I’ve been fascinated with surrogacy ever since my best friend had trouble carrying a pregnancy. I wanted to help her and found it perfectly reasonable to be pregnant with her child, go through morning sickness, gain a bunch of weight, be tired, uncomfortable and worry for 9 months all while caring for my own two babies. My husband did not agree. It got me thinking about the women who do become surrogates. What does it take to be this type of hero?
“It takes a special woman to become a surrogate,” Christine Chavez of Positive Surrogacy told me. “Our surrogates are compassionate and selfless. They go into surrogacy with an open heart knowing they are helping someone’s dream come true.”
Christine and her business partner, Bernadette Hendricks, co-founded Positive Surrogacy in 2016 after being surrogates themselves and having worked in the industry for many years. “We promised ourselves we would never leave our clients feeling alone or overwhelmed,” says Christine. “The entire process is a lot to go through, and with Positive Surrogacy, our clients and surrogates will never feel they are just a number.”
The ideal surrogate is living a healthy life emotionally, mentally and physically. “All surrogates in our program have had a child and/or children of their own with an uncomplicated pregnancy and birth. Surrogacy is a commitment and takes an entire army, so we ensure our surrogates have a great support system. This support system involves our agency, her family and friends,” Christine says.
How many times a woman can be a surrogate depends on her health history, pregnancy history and delivery history. “We always leave this decision up to the medical professionals, the IVF clinics and an OBGYN,” says Christine. “The uterus is amazing and heals wonderfully, but we will never put a surrogate or baby’s life at risk. It all depends on the health of the surrogate and her uterus.”
Christine says that the biggest benefit of becoming a surrogate is knowing you are playing a role in helping deserving Intended Parents make their dream of having a child a reality. “You are completing a piece of their puzzle. It is such a beautiful experience that is hard to put into words. I think most surrogates would say the most memorable experience is the moment the Intended Parents get to hold their baby for the first time. In that moment there are so many emotions involved; love, compassion, happiness, joy. A sense of calmness comes over you as a surrogate. In that moment you know exactly why you did this, you know your job is done and that their life and journey is about to begin.”
Other benefits include building lifelong friendships with other surrogates, the Intended Parents and the agency. There is also a financial benefit. “As much as we try not to make it about the money, surrogates are compensated for carrying a pregnancy for Intended Parents, and that’s ok. They are injecting themselves with hormones, they are going to multiple appointments with different doctors, they are carrying a child for nine months, some carry twins, some experience pregnancy related complications that can be hard on their bodies and their families so, yes, they are compensated for these things. Often surrogates use this money to pay off school loans, a down payment on a new home, put it away into savings for their children, etc.,” Christine says.
Of course there are some risks associated with surrogacy. “All surrogates come in with a clean bill of health and we follow all of the IVF clinic’s requirements to avoid putting any surrogate at risk,” says Christine. “Most of the time surrogates complete their surrogacy without any bumps in the road but unfortunately we do see some bumps from time to time. You are carrying a pregnancy that is made with different genetics so surrogates may experience different symptoms that they may not have had with their own. If a surrogate carries twins for her Intended Parents there is risk of higher weight gain, preterm labor, c section, etc. But with the proper care and attention from the IVF clinic and doctors we do our best to avoid these risks. Every pregnancy is different and we explain in great detail to potential surrogates the risks involved.”
Bernadette and Christine say they strive to provide a one-on-one experience to their Intended Parents and Surrogates while also making it more affordable to Intended Parents. “We know that by the time Intended Parents have come to us, they are emotionally exhausted and mentally drained, so it is our mission to reassure them that there is a happy ending to their story. Because we have been surrogates ourselves, we can relate to each surrogate and the things she may experience during her journey. We love what we do and hope our clients and surrogates can feel that through our work.”
If you’d like more information about becoming a surrogate or about expanding your family through surrogacy, contact Bernadette and Christine at:
Positive Surrogacy LLC
9625 Mission Gorge Road