For a while there the yearning to have another pregnancy was so strong some days it felt like it might overwhelm me. And then at a get together for the Fertilicare Infertility Forum (http://www.fertilicare.org/) I met the fabulous Tertian (http://www.tertia.org/) who is one of the founders of Nurture (http://www.nurture.co.za/) and she threw an idea at me that obsessed me for a couple of weeks. So I checked out the Surrogacy Advisory Group (http://www.surrogacy.co.za/) and after much soul searching made contact.
They sent me the application form to be a surrogate.
I cannot explain how my brain buzzed for those two weeks. The thought that I might actually have the strength to carry a baby for another couple. The thought that I might actually have it in me to be able to help another couple experience the joy of parenthood. And overwhelmingly the hope that I might get to experience pregnancy again. I found myself totally sleepless. The more I thought about it the more I realised that I really do believe that that child would not be ‘mine’, that I would be able to caryr a baby and feel is grow and move inside me and then hand it over to its parents.
And then the application form arrived. It stopped me in my tracks.
The first question that slowed me down was “How many babies would you be willing to carry”. That’s a very loaded question, not as simple as it sounds. I would happily carry two babies again. As tough as it was at the end, my body did well and grew two big babies that I carried to twin full term. But then I thought more and more about just how difficult the end was and how for months I would probably not be able to pick up my own babies. For months I would not be able to play with them on the floor, have them ride my back and all the fun things we do together. So I figured, okay, maybe I just need to wait until the kids are older to do this.
The next question did nothing but warm me up for where this whole thing was going to fall over for me; “How do you feel about selective reduction? (i.e. the procedure by which one or more of the foetuses in a multiple pregnancy are terminated in order to increase the survival rate of the remaining foetus(es))”. Personally I have an issue with abortion. In my opinion (please this is just my opinion which I am entitled to and you are not easily going to sway this opinion) life begins at conception and any termination is murder. So I have an issue with selective reduction. Of course I have been through enough to realise that you never really know what you will do or what choice you will make until you are actually in the position and forced to make the choice, but I feel strongly about selective reduction.
I spent hours thinking about that and realised that maybe that was okay because the intended parents might feel the same way as I do and so it need not be a problem in the surro process. But I thought about what if we put back 2 embryos and they divided and I ended up pregnant with trips or quads and neither I nor the intended parents were willing to selectively reduce. The risks to my life would be unacceptable to me. There is no way on earth I could consider putting myself at such risk when I have two amazing children and a husband that I adore who all need me. But maybe we just put back single embryo and it can still not be an obstacle.
And the very next question stopped me dead; “Would you be willing to terminate (abort) the pregnancy if something is wrong with the baby and the intended parents make that decision?”. This questions made me realise that as much as intellectually I totally get that the baby from a surrogacy would not be my baby. No decision regarding that child would be mine. None whatsoever and it shouldn’t be. There is no way anyone is terminating a baby in MY body just because that child is not perfect. Easy for me to say when I am not going to be the one who has to take care of that child and watch it grow (maybe) with whatever challenge it has.
And that was when I realised that I just don’t actually have what it takes to be a surrogate. I am sad about that. I would have loved to be able to do it. I would love to have been able to make such a huge difference for a family. But it’s not for me.
If anyone reading this has ever considered surrogacy please do not be swayed by my opinions, these are just my opinions, based on my perspective and my belief system. This is no judgement on you if your beliefs are different, it is about me, not you. If you have ever considered surrogacy I would encourage you to explore the possibility and think about it, maybe you have what I don’t and can make an unbelievable difference to someone.