I was a gestational surrogate – Jeanette’s story

We get a lot of questions about gestational surrogacy, and we are lucky to have knowledgeable team members who have been on all sides of third party fertility. Multiple members of our team have been egg donors or gestational surrogates, and others have experienced fertility struggles themselves. We asked Jeanette to share her experiences as a gestational surrogate – here’s what she said.

Can you briefly describe your experience or experiences as a gestational surrogate?
I have been a gestational surrogate for three separate families, and had 3 successful pregnancies. My first family was domestic and the last two were both international.

Why did you decide to be a gestational surrogate?
I decided to become a gestational surrogate the first time because I was looking for a way to "pay it forward" while helping to get myself through nursing school as a single mom. My last two journeys, I did again because of that overwhelming feeling I get when I see the look on the IP's faces when their baby is born. I was also living in California for my last two journeys and the process was much easier than doing it independently.

How did you decide to match with this particular family/families?
I matched with my first family through a website after placing an ad to introduce myself. My last two families, I was matched with through an agency.

Do you keep in contact with the family/ies?
I remain in contact with all three of the families I worked with. The last two families, I communicate with on a weekly basis and my first surrogate baby is now 18 years old!

What surprised you about the surrogacy process?
When I began my very first surrogacy, I was surprised at how many women actually struggle with infertility. I was also surprised at how many injections it required for my last two surrogacy journeys.

How do you combat the myth that a lot of people have about surrogacy that the GC may not want to give up the baby?
When working with hopeful parents, I assure them that the surrogate won't keep their baby. I explain to them that most surrogates have completed their own families, and if the surrogate wanted to have another baby, they would get pregnant again.

Do you think there is a stigma around gestational surrogacy and if so, how do combat that?
I feel that in the U.S. the stigma around surrogacy is not as prevalent as it was 19 years ago, when I was first beginning my journey. Unfortunately, many European countries have laws making surrogacy illegal, therefore, the United States is a popular place for intended parents to come to find a surrogate. I do find myself often telling people that may question my decision to become a surrogate that surrogacy is not for everyone.

Did anyone in your life question your decision to become a surrogate? If so, how did you respond?
When I began my first journey, my mom actually had a difficult time with it. I think it was mostly because she just didn't understand the process, but after seeing my interactions with the families I've helped grow, she has become very open to it and cares very much for these families.

What is your biggest piece of advice for intended parents who are looking for a surrogate?
My biggest piece of advice I can give to intended parents embarking on a surrogacy journey is to have good communication with their surrogate and to be genuinely caring.

How can intended parents best support their surrogate?
I think intended parents can best support their surrogate by checking in on her on a regular basis and asking how she's feeling and by expressing an interest in how she and her family are doing. This will really make their surrogate feel cared for and supported throughout their journey together.

If you’re searching for a surrogate and aren’t sure where to turn, you can schedule a free consultation with Donor Concierge.