what the WHAT? gestational carrier surrogacy.
While it seems like something from a science fiction novel, and utterly surreal, gestational carrier (GC) surrogacy is, in fact, a thing. I know, because in order to have a baby, I need to use a gestational carrier. I may or may not have mentioned that once, or a thousand times.
In the weeks following the heartbreaking news that I couldn’t carry my own child I was scouring information on what exactly using a surrogate entailed. My Reproductive Endocrinologist thankfully has at least a dozen gestational carrier cases per month, he was incredibly helpful in explaining how the process would work. Even still, I was curious, reeling and just generally terrified of entrusting another woman to carry my child.
While there are resources out there for women like me, it seems to me there is still so much confusion and (rightfully so) curiosity surrounding this particular way of growing a family. Because I was eased into the world of infertility by watching my older sisters suffer through, and by going through years of unsuccessful treatments myself, I wasn’t completely taken aback by the idea of using a GC.
But, because there is such a small number of infertiles that have to turn to surrogacy, I want to help people understand what it’s all about. Especially since my husband and I are currently embarking on this crazy journey. Because my uterus happens to be a flaming pile of s&*t. SO if you’re in the same boat as us (it’s called the H.M.S. Useless Ute) or you’re just a nosy nelly, I can help!
Traditional Surrogacy vs. Gestational Carrier Surrogacy
Herein lies some of the greatest confusion. Traditional surrogacy is something that is rarely done in modern society but was essentially the only way to solve infertility back in the day. It is still done today, but it’s not nearly as common as it used to be. This type of surrogacy involves finding a fertile woman, using her egg, inseminating her, letting her grow the baby, then the baby is given to the infertile woman/man/couple. The intended parent(s) then adopt the child.
Gestational Carrier Surrogacy, however, involves what I like to call “renting a uterus.” With this modern take on surrogacy a woman is hired (or volunteers) to grow the Intended Parents’ baby. The surrogate is not genetically linked to the embryo she grows. The baby she has in her belly is made via IVF from the genetic material of the Intended Parents.
We are doing the second type, gestational carrier, mostly because we don’t want to deprive the world of a genetic baby Robinson…. right. Um, no.
Why We Chose To Use A Gestational Carrier
Using a GC just made sense to us since we had the Doctor, knew the in’s and out’s of IVF and just weren’t feeling the desire to start the adoption process. Here is one of the big misconceptions of infertility I want to address. When people say ‘just adopt’ to an infertile, I’m not sure they realize that the adoption process is no easier emotionally or financially than IVF/Surrogacy. I have seen the pitfalls of the adoption process firsthand, it’s just as brutal to go through as it is to go through the process of IVF.
They are just different kinds of brutal. Pick your poison.
For us, using a GC and going through IVF seemed to be the best solution. At the outset in starting our infertility treatments years ago, we agreed that the right path for us was to pursue a biological child, if we ran out of options there, we would move to adoption. Plus, our gut instinct was telling us to keep trying. Listen to that gut people, it’ll help you every time.
In addition to that my selfish nature took over, my husband is wicked smart. I want to hoard all his genetics and use them for myself, because we all know the world needs as many smarty pants as it can get.
That is one of my reasons for wanting a biological child. His smarts combined with my blue eyes and fluffy blonde hair? Winning combo, people! We are working on bringing one more nerd into the world. You’re welcome.