biologically theirs or a donor for me to do it. I would stay in the child's life as much as the parents would want me to. I would write the child, and hope to have family events together with my friends family and mine. I would hope that my children and that child would consider themselves family.
To the bolded, I honestly don't know if it's ilegal to make money off of it in the US. Like Jillian, my feelings are more emotional than based on research, and that is one of the reasons I started this thread. I thought hearing from people who have been there might help me have a different perspective.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peace.love.audrey View Post
Well, since I know you are partially talking about me, I guess I should come voice my opinion too.

I was originally going to be a surrogate for a good friend of mine and her DH, for free, but we found out her egg quality wasn't the greatest and they made the decision to end the journey. I was already in surrogacy mode so I put my feelers out and got put in touch with another couple who was looking. I felt an immediate connection with them and an empathy for their situation since I tried for 6 years to get pregnant and honestly thought I would never be a mommy. I am fortunately now able to get pregnant and have a genuine desire to help them become a family. At this point in time, my family is complete and I feel ready and willing to make their dreams come true. I am not asking for some huge amount of money in compensation but the reality is that I am using my eggs and I am giving up 10+ months of my life to help someone else with their dreams. Since they are not close family or a long time friend, I feel like the risks and possible emotional/physical consequences do come at a small price. Its not like I'm "charging" them so I can go pay cash for a new car or take a trip around the world, it's because I am putting my life and my familys future on the line. As far as the children feeling abandoned, they want me to be involved in the child's life and I wouldn't have it any other way. I will bond with the baby but definitely not like I bond with the children I raise...I bond thru the joys and struggles of parenting, not thru u/s and feeling kicks and if that makes me a monster, then so be it.

And I never post about surrogacy to get the "oh, you're so selfless, blah blah, blah" because I know why I do what I do and I never ask for anyone else's permission or for anyone to blow smoke up my @ss. I post because I enjoy bouncing ideas off of people and hearing others experiences.
Yes, your post about surrogacy was one of the reasons I posted this. But that is because I have always enjoyed reading your posts here on the debate board, and so I felt really bad about the judgement I felt. I do have an easier time understanding doing it for someone you know, but I have a hard time understanding doing it for strangers. That is where I wonder if it's truly altruistic, or something you just really love to do (be pregnant) or if it was a way to get some extra income. I certainly didn't mean to imply in any way that you were a monster!

And thank you for sharing, because your post about it was in your PR, and so it wasn't an appropriate place for me to ask about it. And you certainly do not owe me any explanation if you would rather not discuss it.
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Last edited by MindyRambo; March 23rd, 2012 at 05:10 AM.
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  #11  
March 23rd, 2012, 05:07 AM
MindyRambo's Avatar Super Mommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peace.love.audrey View Post
The only real feelings I see are coming from the OP hanging out in the bitter barn.
I was very honest in admitting my feelings of judgement, however I'm not sure how you got bitter out of that. If you wanted to elaborate on what you mean by bitter, that would be great
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  #12  
March 23rd, 2012, 05:33 AM
MindyRambo's Avatar Super Mommy
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I found this "surrogacy map" that I thought was interesting

TASC: Legal Map

Council for responsible genetics

http://www.councilforresponsiblegene...kaevej0a1m.pdf


FINANCIAL ASPECTS - What are the financial aspects of hiring a surrogate? What is
the cost to intended parents? How much are surrogates paid? Who is profiting from
this market?
Reports indicate that surrogates are paid between $12,000 and $25,000 per pregnancy,
while costs to intended parents can range from $40,000 to $120,000. While seemingly large
sums, these prices correspond to real pay as low as 50 cents per hour for surrogates, far
below any stateís minimum wage. Given anecdotal evidence that women serving as
surrogates come from families of the lowest income brackets, these paltry figures further
suggest that surrogacy agreements exploit vulnerable women.
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  #13  
March 23rd, 2012, 08:16 AM
HappyHippy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
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Mine were coming from emotional as well. I know I did some research for my friend awhile ago, but never looked into paying the surroagate (I only heard that it was illegal to get paid, except for medical costs, but that must be state to state then). The only research I did was what rights does the intended parents have if it's not either parties biological egg/sperm mix.
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  #14  
March 23rd, 2012, 08:40 AM
MindyRambo's Avatar Super Mommy
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Yes it very much varies state by state and some states surrogacy contracts are unenforceable and in some surrogacy is completely illegal.
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  #15  
March 23rd, 2012, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Poncho06 View Post
No worries Jillian, I can drink for two
Drink for three please
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  #16  
March 23rd, 2012, 10:56 AM
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I would feel more comfortable accepting money if I were NOT to use our own sperm or eggs. This way it would be more like paying for uterus rental than someone buying your baby. Not talking about medical expenses.

I don't see why the children of surrogates complain can about not knowing who gave birth to them and having a relationship with that person any more than a child born from an anonymous sperm donor can complain.
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  #17  
March 23rd, 2012, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by K.A.T View Post
Drink for three please
If I must then I supposed I can take one (or three) for the team
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  #18  
March 23rd, 2012, 11:58 AM
MindyRambo's Avatar Super Mommy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Repti.Mom View Post
I would feel more comfortable accepting money if I were NOT to use our own sperm or eggs. This way it would be more like paying for uterus rental than someone buying your baby. Not talking about medical expenses.

I don't see why the children of surrogates complain can about not knowing who gave birth to them and having a relationship with that person any more than a child born from an anonymous sperm donor can complain.


I have heard the same complaints from children of anonymous sperm donors. I firmly believe everyone deserves to know where they came from, and their own heritage, it's one of the reasons I support ******* Nation and other organizations that work hard to have adoptees original birth certificates unsealed. There are many reasons I support this, but medical history alone is enough to make me believe everyone deserves this as a birthright. Sadly there are situations where that's impossible, but wherever possible, I think it's important.
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  #19  
March 23rd, 2012, 01:31 PM
peace.love.audrey's Avatar Twins? Pinch me!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MindyRambo View Post
Yes, your post about surrogacy was one of the reasons I posted this. But that is because I have always enjoyed reading your posts here on the debate board, and so I felt really bad about the judgement I felt. I do have an easier time understanding doing it for someone you know, but I have a hard time understanding doing it for strangers. That is where I wonder if it's truly altruistic, or something you just really love to do (be pregnant) or if it was a way to get some extra income. I certainly didn't mean to imply in any way that you were a monster!

And thank you for sharing, because your post about it was in your PR, and so it wasn't an appropriate place for me to ask about it. And you certainly do not owe me any explanation if you would rather not discuss it.
I have pondered the idea of being a surrogate for years. I love being pregnant but my SO doesn't want anymore children right now and when my friend mentioned wanting to have a baby with her new DH, I jumped at the chance....I felt it was a win/win situation. That fell thru like I mentioned before and it left me with this unfinished feeling. After I met this new couple, it just felt right from the beginning. My heart really goes out to them because they both suffered big losses at a young age (her, a hysterectomy at 25 and him, testicular cancer at 30). I put myself in their shoes and I remember hating the feeling of knowing I could potentially never have a family of my own. In my state, the type of surrogacy I'm doing isn't recognized so we will have to jump thru some hoops to get all the proper papers signed. As far as compensation, it was really only an issue for a hot minute. They initially said an amount and it kinda made me feel like they were taking the situation to lightly I guess so we talked about it and they came back to me with a different amount and I accepted. Money has never been my main concern but I do want to feel like the effort that I am putting in to the process isnt being taken advantage of...I don't know if that makes sense, it's hard to describe. And the amount isn't something that will break their bank, which makes me happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindyRambo View Post
I was very honest in admitting my feelings of judgement, however I'm not sure how you got bitter out of that. If you wanted to elaborate on what you mean by bitter, that would be great
Idk, it just seemed like you were really angry and aggressive like something had happened to you in the past.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MindyRambo View Post
I found this "surrogacy map" that I thought was interesting

TASC: Legal Map

Council for responsible genetics

http://www.councilforresponsiblegene...kaevej0a1m.pdf


FINANCIAL ASPECTS - What are the financial aspects of hiring a surrogate? What is
the cost to intended parents? How much are surrogates paid? Who is profiting from
this market?
Reports indicate that surrogates are paid between $12,000 and $25,000 per pregnancy,
while costs to intended parents can range from $40,000 to $120,000. While seemingly large
sums, these prices correspond to real pay as low as 50 cents per hour for surrogates, far
below any stateís minimum wage. Given anecdotal evidence that women serving as
surrogates come from families of the lowest income brackets, these paltry figures further
suggest that surrogacy agreements exploit vulnerable women.
That map is a little outdated but still interesting. As far as the money, I would feel completely uncomfortable accepting anything close to 12,000 or higher.
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  #20  
March 23rd, 2012, 02:49 PM
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Ok, let me say this as calmly as possible. There are A LOT of misconceptions about surrogacy. Some you have not brought up but others have, so I'll post about it.


I became a surrogate after 4 years of TTC my first child and finally conceiving my own children over time. After becoming pregnant with #5, and then suddenly losing her, I decided I would NO LONGER pursue ttc my own baby, but since I know I can carry full-term and healthy babies, I decided to look into surrogacy after I saw a friend do it. I had no idea at the time you got paid anything, except expenses.

Then she told me why she accepted compensation (this was a TWO year long decision, not something I did overnight or for money)...We discussed in length this very issue.

Surrogacy takes a HUGE toll on your body, your family, your life. That compensation is for going through such a big...huge...thing FOR someone else to have a family. IT IS SELFLESS regardless if you are a paid surrogate or non-paid surrogate. It is ALWAYS altruistic unless you have someone that is only doing it for moneyand not for any other reason. There are a LOT of better/easier/much less exhausting or painful ways to "make money" trust me. We're not Uterine Rentals, we're people, providing a service. Surrogates are PEOPLE with feelings. True honest, Surrogates have to pass extensive medical and psychological screenings. (Yes there are SOME bad ones, but the norm is not that).

We are not babyselling, either, the compensation is FOR THE PREGNANCY ONLY, and paid throughout the pregnancy. We do not accept any additional compensation upon relinquishment of the child or "for" relinquishment of the child.

The baby I carried has never been/never will be mine. She is unrelated biologically, so I'm not selling my kid, giving anything up, etc.

I went through an agency and they did all the work, including setting my comp amount. I never asked for anything, but looking at surrogacy as a whole, I certainly am very glad to have had that compensation. Being pregnant with my surrobaby was difficult. I went through a very difficult 1st trimester with morning sickness. IN my last trimester, I had a broken rib and went late and delivered after a very long labor, a very large baby, which all has had an effect on my body. Knowing all of this, it IS a gift and there's not a price on life, so some compensation isn't a bad thing nor does it take away from the gift of surrogacy. It's a thank you for giving something so big of yourself because as my IP's put it "We can't thank you enough and we want to do something for you, anything" and "We love you for all you've done and you are no doubt a part of our family forever"

It is a FAMILY effort, not just a one-person show. My IP's and their daughter and myself and my family are all family now, connected through surrogacy, regardless of either receiving or not receiving pay.

Other assumptions everyone can just put to rest: No, I didn't sleep with my IP's, I didn't meet some guy in a parking lot and get knocked up, we went through this with a contract, the best of the best IVF doctors. No, if it's twins, I don't keep one. No, I'm not doing it for strangers, these people have become friends. We met and spoke and got to know each other first....no different than dating or forming friendships. No, I don't get paid $40,000 and no it's not for celebrities and no I don't live in a box and live off welfare either. I work and pay my OWN way without the help of any surrogacy money. I do not believe anyone should EVER EVER EVER be a surrogate if they cannot support themselves without any state aid or aid from friends/family. Either you can stand on your own two feet or you can't, and if you can't? Surrogacy isn't for you. Surrogacy isn't a "get rich" deal...at all.
I think that sums up most of the ridiculous questions or assumptions I have heard over time.

Surrogacy is CLEARLY not for everyone, but it has helped build many, many families. Who is to say the child doesn't have any relationship with the surrogate? Many IP's tend to keep the surrogate in the loop with updates/pictures/visits. It is not "anonymous" in most cases (again there are SOME cases). We don't just cut anyone out of our lives once we deliver and the IP's don't usually hide this from their children...if you pick the right ones, of course.

Also, where I live surrogacy is completely legal and contracts are constantly in favor of the IP's, without a doubt. My agency ensured that (to cover themselves) they only work with surrogates from states where it is legal.

I think people sometimes have no idea what goes into the whole process and assume the worst things and assume surrogates are money-hungry, broke-on-welfare uterine ****** who sleep around or something. I've HEARD this many times, I have been ASKED **** like this, so it's not coming out my azz.
peace.love.audrey likes this.
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Lynn
Mom to many



1 Girl 2011 and 1 Boy 2013. Their family is COMPLETE!

Surrogacy # 3 for new family?: 2014??

Last edited by GSLynn; March 23rd, 2012 at 02:55 PM.
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