In our new Realtalk series, we're sharing personal stories about fertility and family planning. We hope they offer support and inspire honest conversation about an incredibly tough topic.
I am a faith-based person, and I believe that God puts us on this earth to serve one another in some capacity. I enjoy helping others with what I can: I've given a kidney to a cousin, and I became an egg donor in 1999.
And so when, in 2006, I started learning more about surrogacy, I felt a similar calling. It seemed like an important way to help a family in need. And as a mother of four myself, I understood the parents' deep desire for a child.
But when I first discussed becoming a surrogate with my husband, his initial response was no. In fact, it took me about a year and a half to get him to agree. That’s because at first he simply didn’t understand the different types of surrogacy.
There are two ways a woman can become a surrogate. The first is a traditional surrogate (TS). A TS uses her own eggs and carries the baby, so the baby is genetically related to her. The second option is a gestational surrogate (GS). A GS doesn't use any of her own genetic material, so there’s no biological relationship between the baby and the surrogate. She’s solely the carrier.
Personally, I felt traditional surrogacy wasn't for me. I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry around a child genetically related to me that I wouldn't be keeping.
So after I explained the option of gestational surrogacy, my husband agreed. And in 2008, at the age of 33, I started my first surrogacy journey.