A tale as old as time, surrogacy has existed in various forms for centuries. In the biblical story of Sarah and Abraham, the latter fathered children with the couple's maid because of Sarah's infertility. Surrogacy of this form is called traditional surrogacy which is now on the decline primarily due to complications arising from the fact that the surrogate is genetically linked to the baby.
Gestational surrogacy as it exists in today's day and age looks very different and there's an overwhelming number of married women with good jobs who are opting to become surrogates.
"I loved being pregnant and wanted to pay it forward"
Trisha, 32, a small business owner, is looking forward to being accepted as a surrogate applicant.
"I have 2 perfectly healthy, normal kids of my own and both my pregnancies were uneventful and very smooth. In fact I would be lying if I said I did not enjoy being pregnant. I loved every bit of it and would do it again in a heartbeat. However, since our own family was complete, I thought maybe I can still get pregnant and help someone build a family of their own.
I reached out to a friend of mine, who had been a surrogate herself for a same-sex couple a few years back. Her experience had been great and she had nothing but wonderful things to say about the Intended Parents and the surrogacy agency she applied at. Her story gave me a lot of motivation and helped guide my decision."
Trisha's story is one of many that depict how surrogacy is rapidly gaining momentum as infertility rates continue to surge all over. It's also important to mention here that contrary to the popular misconception that surrogacy is motivated by the compensation it offers, majority of surrogates are actually driven to pursue this option in the hopes of helping someone who otherwise has no shot at having a biological child.
Most surrogacy agencies in fact require surrogates to be from economically stable backgrounds, with medical insurance. Financial need has little to no direct correlation with surrogacy as most surrogacy agencies would discourage such candidates due to greater health risks and possibility of coercion. Most importantly, the compensation offered is not "easy money" given how pregnancy is a 24/7 job with no breaks or PTO. You could get a job at McDonald's if financial need were the sole motivator for surrogacy. In fact, in many cases women choose to be surrogates for close friends and family for purely altruistic reasons. Similarly, a large proportion of surrogates tend to carry babies for same-sex couples since they don't have any other option for family building.
"Seeing my sister battle infertility made me want to help her out"
Marie, 27, a fitness trainer, witnessed her own sister go through the difficult journey of infertility for her to realize surrogacy was her calling.
"I remember seeing my sister hopeless and desperate to have a child of her own. Adoption wasn't an option for her and her husband. They had been trying tirelessly to have a child for nearly 8 years and with every round of failed IVF, their hopes were diminishing. They started considering surrogacy since it had become clear that my sister will not be able to carry a pregnancy to term. Being so close to my sister, I was very vested in their entire journey. I gave it a lot of thought before offering to be a surrogate for her. At first she straight up said no saying it might get super awkward. But we both warmed up to the idea with time, especially since my own husband and 6 year old were completely on-board.
I always thought of it as babysitting my niece-to-be. It was their embryos, their baby, after all."
Marie went on to carry her sister's baby to term and delivered a healthy, beautiful baby girl.
"Looking back, I cannot thank my family enough for supporting me and my decision. I would not change it for the world. I feel so proud of myself to have done it. When I look at my niece and the tremendous joy she bring into my sister's life, it all seems worth it.
Marie is among hundreds and thousands of women who become surrogates out of compassion and empathy. Many surrogates, who are mothers themselves, explain the drive to be a surrogate stemming from the immense love they have for their own kids.
"Having experienced IVF and infertility first-hand, I knew I wanted to play my part in healing a fellow #TTC warrior"
Kayla, 29, an accountant by profession, describes her eagerness to become a surrogate for someone since as could literally understand what infertility felt like, conceiving her first-born via IVF herself.
"I look at my kids and think of all those couples and individuals who yearn for having a child of their own but can't. I can so deeply relate with that longing to be with your child as we had our first kid born via IVF, as well. Although we were lucky enough to get through a successful cycle on our first try, I know not many are this fortunate. The looming uncertainty and the seemingly endless failures that sometimes come with IVF can really make infertility treatments torturous. Knowing exactly how that helplessness felt like, I knew I wanted to be a surrogate as soon as I was done with my own family.
I have 4 kids, 3 boys and a sweet little girl and we finally think our family is complete. I also recently got matched to a lovely set of intended parents from Spain who have been childless for the past 11 years. I feel so incredibly grateful to be able to give this ultimate gift of life to someone who truly deserves it. I enjoy a great relationship with the IPs and we can't wait to embark on this exciting journey together."
These heartwarming accounts are testament to the fact that the perception around gestational surrogacy is slowly but significantly changing with a growing number of countries relaxing their laws around it. Also, New York lifted its infamous ban on gestational surrogacy after decades of having its residents scramble to other states and countries to pursue surrogacy.
The conversation around this previously taboo topic is definitely changing for the good and we are proud to be a part of this movement for making family building easier and accessible for all.