One of the basic requirements (or strong suggestions) most agencies have for gestational surrogate candidates is that their families are complete. Many times this answer can be complicated. You are most likely going to be in one of the following categories: 1) 100% done with my family, 2) 100% not done with my family or 3) uncertain. The first two options are pretty self-explanatory. It is category #3 is where it gets tricky! At Family Choice Surrogacy, we always discuss this in detail with every surrogate candidate to ensure they understand the possible consequences of surrogacy. If your agency is looking out for your best interest, safety, and emotional stability they are going to recommend that you are confident and comfortable with your decision to move forward. I am going to share with you my experience as I pursued surrogacy with the uncertainty of my family completion.
I first learned about surrogacy when I was in high school. I was inspired by three selfless, brave and kind women in my life who were surrogates. From that experience, I knew one day I wanted to become a surrogate. Years went by and I became a wife and a mother and the thought of becoming a surrogate hadn’t left. Thankfully, my pregnancy was uneventful and I actually enjoyed being pregnant.
We moved from Indiana to South Carolina when my son was less than a year old due to my husband’s military career. I decided to research surrogacy agencies in the region since we would be stationed there for four years. The agency informed me that surrogacy could affect my personal fertility and possibly restrict me from having a future child of my own. Secondary infertility is a possibility with any pregnancy, including surrogacy. It is estimated that secondary infertility affects nearly 3 million people across the world. It is not so much the surrogacy aspect that creates this issue, it can occur after any pregnancy. As a surrogate you have to be willing to answer the following question: Are you willing to risk not having another child for your family in an effort to build another family? Between my husband, myself, and our support system, we had to think long and hard about this question. At that moment in time, we felt very content with our family. We could envision life with just our son and we could envision life with more children. Both options left us feeling an equal amount of satisfaction and peace. Being in South Carolina, we were far away from family for at least four years. Regardless of surrogacy or not, we decided we would not pursue having a second child until we knew where we were headed after our current duty station. With the support of our loved ones, we decided to move forward with surrogacy. Over the course of those four years, I went on to become a two-time surrogate. I delivered a healthy baby girl in 2015 and boy/girl twins in 2017. Our time on the East Coast ended and my husband decided to go into the reserves and we were able to move back to Indiana to be near family again.
After getting settled in Indiana, we began trying for a second child. It took a few months, but I became pregnant and was excited! Unfortunately, I suffered from my first miscarriage a few weeks into the pregnancy. I ended up having a D&C procedure which led to an infection. While still emotionally and physically recovering from that loss, I became unexpectedly pregnant again. The pregnancy wasn’t identified until I began to experience another miscarriage. This time they had to perform an emergency D&C because of the amount of blood loss. It was at this point in my life where I had a connection with what secondary infertility could look like. I had never experienced a pregnancy loss or complication before. I felt like my body was made to be pregnant and I had always had positive outcomes. Those two miscarriages were eye-opening. As much as my husband and I believed we could be content with only having one child, this really had us second-guessing and doubting ourselves. It took us a while to really process these losses. I am happy to report that after the appropriate time of healing occurred we were able to successfully become pregnant again. I am days away from welcoming our second son into the world. We feel so blessed.
I do want to emphasize that not once during this time did I regret being a surrogate. Not once did I put any blame on the surrogacy journeys as a way to justify my loss. I am still very proud and happy that I was able to be a surrogate and help grow two families.
If you are not 100% sure that your family is complete, you need to take the time to research and consider all options with your spouse and/or support system. Create a pros and cons list and think of ways that it could affect your life. Think about family goals and desires 5 years from now and what that family looks like. If the possibility of secondary infertility inhibits any of those goals, surrogacy may not be the best option at this time. I feel like my husband and I had thoroughly discussed the real possibilities of how things could turn out. I hope my personal story can help you on your journey.
Please contact us if you have any questions about becoming a gestational surrogate.