1) Please summarize your surrogacy journey thus far.
I began my journey in May, 2018 when I first inquired with AFS. I was matched with my IPs in August and had one embryo transferred in January 2019. I was blessed with a pregnancy without complications and delivered a healthy baby girl in September.
2) Where are you in your surrogacy journey?
Since delivering in September, I continued to pump and ship milk for 14 weeks after she was born and I just recently sent my last shipment! I continue to stay in touch with my IPs and enjoy receiving pics of their beautiful daughter!
3) Tell us a little about yourself and why you decided to become a surrogate.
I've been married for 15 years and have 3 kids ages 8, 12 and 14. I have been a paramedic for 17 years and love my job! I was 39 years old when I began my journey with All Families. Becoming a parent is the best thing I've ever done, and I just thought how amazing it would be if I could help another couple become parents and experience the same joy! I was fortunate that I had 3 easy pregnancies and thoroughly enjoyed being pregnant. I decided I would like to have one more baby, but didn't want another of my own. I first offered to be a surrogate for my brother and his husband, but they had decided not to have children for now. It was then I began a search for a surrogacy agency. I live in the Midwest where you don't hear of surrogacy often, and I didn't know anyone that had been a surrogate before. So I did a lot of research and education online. The more I read about surrogacy the more excited I became and was sure that this is what I wanted to do.
4) What do you enjoy most about being a surrogate?
Going through the process of surrogacy was so fascinating and most rewarding. There were so many things I enjoyed. I guess what I enjoyed most was getting to know my IPs and their family. My family has gained an extended family and for that I'm so grateful. It was the best feeling seeing my IPs hold their baby for the very first time and knowing that I helped make that possible! And then, of course, being the science nerd that I am, I also appreciated the carefully calculated and intricate process of IVF. It's absolutely amazing to me from a biological standpoint how everything comes together to make this tiny miracle and, in turn, a beautiful family!
5) How has the decision to become a surrogate changed you?
I don't think it's changed me, but I have a greater appreciation for surrogates and am happy to have gained an extension to my family! I also have a wonderful story to share and am truly a proud surrogate.
6) What is the communication and relationship like with your IPs?
AFS did a fantastic job matching me with my IPs! Throughout the pregnancy, my IPs and I communicated quite a bit via text and FaceTime. I would update them about once a week with belly pics or let them know how Dr appointments went. Since they live over 1,000 miles away from me, I didn't get a chance to meet them in person until they came to Kansas for the 20 week ultrasound. We were fortunate to spend time together when they came for the delivery as well. We still communicate often and I feel like they are a part of the family now!
7) How was your experience working with AFS?
I wasn't sure what to expect with AFS being so far away from where I live. I had a wonderful experience through each part of the process, though. All of the steps were laid out and they helped me anticipate what to expect through each phase. They were even able to refer me to local providers in my area making appointments easy. My coordinator was especially awesome! She checked in with me often, answered questions as they came up (even late at night and on weekends!), and was very supportive even through postpartum. I love that many of the ladies that work for AFS have been surrogates themselves, can share their experience and knowledge and are empathetic to challenges that come up. I also love the community of surrogates that they introduced me to! What an amazing group of women!!
8) What advice would you give to women considering surrogacy?
I would advise someone considering surrogacy to do their research, reach out to others that have been a surrogate and ask lots of questions! There are great resources online to help you decide if it's right for you. And once you start the process, patience is a virtue! There are many steps necessary even before embryo transfer. It's different for everyone, but from the time I inquired with AFS to my embryo transfer was 7 months. The wait was well worth it, but it did take patience! Finally, have a solid support system. I am fortunate to have a very supportive family and good friends that lifted my spirits through challenging times and encouraged me throughout the entire journey.
9) What would you tell surrogates considering AFS as their agency?
Do it! One of the reasons I chose AFS is the fact that they truly support all families in building their family however they choose. AFS is so supportive and encouraging and they have had so many wonderful success stories! The team is so very knowledgeable and the experience is unbelievably rewarding!