When I told my (gay) doctor we were researching surrogacy, he said, “Ugh. I can’t condone that.”
I was shocked. I figured this guy would be all for gays and babies.
“It’s not about gays and babies,” he said, reading my mind, “it’s exploitation of underprivileged women.”
Actually, he said “trailer trash,” which I couldn’t bring myself to write above. But here I go, again…quoting others’ jaw-dropping comments about saintly surrogates.
(Quick side not: I KNOW I should be using the term “gestational carrier”. But I’m simplifying to keep this post shorter.)
He continued, “You’re exploiting a desperate woman by renting her uterus. Don’t get me started on using women in impoverished countries.”
That gave me pause. But it was before my afore-blogged interview, where we learned our agency required surrogacy applicants to fulfill three criteria :
- Financial comfort. They couldn’t be in need of the money earned for their labors (pun intended).
- Married. (And their husbands complicit with the process.)
- Two children. All the women already had families of four (or more).
And to clarify: the surrogate does not hand over her own flesh and blood. Three people are involved in the surrogacy process: the father, an egg donor, and the surrogate carrier.
Our agency let us know the application process for finding the surrogate might be the longest step in our journey. It was a mutual application. We would be paired with someone whose attitude matched ours and with whom we’d form a bond over nine months, and hopefully for a very long time. The egg donor relationship is anonymous. The surrogate carrier is anything but.
And it’s legal in Colorado. Because I hail from there, I thought it would be nice to have a child sharing my roots.
So we applied for Colorado surrogates. We were paired within weeks, instead of months. Perhaps there was less demand than in Connecticut?
After a successful telephone interview, we were officially paired with a woman I can only describe as bad-ass.
A high school physics teacher with three of her own children, she was also an avid distance runner, rising most mornings at 4:30 to run on a treadmill for hours. In addition to being kind and smart, she was (is…because we’re still magically close to her) a non-smoking, non-drinking, caffeine-free vegetarian. I mean…a dream. I had fretted about asking a potential carrier, “Um…could you please lay off cheeseburgers and coffee while carrying my child?”
With this woman, my only worry was: “Are you getting enough protein?”
During that initial phone interview, I asked, “Why are you willing to do this?”
“I have really easy pregnancies and I wanted to help other families have the same magical experience of parenthood that I cherish.”
Fast-forward three years to the beautiful (emotional) afternoon when she and her family visited New York City: her children ran wildly in our apartment with our first-born son, while we reunited her with our 4-month-old second son. Magically, my partner’s parents had come in town to meet her and they sat next to her, wiping away tears.
In the glorious moment, she said to me, “See? This is what it’s about. Families and love. That’s why I did this.”