Many Paths to Parenthood; a Surrogacy Experience

As a society, we associate the month of March with madness (of the basketball kind), unpredictable spring weather and, my personal favorite, International Women’s Day. Although lesser known, March is also surrogacy awareness month. It is an opportunity to recognize those who have been a part of the surrogacy process and thank them for their selflessness and sacrifice. It is also a chance to talk about the beauty and difficulty of the surrogacy journey because the more we talk about it, the more we normalize all pathways to parenthood.

There are a handful of unknowns around surrogacy and I would love to help families navigate the landscape. I want to partake in surrogacy awareness month in the best way I know how – to tell my story (the cliff notes version).

Getting pregnant with my son Lewis was by all accounts pretty easy. We decided we were ready, I went off birth control, and a few short months later I was shopping for strollers and creating a birth plan. Then everything changed. At 24 weeks I was diagnosed with a rare eye condition that put my sight in jeopardy. In an attempt to spare you details and keep this newsletter respectfully short, I will share the end result: my son will be 3 in June and I have my vision! Unfortunately, carrying another child could put my sight at risk.

After considering our options – yes, we discussed adoption – we decided the surrogacy route was the best path for us. I often asked myself “could I really trust a stranger to carry my baby?” But after networking like crazy and research overload, I found her.

Now what?

We met multiple times, met one another’s spouses, found a lawyer, met with a psychotherapist both separately and together, talked through the most awful of scenarios and planned how we would manage through them as a team. We discussed payment terms, where she would give birth and who could be in the room, and even how we would engage on social media, all while I was going through my own egg retrieval process.

Then our surrogate went through her own IVF process with hormone injections and all. We went into the clinic together for the implantation. I held her hand and watched on the ultrasound as they implanted the tiny, fully fertilized embryo into her uterus. Ten days later, we had a positive test – we’re were pregnant!

I always believed that finding our surrogate would be the hardest part of this journey, but I am coming to find that each step has its own challenges. Now we are navigating communication with her, virtual Dr. appointments, and planning for the future. Oh, and I forgot to mention, she ended up getting Covid-19 through all of this. Calling this a “wild ride” is an understatement.

But this is only my perspective. I often try to imagine how she is feeling, if she is scared or has second thoughts. I wonder if she truly knows the impact she is making on my family. My gratitude for her and her family is not something I can put into words. Although this baby is not here yet and we have more challenges ahead, I am beyond thankful for this kind, selfless and beautiful person who has sacrificed so much for me – a stranger.

Happy Surrogacy Awareness Month!

Shannon Curry Maternity and New Parent Consultant Connected Caregiving