Why do women decide to become surrogates? And how does the process unfold? Canadian Fertility Consulting continues this series of interviews with our surrogates to share stories from women just like you. Women who decided to take a leap of faith, change someone’s life forever, and make their dreams come true. This is AJ’s story.
Why did you become a surrogate?
I became a surrogate because I love my family, and because I’ve seen how infertility has impacted some of the people I hold near to my heart. I believe everyone should have a family, however it comes to be. Becoming a surrogate was my small way of creating the good and the change I want to see in the world.
Who supported you most in your decision to be a surrogate?
I was very lucky to have a lot of support. My entire family, even those who thought I was crazy, eventually came around. They support my choices and have seen me grow through it all. My number one support throughout both of my surrogate journeys was definitely my husband. He supported me through trips, tests, ultrasounds, injections and morning sickness. I couldn’t have done it without his never ending love and acceptance for the wonderful people I’ve brought into our lives through surrogacy. Our family has grown leaps and bounds since we embarked on this adventure together. The benefits have far outweighed any small negatives and neither of us would change this experience for anything.
How did you explain surrogacy to your children?
My children have loved being a part of my surrogacies. My daughter was only 3 when I first started down this path. I explained to my kids that I was very lucky to be able to grow them in my belly, and that sometimes other women can’t grow babies on their own and need some help. I also told them that when two men are trying to start a family together, they need some help too. They always understood that my surro-babies weren’t ours to keep, and would help me with my alcohol wipes during injections to help the baby grow. Once the babies came, my children were thrilled and happy to welcome them into our unorthodox family. Love is love and my children know that.
What was the medical process like, taking medications and having procedures?
The medication can be a lot, I won’t lie. There are a lot of tests and it can be very slow moving. I had to keep reminding myself that the more tests, and results the clinic gets, the greater chance of a positive and fulfilling journey. It felt like my life was controlled by alarms reminding me to take pills and do injections. The alarms were essential to remembering all of the specific instructions and I was always so thankful the day the last injection came! Seeing the parents faces, the ultrasounds and knowing we’ve achieved something so special makes all the pokes and swallowed pills worth it.
Why did you pick your intended parents?
My Intended Parents are now some of my best friends. I’d just finished my first surrogate journey six weeks before and always knew I wanted to help another couple. I was on one of CFC’s support pages and saw an introduction video for this wonderful couple. I watched them talk, but what caught my eye the most was the shelves behind them were all their collectables. Toy Story figurines were right behind their heads and I thought it was a cool coincidence because I collect bobble heads. I have around 320 and had just gotten Jesse from Toy Story. From the first moment we spoke I knew they were my people and I gave them my Jesse bobble head for their son’s room when he was born. I viewed it as a symbol of what brought us together. We still speak everyday, even 6 months after their sons birth. I’m grateful for how wonderful they have been to my family, and view them as a part of it.
What was your relationship with them like?
I couldn’t ask for a better relationship with them! We’re in contact everyday and I receive almost daily pictures. When they arrived to await the birth, we were together everyday and did so many things together. They were very involved with my whole family and I talked to theirs. I felt loved and supported every step of my journey. They have become uncles to my kids, and my son wanted to hold his birthday party a month early so they could attend with the baby before they flew home. I think it’s a very special relationship, we’re family and we love them. As an only child myself, having my surro-baby know me as Auntie AJ, means the world to me.
Did you have expectations about your relationship with them? Did reality turn out similarly?
It’s important during surrogacy to hold expectations and boundaries for yourself, and to have hopes for you would like your journey to unfold. But have expectations during such an emotionally complicated time can be hard. My relationship with my Intended Parents has surpassed anything I could ever dream of.
What was your surrogate pregnancy like?
Honestly, I puked daily for nearly five months. I think it has to do with my age, more than the added hormones during IVF. Physically though, I was in my best shape during this pregnancy. My job was very physical, and it kept me on my toes.
How did your kids and family feel about your surrogacy?
I’m very lucky and have received a lot of support from both my kids and my husband. My extended family is a little hesitant, but the key is to be open and honest. Answer any and all questions family and friends have. My Intended Parents have become part of my family so I feel blessed with every aspect of this journey.
How did surrogacy change your life?
I have found so much strength within myself through surrogacy. This journey is not a straight line, it’s full of stops, starts, ups, downs and complete turn arounds. I have become more patient not only with myself, but with others. I know that I can do things I’ve set my mind to, and I know that I have the right to self care and personal boundaries. I feel like each step, even the difficult ones, has taught me so much. I would not trade the things I’ve learned or gained from the experience for anything. Surrogacy is all about developing inner peace and power, by giving a gift to yourself as well as the deserving parents.
What was the best part of your surrogacy journey?
The best part of my surrogacy journey was the family I’ve gained. I’ve learned so many things about myself but the most importantly, I’ve learned that family is not always a blood relation. Sometimes the best families are built in the most unconventional ways. Ive gained family and family is the best and only thing that matters at the end of the day.
What would you say to someone considering surrogacy?
First thing I’d say to someone considering surrogacy is to do it! There will be difficult moments, there will be times you will be impatient, and there will be times when it seems too hard or complicated. But there are also times filled with such intense joy and happiness that starting another journey isn’t an if but a when. If you’re considering surrogacy, do it. It’s absolutely worth it.
Would you consider being a surrogate again? Why or why not?
I have completed two surrogate journeys and although that was all I initially planned on, adding a sibling to a family I’ve already helped is a possibility. Only time will tell.