Friday, August 12, 2016

I Won't Be My Sister's Surrogate. Here's Why.

When people find out that I'm a surrogate I find that the first question I am asked, more times than not, is, "How do you know her?" or "Do you know her?"

People seem to think that, if you're willing to carry a child for someone else, it must be for a sister, best friend, cousin, or other relationship that is long standing and close to your heart. There seems to be a misconception that carrying for a stranger is somehow less noble than carrying for someone that you've known for years.

Let me make this very clear: surrogacy is noble. It's noble to carry for someone you have long known, loved, and watch struggle with infertility. It's just as noble to carry for someone you've just met.

While many women chose to become surrogates after watching someone struggle with infertility, my choice was based on my love of pregnancy and the childbearing process. It was selfish. I wanted that experience again, without growing our family. Perhaps that is why I have always chosen, on purpose, to carry for people who I did not know prior to engaging in a surrogacy journey.

As the name of this blog suggests, I wanted all that was shared between the intended parents and I (at least at the onset of the journey) to be the baby we'd create together. 

The key reason behind this intentional choice is simple. I want to preserve and separate my surrogate relationships from my existing friendship and familial ones.

Bottom line: surrogacy is an intense, emotional roller coaster that WILL change your life. Period. As I see it, when working with a relationship that existed prior to the surrogacy, I have 50/50 odds that surrogacy improves the relationship or damages it. When it comes to my friends and loved ones; those are odds I'm just not willing to take.

When all we share at the onset of the journey is the goal of creating a family, we can all part ways at the conclusion of our successful journey feeling satisfied and successful. Mission accomplished. If more comes of it, great. That's a bonus. But if not, there truly is nothing lost.

However, when working with people you've known for years prior, there is a risk of losing a pre-established and often long standing relationships and years of memories and experiences. All it takes is unsuspected resentment about the pregnancy, dissenting opinions on selective reduction, unexpected or displaced anger over a failed IVF cycle, or disputes over how to eat or behave during the pregnancy. Potentially even a medical bill paid past deadline could ignite resentment. All of these things are common to IVF and surrogacy.

I feel as though, if I were to carry for someone known to me prior to the journey, I would expect to become the favorite "aunt." I have no right to expect that, but I think human nature would take over and I would feel it anyway. That emotional load isn't fair to put on anyone. Myself, or the friend/ family member that I helped.

My emotional maturity to know what I suspect my limitations to be, and then make choices that keep me within them, does not make me a bad person. In fact, it is precisely what makes me a great surrogacy candidate.

Author's Note: I have exactly one friend for whom I would throw all of these concerns out of the window. One friend for whom I'd risk it all and gladly carry a child for he and his wife. They know who they are, and we've talked about this privately. When they're ready, I'm ready.

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