Becoming a surrogate mother: How I decided my compensation amount

Becoming a surrogate mother is a big decision, and many considering this decision want to know what it is like to be a surrogate. In this blog series we hope to shed some light on the surrogacy process through the experiences of our past and current surrogates, Charity, Jaime and Nicole. To read previous post from Charity, click here.

Charity Photo

Compensation. Or, as my husband calls it, “the big pink elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about”.

Let’s face it. Most surrogates don’t become a surrogate for the compensation. Surrogates become surrogates for a lot of other reasons: We love being pregnant, we want to help or simply because we feel called to it. However, the compensation does help. It helps our family. Maybe it will help with a down payment on a house, pay off a stack of bills or simply help us take our families on that once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

But how does a surrogate decide what her compensation should be? If you’re anything like me, as you think about the compensation amount you start to feel bad. Here are these parents whose only desire is to have a child. You likely know that they are spending a lot of money for this journey and now you have to decide how much they will compensate you.

While money never drives us, it is a factor and that factor often looks better, bigger. So if someone is willing to pay you $25,000 why should you tell them no? Picking a compensation amount is challenging, but for me it boiled down to what felt right. I had to look deep down in my heart of hearts and I had to pick a number I knew I could live with.

What you don’t know about me is I have very thin skin. By that I mean that if I feel I have wronged someone it eats at me, to the point that I will make myself sick. Even if it wasn’t “really” wrong, if I feel it’s wrong, it’s wrong. I’m the one who has to live with it.

I have been doing surrogacy for nearly 13 years. The very first child I ever had turned 11 this summer (now I’m just aging myself for all of you!). When I was told to pick my compensation the very first time I had no idea what I should do. I was given a range of numbers, you know, what people typically charge. I remember feeling floored that someone wanted to give me that much money to carry a baby. Hmm…..that much money to do something that is so simple for me. At first, I felt like I was taking advantage of someone. Then my mind started running full speed ahead. WOW!! The list of what my family could do with that money was endless. After I was able to slow down a bit I started to put everything in perspective: What the parents have been through already, the money they are spending on everything from medical procedures, traveling, doctors and my compensation.

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Becoming a surrogate mother: Meeting the intended parents for the first time

Becoming a surrogate mother is a big decision, and many considering this decision want to know what it is like to be a surrogate. In this blog series we hope to shed some light on the surrogacy process through the experiences of our past and current surrogates, Charity and Nicole. This is the second post from Charity, if you’d like to read her first post click here

Charity Photo

The very first surrogate baby I ever had turned 11 at the end of May this year, yet I remember the entire journey like it was yesterday.

I remember on the flight to the clinic that my husband and I were both very nervous and excited. We were going to meet our intended parents for dinner and share in their excitement for the embryo transfer scheduled to take place the next day.

When we got to our hotel room, there was a message that K&V were waiting for us. “Call when you get in,” it said.

Despite the fact that we had spent a few months calling and emailing with each other, I felt a nervous flutter when K answered the phone. It was a rush of excitement and anticipation. We agreed to meet in the lobby at 4:30 and go find someplace to have dinner.

I’ll never forget that first hug from my intended mother. She was a little stiff and a bit reserved. Me, I’m a hugger. 🙂

We had a great time at dinner. Our husbands each had a beer, and V & I sat over our sodas and talked about the excitement of the transfer.

K&V had always known they would need help in order to have a family. They were young – in their mid-20s. I think that helped our connection since they are about the same age as my husband and I. It was heartbreaking to hear V’s full story. It was that moment that it really hit me how blessed I’ve been to be able to easily get pregnant and have a child.  Not everyone is that fortunate.

You really start to think about all the things you take for granted. For V, this was her first chance at a family. I’ll always remember how nervous K was (LOL).  His nervousness continued throughout the entire journey (and the birth for that matter)! We called it an early night since the excitement was a bit much for all of us.

The next day the four of us met in the lobby to head over to the clinic for the embryo transfer. We chatted like old friends all the way there but did not talk about the, hopefully, upcoming pregnancy.

Becoming A Surrogate Mother: Meet Charity

Becoming a surrogate mother is a big decision, and many potential surrogate mothers want to know what it is like to be a surrogate. This is a new blog series where we’ll follow the experiences of our past and current surrogates, Charity and Nicole, to share their personal journeys with surrogacy.  This is the first post from Charity.

How in the world did you ever become involved in surrogacy?Surrogate Motherhood

This is one of the most common questions I’m asked. And the answer is unique.

It was a typical Sunday morning. My husband was watching sports, our son was playing and I was sitting on the living room floor with the Sunday paper surrounding me.

I was looking through the help wanted section, I always like to see what kind of jobs are out there, when an ad caught my eye.

“Looking for Ovum Donors and Surrogates.”  What in the world is that?  I was 24 years old and these words were new to me. I read the ad to my husband and he wasn’t sure either. I clipped the ad and made it my mission to find out what it was to be a surrogate or ovum donor.

Monday morning I called the company on the ad, and learned that it was an agency that facilitated egg donation and surrogacy programs.

My first question: What’s an ovum donor? 

Answer: A woman who donates her eggs to help someone else have a child.

OK, I could do that.

My second question: What’s a surrogate?

Answer: A woman who carries a child for someone who can’t carry one herself.

Whoa…..there’s no way I could ever do that!!  Could I?

And it started. The wheels in my mind were turning faster than most wind turbines in a March storm.

That was 15 years ago, and during the past 15 years I have helped create and add to four families. I’ve had many ups and a few downs. But when I think back over those years I will never forget the moment that cemented me into surrogacy.

It was my first journey—my first delivery as a surrogate. I had just delivered a healthy 7lb, 11 oz. baby boy. My husband was by my side holding my hand telling me what a great job I did and how proud he was of me. Then I looked up. At the end of my bed stood my IM (intended mother), tears were streaming down her face, and her hands were shaking, moving slowly from her mouth, to her heart, to her child. She turned to me, smiled, wiped her tears and kept saying “thank you, thank you, thank you”. I knew in that moment this was not the only family I would help.

Through this blog I will share with you experiences from both my gestational surrogacies and my traditional surrogacy. I hope I will be able to answer questions you may have and share with you the joy I have felt and the relationships I have built. Most of all I hope I will be able to help you answer your own question—Could I be a surrogate?

Do you have questions about surrogacy? Please feel free to post any questions in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them in a timely fashion.