With the rise in celebrities publicizing the addition of babies to their families via a ‘surrogate’, there has been a subsequent addition of the topic to mainstream media. No longer is it taboo to explore non-traditional options, to be part of them, and to discuss them publicly. While many celebs have been open about their fertility and journey to expanding their families- Kim K, Sarah Jessica Parker, Giuliana Rancic, others quietly welcome their new babies and discuss their involvement of a carrier after delivery- Tyra, Nicole Kidman, Ellen Pompeo. There is no right or wrong way to do it, and no one reason, but privacy for their own family and the carrier, plus nerves attributed to past difficulties/losses, often come into play and shape the way the pregnancy is shared. Like all things celeb newsworthy, trying to decipher which details are fact and which are fiction can seem futile. And because the topic is becoming more widely discussed, people are quicker to, and more comfortable with, asking questions- both high level and specific- and sometimes even intimate and personal. Here are some common questions and myths I hear as my bump becomes more evident…
- ‘Surrogate’ and ‘Gestational Carrier/Surrogate’ used interchangeably: A surrogate is a woman who carries a baby for another family using donor sperm (from the intended father or a bank donor), and her own egg. The baby is genetically related to her. A gestational carrier/surrogate is a woman who carries a baby for another family using a donor sperm AND egg (from the intended parents or donors). The embryo is created and implanted (or transferred) into the carrier.
- Gestational Carriers make a LOT of money: While carriers are compensated for the pregnancy, the amount is really paid for a commitment of at least a year from beginning to end when factoring in all of the testing and legal that goes into the process before you even get pregnant (never mind the healing after delivery).
- Anyone can be a gestational carrier: In order to be a GC, you must (typically) be between ages 19-42, in good health and STD-free, have a psych eval, and have children of your own.
- Gestational Carriers have sex with the intended fathers: Yes. You read that correctly, and I have been asked that more times than you would believe. But no, no babies are created in the Biblical sense when you are a GC.
- Using a GC is only for the rich and famous: While it is not cheap by any means, families from all walks of life use carriers to expand their families. Some save for years prior to opting for the carrier process, some receive assistance from family, friends, and GoFundME fundraisers, and others pay on their own as they go.
- Gestational Carriers and Intended Parents MUST use an agency: Like adoption, carriers and parents-to-be can also find each other via private avenues, but would want to be sure to follow the same structure and parameters regarding blood tests, psych evals, OB clearance, and legal.
- Women who carry develop an emotional attachment to the baby: I am not saying it NEVER happens, but GCs know going into this process that the baby is not ours, and though we wholly care for it and protect it, it is with a bit of emotional detachment you would not have with a baby of your own.
- Being a Gestational Carrier is easy and just like being pregnant with your own child: While women who choose to be GCs tend to have uncomplicated, ‘easy’, pregnancies (why the heck else would we do it?), it is still a pregnancy (which always comes with potential risks). And you treat the pregnancy differently in the sense that you are always cognizant that you are carrying some else’s baby. You may even be contractually obligated to do- or not to do- things you would otherwise do if pregnant with your own. For example- I am contractually banned from traveling to any states or countries where the Zika virus can be contracted, and have been since June of 2017 for the baby I am currently carrying.
Have I missed anything? Are there any other myths I can validate or debunk for you? Let me know! And be sure to stay tuned while my family grows another…
*Note- The ohio grown by RESCUEDrustics onesie is available as a custom onesie at www.etsy.com/shop/RESCUEDrustics