10 February 2010

Giving the gift of life

I was passing time in a diaperswappers forum the other day, and noticed a woman talking about how she was on her second surrogate pregnancy. She had three kids of her own, but wanted help other couples have children. I thought this was super cool, so I stalked her around the website and read her updates and stories from her previous surrogacy.

I then 'googled' information about surrogacy and read the welcome pages of many different agencies, as well as the success stories that were posted by the surrogates and the parents. I think the idea of surrogacy is so amazing! The stories are just so eye opening. I can't stop reading them.

I'm a a total advocate for adoption, but I understand how and why people really want a baby that is made up of parts of them and their spouse. And, I think that would be such an awesome gift to give someone who can't do it by themselves.

Anyway, there are some states that aren't super big fans of surrogacy, Hawaii being one of them. That doesn't matter though, because we will definitely not be done having our own kids at least until our tour here is over. But, California is surrogacy friendly, and the agency that I like best has headquarters in Southern California and in Maryland. So, if we go to San Diego for Sea Duty once we are done in Hawaii, I can keep busy being pregnant while Brad is underway.

I know this whole idea probably sounds really weird to some people, but I think it would be one of the coolest things I could ever do in my life.

Compensation ranges from $15,000 to $30,000 (depending on the agency), which is pretty amazing considering that you could still work another job while pregnant. It would kind of bring a whole new meaning to work-at-home-mom. ;)

I have read articles about this subject. Some of them religious, accusing surrogacy of tampering with God's plan, and others super feminist, accusing surrogates of "whoring" out their bodies for a price. I realize how controversial this is, and how people think it is wrong for families to search for a surrogate instead of adopting a child who is already alive and needs a family. In some of the stories that I have read, the family has already adopted one or more children, and just wants to have one that shares their genetic history. Is that so horrible? Plus, if the eggs take (which sometimes can take up to 18 months of trying once a month before it results in pregnancy), I would consider it to be part of God's plan.

This is a quote from a blog that was written about an article published in Newsweek, regarding surrogate pregnancies:

"The basic angle of the 4,500-word article is that while American women are paid $20,000 to $25,000 to carry someone else’s biological child to term, it is an act of love more than a simple sale of services. I appreciate that angle and the article itself is very detailed and compassionate."

I could never see myself doing this kind of thing solely for the money, and I think the agencies seem to do a good job of screening surrogates to make sure, that they truly want to do it as a loving gesture to a deserving family. You cannot even apply if you are on any kind of government assistance, you have to have insurance (in most cases), and you have to have a full and complete background check performed.

There is so much involved in the legality of it, regarding things like whether the biological parents would want an amniocentesis (which I'm kind of against), and if the results of such a test would make them desire to abort their baby (which I'm really against). SO many details have to be spelled out specifically in writing because of all the the things that could go wrong with a pregnancy. The good thing is that the surrogates interview the potential families, and pick the one they'd like to help...not the other way around (which is kind of weird). Meetings and get-to-know you sessions are held before any decisions are made. One family met with her potential and eventual surrogate at Disneyland. That was a fun story to read. :)

Anyway, it will be a few years before we will even consider being done having our own kids. I just thought I'd share what has been going on in my head.

Unlike in the movie Baby Mama, all surrogacy agencies require surrogates to have carried at least one child to term and be raising it themselves.


Patty said...

A friend that I went to high school with was just recently a surrogate. She gave birth right about the time that I gave birth to Brady. It was really interesting to follow her journey right along my pregnancy. Truly amazing!!

Kaysie said...

It's definitely a huge gift to give a couple, and something that takes a lot of thought. Great post Amy! :)

Cori Gentry said...

I would love to be a surrogate, but I don't think I would be a good candidate :( If you do it I would be super jealous/supportive. One of the moms in our DS Oct group was a surrogate.

Stacey said...

Great photo for supporting your good reasons to become a surrogate ;)
BTW, check your mail tomorrow. I sent you a present.

Abby said...

Amy, I loved this post and I love your heart for wanting to give the gift of life. :)