Myths busted about… Surrogacy

When someone writes a callous irresponsible blog post (I left out the link on purpose) about something they clearly do not really understand the magnitude of, I kind of have to reply. I have 2 cents and I want to share it – because I’ve only spent all my savings and 5 years of my life to have a child through surrogacy and still going through treatments because I am that strong and determined.

In this post I am covering some myths, medication and stories of surrogates and couples.

Look at me, I am the girl that went to school with you, I may have been your best friend, was your teammate, worked with you somewhere or you might have just seen me buying groceries. Like you, I had dreams of having my own kids – but that choice was taken from me. I needed a surrogate to carry a baby, but the road to getting a viable embryo makes me the strongest person you will ever know.

People in my community don’t know about surrogacy

Surrogacy is an unheard of topic in almost every culture and community – because people don’t talk about it. The simple reason is that it is a heart-breaking process and having every aunty and bob ask you how it’s going isn’t really what you want when you are dealing with stress, money for treatments and legal and, and, and…

By the way, I didn’t know a single person that has ever gone through the surrogacy process – until that was my only option.

It’s not a rich people thing!

Surrogacy is not a TV thing or a rich people thing. When a couple gets to the point where they need a surrogate it means one thing only – medically the woman cannot carry a child (or it’s a same sex couple). It can be that the woman had a hysterectomy because of an issue with a birth or even endometrioses – or something else.

And by the way, you can’t just decide you want to use a surrogate to carry a baby for you – your doctor actually has to write a report that will be attached to a high court application (serious stuff). Plus you have to submit so much information from being declared sane, solvent and a decent human being with recommendation letters from friends and family. It is a huge invasion of privacy (on top of everything else).

Make some money – yeah!

… and no, surrogates won’t get rich from it either. Once treatment starts the surrogate will get a SMALL allowance. When the surrogate is pregnant with the child of the commissioning parents she will get a little bit more. She will also get a payment for maternity leave. She will have costs related to the pregnancy covered – like medical aid and life insurance. All of the money matters have to be approved by the high court.

Surrogates cannot be offered lots of money to buy cars and stuff. It is illegal.

If you get approached…

I speak to my surrogate on a weekly basis. She is an amazing woman who is actually doing it for the right reason. She wanted to help a couple like us to have a family. The little bit of extra money is great, but for her it didn’t even factor into her decision.

So when someone asks you to be a surrogate – rather say no than to uhm and ah. If it’s something that puts the fear of Hades into you, then probably you aren’t meant to do this. And if the promise of money is the driving force – you definitely shouldn’t do it.

The only time you should say to a person like me that you will think about it, is if you already in your heart know that you want to do it. Don’t string us along – we have enough heartbreak to deal with.

The medication

Surrogates have to use medication to help the uterus lining along before a scan to determine if it is viable to do an implantation and then also to help the embryo attach and grow the first couple of weeks. The medication is a combination of tablets and injections.

Whereas a commissioning mother would have to take only injections and the combinations may differ from treatment cycle to treatment cycle. The below is one of the most hectic treatment programmes I have been on.

Surrogate medication Commissioning mother medication

None of the medications are over the counter and mostly they are only available at fertility clinics. Not all specialists use the same treatments and each treatment cycle may have a different combination of drugs – but a surrogate will basically always use the same medication for each implant (for about 3 – 6 weeks in total).

I have linked to pages explaining the side effects of each of the medications. Medications used during fertility treatments are tested and regulated. This is not a medical industry where they have to use poison to kill a tumour. I’m going to say this, headache powder or pills you pop that you bought over the counter is probably more of an issue.

Stories about surrogates & new parents

To be a surrogate you have to be an amazing person. Your heart has to be bigger than an elephant’s and your mind stronger than a rock…

After Lexa was born our surrogate said the first few days she was thinking about the baby, but more being worried if she was taken care of. The second we sent her a photo her mind was put at ease. She has met Lexa about a year later and she said she had no motherly feelings towards her, but just thought she was a cute kid.

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