Surrogate Spotlight: Joni
1) Please summarize your surrogacy journey thus far.
My journey has been amazing! From the approval process, to matching with intended parents all the way through contracts, medication cycle, pregnancy, delivery and afterwards.
2) Where are you in your surrogacy journey? My first Surrogacy journey is over. My belly buddies turned 1 years old in September. We keep in touch still with weekly updates. I definitely made new family for life. I am in the contract phase in my second journey, hoping to carry twins again!
3) Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to become a surrogate.
I absolutely love being pregnant. My heart became so full after my daughter was born, I remember trying to get the best first look at her. She is the 3rd child in a blended family and we are done growing our family. A co-worker of mine was a surrogate for AFS as well and started telling me all about it. I decided to help other people grow their families while I am able to do so because I knew I wasn't done with pregnancy. Giving the Intended Parents that "best first look" moment made it all worth it.
4) What do you enjoy most about being a surrogate?
Knowing that I've not just made someone a parent but made people grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. Surrogacy changes so many lives. I feel beautiful pregnant and love watching my belly grow. Pregnancy is truly a blessing.
5) How has the decision to become a surrogate changed you?
Being a surrogate changed the relationship I have with my husband, it brought us even closer together and strengthened us even more than we were. I believe Surrogacy gave me more compassion and to not take things for granted because what came easy for me, Parenthood, doesn't come as easily for others.
6) What is the communication and relationship like with your IPs?
It's perfect, I couldn't be happier to have the relationship that I do with my IP's. We send weekly photo/video updates to each other and call on the phone when we can. I even message with the grandparents! It was established early on what type and how much communication we would like and from the beginning we just clicked. We've both said in the beginning that it felt like we've known each other for years.
7) How was your experience working with AFS?
AFS is very supportive. They have good open communication, answers questions in a timely manner and checks in with you along the way. They are thoughtful and send little goodies for you throughout the journey. My coordinator came and visited me in the hospital. I felt the experience was personable and I wasn't just another number to them.
8) What advice would you give to women considering surrogacy?
I would say follow your heart. I initially started with a different agency and didn't like how things were starting out so I switched. I referred to my IP's babies as my belly buddies or womb mates. I thought of it as being the ultimate baby sitter. Also, yes the child is theirs, but this is your pregnancy so enjoy it!
9) What would you tell surrogates considering AFS as their agency?
I would recommend AFS 100%! I feel like I had such a great experience because they truly care and want to help. They are professional and supportive but not too clingy and in your business. I was matched with a highly compatible set of IP's, Carey did such a good job matching us up and paying attention to detail.