6 Secrets: What Being a Surrogate Is Really Like
If you’re considering surrogacy, you may be doing research to get a better understanding of what the surrogate process is, how much a surrogate gets paid, what surrogate requirements are, and more. But what you may not find by Googling and reading surrogacy agency websites is what it's really like to be a surrogate.
Circle Surrogacy spoke with experienced surrogates to ask them for their surrogate stories. What’s it really like being a surrogate? What surprised you the most? What do you wish you had known before becoming a surrogate? They revealed the secrets they found out after helping others grow their families as surrogates.
What It's Really Like To Become a Surrogate
1. Surrogacy is just as a rewarding experience for surrogates as it is for the people you’re carrying a baby for.
It’s pretty obvious that surrogacy is a rewarding experience for intended parents—they are finally getting the baby they’ve dreamed of! But what potential surrogates may not know is that going through a surrogacy journey is truly rewarding for the surrogate as well. Think about the best gift you’ve ever bought for someone for a holiday or their birthday and how excited you were to give it to them. Surrogacy is like that but times a million! Surrogates are giving the ultimate gift—a baby! So while a surrogacy journey is rewarding financially for a surrogate, it has a much bigger emotional impact on their lives. Surrogates change people’s lives.
2. You are not going to want to keep the baby.
Surrogates go into surrogacy knowing they are going to help another family. Most surrogacies done these days are gestational surrogacy, meaning that the surrogate is not genetically related to the baby; she does not use her eggs to create the embryo and she does not share DNA with the baby. Some surrogates describe being a surrogate as feeling like an aunt—you’re caring for the baby you’re carrying, but it doesn’t come home with you.
Three-time experienced surrogate Megan describes it like this: “Whenever I talk about ‘giving the baby up,' I always compare it to my time as a teacher. During the school year, the kids in my class are my kids, but at the end of the year, I am ready to see them move on. That's how it was with surrogacy—while I was carrying that baby, I cared for him/her as if he/she were my own, but once delivery was here, I was ready for the parents to step in and take over!”
In this video, Surrogate Mandi shares why she knew she wouldn't get attached to the baby she was carrying for her Intended Mother Nicola:
3. How big and supportive the surrogacy world and community is.
When you start to dig into researching surrogacy, you’ll find many social groups and communities with whom you can connect and who are happy to answer questions and share their surrogate experiences. Some agencies—such as Circle Surrogacy—also provide private communities for their surrogates to chat and connect, which are tremendous resources.
It’s so important to speak with experienced surrogates to hear their perspectives when you’re just starting out. Surrogates usually love to share their stories and answer any questions you may have.
In this video, Alana shares all of the different types of support offered to Circle surrogates:
4. The lifelong connection that can happen with your intended parents.
Surrogacy is such an emotional journey—and one that can last a few years—and during that time you are sharing some of the most intimate moments with your intended parents.
Cassie shared, “I'm so close with not only my intended parents, but I've visited with my surrobabies’ grandparents, aunts and uncles even when the surrobabies weren't there! I talked their aunt through labor when she had a baby 12 weeks after I delivered.”
Surrogates and their families may travel to visit their parents and their intended parents after birth—even if they live internationally!
Brittany said, “Because of having international intended parents we (my family) have been able to travel the world to see where they are from. Surrogacy has been such an incredible experience for me and well and my husband and our two boys! My intended parents are forever family.”
How can you find the perfect match? Be open and honest about what you’re looking for in your journey. Brittany says, “Some of the best advice I can give women considering surrogacy is be specific in what you are looking for in a match! Your match will help shape your whole journey!” Things to think about are how much communication you want and how you imagine your relationship; this will help determine the best intended parents for you. Be specific! Don’t just say what you think intended parents will want to hear!
5. You will need time to heal physically and emotionally.
You will feel like you did something amazing, yet you will need to be kind to yourself, let your body heal and find your place again. Being a surrogate is an emotional journey, especially when you come to the end and deliver your surrobaby. You are on a high from seeing your intended parents meet their baby and knowing what an amazing thing you just did for them.
Ashley shares, “The absolute most surprising thing to me came following my journey, and that was finding my "new normal," my identity. For over two years my life revolved around surrogacy, that my life didn't feel like my own. When the journey was over, I remember feeling very lost and uncertain. I just completed this huge, life changing thing that felt so rewarding, but what was next for me. It took some time to sort through that for sure.”
And the hormones! “I cried but didn't know why I was crying since I was so happy,” said Michelle. “I felt like a hero and at the same time, I cried. Everyone asks you a million times if you are ok. Don't ask, it makes me cry!”
6. How easily your kids will understand what you’re doing.
Kids are amazing, and sometimes we don’t give them enough credit! How you share your surrogacy with your kiddos is personal to you (you know your kids best!) and should be done in an age-appropriate way. A younger child may understand that you are helping someone else and that the baby isn’t going to live with you, while an older child could grasp what surrogacy is. No matter how old your children are, you can introduce them to your intended parents so they can begin to understand who you’re helping. In this blog post, surrogates share how they talked to their kids about surrogacy.
Circle Surrogate Amy shares in this video how she and her husband told their kids about surrogacy:
The insight you get from experienced surrogates, in addition to your research, will help you make the best decision for you. Being a surrogate is an amazing and rewarding experience, and many women say they feel like superheroes because they’ve given their intended parents the biggest gift possible.
You can learn more about being a surrogate means and the surrogacy process to see if it’s the right path for you. If you have reviewed our surrogate requirements and are ready to apply, you can fill out our surrogate application to be connected to our surrogate team who can answer all of your questions!