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 Alyssa’s story:
1.Why did you become a surrogate?
One day in September, right after my kids went back to school, I was sitting at home and scrolling through Facebook when I saw an ad for Canadian Fertility Consulting pop up. Besides staying home to raise my daughter at the time, along with my other children, I kind of felt like I wasn’t doing much else. I figured: why not get more information about surrogacy and help create something amazing for somebody? I’m staying home and raising my own baby anyway, so why not grow a baby for someone else and change their world?
2. Who supported you most in your decision to be a surrogate?
Nobody. It started off really rough. Initially, my Dad thought the idea was outlandish, my sister said some misguided comments, and my Mom’s reaction was “Are you seriously going to give away my grandbaby”? Everybody had such a distorted view of how surrogacy really is and so it started off rocky for me. In the beginning, my family didn’t truly understand what the surrogacy process was all about. After going through my journey, I have the most amazing support now. Every single member of my family is on board with it 100%, and my sister talks about doing it herself one day. Things definitely changed, but at the beginning, I had very little support, but I was just so passionate about going through with it that the lack of support would not stop me, especially after being introduced to my couple. I decided to just keep moving forward and not let other’s negativity stand in my way.
3. How did you explain surrogacy to your children?
I told them exactly what surrogacy is all about. My first set of Intended Parents were a gay couple. I told my kids that there needs to be a man and a woman to make a baby, so when there are two men who love each other, they need the help of another mommy to help. I told them that we are going to have this baby for them and that the doctors helped put their baby in my tummy. I printed pictures of my couple for my children to see, and I put them around the house, so we talked about it all the time. My Intended Parent’s became a part of our lives. I didn’t get to meet them until five days before I had their baby, but they were very familiar to all of us. Everybody knew who they were, we all talked with them, and my children understood that this was their baby.
4. What was the medical process like in terms of taking medications and having procedures?
That was the most difficult part for me. The hormones definitely take a toll on you, both physically and emotionally, and it’s very hard for that to not affect your everyday life and your children. I put myself in a lot of time outs. There were a lot of times when I needed to stop what I was doing and realize I was overreacting over little things, go to my room and just have some alone time. I’m lucky that my kids ranged in age from 3-13 at the time, so the older one’s kind of understood and would help out. I was very lucky; I think women with younger kids may not have that same luxury and I picked a good time in my life to pursue surrogacy.
5. Why did you pick your Intended Parents?
At first, I found it hard to settle on a couple, but as soon as I met my guys I just knew they were the ones for me. I’ve been a surrogate two times. My first couple was from Spain and my second couple were from Calgary. I instantly clicked with both couples right away, and I just had this intuitive feeling that they were right. I know it’s such a cliché and everybody always says that, but it really was about the chemistry we had that made me choose them. We got along very well. Our relationship has been incredible and that’s what I was looking for: Intended Parents that I would be able to have a long-lasting relationship with.
6. What was your relationship with them like?
Great! It was really good. There were definitely times when I felt a little smothered me, but I’m a very vocal person so I just let them know it was getting to be too much. Overall, my relationships with them have been awesome. We even travel to visit each other and spend summer vacations together.
7. Did you have expectations about your relationship with them? Did reality turn out similarly?
I wanted to have close relationships and to always be in contact with one another. I let my Intended Parents know this from the very beginning that I don’t want things to end once the baby was born. I wanted pictures, and I want to know how they were doing as a family. That’s really all I expected, and they have surpassed that by having plenty of FaceTime conversations and coming down to visit.
8. What was it like working with Intended Parents from Spain in particular?
I loved having a couple from Spain and it’s because I don’t like to be in constant communication, especially because the more pregnant I get, the more miserable I become. I couldn’t imagine having really close IP’s, so I liked the distance. It was really nice. There were definitely ways for them to be very supportive and very involved. Yes, they were missing out on some but they’re still very involved. It was a great process and I loved it. If I were to do it again, I think I would definitely pick an International couple.
In terms of challenges, there were times while being on surrogacy pages and seeing how some surrogates had Intended Parents who were attending appointments and I still hadn’t even met my guys. I felt a little hurt by that but in the end, when I step back and look at the journey as a whole, it was amazing. They were very supportive, and I think that if they were closer, they would have gotten on my nerves. With them being International Intended Parents, the distance allowed for the perfect amount of space for me to feel like I was being supported without being smothered. Luckily, we didn’t experience a language barrier as my IP’s spoke English, but I can imagine how that could be frustrating.
9. What was your surrogate pregnancy like?
The pregnancy with my Spanish parents was fabulous. The second one was a bit harder, but it was still really good. This might also why I felt so positively about having International Intended Parents, as I can imagine if somebody was having a harder pregnancy, they would do better with closer contact. But we were very lucky, we had a great journey and everything was awesome.
During the birth of my Spanish IP’s baby, they were in the room during the delivery, along with my stepmom, my doula and my boyfriend. We had a big party in the room, it was great! The Intended Parents stayed in the room after the baby was born, and it was their turn to take care of me for a little bit. They did exceptionally and they were awesome.
11. How did surrogacy change your life?
After having my own children, and having them passed to me after the delivery, there was always this moment of awe where I would think to myself: “Oh my god, I can’t believe I created that!” That’s the same feeling I get every time I get family pictures from my Intended Parents. It’s like I didn’t just help create that little baby, I created that family! It’s just such an amazing feeling. I’m happy being a mom, and I know I’m not going to make big changes in the world at large, but I have made huge changes for two couples and their world, and that feels incredible. It’s been a huge confidence boost for me. I always tell my Intended Mom that, and she tells me how amazing she thinks I am for helping them in this way, and I’m like: I don’t know why you keep saying this, I did this for myself too. I want other Intended Parents to know that surrogates get so much from the experience too. It’s a huge source of confidence and self-worth. It makes us feel amazing to be able to help others in this amazing way.
12. What was the best part of your surrogacy journey?
The best part so far is when they visited from Spain, getting to see them as a family, and knowing what a huge role I played in helping them get to this place.
13. What would you say to someone considering surrogacy?
Do it. It’s not as scary as you think it’s going to be. It’s amazing and life-changing for everybody involved.
14. Would you consider being a surrogate again? Why?
Absolutely! I would love to be a surrogate again. I’m hoping my body will cooperate and I can do it again. If that doesn’t turn out to be the case, I definitely want to support women going through this. I know what it’s like to start off with very little support and feel like maybe it’s not the right choice, but knowing what I do now, I’d definitely recommend it. Surrogacy is so amazing. Even if you’re only just at the point of thinking about it, I think you owe it to yourself to look into it more because it’s truly incredible.
Thank you, Alyssa, for taking the time to share your amazing surrogacy story with Canadian Fertility Consulting.